Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 10, Rule 10

The game: Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota.

Why I chose it: It's Vincent Lecavalier and... well, it's Vinny Lecavalier. A honkin' tall, French speaking hockey captain looking for a little redemption on his home ice. I'm in.

My peeve: I'm a day late on this entry, so I was just watching the Anaheim vs. Columbus game and Jonas Hiller is not starting in goal. BUT: tomorrow is a rematch with Detroit, the first since Game 7 of the playoffs. I smell blood already.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 10, Sticks.

Number of sections in the rule: 7.

Definition: If there's anything about sticks that isn't in here, I can't imagine what it is. This rule covers stick measurements (prior to game, prior to penalty shot and prior to shootout), broken sticks, loss of stick during game and the penalties for not meeting the measurement regulations. Ok boys, I can't help it. It's too tempting. According to this rule, size matters. And the penalty for not measuring up is fairly serious. Punishments range from bench minor penalties to financial fines for sticks that are ruled illegal after measurement. Any player who deliberately breaks his stick or refuses to surrender an illegal stick is penalized with a bench minor and a 10-minute misconduct.

My favorite highlights: 10.5, Stick Measurement. Among other measure the curvature of the blade of the stick, the Referee must draw an imaginary line along the outside of the shaft to the bottom of the blade and then along the bottom of the blade - this will determine the location of the heel. He must use a league-approved measuring gauge to measure the curve from heel to toe. Everything else is measured with a measuring tape. Imaginary line? The NHL is an international, multi-million dollar sports and marketing empire that can be viewed around the world on cable, and they make a ref play a game of Charades to determine whether a stick measures up? This I have to see.

Here's another one...if the stick proves to be illegal, the stick shall remain at the penalty bench until the end of the game. That's right, even equipment has to do time on the penalty bench for being out of line. And it sits there longer than the players do.

The final score: Tampa Bay 4. Minnesota 3. In a shootout, which is the only thing I love more than honkin' tall French hockey players and underappreciated Swiss goalies.

Number of times rule violated: 0. There were a few lost and broken sticks, but this rule states that as long as you drop them and your teammates don't slide or throw a new one to you from the bench, you're in compliance.

Morals of the story:

Game: Trying to gain an unfair advantage with non-regulation gear carries more risks than benefits. Some things in life are worth it and are risked for the right reason. This is not. It's just stone cold cheating. If you did something like this in an office job, you'd be fired. Plus, if you feel compelled to cheat to win instead of winning on the merit of your talent, sportsmanship and physical conditioning, you have a bigger problem that no rule can fix.

Life: This is the hockey equivalent of a business professional faking their resume to get a better job or taking credit for other people's work to get ahead. You can cheat your way to the top, but if somebody calls for a measurement of your education and experience stick, you're screwed. Crime doesn't pay in hockey and it doesn't pay in life.

Next up on 11/14: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 11, Goalkeeper's Equipment. And vengeance in Detroit.

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