Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 11, Rule 11

The games: Anaheim vs. Detroit and Pittsburgh vs. Boston.

Why I chose them: Hiller's in net in Detroit. Malkin's back in the lineup on home ice. Vengeance all around. Game on.

The rule: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 11, Goalkeeper's Equipment.

Number of sections in the rule: 8.

The definition: Again, size matters. This is all about the measurement of the goalkeeper's gear, including leg guards, calf-strap protectors, knee strap pads, chest and arm pads, pants, catching glove, blocking glove, masks, measuring procedures for the catching glove, rules for inspection of equipment and the financial and suspension penalties associated with refusal to submit to an inspection.

My favorite highlights: 11.4, Pants. No internal or external cheater padding is permitted on the pant leg or waist beyond that which is required to provide protection (no outside or inside ridges). Each goalkeeper must wear pants that are anatomically proportional and size specific based on the individual physical characteristics of that goalkeeper. And if you think you can do the math on your own, forget it. The League's Hockey Operations Department will have the complete discretion to determine the maximum size of each goalkeeper's pants based on measurements obtained by the League's Hockey Operations Department, which will include but not be limited to, measurements for waist circumference and length of pant above and below waist line.

The final scores: Detroit 7, Anaheim 4. Pittsburgh 6, Boston 5 (in OT). So, it wasn't vengeance all around, but at least nobody busted Jonas Hiller for being too big for his britches.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: The NHL is loaded with international talent from across the globe: Olympic champions, Harvard grads, Russian national team all-stars. For all those who make it, there are more who don't because they don't make the grade. Even among those who do, this rule is proof that they have to literally measure up long before they even step onto the ice. It's the same for life -- talent is not enough. How players measure up off the ice -- in clothing or otherwise --is just as important as their slapshot.

Life: My special admiration for netminders was sealed with this one. I'm 5'9" and I've worn a size 8 since high school, but I'm not exactly the supermodel size 4. Nor would I want to be. It's bad enough that we have to be subjected to society's idea of beauty and ideal weight on TV, in movies, ads, etc. What if you had someone coming to your house every morning to penalize you because you didn't meet society's scary skinny BMI standard? That's essentially what goalies have to do when they get dressed for a game. Hats off to you boys. Or should I say pants?

Next up on 11/15: Section 3, Equipment. Rule 12, Illegal Equipment.

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