Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 15, Rule 15

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Anaheim and Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa.

Why I chose them: My small but mighty band of followers can skip this section, since the reasons should be obvious. For newbies, my favorite French hockey captain faces off against my favorite Swiss goalie. And, Max Talbot returns to Pittsburgh's lineup. All three speak fluent French. I believe my French word for today will be eye or ogle.

My peeve: Wasn't Max Talbot and Sergei Gonchar returning to the lineup supposed to be helpful? (see final score below).

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 15, Calling of Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 5.

Definition: Aha. So now I understand how they decide a double minor penalty. And the determination of the face off location. Now we're getting somewhere. This rule defines what drives most fans to near-cardiac events in the stands. It tells the refs how to call a penalty when a goal is scored, the signals to be used when calling a penalty, how signaled penalties will be assessed and/or imposed, and where faceoffs will happen after a penalty has been called. But nowhere does it say what fans should do when they disagree with a call. I might suggest that to the NHL for could save lives.

My favorite highlights: 15.2, Calling a minor penalty - goal scored. If the penalty to be imposed is a minor penalty and a goal is scored on the play by the non-offending side, the minor penalty shall not be imposed but major and match penalties shall be imposed in the normal manner regardless of whather or not a goal is scored. If two or more penalties were to be imposed and a goal is scored on the play by the non-offending side, the Captain of the offending team shall designate to the Referee which minor penalt(ies) will be assessed and which minor penalty will be washed out as the result of the scoring of the goal.

So, the best way for the offending team to get out of an extra penalty and the accompanying power play is for the opposing team to score a goal? On the other hand, the Captain gets to pick which one they get out of. It's like when you eat a cupcake and then go work out for 2 hours. It's not that you didn't eat the cupcake, it's just that you burned it off before your fat cells caught wise.

The final score: Ottawa 6, Pittsburgh 2. Anaheim 4, Tampa Bay 3.

Number of times rule violated: If I polled fans at Honda Center, the number of times a ref called the wrong penalty, assessed it incorrectly or didn't call one at all would be...let's see two, carry the three, add a least, what... 50?

Morals of the story:

The game: Even here in the WHL league in Portland, we boo the refs, every time. But they keep the peace in an game that's anything but peaceful. In return for knowing by heart all 87 rules and the signals for calls, they get booed and underpaid. I have a master's degree and it took me an hour just to understand this rule. And I still have 72 more to go. Give the poor boys a break, fellow fans. We don't have to like what they do, but we do owe them our respect.

Life: Usually in life if you commit the equivalent of a minor penalty, you get a parking ticket, you get a fee charged by your bank for overdraft, or you owe late fees to Blockbuster. We need a more complicated rule for calling penalties, so as to escape said penalties in certain circumstances. For example, if you are late returning your copy of the latest Star Trek movie because you're a nerd and had to watch the final battle scene a few extra times, the late fee should be canceled if you purchase a large tub of popcorn and a new copy of said DVD now that your bank put back the overdraft fee they shouldn't have charged in the first place.

Next up on 11/21: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 16, Minor Penalties.

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