Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 18, Rule 18

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Florida, Anaheim vs. Calgary. Oh wait, Jonas Hiller isn't starting in goal... never mind. Philadelphia vs. Colorado is looking like an ample substitute. Somebody must have forgotten their pre-game snack, because they're eating each other alive.

Why I chose them: It's Monday, and therefore it is imperative that I watch multiple games in which large men who grew up outside the United States sweat, spit, swear and spend a minimum of 20 minutes on the penalty bench, preferably for drawing blood if at all possible.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 18, Double Minor Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: It's elementary, Dear Watson. A double minor is 4 minutes (bench minor penalty x 2). This goes back to the minor penalty rule - if you're the offending team, the only way to kill off the extra two minutes on the penalty bench is for your opponent to score a goal. Infractions that can result in a double minor penalty are: butt-ending (Rule 58), head-butting (Rule 48), high sticking (Rule 60) and spearing (Rule 62). Butt-ending sounds like something late-night infomericals use to promote the latest exercise gadget by convincing you you'll burn off all your cellulite in five days or less. But in hockey it's actually what happens when a player tries to use the shaft part of the stick above his upper hand to check an opposing player or jab an opposing player with this part of the stick.

My favorite highlight: Now I know why I've been confused all this time about double minors. 18.1, Double Minor Penalty. When a double minor has been signaled by the Referee, and the non-offending team scores during the delay, one of the minor penalties shall be washed out and the penalized player will serve the remaining two minutes of the double-minor penalty. The penalty will be announced as a double-minor penalty but only two minutes would be shown on the penalty time clock.

The final scores: Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2. Colorado 5, Philadelphia 4.

Number of double minors imposed: Pittsburgh vs. Florida: 1. Philadelphia vs. Colorado: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: This is about as fair as it gets in hockey. If you're doing time on the penalty bench, the trade off for shearing time off your offense is that the other team scores a goal. Even if you stayed on the bench for the full 4 minutes, it still ups the chance the other team will score while you sit there. Either way, you're doing time and they're putting it in the net. Fair? No. But what would you rather do, sit there for the full four minutes while the opposing team scored more goals while you're short handed for a longer period of time? Blessings are few in hockey - count them when you can.

Life: The sad part is that this rule is still way more fair than life. If we commit double minors for which we have to serve extra penalty minutes while Mr. Ferrari/platinum card/yes that's my blonde girlfriend who's young enough to be my daughter but I can still attract 'em/I didn't lose all my money when the market crashed goes breezing by in his Porsche, it doesn't wash out life's penalty minutes. We still have to serve them right to the end.

Have you ever watched a player come off the penalty bench for a full double minor? It's like turning hungry dogs loose in a Sizzler. Get out of the way and lock up the children. That's how we should be in life. The minute the penalty clock winds down, jump off the bench and run like hell into the rest of your life. Waiting out a streak of bad luck is like a hockey game - life doesn't go anywhere, you just have to sit it out every once in a while.

Next up on 11/25: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 19, Coincidental Penalties.

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