Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 19, Rule 19

The games: All but 2 teams are in action. Fourteen games, 8 hours. I think I can actually watch all of them before midnight.

Why I chose to sit here and watch hockey instead of hang out in an airport waiting for an airline to strand me on the runway: On deck tonight are Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Montreal and the New York Rangers, among others. It's the grown up, virtual equivalent of a petting zoo, except I can't touch or feed the animals.

My peeve: I can't touch or feed the animals.

My favorite plays: Tampa Bay scoring twice in 30 seconds in the first period. Sergei Gonchar's third goal against Montreal in the second period.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 19, Coincidental Penalties.

Numbe of sections in the rule: 5, divided into sections for minor, major and match penalties, and overtime.

Definition: No, this is not the penalties that just happen by accident in the course of normal play. Not that I thought that...but if I did, now I know. This rule does the math for referees when more than one penalty (match, minor, major) happens to both teams at the same time, including substitutions for players who must leave the game (for major or match penalties). It's like a hockey version of musical chairs. Check this out: when multiple penalties are assessed to both teams, equal numbers of minor and major penalties shall be eliminated using the coincident penalty rule and any differential in time penalties shall be served in the normal manner and displayed on the penalty clock accordingly. If there is no differential in time penalties, all players will serve their alloted penalty time, but will not be released until the first stoppage of play following the expiration of their respective penalties. This rule also provides guidance on serving of penalties that carry over into overtime. If I'm right, this is how 4-on-4 and 5-on-3 get decided.

My favorite highlight: This is even better. It's the only part of this rule I actually understand. 19.5, Applying the Coincidental Penalty Rule. When multiple penalties are assessed to both teams at the same stoppage of play, the following rules are to be utilized by the Referees to determine the on-ice strength for both teams:
(i): cancel as many major and or match penalties as possible
(ii): cancel as many minor, bench minor, and or double-minor penalties as possible

I love it. When in doubt, cancel everything and start over. Excellent plan.

The final scores: Tampa Bay vs. Toronto, Pittsburgh vs. Montreal... oh, never mind. Just check out Pick the team of your choice.

The morals of the story:

The game: I think I'm beginning to understand the basic concept behind the serving of penalties. If both teams get equally pissed off and commit a penalty, depending on the severity of it, they both get out of jail free. If you think about it, they could totally rig a game by agreeing up front to commit a penalty to match the other team's offense, thereby getting everybody back on the ice faster. But then again, that would level the playing field, and we wouldn't want a fair hockey game, now would we?

Life: This is the hockey equivalent of the government bailout for the banking and financial industry. They were all in the box serving multiple, simultaneous penalties for lying, cheating, stealing and writing bad loans to us and Congress came along and cancelled all of them out. On our tax-paying dime - we're basically paying them back for stealing from us. And all the banks had to do is serve the time differential on the simultaneous penalties. Oh non! Ce n'es pas juste!

Next up on 11/25: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 20, Major Penalties. It's all reruns on the NHL Network, but the lesson will be new.

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