Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 20, Rule 20

The game: Replay of Chicago vs. Calgary.

Why I chose it: Chicago rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the first period to beat the Calgary Flames in overtime, 6-5. Great sports moments never go out of style.

The quirk: NHL Network is also airing replays of Nashville vs. Ottawa and Washington vs. Philadelphia. All three games ended with a score of 6-5 in overtime.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 20, Major Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: This is a no excuses, no exceptions rule. It outlines the infractions for which major penalties may be assessed, substitution rules, what constitutes an automatic game misconduct and fines for major penalties. And forget that short-handed quirk where you can leave the bench if the other team scores while you're short handed. In this case, if the other team scores, the guy serving five minutes for the major penalty has to stay on the bench until the penalty expires. Infractions for which major penalties are assesssed include: hooking (rule 55), charging (rule 43), checking from behind (rule 44), cross-checking (rule 59), fighting (rule 47) and interference (rule 56). Many of these also result in automatic game misconduct, along with instigating fights or fighting after the original altercation occurred.

My favorite highlight: 20.3, Substitution. When a player has been assessed a major penalty and has been removed from the game or is injured, the offending team does not have to place a substitute player on the penalty bench immediately, but must do so at a stoppage of play prior to the expiration of the major penalty. He may then legally exit the penalty bench when the major penalty is expired. Furthermore, if the team fails to place a player on the penalty bench to return to the ice at the end of the major penalty, they continued to play short-handed but are not permitted to ice the puck as they are no longer short-handed by reason of penalty. My head hurts. I thought nobody was permitted to ice the puck and that's why they blow the whistle on it. They need to put these rules in a more logical order.

The final score: Chicago 6, Calgary 5 (in OT).

Major penalties assessed: 2.

The morals of the story:

The game: True hockey fans love a good fight, but racking up major penalties and game misconducts causes serious harm not only to the team's ability to score and defend their zone, it erodes their reputation and sportsmanship. If a team is better known for its left hook than its talent, it can cost them promotional opportunities, their fan base and the good favor of the commissioner. Fighting and other major penalties should be an action of last resort, not an act of desperation to beat a better team. On the other hand, that fight between Jerome Iginla and Troy Brouwer in the second period was pretty cool.

As for the rally to beat life, it's not too late to come back until the final buzzer sounds.

Life: I've got a list of people in life who should assessed a major penalty or game misconduct/automatic removal from the game. These individuals should be removed from society for five weeks, and no equally annoying person shall be permitted to replace them during this time. Here is my list of infractions for which a major penalty will be assessed:

1) talking on cell phones in thoroughly inappropriate locations, including but not limited to: cutting off a conversation with a live person to take a call in a sad attempt to show how important you think you are; libraries; book stores; otherwise quiet bus rides home; trains; movie theatres; plays; quiet romantic restaurants and bank lines. A game misconduct will be assessed in addition to the major penalty if said individual is talking in an excessively loud voice and/or repeating themselves 10 or 12 times because the person at the other end is in a dead zone. Automatic season-long suspension for anyone who talks on a phone or texts while in a car . No exceptions, no substitutions.

2) Drivers who don't know where they are going and instead of pulling over, weave in and out of lanes while going 20 miles an hour and then turn with no signal or warning when they finally figure out where they're going. A game misconduct will be assessed in addition to the major penalty if said individual is doing this on a freeway.

3) Overly entitled individuals who think that life is hard and whine because their cell phone died, their Tivo didn't record something or Starbucks ran out of soy creamer for their fat-free, sugar-free, extra hot vanilla latte. Note to twats: if you want hard, try using a rotary phone, having a Radio Shack VCR that eats tapes and having only two coffee options -- Dunkin' Donuts original blend with or without cream. No special orders, no exceptions.

4) Anyone who takes at least two minutes to order a latte in Starbucks because it takes that long to rattle off all the instructions for all the crap they don't want in their coffee. In addition to the penalty, offenders must be removed from my presence permanently for their own safety and well-being.

5) Non-appreciators of hockey who think that fans all live in a double-wide and drink wine out of a box. Think again tiddlywinks. Most of us have college degrees and high paying executive jobs. We live in homes with kids and dogs and yards and go to high-end wine tastings on the weekend. We own businesses and have VP next to our names. We simply like to watch large men score goals, defend their zone, fight, swear and hit each other in the head every now and again. Nothing wrong with that. This penalty will only be erased if offenders get on board with the rest of us and convert to being lifelong hockey fans.

Next up on 11/27: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 21, Match Penalties.

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