Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 22, Rule 22

The game: New Jersey Devils vs. New York Islanders.

Why I chose it: Sheer necessity. I'll be en route to a Winterhawks game later and won't be able to watch the Pittsburgh vs. Rangers game except on replay. But Martin Brodeur is always worth watching - even if you lose in the end, getting a shot by him should be worth some sort of extra point. The man is like a human version of bullet proof vests.

My peeve: It looks like there will be no live Olympic trip for me. All the hotels require a 5-night stay or the packages are $2500 and up for hotel and tickets. And the seats for the Canada vs. Switzerland game are sold out. Not even one single scrap of a ticket for just one person. Not to worry - I still plan to finish the rule book in time for the games, at which time I will turn my eye to the IILF rules. And then it's on to the business of hockey: trade deadline, lottery draft in June, off-season trading, unrestricted vs. restricted agents, etc. Keep reading and you'll learn more about hockey than you ever wanted to.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 22, Misconduct Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: Misconduct by any players but the goalkeeper results in the offending players being ruled off the ice for a period of 10 minutes each. But the team is allowed to replace him, so the team is not short handed. Also, the player in the box can't leave when the penalty is expired. Rather, he has to wait until the next stoppage of play. For the goalie, the penalty is served by another player who was on the ice at the time of the offense. Misconduct carries an automatic fine of $100 to the offending player. The player does not cause his team to be shorthanded unless he also receives a minor, major or match penalty in addition to the misconduct. Infractions that can result in a misconduct penalty include: banging boards with stick in protest of an official's ruling, deliberately breaking stick or refusing to surrender stick for measurement, instigating a fight, refusing to change non-regulation piece of protective equipment, fighting off the playing surface, verbal abuse of officials and use of profane or abusive language.

My favorite highlight: 22.3, Short handed. In addition to what's noted above, this also states: When a player receives a minor penalty and a misconduct penalty at the same time, the penalized team shall immediately put a substitute player on the penalty bench and he shall serve the minor penalty without change. Should the opposing team score while the minor penalty is being served, the minor penalty shall terminate (unless 15.4 is applicable) and the misconduct to the originally penalized player shall commence immediately. Aha. Now I get why an extra/non-offending player sometimes comes into the penalty bench.

The final score: New Jersey 6, Islanders 1.

Number of misconduct penalties assessed: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: What I want to know is what extreme do you have go to in order to pull a minor, major, match and/or misconduct at the same time? I think Vancouver pulled it off about a week ago when two opposing players who were sent to the penalty bench for fighting started getting into it on the bench, and one tried to poke the other one with his stick. It's like the fight that never ended. Also, the use of profane language rule is a bit ironic, considering that swearing is as much a part of hockey as the ice itself. I know the rule is targeted at things like telling the ref to bugger off, but what if it meant every player was dinged every time they used profane language? Please. The ice and the benches would be emptied in about five minutes.

Life: A lawyer must have written this rule. Like our justice system, this rule has caveats so the whole team doesn't have to pay for one man's action. Well, at least until he commits more than one. What if we applied something similar to our justice system? Every time we give a criminal a break the first time and he or she does it again, society has to pay for being too lenient by serving part of that person's extra penalty. If we knew that we had to serve part of a drunk driver's penalty or register as a sex offender to serve it for them, would we just shrug our shoulders and say "too bad, but there's nothing I can do about it?" I doubt it. We'd do everything we could to keep ourselves out of the box and put the offenders back in.

Next up on 11/29: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 23, Game Misconduct Penalties.

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