Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 23, Rule 23

The game: Replay of Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers.

Why I chose it: Mais oui. Before it was over, there was a Sidney Crosby hat trick, a Max Talbot goal and total obliteration of the Rangers.

My peeve: I had to get up before noon on Sunday to watch the replay. Ce n'est pas plaisir, but it was worth it.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 23, Game Misconduct Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 7.

Definition: I get it now. The penalties are listed in order of increasing seriousness. A game misconduct penalty involves the suspension of a player for the balance of the game but a substitute is permitted to replace immediately the player so removed. The punishment is as serious as the offense - it involves an automatic fine and increasing number of game supsensions for each offense. It's like the rule in school where if you were absent a ton of times you got kicked out. There is also a sort of "time off for good behavior" clause in here, such that if you behave yourself for a certain number of games without further offenses, they are removed from the current record but they stay in the historical record. There are different categories for game misconduct: general, automatic game misconduct, automatic game misconduct where there is injury to the face or head and stick related. Infractions in the general category include: inciting an opponent into incurring a penalty, head butting, interference, charging, third major penalty in a game, throwing stick outside the playing area, not properly tied down during an altercation, resisting a Linesman in the discharge of his duties and obscene language or gestures. This rule also applies to actions against spectators.

My favorite highlights: 23.5, Stick Infractions, Boarding, Checking from Behind Category. In playoff games, any player who incurs a total of two (2) game misconduct penalties for stick-related infractions, Boarding - Rule 42 or Checking from Behind -- Rule 44, shall be suspended automatically for the next League game of his team. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty, the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game. Prior to the commencement of each Stanley Cup finals, a player will have his current stick-related, boarding or checking from behind game misconducts removed from his current playoff record. They will remain part of his historical record. When a player has played in 41 consecutive regular League games without being assessed a stick-related major and a game misconduct penalty according to Rule 20 -- Major Penalties or Rule 22 -- Misconduct Penalties, he will have the previous game misconduct penalties removed from his current record. They will remain part of his historical record.

In addition, the following list of infractions can also result in a game misconduct penalty being assessed:

(i) intefering with or striking a spectator
(ii) racial taunts or slurs
(iii) spitting on or at an opponent or spectator

Food for thought: Nowhere does it call for penalties or removal of fans who do any of the above three items. Should I be banned from the rink for using the f-word occasionally or booing a ref? Probably not. But racial comments or physical harm is not anymore acceptable for fans than it is for players.

The final score: Pittsburgh 8, New York Rangers 3.

Number of game misconducts assessed: 0. But Matt Cooke was suspended for two games for a deliberate check to the head on Artem Anisimov.

The morals of the story:

The game: This shows how important the Stanley Cup is. You there, with the checking from behind, you're outta here, and here's your automatic fine. You're gone. Bye-bye. Oh wait, it's the Stanley Cup final? Never mind, here's your illegal stick and your free pass to board and check from behind. Go forth and conquer. It also looks like it gives you time off for good behavior, but think again. You have to play in 41 consecutive regular League games without further ado in order to get it removed from your current record. Each team plays 82 games during a regular season - if you commit the game misconduct(s) past the halfway mark, this isn't going to happen.

Life: I love this section of rules - I have a whole shopping list of people and/or things who should be on life's game misconduct list. Only in my rules, you don't get the record wiped clean after 41 games. One time crime, lifetime penalty in my book. Here is my short list:

1) Any man who acts interested in you until you sleep with him and then suddenly loses your phone number until he realizes that no other woman will put up with this crap and he magically finds it again. Same goes for psycho women who take advantage of nice guys until they decide to go back to their bad-boy boyfriend whom they were dating on the side the whole time they were dating said nice guy. Automatic fine and permanent removal of dating privileges until you're old and wrinkled and the only date you can scrounge is talking to the lint balls on his or her sweater.

2) Anyone who seeks to do harm to children or elder citizens - in any way. Free escort to the farthest edge of the Nevada desert in July with a year's supply of toilet paper, Tang and pop tarts. What you do to survive (or not) after that is up to you.

3) Anyone who does not appreciate the following: hockey and hockey players (especially those who exceed six feet in height and speak French), Winnie the Pooh, Star Wars movies, getting up at noon and not a minute sooner on Sundays (except for vital hockey replays), red wine and chocolate, Mini Coopers, Lord of the Rings film trilogy, brunch, latte (whole milk, caffeinated, double shot) and barbecue nachos at Winterhawks games (Portland residents only). You will hereby be relegated to the farthest reach of the Nevada desert in July with a month's supply of fat-free Pop Tarts and your only source of conversation will be with someone who is talking to the little fuzz balls on their socks.

Next up on 12/1: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 25, Penalty Shot. Rule 24, gross misconduct, is no longer in use. It is now part of game misconduct penalties.

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