Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 6, Rule 6

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Anaheim.

Why I chose it: The underdogs of the moment play the Stanley Cup champions. Jonas Hiller is starting in goal. I smell a comeback.

My peeve: The NHL public relations team has unleashed a Bull Durham-esque litany of cliches. The following expressions were used at least once by players in interviews over the past 24 hours: "play our game," "keep it simple," and "I just hope I can help out the team." I'm not saying you can't use the occasional cliche, I'm just saying come up with some new ones.

The rule: Section 2, Teams. Rule 6, Captains and Alternate Captains.

Number of sections in the rule: 2.

Definition: Ok, Sidney Crosby haters, get over it. It says right here in this rule - as Captain it's his job to talk with the refs about interpretation of rules. No other players except the Alternate Captains are permitted to do so. This also clearly outlines the penalties for complaints. It states that a complaint about a penalty is NOT a matter " relating to the interpretation of the rules"and a minor penalty shall be imposed against any Captain, Alternate Captain, or any other player making such a complaint. Not, by the way, is capitalized in the rule book.

My favorite highlight: Rule 6.2, Captain. Only the captain, when invited to do so by the referee, shall have the privilege of discussing any point relating to the interpretation of the rules. Any player who comes off the bench to protest or intervene with officials shall be assessed a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct as defined in Rule 40 - Abuse of Officials. Should the protest continue, he may be assessed a misconduct penalty and if it further continues, a game misconduct penalty shall be warranted.

Number of times rule violated: 0.

The final score: Pittsburgh 4. Anaheim 3. It's a comeback with a small c.

The morals of the story:

The game: If any Captain whined as much as Sidney Crosby is accused of, they'd be gone. Bought out. Traded at the deadline. Put on waivers. No team wants their leader getting them into trouble, no coach wants to babysit the player and his attitude and no official would put up with it. The job and privilege of being Captain or Alternate Captain is one that most people can't handle, let alone when they are barely past the drinking age. We don't have to like the player, but we do have to respect the title.

Life: I lived in New York City for 10 years, and I have figured out how the state can balance their budget. Just enact the Captains rule as law. Levy a fine for every time New Yorkers complain, come off the bench in protest or get into it about their interpretation of the rules. You'd be able to collect enough revenue in a single day to pay off any deficits and it would ensure that you never went into debt again. Ever.

Next up on 11/6: Section 2, Teams. Rule 7, Starting Line-Up.

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