Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 28, Rule 28

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Chicago and Tampa Bay vs. Islanders.

Why I chose them: Marion Hossa returns to the scene of the crime. Pittsburgh v. Chicago is my early season prediction for the teams who will face off in this year's Stanley Cup final. As for the other - see previous entries.

My favorite play: Jordan Staal lurking around Chicago's bench for no apparent reason at the face off in the third period, with less than 2 minutes to go...until he scored the game-tying goal moments later. The scoreboard may have ended at Chicago 2, Pittsburgh 1 in OT, but that goal was a thing of truly staggering beauty.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 28, Goalkeeper's Penalties.

Number of sections in the rule: 9.

Definition: Instead of including the goaltender in the individual rules for minor, major, match, misconduct and game misconduct penalties, they've lumped them all together in this rule. If a goalkeeper incurs a minor or major penalty, his penalty will be served by another member of his team. In the case of a match, misconduct or game misconduct penalty, he will be replaced by another member of his team. For misconduct, it has to be a player who was on the ice at the time the offense occurred. Offenses for which a minor penalty is imposed include leaving the crease during an altercation, participating in play over the red line, and playing the puck outside the goalkeeper's restricted area. Infractions for which a goalkeeper may be penalized include: throwing the puck towards the opponents goal, piling snow or other obstacles, using blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face, and deliberately falling on the puck inside or outside the crease.

My favorite highlight: 28.6, Leaving the Goal Crease. A minor penalty shall be imposed on a goalkeeper who leaves the immediate vicinity of his crease during an altercation. In addition, he shall be subject to a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) and this incident shall be reported to the Commissioner for such further disciplinary action as may be required. However, should the altercation occur in or near the goalkeeper's crease, the Referee should direct the goalkeeper to a neutral location and not assess a penalty for leaving the immediate vicinity of the goal crease. Equally, if the goalkeeper is legitimately outside the immediate vicinity of the goal crease for the purpose of proceeding to the players' bench to be substituted for an extra attacker, and he subsequently becomes involved in an altercation, the minor penalty for leaving the crease would not be assessed.

The final scores: Chicago 2, Pittsburgh 1 (in OT). Tampa 4, Islanders 0.

Number of offenses by goalkeepers: 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: So, let me get this straight. A goalkeeper gets dinged for getting into a fight, shoving match, whatever if he's outside the crease, but if he stays in it, no penalty? Sweet. On the other hand, try getting into a serious fight with a six-foot-six forward inside a space that is all of four feet by six feet. It's like a really small version of Vegas: what happens inside the goaltender's crease stays in the crease. Works for me.

Life: It's probably a good thing we don't have this rule in life. All the offenses in this rule relate to stepping outside the restricted areas where the goaltender is permitted to play. Imagine life if you couldn't step outside your world into another country, or even another neighborhood while everyone else got to do so and their lives moved at lightning speed while yours stayed in the crease. What if you couldn't leave your cube or office all day at work, and everytime you did they garnished your paycheck? We weren't meant to stay inside life's crease. But just like this rule, life tries like hell to keep us there. Want my advice? Cross the red line, get into an altercation outside the crease, play the puck outside the restricted zone. Take the penalty, pay the fine. Live outside your world.

Next up on 12/6: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 29, Supplementary Discipline.

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