Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 30, Rule 30

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Washington and Pittsburgh vs. Carolina Hurricanes.

Why I chose them: Tampa vs. Washington (or vs. any other team, for that matter) - Duh. New readers - welcome and see previous entries for a full explanation. Pittsburgh vs. Carolina - the brothers Staal face off against each other. Mais, oui.

The rule: Section 4, Types of Penalties. Rule 30, Signals.

Number of sections in the rule: 33 Signals.

Definition: This is a complete written and graphic description of the hand and arm signals that the refs use to indicate calls. They are listed in alphabetical order and include the following: butt-ending, boarding, clipping, cross-checking, goal scored, high sticking, holding, hooking, icing, misconduct, roughing, slashing, tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct and wash out.

My favorite highlights: Fittingly, the signal for misconduct (30.23) is hands on hips. Logical signals include: 30.11, goal scored (single point directed at the goal in which the puck legally entered); 30.10 elbowing (tapping either elbow with the opposite hand) and 30.17, hooking (a tugging motion with both arms as if as if pulling something from in front of the stomach). One of the more complicated is 30.18, icing: (a) The back Linesman signals a possible icing by fully extending either arm over his head. The arm should remain raised until the front Linesman either blows the whistle to indicate an icing or until the icing is washed out. (b) Once the icing has been completed, the back Linesman will then point to the appropriate face-off spot and skate to it, turning backwards somewhere near the blue line and crossing his arms across his chest to indicate icing.

The final scores: Carolina 3, Pittsburgh 2. Washington 3, Tampa Bay 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: Referees not only have to know all 87 rules, they have to know their own version of sign language to indicate calls. Let's face it -- if most of us had to retain that much information for our jobs, we'd be fired because we couldn't do it. Sure, we have an employee handbook from our company, but how many of us actually memorize it, let alone read the damn thing? And we probably went to college to learn how to do our job, but how many textbooks do we recall from memory? Exactly. Give 'em a kibble now and again, fellow nerds. They're doing their jobs and they're doing it better than most of us ever could.

Life: How cool would it be if we could use hand signals instead of words to signal other people's ordinary offenses? Examples include:

Signal for end of "overtime" meetings that have no agenda, a minimum of 150 PowerPoint slides and have already put two high-ranking executives into a coma: Point at presenter with one hand and use the other to point at the door.

Signal for get off your cell phone in yoga class or I will kill you: Stand behind offender and wrap both hands around neck, without actually touching skin. With hands approximately two inches from skin, simulate throttling motion by moving hands back and forth rapidly.

Signal that the bank teller at the far end is open don't just stand there you idiot I'm already cutting into my lunch hour with this errand run: Simulate a kicking motion by kicking the right leg out to the side in several swift motions. Alternate signal choice: push both hands straight out from your chest towards the offender, as if pushing him or her forward.

Next up on 12/9: Section 5, Officials. Rule 31, Appointment of Officials and Rule 32, Referees.

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