Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 37, Rule 37

The games: Anaheim vs. Phoenix and Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo.

Why I chose them: My favorite Swiss goalie is in net against my pick for the NHL's "is this the year?" campaign. I was all psyched to see Ryan Miller in action for Buffalo, but alas his backup was on the job. Although his backup isn't too shabby, either.

My peeve: Our hometown heroes the Portland Winterhawks fell to third in our division after two straight losses. We as fans probably didn't help anything - the audience was in "oh crap I'm not ready for the holidays and I'm stuck working next week while my higher ups go on a ski vacation" mode. Totally asleep at the wheel, on our part. Although I must say, that fight Brett Ponich got into in the second period was 90 seconds (give or take) of unmitigated beauty. Saluting the audience afterwards put the cherry on top.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 37, Goal Judge.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: This is a no - bullshit rule for one of the most important people in the rink. Per this rule, this individual shall "signal, normally by means of a red light, his decision as to whether the puck passed between the goal posts and entirely over the goal line. His only decision is whether the puck actually entered the net, not how or when it went in." Hello! I thought the red light went off automatically by some motion sensor.

My favorite highlights: 37.3, Location. There shall be one Goal Judge situated behind each goal (or in an area designated and approved by NHL Hockey Operations) in properly protected areas, if possible, so that there can be no interference with their activities. They shall not change goals during the game. In other words, they must be sectioned off in a protected area for their own safety, in case fans or players want to disupte his decision with verbal and physical force.

The final scores: Anaheim 4, Phoenix 2. Pittsburgh 2, Buffalo 1 (SO).

The morals of the story:

The game: Like life, sometimes the simplest thing is the most important thing. I want to know what the job description for this one looks like. Here's my take: Wanted: large, physically and mentally sturdy individual to declare goals scored in major NHL match-ups, including playoffs. Individual must be willing to tolerate verbal and possibly physical abuse and have absolutely no hobbies, personal conflicts, substance abuse issues or anything else that would lead to distraction during games and therefore interfere in their ability to keep their eye on the puck and declare a puck has gone into the net. Individual must have previous experience in jobs that require sitting still, watching a small piece of rubber and pushing large buttons. Individual must not show favoritism to their favorite team in making their decisions.

Life: If life had a goal judge, it would be good and bad. On the one hand, there would be no BS when you score a life goal (marriage, promotion, graduation,etc.) and you'd get the point, plain and simple. Goal in. Red light. Done. But it's never that easy. For example, what if the goal was making money and the winner cheated their way to it, like Wall Street bankers did for decades? What if it's scored by one of those people who think they're entitled to the world because life has never taught them any different? The goal judge only decides whether the puck went in, not how or why. For that, I'm afraid we'd need another job: circumstance judge. This individual would decide whether a goal was scored fairly by a morally upstanding person and if not, the goal would be disallowed. Their decision would be final and subject to dispute only if the individual can provide character references and clear a background check.

Next up: Section 5, Officials. Rule 38, Real Time Scorers.

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