Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 38, Rule 38

The game: Pittsburgh vs. New Jersey.

Why I chose it: This game was going to go one of two ways. Pittsburgh wins and deprives Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur of another record and possibly takes back their first place position in the Atlantic division from the Devils. OR Marty Brodeur sets yet another record and the Penguins hold tight in 2nd.

The outcome: If you don't know by now, the good news is that Martin Brodeur passed Terry Sawchuk for the all time shut out record. The bad news is he did it against my favorite team. Look at this way: 1) It was a noble sacrifice by the defending champions. 2) But not really, 'cause that last minute or so was a furious battle that proves even when a game is lost, it's not over until the buzzer sounds. Kudos to both sides for a demonstrating why we watch hockey in the first place.

The rule: Section 5, Officials. Rule 38, Real Time Scorers.

Number of sections in the rule: 3.

Definition: The duty of the Real Time Scorers is to electronically record all official statistics for the game played. This data shall be compiled and recorded in strict conformity with the instructions provided by the League. This rule also states that the Scoring System Manager shall provide reports to the home Club's pulic relations representative, who shall then distribute reports to the media and to each Club's coaches. I always think a life in the NHL must be so glamorous and exciting. But I'm coming to realize that really, most of the jobs are really not that different or more glamorous than corporate America. In between making sure exhausted, frustrated players don't say something stupid in the post-game interviews and being on-call 24/7, the PR person gets to round out the evening by distributing stat reports every night. It's glamorous with a small g.

My favorite highlight: 38.2, Real Time Scorers: There shall be appointed for duty at every game played in the League the following Real Time Scorers:
(i) Stats entry scorer
(ii) Stats entry scorer - not sure why this is listed twice. Maybe they forgot to distinguish home from visitor?
(iii) Time on ice scorer - Home
(iv) Time on ice scorer - Visitor
(v) Spotter - I want to know what this person does. Is it like the lookout in a bank robbery...if you see anything supicious, you notify the other scorers?

Assigned by the League to oversee the Real Time Scorers and the data collected is a Scoring System Manager (SSM), an off-ice official who is required to work one of the five (5) positions noted above in each game played. So, really there's only four Real Time Scorers, plus this dude, and his reponsibility changes with the game? My head hurts.

The final score: New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 0.

The morals of the story:

The game: What if this position didn't exist? There would be no way of knowing that Martin Brodeur just set a new record. You couldn't tally up the Art Ross Trophy winner or prove that a team earned enough points to make the playoffs. Critics wouldn't have fodder to rip my favorite honkin' tall French captain. For those of us who prefer the written word over the language of numbers, anything that involves statistics is not even worth explaining to most of us. We'll never get it. But somebody gets it. Because somebody has to. Boring though this job may sound, it is everything to the players, who can get traded because they have too many penalty minutes or not enough goals. Without the people who do the math each night, the NHL would be nothing more than a very expensive game of pond hockey.

Life: Oh, this is just too easy to equate with life. In life, there shall be appointed for duty in every life lived the following Real Time Scorers:

(i) Childhood scorer: records all statistics from infant to 12, including height, weight, age, number of friends, grades in school, and so forth, along with the following: number of cookies stolen from the jar, total punishments served for breaking fragile household items you were told not to touch, and number of times you went to the principal's office for pouring glue in that boy's hair because he didn't like you, pushing someone off the swing because you didn't want to wait and other assorted infractions.

(ii) Puberty scorer: records all statistics from 12 to 18, including but not limited to the following: bad haircuts (i.e. pink dye, mohawks, etc.); number of your texts that your boyfriend proceeds to send to all his friends even though it was private; total homework assignments that were never done because your computer crashed, your email didn't send to the right address, etc. (in the stone age that was the 70s we used to just blame the dog, AND we wrote our homework assignments by hand, sometimes in pen if we were really brave, all before they made liquid paper and erasable pens); total emails/texts sent to the wrong boy during study hall who then proceeds to ask you out because silly him, he thought you actually liked him, and; all fashion choices, regardless of how stylish they seemed, and which you will regret by the time you turn 30.

(iii) Adulthood scorer (ages 18 - 40 and beyond): records all statistics for the following life choices, judgments and errors: number of times you skipped class in college or showed up late in favor of partying, hangovers, and general disillusionment with what you thought school and life was going to teach you; bad dates and poor boyfriend choices made because you thought "this time was going to be different, I can feel it"; jobs you took in pursuit of a career that really, around 35, started to look pretty pointless; mortgages defaulted on, rent paid for third-floor walk-up apartments that didn't have heat until early January and cold water three out of four mornings; number of times you asked yourself "is this it?" and wondered where you went wrong and thought about what life might have been: number of friends who turned out to be anything but; all those times you spent money on $3 lattes, expensive vacations or $700 shoes so that later you can officially regret it because you could have saved for a high-tech espresso machine, a house of your own and a second home in Italy.

Next up on 12/24: Section 5, Officials. Rule 39, Video Goal Judge.

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