Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 44, Rule 44

The game: The Winter Classic, of course. Philly vs. Boston on their home ice, in this case a frozen Fenway Park.

Why I chose it: Duh. For non-hockey types, this is the Super Bowl for hockey fans. It's pond hockey, NHL style.

The rule: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 44, Checking from Behind.

Number of sections in the rule: 6.

Definition: A check from behind is a check delivered on a player who is not aware of the impending hit, therefore unable to protect or defend himself, and contact is made on the back part of the body. When a player intentionally turns his body to create contact with his back, no penalty shall be assessed. This is a major penalty and above only offense - no minors are assessed for checking from behind. It starts at major and goes up to game misconduct and suspension (for two misconducts).

My favorite highlights: 44.3, Major Penalty: Any player who cross-checks, pushes or charges from behind an opponent who is unable to protect or defend himself, shall be assessed a major penalty. This penalty applies anywhere on the playing surface (see 44.5). 44.5, Game Misconduct: A game misconduct penalty must be assessed anytime a major penalty is assessed for checking from behind. A match penalty is assessed if the player attempts to or deliberately injures another by checking from behind.

The final score: Boston 2, Philadelphia 1 (in OT). The first time the home team has won a Winter Classic. The men's United States Olympic roster was also revealed, and it includes Tim Thomas, Brooks Orpik and Zach Parise.

The morals of the story:

The game: This is like the unspoken rule that you don't shoot a man in the back, but in this case you get busted for it. This carries so many penalties, why would you even do it? You can't even get away with purposefully turning around to force the other player to commit the check and get thrown in the box. Well, silly, because sometimes this is the only way to take a player down and if you have to spend a few minutes in the box, so be it. That's what big time players have to do to make it in the NHL.

Life: This is the hockey equivalent of blindsiding. Except in life, there's no ref to make the call and no penalty to the offending player or fateful action. The check from behind happens and you're left to pick up the pieces. I say we make our own rules for the life equivalent of checking from behind. For example:

-- For the significant other who declares they never really loved you and are now leaving you with the two kids and dog to drive a non-age appropriate car and date an even more non-age appropriate girlfriend, a major penalty shall be assessed in the form of draining said spouse's offshore bank account that he thought you didn't know about, using it to take a girls only spa trip to Tahiti, hiring a nanny for the little whippersnappers and for hiring a lawyer who will leave the little twit with nothing more than his inappropriate vehicle.

-- For investors like Madoff who think nothing of running a ponzi scheme on someone else's dime and trying to sneak it past even their own family, forget jail. A major penalty will be assessed in the form of living in a double-wide in the middle of the Nevada with a 1988 Toyota Corolla with 110,000 miles on it that only runs just long enough to go to the one Piggly Wiggly store where you can buy evaporated milk, stale bread and expired Chef Boyardee products with your half-ration of food stamps, after which the tow truck has to haul your stalled vehicle back to the trailer, provided of course you pay up front by signing over your welfare check as payment.

Next up: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 45, Clipping.

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