Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 50, Rules 50 and 51

The game: Tampa vs. New Jersey. Record setting goalie, honkin' tall French captain. I'm in. But wait....

The final score: Suspended somewhere in the second period after a power failure that couldn't be resolved in a timely manner and rendered play unsafe. The score at the time was Tampa 3, New Jersey 0. The game was on Jersey's turf. Hmmmm...accident or conspiracy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Game on tap: Portland Winterhawks vs. Chilliwack Bruins.

Final score even though it hasn't been played yet: Chilliwack Bruins = TOAST.

The rules: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rule 50, Kneeing. Rule 51, Roughing.

Number of sections in the rules: 6 (Rule 50). 4 (Rule 51).

Definitions: Kneeing is the act of a player leading with his knee and in some cases extending his leg outwards to make contact with his opponent. Kneeing can be punished with a minor or major penalty (based on severity of the infraction), match penalty (deliberate injury) or game misconduct (assessed in addition to a major). There are no fines or suspensions for kneeing, but the Commissioner may apply supplementary discipline at his discretion. Roughing is a punching motion with the hand or fist, with or without the glove on the hand, normally directed at the head or face of an opponent.

My favorite highlight: 51.1, Roughing (second paragraph). Roughing is a minor altercation that is not worthy of a major penalty to either participant. (An altercation is a situation involving two players with at least one to be penalized). And of course: 51.3, Match Penalty. If, in the judgment of the Referee, a goalkeeper uses his blocking glove to punch an opponent in the head or face in an attempt to or to deliberately injure an opponent, a match penalty must be assessed. To refresh, a major penalty is one in which a player is ruled off the ice for five minutes and no substitution is allowed. Things for which a major may be called include boarding, charging, cross-checking, hooking, kneeing and interference.

Morals of the story:

The game: Excuse me, what is the blocking glove for, if not for pounding someone in the head? Is there no mercy on goalies? These are the guys who purposefully and willingly get in front of pucks going upwards of 75 miles per hour, stare them right in the eye and go "bring it on." Everybody else goes "holy crap! Incoming!" and vacates. These guys hit it, catch it, dive on it, whatever and go "I got it. I'm good. No prob." Now you see why I like netminders so much - if that was me, I'd pound somebody anyway and take the penalty. I don't know how they do it, but it's impressive not only for what it takes to get in front of a puck physically, but for what it takes mentally.

Life: Roughing is the hockey equivalent of a parking ticket or a moving violation, or other motorized offenses that aren't quite a DUI/DWI. Like life, it doesn't quite stop us, does it? Roughing, really, is just a fight that got broken up by the referees. It's a halfway punishment for a halfway crime. Like a shot on goal, it would have become a fight if hadn't been stopped. Here's my advice: don't get caught in a roughing penalty. Live life all the way. Get in the fight and get taken down or take the other guy down. Halfway doesn't work in hockey and it doesn't cut it in life.

Next up: Section 6, Physical Fouls. Rules 52 (Slew-footing) and 53 (Throwing Equipment).

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