Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 54, Rules 54 and 55

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota.

Why I chose it: The Pens have been on a losing streak, and I have personally decided as a fan that we're done with that now.

My peeve: Perhaps I should have sent a memo about being finito with the losing. Final score: Minnesota 4, Pittsburgh 3.

The rules: Section 7, Restraining Fouls. Rule 54, Holding. Rule 55, Hooking.

Number of sections in the rules: 4 (Rule 54). 7 (Rule 55).

Definitions: 54.1, Holding. Any action by a player that restrains or impedes the progress of an opposing player whether or not he is in possession of the puck. 55.1, Hooking. Hooking is the act of using the stick in a manner that enables a player to restrain an opponent. When a player is checking another in such a way that there is only stick-to-stick contact, such action is not to be penalized as hooking.

My favorite highlights: 54.2, Minor Penalty. A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who holds an opponent by using his hands, arms or legs. A player is permitted to use his arm in a strength move, by blocking his opponent, provided he has body position and is not using his hands in a holding manner, when doing so. A player is not permitted to hold an opponent's stick. A minor penalty shall be assessed to a player who holds an opponent's stick (assessed and announced as "holding the stick"). A player is permitted to protect himself by defending against an opponent's stick. He must immediately release the stick and allow the player to resume normal play.

55.2, Minor Penalty. A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who impedes the progress of an opponent by "hooking" with his stick. A minor penalty for hooking shall be assessed to any player who uses the shaft of the stick above the upper hand to hold or hook an opponent.

55.3, Major Penalty. A major penalty shall be imposed on any player who injures an opponent by "hooking."

Morals of the story:

The game: I see why these are next to each other in the rulebook. If a player tries to hook another, the player who was hooked can defend himself provided he doesn't do it by holding. This rule needs a visual aid/diagram...what exactly qualifies as a "strength move" and "body position?" Is this a way of saying as long as you're bigger and stronger than the other guy, you can defend yourself? It makes no sense...shouldn't it be the opposite? Provided the attacker has body position and greater strength, you can do what you have to. Oh right...this is hockey...logic has no more place in the rulebook than fairness. And let's face it, is a player really going to think about "uh oh. I'm holding....two minutes, better stop right here." No. He's going to do what he has to, no matter what. Screw you and put me in the box, thank you very much.

Life: Restraint, sadly, is everywhere in life, whether we do it to ourselves or someone does it to us. It's easy to direct our anger at others who impede us, but what about the things we do to hold up our own progress? Aha. Now that's not so easy, is it? I say we should have a hooking and holding rule for every time we hold ourselves back in life.

The offense: Thinking "I'm too tired to go to the gym and get my 18-year-old body back. I'll just sit here and drink a beer instead."

The punishment: Sitting on the couch with carbs is what we call a self-promoting enterprise. Do it enough and it becomes its own punishment. If you do it once a week to take a break from the gym, no penalty shall be assessed. However, if you sit on the couch in such a manner so as to accelerate the natural progression of fat, cellulite and old age, a time machine should be automatically turned on at NASA that hones in on your ass and expands it at double the rate for every night you do this.

The offense: That dream will never come true. It's too hard. I'm not good enough. I'll fail anyway. It's too much risk. It's too pie in the sky. That's stupid. It will never happen. Blah, blah, blah.

The punishment: Never getting a second chance to see if you can try again and be good enough, smart enough, etc. You fall back, you stay back.

Note to anyone who's even thinking about giving up before you even do it, whatever "it" is: I took the chance. I went to New York. And in 10 years, along with a lot of really good times (including travel to London, Spain, France, Italy, Montreal and the ice rink where the US Hockey Team won the gold medal), I also lived in an apartment building where I'm pretty sure illegal business of some sort was transpiring in the apartment above me and I had a neighbor who liked to put up bookshelves at 2 in the morning, a boyfriend (or two or three) who happened to have another girlfriend on the side, served on jury duty in an ax murder trial, got mugged, and just happened to be on my way to work down the street from the Trade Center on September 11. In the last year I lived there, I was fired twice in one year and I lived in an apartment with no couch and a view of a brick wall.

But I took the chance and I got the second one. I live in Portland in a penthouse with a fireplace, a deck, a view of Beaverton and the coast range, a washer/dryer and a foofoo couch that I sometimes fall asleep on its so comfortable. I park my Mini Cooper in my free covered parking space, I have a master's degree on my wall and a steady job in a bad economy. And hey, I started this blog and rediscovered hockey. No pressure, but if I were you -- and I was -- I'd do whatever it is. I loved New York. It just didn't love me.

Up next on 1/13: Section 7, Restraining Fouls. Rule 56, Interference. Preview: this rule explains the "body position" dilemma.

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