Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 56, Rule 56

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Calgary, Anaheim vs. Boston (NHL) and Winterhawks vs. Kamloops (WHL).

Why I chose them: I have to go 11 days without live hockey here in Portland, so I'm staving off withdrawal. Also, tonight is the first time that longtime goalie and beloved former Portland Winterhawk Kurtis Mucha faces off against his former teammates after being traded last fall. Jonas Hiller is in net and Anaheim's on the comeback trail. I don't care if Malkin's in a slump, I'm all in for Pittsburgh.

Note to non-Portlanders: Kurtis Mucha was a very bright star in some very dark years for the Winterhawks. He is still loved here in the Rose City and fans' excitement is already building for the Portland-Kamloops game on home ice next Wednesday.

Proof I need an intervention, but I may be beyond help: I'm listening to Andy Kemper's pre-show on 970 AM, watching Pittsburgh vs. Calgary and I'm about to add Winterhawks vs. Kamloops to the mix. I'll be tuning in to Anaheim vs. Boston momentarily.

The rule: Section 7, Restraining Fouls. Rule 56, Interference.

Number of sections in the rule: 7.

Definition: At last, a rule where there's no room for interpretation. This specifically states that "a strict standard on acts of interference must be adhered to in all areas of the rink."

Here's the deal with "body position": Body position shall be determined as the player skating in front of or beside his opponent, traveling in the same direction. A player is allowed the ice he is standing on (body position) and is not required to move in order to let an opponent to proceed. Moving laterally and without establishing body position, then making contact with the non-puck carrier is not permitted and will be penalized as interference. Possession of the puck is defined as the last player to touch the puck, other than the goaltender.

Here's one I've never even heard of: A "pick" is the action of a player who checks an opponent who is not in possession of the puck and is not aware of the impending check/hit. A player who is aware of an impending hit, not deemed to be a legal "battle for the puck," may not be interfered with by a player or goalkeeper delivering a "pick." A player delivering a "pick" is one who moves into an opponent's path without initially having body position, thereby taking him out of the play. When this is done, an interference penalty shall be assessed.

But wait, it gets better (my favorite highlight): 56.2, Minor Penalty. A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who interferes with or impedes the progress of an opponent who is not in possession of the puck. Minor penalty is assessed on the following (including but not limited to):

-- an attacker who deliberately checks a defensive player who is not in possession of the puck.

--a player who causes a player not in possession of the puck to be forced off-sides.

--a player who deliberately knocks a stick out of an opponent's hand.

--a player who knocks or shoots any abandoned or broken stick or illegal puck or other debris towards an opposing carrier in a manner that could cause him to be distracted.

Morals of the story:

The game: Dudes, just say no to this one. It's not tolerated, it's got no wiggle room and it carries penalties for just about every way it could be attempted. In the midst of watching three games and listening to Andy at once, I've noticed this one doesn't happen a lot, so the dudes must know going for this one isn't cool. Oh wait, somebody just gave Brad Ross the interference business behind the Kamloops net. we go, what goes around just came around. Brad and Nino just landed in the box.

Life: This is like the hockey equivalent of "when bad things happen to good people" who weren't even carrying the puck get "picked," checked, whatever. There's no mercy in hockey and there shouldn't be any in life either. Here are just a few of the things for which I would impose a minor penalty for interference in life:

-- Offense: Any person who does not have the right or permit to do so, but who parks in the special handicapped parking spots for "just a few seconds" in the 7-11 lot because they were too lazy to park one spot over and walk their lazy ass in to get the super-sized Super Gulp, thus leaving the person who really needed the space in the lurch. Penalty: Special feature built into your car that will cause your car to break down right as you're turning into the 7-11 parking lot, forcing you to walk..oh no, the horror...several feet to the store.

--Offense: Any popular high school beauty queen, cheerleader, homecoming queen, etc. who pretends to like the geeky girl to enlist said nerd's help in boosting her GPA, only to cut off the friendship once she gets the good grades and the spot at Harvard that should have gone to geek girl, but didn't because smart but nerdy girl's parents didn't pay for a new libarary wing. Penalty: Automatic reduction in GPA back to what it would have been if the beauty queen had never met the geek, retraction of the spot at Harvard, which will then be given to said geek, and permanent exile of beauty queen to a small, non fashion-forward town where she will be forced to grow old without the help of hair dye, botox, breast implants or any other plastic surgeries.

Next up on 1/14: Section 7, Restraining Fouls. Rule 57, Tripping.

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