Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 62, Rules 62 and 63

The games: New York Islanders vs. Pittsburgh, Anaheim vs. Buffalo.

Why I chose them: It's the Pens barreling at high speed out of a losing streak. If the right netminders are in the net for the Ducks and the Sabres, it's picnic time for goalie groupies.

The quirks: The goalies' last names rhyme (Hiller and Miller). If Kurtis Mucha hadn't been traded, the Winterhawks' goalies first and last names would have been the same.

Reason to get up at 6 am tomorrow for an early start with a "Power Breakfast" at the Governor Hotel: After more than a week of no live hockey in Portland, the Winterhawks return to home ice at 7 pm, and former goalie Kurtis Mucha will be honored before the Winterhawks game against his new team, the Kamloops Blazers. Ian Curtis will presumably be at the other end minding our net. With his fancy new homage-to-Portland helmet, thank you. Definitely picnic time for goalie groupies.

Portlanders, we know we're in the big time when: NHL.com has a video and little headline calling out Nino's one-handed goal at the prospects game. For non-Portlanders and/or non-Winterhawks fans: Google Nino Niederreiter. If you don't know him yet, you will.

The rules: Section 8, Stick Fouls. Rule 62, Spearing. Rule 63, Delaying the Game.

Number of sections in the rules: 6 (Rule 62). 7 (Rule 63). Extra note: One of the longest sections in any rule so far is 63.2, Minor Penalty. It starts at the top of page 87 and ends near the bottom of page 88.

Definitions: 62.1, Spearing. Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the print of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not. 63.1, Delaying the Game. A player or team may be penalized when, in the opinion of the Referee, is delaying the game in any manner.

Choice bits and highlights: 63.2, Minor Penalty. I want to see this one: If a goalkeeper comes out of his crease to "cut down the angle" on a shot and after making the save covers the puck, this shall be legal. If the goalkeeper races out his crease in an attempt to beat the attacking player to the puck and instead of playing the puck jumps on the puck causing a stoppage of play, this shall be a minor penalty for delay of game. Excuse me, since when do goalies go "racing out of the crease?" Besides, how are they supposed to play the puck, when two paragraphs later the rule states "a goalkeeper shall not play the puck outside of the designated area behind the net."

63.4, Objects Thrown on the Ice. When objects are thrown on the ice during a stoppage of play, including after the scoring of a goal, the Referee shall have announced over the public address system that any further occurrences will result in a bench minor penalty being assessed to the home Team. So, fans, if you want to obstruct justice, as it were, you're not helping your team. But there is one exception, of course....Articles thrown onto the ice following a special occasion (i.e. hat trick) will not result in a bench minor penalty being assessed.

And lastly, 63.5, Penalty Shot. No defending player, except the goalkeeper, will be permitted to fall on the puck, hold the puck, pick up the puck or gather the puck into the body or hands when the puck is within the goal crease. So, leave it to the professionals, you players, and don't look at the puck, don't touch the puck, don't feed the puck snacks.

Infractions for which penalties, penalty shots or awarded goals may be imposed include:

-- Deliberately shooting the puck out of play.
-- Shooting or batting the puck (with the hand or stick) over the glass from the defending zone.
-- Refusing to put the correct number of players on the ice. Oh please, get over it. You're not gonna win this one.
-- Persisting in having players in an off-side position. Again, get over it. Not helping.

The final scores: Pittsburgh 6, Islanders 4, courtesty of a Malkin hat trick. Official status of his scoring slump: OVER. DONE. FINITO. Anaheim is up by 4 -0 at the end of the first. Oh crap! Buffalo just scored twice in the first minute of the second. And it's all downhill from here: Belesky just accidentally whacked Ryan Getzlaf in the head. But wait, Dan Sexton's out on the ice and uninjured - all is not lost when Anaheim's young upstart is on the scoring prowl.

The morals of the story:

The game: Oh. I get it now. This is the "I'm young and strong but there's been three road games in a row and we're losing and injured and we have a 6 hour flight after this game, even I need sleep and protein and I'm exhausted and I've tried to get past these opponents all night, they're pissing me off and we've only gotten five shots on goal and I give up, I need a break" rule.

Life: We have a word for this rule in life: it's called fear. The ultimate delay of game technique. For our own good, these are the types of things for which we should be penalized if we delay our own game:

-- Offense: Not writing that best selling novel, play, movie script or writing it and not trying to sell it, making the excuse that it will never get published anyway because all those agents and professional organizations tell you at annual meetings and power lunches that they don't take unsolicited manuscripts and you have to have an agent to get seen by a publishing company, but you can't get an agent because they only take on authors who are recommended to them by other agents or were already published. Or, if you do get published, the fear it will tank and you'll develop writer's block and never write another masterpiece. Penalty: Being purposefully embedded with writer's block and put on a publishers' black list, and watching with "well if she did it, I could have" envy while the 25 year old upstart in your office who was also writing a novel in her spare time breaks on through and defies the odds because she was willing to believe and be unafraid.

-- Offense: Being afraid to do whatever (pick the dream of your choice) because you're worred you'll fail miserably or have to suffer some form of public humiliation and personal criticism as a result. And, to make yourself feel better, criticizing other people who did take the chance and did well, but all you can say is how they're probably not really that happy or they got the dream by cheating or some other illicit means. Or, this classic: "I could have done that, but...fill in the excuse of your choice. Penalty: If you're doing this, you're living the worst punishment already. Nobody knows you, cares about you or has any opinion of you at all. While you sit alone in your little apartment and read about other people who were willing to risk the humiliation to get what they wanted, they are out there right now living your dream. Here's the thing: in 2001, Erik Weihenmeyer became the first blind man to summit Mt. Everest. Oh, and by the way, he also holds a master's degree and has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro. Thanks to him, there is no excuse for the rest of us. Zip. Zilch.

Next up on 1/21: Section 9, Other Fouls. Rule 64, Diving/Embellishment.

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