Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 66, Rules 66 and 67

The games: Anaheim vs. St. Louis, Chicago vs. Vancouver.

Why I chose them: Cutie pie Swiss goalie is starting for Anaheim, and since the Portland Winterhawks' own Brett Ponich was drafted by the Blues, I feel obliged to pay more attention these days. The other is a match-up between two Stanley Cup playoff teams: it's a no-brainer.

The rules: Section 9, Other Fouls. Rule 66, Forfeit of Game. Rule 67, Handling Puck.

Number of sections in the rules: 1 (Rule 66). 6 (Handling Puck).


66.1, Forfeit of Game. In the event of failure by a club to comply with a provision of the League constitution, by-laws, resolutions, rules or regulations affecting the playing of a game, the Referee shall, if so directed by the Commissioner or his designee, refuse to permit the game to proceed until the offending Club comes into compliance with such provision. Should the offending club persist in its refusal to come into compliance, the Referee shall, with the prior approval of the Commissioner or his designee, declare the game forfeited and the non-offending Club the winner. It goes on to state that if both teams persist in refusing to comply, the game is forfeited and the visiting team is declared the winner.

67.1, Handling Puck. A player shall be permitted to stop or "bat" a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the on-ice officials, he has deliberately directed the puck to a teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, in any zone other than the defending zone, in which case the play shall be stopped and a face-off conducted (see Rule 79 - Hand Pass). Play will not be stopped for any hand pass by players in their own defending zone.

My favorite highlights:

Second half of 66.1. If the game is declared forfeited prior to its having commenced, the score shall be recorded as 1-0 and no player shall be credited with any personal statistics. If the game was in progress, the score is recorded as 0 for the loser and 1 or, if greater, the number of goals scored and players are credited with their personal statistics.

67.2, Minor Penalty - Player. A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for "closing his hand on the puck." A minor penalty shall be imposed who, while play is in progress, picks up the puck off the ice with his hand.

As always, the penalties for goaltenders are far more complicated. Take this snippet from 67.3, Minor Penalty - Goalkeeper. A goalkeeper who holds the puck with his hands for longer than three seconds shall be given a minor penalty unless he is actually being checked by an opponent. The object of this entire rule is to keep the puck in play continuously and any action taken by the goalkeeper which causes an unnecessary stoppage must be penalized without warning. A goalkeeper shall be assessed a minor penalty when he deliberately holds the puck in any manner which, in the opinion of the Referee, causes an unnecessary stoppage of play. A minor penalty can also be assessed to the goalkeeper for the following:
-- throwing the puck towards the opponent's net. Goal is allowed and there's no penalty if the non-offending team comes into possession of the puck and scores.
-- deliberately dropping the puck into his pads or onto the goal net.
-- deliberately piling up snow or obstacles near the net that would prevent the scoring of a goal.

Final scores: St. Louis 3, Anaheim 3 at the end of regulation (all three Ducks goals were scored in the last 15 minutes of the third period). It's going to a shootout.

Morals of the story:

The game: How stupid and arrogant do you have to be to cause a forfeit of game, especially if you're the home team? There's no advantage in terms of the score, you just cost all the other players their chance at racking up some stats and fans get royally pissed they'll miss a game for which they payed good money. File it under not cool, dude. Ditto for doing obvious crap like picking the puck up off the ice or stuff like piling up snow or dropping the puck into your pads. If you're gonna do it, at least play like a true hockey unfair and try to hide it.

Life: Handling the puck is a good rule for life. Keep the game in motion and don't slow it down or screw it up with stupid stuff. It's easy to be tempted along the path of life by the equivalent of holding the puck, but in the end it only leads to a stoppage of play and a minor penalty. Here are just a few things for which we should be hit with a minor penalty if we handle the puck to gain an advantage:

-- Cheating "just a little" on your income taxes in order to keep the money for yourself to reinvest in Wall Street or go on a four-star vacation. Minor penalty: A year-long audit of every 1040, W-2 and whatever that you ever cheated on, in a small room with one flourescent bulb and an IRS agent with coffee breath, and a full repayment of said taxes, with 50 percent interest.

-- Pirating of your next door neighbor's cable, 'cause, hey he's got a Princeton degree and a cushy day job and he can afford to miss a few movies and sporting events now and again so I can take what life didn't give me. Minor penalty: Being blacklisted at Comcast so you'll never be able to get your own cable, even if you can afford it one day, and having a little chip put into your computer that would prevent you from watching free episodes of anything online (exception: bad network sitcoms with laugh tracks, which you can watch in abundance).

Next up on 1/24: Section 9, Other Fouls. Rule 68, Illegal Substitution. Rule 69, Interference on the Goalkeeper.

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