Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 74, Rule 74

The game: Anaheim vs. Tampa Bay (1/29).

Why I chose it: Honkin' tall French captain faces off against cutie pie Swiss goalie. No other reason required.

The dilemma: I don't know which team to root for. If it goes to shootout, I'm going with Anaheim because it's all about the goaltender.

Oh look, funny how things work out: The final score: Anaheim 2, Tampa Bay 1 in a shootout.

And it keeps getting better: The Ducks just signed Jonas Hiller to a four-year contract extension. So I have signed myself to a four-year Anaheim Ducks fan extension.

And, on the local front: According to their team's blog, tonight's Portland Winterhawks' game against Seattle is very nearly sold-out. It's been a long time since they were even near that milestone. The Rose Garden is where it's at my friends. And it's Mascot night, so the kids will be able to hobnob with adults dressed as large fuzzy animals.

Now, the rule: Section 9, Other Fouls. Rule 74, Too Many Men on the Ice.

Definition: 74.1, Too Many Men on the Ice. Players may be changed at any time during the play from the players' bench provided that the player or players leaving the ice shall be within five feet (5') of his players' bench and out of the play before the change is made. Refer also to Rule 71 - Premature Substitution. at the descretion of the on-ice officials, should a substituting player come onto the ice before his teammate is within the five foot (5') limit of the players' bench (and therefore clearly causing his team to have too many players on the ice), then a bench minor penalty may be assessed.

The finer points (highlights): If in the course of making a substitution, either the player entering the game or the player retiring from the ice surface plays the puck with his stick, skats or hands or who checks or makes any physical contact with an opposing player while either the player entering the game or the retiring player is actually on the ice, then the infraction of "too many men on the ice" will be called. If in the course of a substitution either the player(s) entering the play or the player(s) retiring is struck by the puck accidentally, the play will not be stopped and no penalty will be called. In case you're wondering: A player coming onto the ice as a substitute player is considered on the ice once both of his skates are on the ice.

The morals of the story:

The game: Well, at least I see why this rule is just named for what it is. Because the technical name of this offense, Deliberate Illegal Substitution, sounds like something you do to cheat on your taxes. Also, what if you're 5'1" from the bench when your substitute comes out? Are you toast? Inquiring minds want to know.

Life: I used to work on Wall Street at a public relations agency. Yes, it was evil. No I didn't do it for long. Here's why I did it: It paid me enough money to finally afford rent and Rangers season tickets. Now, as for this rule: in PR you spend a lot of time at these huge conferences in hotels, where you stand around the press room and try to convince reporters to write about whatever you're hawking. Doesn't matter, because most of the time they aren't interested. But like this rule, there's a "hand off" where an agency tries to switch up the account execs in the hopes the reporters won't realize it and maybe buy the same crap from a different salesperson. And like this rule, it doesn't work. It's a good thing there is no bench minor for this in life, but maybe there should be.

Think about it this way: I spent about a year and a half on Wall Street and I went to some pretty cool places (Barcelona, Berlin, Montreal), but not once did any of us ever convince a reporter to write a single story. There's a reason this rule penalizes teams who do it deliberately -- it's a lame attempt to gain an unfair advantage. Want to score the story, the goal, whatever? Do it the right way. True, fans don't really want to watch a fair hockey game. Nor do we want to watch one where every victory is won by deception. Watching a player win the right way, in the prime of his career, trumps cheating any day.

Next up on 1/31: Section 9, Other Fouls. Rule 75, Unsportsmanlike Conduct.

No comments:

Post a Comment