Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 76, Rule 76 (Part One)

Major bummer alert: I missed the Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh game and there's a blackout on the Anaheim vs. Florida game.

Here's why: Sidney Crosby netted his third hat trick this season, and Evgeni Malkin continues the comeback with two assists. In the first game since he was signed to a four-year contract extension and became the Ducks' starting goaltender, Jonas Hiller shut out Florida.

And I'm kinda depressed about this too: On Wednesday, the Portland Winterhawks will play the Kamloops Blazers. It will mark the final time we will see our former goalie Kurtis Mucha on our ice. On the other hand, Kamloops has moved up from next to last in their division to second. Coincidence? I think not. Good luck all around.

Why I'm splitting the entry about this rule in two: The rule is five pages long, it's almost 9 pm and I'd like to get to bed before midnight.

But I digress...the rule: Section 10, Game Flow. Rule 76, Face-Offs.

Definition: 76.1, Face-off. The action of the Referee or Linesman dropping the puck between the sticks of two opposing players to start or resume play. A face-off begins when the official indicates the location of the face-off and the officials and players take their appropriate positions. The face-off ends when the puck has been legally dropped. A goalkeeper may not participate in a face-off.

76.2, Face-off locations. All face-offs must be conducted on one of the nine (9) face-off spots located on the rink.

My favorite highlight: I've always wondered why players get "waved out" of the face-off, so here it is:

76.3, Procedure: As soon as the line change procedure has been completed by the Referee and he lowers his hand to indicate no further changes, the Linesman conducting the face-off shall blow his whistle. This will signal to both teams that they have no more than five (5) seconds to line up for the ensuing face-off. At the end of the five (5) seconds (or sooner if both centers are ready), the Linesman will conduct a proper face-off. If, however:

(i) One or both centers are not positioned for the face-off,
(ii) One or both centers refrain from placing their stick on the ice,
(iii) Any player has encroached on the face-off circle,
(iv) Any player makes physical contact with an opponent, or,
(v) Any player lines up for the face-off in an off-side position,
the Linesman shall have the offending center(s) replaced immediately prior to dropping the puck.

In the last two (2) minutes of regulation time or any time in overtime, the Linesman will still blow his whistle to initiate the face-off, but the five (5) second time limit will not be enforced. However, players must abide by the verbal directions given by the Linesman in his attempt to conduct a fast and fair face-off.

Morals of the story:

The game: First, I had no idea there were nine face-off spots, and judging by the complexity of this rule all of them get used on a regular basis. This is another one of those "why would you even violate the rule" rules. Most teams put their best person forward for a face-off and you risk losing the face-off if your best person has to be substituted. But then again, I kinda like it when guys are so riled up and in your face they get kicked out. It's a lot like watching Sidney Crosby fight: he doesn't do it a lot, so it's automatically cool when he does.

Life: Corporate America should adopt a face-off rule for CEOs who want to own the market share in their particular industry. Just put a giant red face-off circle in the middle of the street, right in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Every morning before the opening bell, two CEOs chosen by lottery line up with sticks in hand, a neutral party drops the puck, and whoever wins the draw gets exclusivity on their marketplace for one week. Forget ads and metrics and impressions and customer satisfaction surveys and all that other crap. You get one week to sell us your crap without any competition getting in your way, and if we're not buying, too bad. After seven days of you in our face, we're either going to buy it or we're not. Move on.

Next up on 2/2: Rule 76, Part Two and Rule 77, Game and Intermission Timing.

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