Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 79, Rules 79 and 80

The games: Tampa Bay vs. Calgary, Rangers vs. Jersey, and Portland Winterhawks vs. Seattle (WHL).

Why I chose them: It's hockey night in Portland in my humble abode. I'm watching the honkin' tall French captain in OT and I'll momentarily be listening to Andy Kemper's broadcast of the Seattle game.

I learned to skate today: And I didn't fall down or run into anyone or anything. I've never skated before in my life, unless you factor in countless weekends rollerskating on a Sunday afternoon in the 70s. It's the most fun I've had on a sleep-deprived Saturday afternoon in a long time.

The rule: Section 10, Game Flow. Rule 79, Hand Pass. Rule 80, High-sticking the Puck.

Number of sections in the rules: 3 (Rule 79). 4 (Rule 80).

Definitions: 79.1, Hand Pass. 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 directed the puck to a teammate, or has allowed his team to gain an advantage, and subsequently possession and control of the puck is obtained by a player of the offending team, either directly or deflected off any player or official. 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" under Rule 67, Handling the Puck.

80.1, High-sticking the Puck. Batting the puck above the normal height of the shoulders with a stick is prohibited. When a puck is struck with a high stick and subsequently comes into the possession and control of a player from the offending team (including the player who made contact with the puck), either directly or deflected off any player or official, there shall be a whistle.

Finally, I'm getting why there are nine face-off circles: 79.3, Face-off location. When a hand pass violation has occurred, the ensuing face-off shall take place at the nearest face-off spot in the zone where the offense occurred, unless the offending team gains a territorial advantage, then the face-off shall be at the nearest face-off spot in the zone where the stoppage of play occurred, unless otherwise covered in the rules. For High-sticking the Puck, this takes place at the spot that provides the least amount of territorial advantage to the team striking the puck.

But I'll never be a math major: 80.4, Numerical Advantage. When either team is below the numerical strength (short-handed) of its opponent and a player of the team of greater numerical strength (power-play) causes a stoppage of play by striking the puck with his stick above the height of his shoulder, the resulting face-off shall be made at one of the end zone face-off spots adjacent to the goal of the team causing the stoppage.

The final scores: Tampa Bay 2, Calgary 1 in OT. Rangers 3, Devils 1. Portland vs. Seattle is underway in 25 minutes.

Morals of the story:

The game: I want to know how you get away with "closing your hand on the puck." It's the puck, the single most important piece of equipment in the doesn't just vanish. If it's nowhere to be found and nobody put it into the crowd or a bench area or the netting, somebody's holding it. On both - dudes, it's not baseball. Put the puck down and carry on.

Life: High-sticking a puck and hand passing are heat of the moment moves that players, I would assume, undertake when they can't find another way to gain an advantage. We do the same thing in life all the time, but there aren't really a lot of rules stopping us. I propose my own punishment for high-sticking or hand passing the life puck:

Offense: Attempting to gain a territorial advantage in busy holiday parking lots by doing that thing where you circle back around to face a car that's already been waiting and you basically play a game of chicken over who's going to get into the space. Penalty: Automatic shutdown of your engine, forcing you to call a tow truck while you wait in the midst of an angry mob who can't get into their cars because you've blocked them in with your selfishness and utter lack of common decency.

Offense: SUVs that are turning left from a side street onto a two lane road, and pull up next a smaller car already waiting to turn right, and who inch up just a few extra inches past the smaller car so the tinier vehicle can no longer see the oncoming traffic. Penalty for the SUV, obviously: Provided there are no vehicles behind you, failure of your brakes and/or clutch such that you roll back down the street, leaving the smaller car free to proceed unabated. If there are vehicles behind you, automatic deflation of your tires so you can't go anywhere no matter what you can see, setting off aforementioned angry mob behind you, who are now stuck because of your arrogance.

In both cases, there shall be no punishment assessed to the offenders if said angry mobs get out of their fuel-efficient cars and pound you to a pulp.

Next up on 2/7: Section 10, Game Flow. Rule 80, Icing. Yes, it's the one we've all been waiting for, in which I will finally reveal what I thought it really was. It's worth the hysterical laughing at me, trust me. Thanks to Super Bowl Sunday, I will be highlighting the outcome of tonights Seattle vs. Portland game.

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