Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 83, Rules 83 and 84

The games: Anaheim vs. LA Kings (2/8) and Tampa Bay vs. Vancouver.

Why I chose them: Hotter than thou goalie Jonas Hiller is in the net as the Ducks seek revenge against the LA Kings. I also wanted to see if Vancouver was still standing as they head into the home stretch of their history-making road trip.

I bought pizza for a Portland Winterhawk and you should too: I had the privilege of winning the coveted player pizza thingy at the Portland Winterhawks' Booster Club Hawkey Talk event last evening, where my lucky number pulled up Ryan Johansen. The player pizza thingy is where you buy a pizza for the player and in return he sits at your table throughout the evening for chat, photos, autographs and what not. Nino Niederreiter may be the superstar-du-jour, but as our resident playmaker and one of several Winterhawks NHL prospects, Ryan is equally deserving of his 15 minutes of fame. Plus, he's 17, he's tall and he can rock an argyle sweater like it's the coolest thing in the world.

Sadly, argyle sweater or no, I myself must submit my self-nomination to the Total Dork Hall of Fame, because: I just now realized what determines the order in which the rules appear in a given section: alphabetical order. I finally get what Icing is. I can tell you the difference between a minor and a bench minor penalty. Just don't ask me to recite my ABCs.

Reason to brave the Memorial Coliseum on 2/10 with their stinky bathrooms, bad food and cramped seats: Depending on the outcome of tonight's Seattle game, if we beat the Tri-City Americans, we could clinch our first playoff spot since 2006. Just pretend it's the Rose Garden on Saturday night. And if you can't join us, repeat after me: The Tri-City Americans are toast.

Now, the rules: Section 10, Game Flow. Rule 83, Off-side. Rule 84, Overtime.


83.1, Off-side. Player of the attacking team must not precede the puck into the attacking zone. The position of the player's skates and not that of his stick shall be the determining factor in all instances in deciding an off-side. A player is off-side when both skates are completely over the leading edge of the blue line involved in the play.

Oh, I get it, at last: 83.3, Delayed Off-side. A situation where an attacking player (or players) has preceded the puck across the attacking blue line, but the defending team is in a position to bring the puck back out of its defending zone without any delay or contact with an attacking player, or the attacking players are in the process of clearing the attacking zone.

Score! Not!: 83.4, Disallowed Goal. If the puck is shot on goal during a delayed off-side, the play shall be allowed to continue under the normal clearing-the-zone rules. Should the puck, as a result of this shot, enter the defending team's goal, either directly or off the goalkeeper, a player or an official on the ice, the goal shall be disallowed as the original shot was off-side. The fact that the attacking team may have cleared the zone prior to the puck entering the goal has no bearing on this ruling. The only way an attacking team can score a goal on a delayed off-side situation is if the defending team shoots or puts the puck into their own net without action or contact by the offending team.

84. 1, Overtime. So this is why teams don't mind going to overtime. It's the automatic point plus the possibility of an extra point. During regular season games, if at the end of the three (3) regular twenty (20) minute periods, the score shall be tied, each team shall be awarded one point in the League standings. The teams will then play an additional overtime period of not more than five (5) minutes with the team scoring first declared the winner and being awarded an additional point.

And this is why I needed a math tutor in high school: 84.3, Overtime - Regular Season - Penalties. When regulation time ends and the teams are 5 on 3, teams will start overtime 5 on 3. Once player strength reaches 5 on 4 or 5 on 5, at the next stoppage of play, player strength is adjusted to 4 on 3 or 4 on 4, as appropriate. When regulation ends and teams are 4 on 4 teams will start overtime 3 on 3. If at the end of regulation time teams are three (3) skaters on three (3) skaters, overtime starts three (3) skaters on three (3) skaters. Once player strength reaches five (5) skaters on four skaters or five (5) skaters on five (5) skaters, at the next stoppage player strength is adjusted to four (4) skaters on three (3) skaters or four (4) skaters on four (4) skaters, as appropriate. At no time will a team have less than three players on the ice. This may require a fifth skater to be added if a two-man advantage occurs.

The final scores: Anaheim 4, LA 2. Tampa Bay 3, Vancouver 1. Vancouver's still standing. And Jonas Hiller is still hot.

The morals of the story:

The game: Well, overtime seems like a no-brainer, until you do the math. Therefore I propose the NHL move this one up in the book next to "Too Many Men on the Ice." Off-side is one of the few rules where it is what it is, unless the ref doesn't see where your skates are on the ice. Then you might stand a chance. But I wouldn't count on it.

Life: Wouldn't it be nice if we could get an overtime for all those lost moments and mistakes we make, just to get a few minutes or days to make it right and win the game? Or for vacations that never seem to last long enough? I propose a mandatory overtime for the following situations:

-- If working parents or caregivers are running late for work due to family obligations, there should be a five-minute overtime grace period, so they are not penalized or docked pay at work if they arrive at 9:05. Because really, does anyone do anything in the first 15 minutes of work except get coffee and check their instant messages, Twitter, Facebook page or whatever?

-- If you stayed late at work to get more work done in an hour than you do in a week on the last day in the office before your vacation, the extra hours should be credited to your vacation, thus extending it by a minimum of two to four hours, which is quite enough to get up for a later flight and lounge over one last room service breakfast.

Off-sides is another one we commit in life all the time: buying things on credit and figuring we'll pay the bill later, buying a house on a mortgage that we will also pay later, inching out into an intersection or off a side street or tailgating another driver because we think it will make them go faster, or inching up on slow people in a line to make them move. Or this classic: committing to a friend for dinner, when you know you're going to say no because you have something more important to do, but you don't want to own up, so you figure you'll just fake something at the last minute. All of which are lame and therefore should come with a minimum of a two-minute minor for assuming today's crap will be better tomorrow if we just put it off until then.

Next up on 2/11: The finish line. Section 10, Game Flow. Rule 85, Puck out of Bounds. Rule 86, Start of Game and Periods. Rule 87, Time-outs.

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