Thursday, February 18, 2010

European Rules, European Style

The game: Switzerland vs. Canada.

Major peeve alert #1: I tried to get tickets to this game, and they were alreay sold out by the time tickets went on sale to U.S. citizens. Note to self: Apply for the next job/career move in Vancouver.

Major peeve alert #2: NBC's broadcast schedule for hockey. We get no respect. It's hiding on CNBC at non-prime time hours and doesn't include pre and post-game hype, which is half the fun. If you can't figure the ticket crap out, at least give us a nibble of the real thing with some "do you believe in miracles?!" hype.

Final score: Canada 3, Switzerland 2 in a shootout.

Favorite move: My fave cutie pie goalie proving that his team can give the home country favorites a long and hard-fought run for their money. Caught the tail end of the third, overtime and the shootout. Friends, if Canada thought they were going to sail to a gold medal, I think it's safe to say they can forget it. Oh, and newly acquired Portland Winterhawk Luca Sbisa giving Rich Nash some smack talk at the end of regulation.

Advance preview of the IIHF rule on shootouts: Teams can start over with the same shooters after the initial three shooters have gone. Thus, Sidney Crosby got a second chance and took advantage of it to score the winning goal.

The rules: Section 1, Ice Rink. Rule 130, Goal Frame, Posts and Netting. Rules 140 - 143, Players, Penalty, Goal Judges and Scorekeeper's Bench.

What's the same as the NHL, sort of:

Rule 130.d. Goal, Frame, Posts and Netting. A netting of white nylon cord shall be draped over to enclose the back of the goal frame in such a manner as to prevent the puck from coming to rest on the outside of it, yet strung in a manner that shall keep the puck inside the goal net. But there are no requirements for a tensile strength of 700 pounds, no approved design, no No. 21 white nylon cord.

140.b, Players' Benches. The benches shall be on the same side of the rink, immediately along the ice, but opposite to the penalty benches, separated by a substantial distance or by other facilities, and convenient to the dressing rooms. The NHL Rulebook also requires that the players' benches by a substantial distance, if possible.

141.a, Penalty Benches. Each rink shall be provided with two benches to be known as the penalty benches for a minimum of five players each.

What's different: This rule has all the same basic requirements as noted above, but it does it with way fewer words and far less detail. It assumes players and officials who design the rinks, built the nets and goal posts, etc. are going to follow the rules. The NHL rules are written like the League knows players are going to violate them whenever possible, and thus there are a lot of restrictions, requirements and verbiage.

Morals of the story:

The game: These rules are a lot like Europeans themselves, at least from what I've seen on my global travels: straightforward, stylish, verbally adept, not overly complicated and thankfully not ingrained with the mentality that people are not to be trusted.

Life: I love my country, but I think we need to take a cue from the IIHF and do less with more, be happy with less and lose the "everyone is the enemy" mentality. We don't need the latest iPhone, cell phone/coffeemaker, whatever to be happy. We don't need to talk more on said cell phone to be heard. Style isn't about putting all your self-important technology in a $700 handbag and it isn't about owning more than your neighbor. It's right here in this rulebook: simple, honest, trustworthy and uncomplicated. In short: it's not what you wear, it's how you wear it.

Next up on 2/27: Section 1, Ice Rink. Rule 150, Signal and Timing Devices.

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