Friday, March 26, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Spokane

The game: Portland Winterhawks vs. Spokane Chiefs Game 3 (WHL). Tampa Bay vs. Boston Bruins.

Why I chose the NHL game: Honkin' tall French Captain and Honkin' tall defenseman Zdeno Chara together in one game. Men who meet the minimum height requirement of 6'4" meet each other on the ice. I'm in.

The final score: My boy getting it done - Tampa 5, Boston 3.

The final score on the WHL game: Portland beat the odds-makers and won 2-1, on the road, as they have done against this team all season.

Why I chose it: Because I knew they would.

On a more somber note: Former Portland goaltender Kurtis Mucha, traded in a high profile move to Kamloops last fall that still has some Portlanders, including me, in a bunch, ended his WHL career on the bench. He was replaced in an attempt to turn around the team's series with Vancouver, but to no avail. The Giants swept the series and so ends the career of one of Portland's most loyal and memorable players. I sincerely hope a team somewhere, NHL, minor league or whatever, gives him another chance. He deserves it.

This is how crazy I am about tonight's Portland vs. Spokane Game 4: I'm listening to it on 95.5 and I'm following the live chat on the Winterhawks web site. Oh, and I'm watching the Ottawa vs. Buffalo game because hey, I have to have at least three hockey-related things going at all times or I will require medical assistance.

Oohhhh, I smell a victory and a forcing of Game 6 on home turf: Spokane just pulled their goalie in the first period after he let in two goals on four shots. According to the broadcasters, Spokane is looking visibly worried.

And way to go: Chris Francis, who is playing in his final WHL season, scored an assist on the first goal and scored the second goal. And, he's from Vegas. I'm a fan of any player who also grew up in a desert and either plays or loves hockey. Especially if he's going out with a bang.

I'm thinking hat trick: Chris just scored a second goal.

Six is the magic number: No hat trick for Chris, but we forced a Game 6 with the victory in this one, Portland 4, Spokane 2. And I'm updating at the end of the first period, Game 5. We're up 2-0. Oh yeah, I smell victory on home turf.

Now, the rules: Annex 4, Duties of the Officials. A4.24, Timekeeper's Duties, A4.25, Announcer's Duties, A4.26, Penalty Bench Attendant's Duties.

My favorite highlights:

A4.24, The timekeeper records everything from the game countdown before the game, start and end of the periods, the 15 minute intermissions, actual playing time, penalty minutes and start and finish of time-outs. Also, A4.24 d) In the event of any dispute regarding time, the Referee's decision shall be final.

A4.25, Announcer's Duties. The announcer shall announce by means of a public address system: awarding of goals and assists, penalties, end of penalties, when one minute remains in the end of the first and second period, when two minutes remain in the third period. The Annex 3 also spells out the required wording of announcements. It doesn't include what our guy does here in Portland, where the WHL requires that a penalty must be announced twice. Our announcer has a unique way of noting that "Two minutes to Ross for hooking at 10:12. That's Ross with the hook at 10:12."

A4.26, Penalty Bench Attendant's Duties. The Penalty Bench Attendant shall be responsible for:

1) Providing a penalized player, upon request, with the correct information as to the unexpired time of they penalty. In other words, he has to answer if a whiny player asks "how many more minutes do I have to sit in this stupid ass box?"

2) Allowing the penalized player to return to the ice at the appropriate time upon the completion of the penalty.

3) Notifying the Scorekeeper if a player leaves the penalty bench before the end of the penalty. So who stops the twit who does this and tells him to sit his ass back down?

Morals of the story:

The game: Scorekeeper's and attendants are like middle managers in corporate America. They have a lot of important responsibilities, but they don't really have any power. I say they upgrade the Penalty Bench Attendant's responsbilities to include grabbing the little sucker who gets up before a penalty ends and dragging his weenie ass back to the bench. And yes, I would put "weenie ass" in the wording.

Life: Crap! I am a middle manager by day. I need a better day gig. Maybe I'll trade it up for one of these jobs. Only I could never be the announcer. I'd be too tempted to go "off script" now and again. For example, "That's Todd Kennedy with a major and game misconduct for the hit on Doyle. That's Todd Kennedy, coward and immature child with no sense of personal morals, with a major and game misconduct for knocking Doyle unconscious and possibly ending his season." Or, "That's Brad Ross, stellar player and NHL prospect, in the box again. That's Ross, spending too much time in the penalty box for someone so talented."

Next up on 3/28: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 400, Players on the Ice, Rule 402, Start of Game and Periods, Rule 410, Change of Players and Goalkeepers.

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