Sunday, March 14, 2010

Roger, Over and In

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay. Portland Winterhawks vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (took the Booster Club bus to see the regular season closer in Seattle).

Why I chose them: Oh please...honkin' tall French captain back in fine form, Sidney Crosby on a post-Olympic tear, Evgeni Malkin back in the groove. Game on.

Their game's in turnaround: As for the Winterhawks, they conclude the regular season with a 3-1 victory over archrivals Seattle, over whom we have now gone 12-0 for the season. Not but a year ago, this entry would have been the last about them, because our season would be over now and likely with a loss to Seattle. Instead, thanks to a scheduling glitch, we will open our playoff run at the Rose Garden next weekend against Spokane, who have the actual home ice advantage. So maybe we don't technically have the advantage, but next Saturday and Sunday, we will. It's the chance to be there as the Winterhawks open a playoff run for the first time in four years and send 'em off to Spokane in high style. Be fashionable...join us.

So, the regular season ends on a high note and the best is about to begin as the playoffs commence on home turf. Oh, and there was a nifty little section-clearing fight at the game last night, between two Seattle fans. Really. I don't know what was more entertaining...Ryan Johansen's crafty little goal off a rebound from Taylor Aronson, or that fight.

Now, as for the rule: Section 3, Officials and Their Duties. Rule 300, Appointment of Officials and Rule 310, Game Officials.

Highlights: The actual officials are very similar to the NHL...two refs, two linesmen, two goal judges, one announcer, one timekeeper, two penalty bench attendants and one video goal judge.

But there are a few modifications, such as: Annex 4, Duties of the Officials. A4.1, Incapacitated Referee or Linesman, Before the Game. If, for any reason, the appointed Referee or Linesman are prevented from appearing, the team leaders shall agree on a replacement Referee and/or Linesman. If they are unable to agree, the Proper Authorities shall appoint the officials. Note there is no mention of "misadventure" as a reason. It's simply understood that if an official would like to have a misadventure, he can do so, but he will be replaced.

And some things never change: A4.4, Three Official System, Referee Duties Before the Game. The Referee shall have general supervision of the game, full control of game officials and players, and his decision shall be final in case of any dispute. Before starting the game the Referee shall assure that the appointed officials are in their respective places and satisfy himself that the timing and signalling equipment are in order. He shall order the teams on the ice at the appointed time for the beginning of each period.

Morals of the story:

Life: Never count a lost team out. One year ago, the Winterhawks were done. Finito. And very nearly gone from Portland altogether until new management and new coaching swooped in and launched one of the most impressive sports turnarounds in the Winterhawks' history. With the University of Oregon football team becoming the new Jailblazers and the debacle that is Greg Oden, Portland can take great pride in knowing that young boys who are just past the legal driving age are about to put themselves and the city in the spotlight and they have done it the right way...honorably.

The game: As for this rule..."satisfy himself that the timing and signaling equipment are in order?" I love it. Never mind the IIHF or the fact that the equipment might be hanging on by a thread, if the ref is satisfied, game on.

Speaking of driving: The night I met Ryan Johansen, he told me Nino was going the next morning to get his driver's license and until then Troy Rutkowski had been driving him around town. I know this isn't true, but why do I have an image of Troy driving around in a Lincoln Town Car with Nino in the back, going "no, turn right up here, it's faster....can we stop for a snack?... turn the heat up, it's cold in here." Now I know he would never do that, but I couldn't help it. Sometimes thoughts just come into my head. And sometimes they're more entertaining than the reality of two teenage boys driving around in a beat up Toyota trying to find a decent radio station in Portland.

Next up on 3/16: Section 3, Officials and Their Duties. Referee and Linesmen Duties continued.

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