Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don't Touch the Puck, Don't Look at the Puck, Don't Feed the Puck Snacks

The games: Chicago vs. Nashville and San Jose vs. Colorado.

I still need a verdict on this one: Danny Boyle scoring into his own net -- sort of -- 51 seconds into OT after a scoreless game against Colorado. Did he score into it or did he just make it all too easy for O'Reilly to get the game winner? Inquiring minds want to know.

What's up with this Chicago vs. Nashville game: And why is Nashville up by 3 due to a goal on a penalty shot? And how are they leading the series 2-1? I love Niemi, but I love honkin' tall French captains and goalies like Cristobal Huet even more. And I love it more when they are in the net stopping rat-squat teams like Nashville from scoring.

*Back home on the WHL Playoff front: The Vancouver Giants continue their semifinal series against Tri-City Americans, which is currently tied at 1-1. Vancouver must go down...it's a moral imperative. Preferably in Game 6 on their home ice, with a large scoring deficit, like say...9 -0. That would be good.

*To refresh: My hometown team the Portland Winterhawks lost to the Vancouver Giants in Game 6, Round 2 on home ice. So, obviously the Giants must be prevented from advancing any further in the playoffs. And, their punishment must fit the crime (as noted above).

But not to worry, because here's a super-cool nibble from the Winterhawks' latest news: Nino Niederreiter has been invited to tryout for the IIHF World Championships in May. Is there anything he hasn't done this year? He already became a superstar at the World Juniors, where he helped Switzerland reach the semi-finals and beat Russia for the first time, He played in the CHL Prospects game, is ranked 12 on the final Central Scouting Report, and predictions are running high that he could be the highest drafted Swiss player ever taken in the NHL Draft. Oh, and he was named to the World Junior All-Star Team and the WHL Western Conference Second All-Star Team. Friends, as I've said, if you are not already tuned into his frequency (or that of his very talented and very humble teammate Ryan Johansen), I suggest you do so. Because it's about to get very loud.

Smartest goalie switcheroo of the playoffs: Tuuka Rask getting it done for Boston. Halak's doing a good job for Montreal, but I wouldn't want to be him in the wake of Ovechkin's essentially telling him to man up. After something like that, might as well carry a man-purse/"carry all" onto the ice and just get it over with.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 451, Delayed Offside Procedure.

Here it is, but darned if I understand it: If an attacking player precedes the puck into the attacking zone, but a defending player is able to play the puck, the Linesman shall raise his arm to signal a "Delayed Offside," except if the puck has been shot on goal causing the goalkeeper to play the puck. The Linesman shall drop his arm to nullify the offside violation and allow the play to continue if:

1. The defending team either passes or carries the puck into the neutral zone.
2. Or, all attacking players immediately clear the attacking zone by making skate contact with the blue line.

But wait, there's more: "Immediately" means that the attacking players shall not touch the puck, or attempt to gain possession of a loose puck, or force the defending puck carrier further back in the zone. Because God forbid we should follow the commonly accepted definitions of immediately...such as right now, on the double...or pronto.

Morals of the story:

The game: Is there anything you ARE allowed to do with the puck in this rule? Why not just throw a few more in there for good measure: Don't look at the puck, don't pass the puck, don't talk to the puck, don't feed the puck snacks. Let me say this... I've met some hockey players in my day and I must say, a lot of them were not what I'd call the brightest bulbs on the tree. But there are some brains trapped in there somewhere, because anyone who can figure out rules like this has got to have some intellect. Especially if they are the Captain, and have the privilege of conversation with the Referee. Sorry boys, I will never again think that you are big, dumb, pretty boys. Well, ok, you are big and pretty, but next time somebody asks me, I'm vouching for your brains too.

Life: Have you ever been asked to do something stupid at work because somebody else did something stupid and you had to help them out of it? If you have, I think you'll agree we need this rule in corporate America.

If senior leaders make a foolish business decision and "cross the blue line" with an impulsive decision without thinking about the long term consequences of their actions: The Referee shall raise his arm, blow the whistle, and point the employees who know what they are doing and tried to warn said leaders of the vagaries of their actions to one of nine face-off spots, where they will face-off in an attempt to move the decision back in the right direction before anyone within or outside the company suffers the consequences.

Next up on 4/21: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 460, Icing the Puck.

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