Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It Was a Long, Strange Trip from Bankruptcy to the Playoffs

The games: Phoenix vs. Detroit. Montreal vs. Washington.

So, my team went down to the Red Wings: But considering where Phoenix started, first round of the playoffs exceeded expectations. And I don't say this often, because I am admittedly not a girly girl and was very likely a boy in another life...but here it is:

It truly does warm the heart to see the fans on their feet, cheering Phoenix in the handshake line the same as if they'd won, and to see the Coyotes raise their sticks to acknowledge the audience. There. I said it. I feel better. I've had my girly girl I can go back to using the f-word, banning pink from my wardrobe, home decor and bathroom accessories and logging onto to watch the Brett Ponich vs. Andy Blanke fight for the zillionth time.

And how about Montreal?: I had a bet with my friend Mike about the first round, and I was only right about one team in each conference. But I have never been more glad to be wrong about the Washington vs. Montreal series. I wanted to go with my heart on the Habs, but I went with logic. Never again. Felicitations, Les Habs, and bonne chance.

Back on the home front: It is just under two months to the NHL Draft and tomorrow is the Bantam Draft. The Portland Winterhawks' near future is already bright, and tomorrow we await results from the Bantam Draft to see how much brighter it will be in the long term. As for the NHL Draft, we have 6 players who are eligible and all are ranked somewhere on the Central Scouting List: Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Troy Rutkowski, Taylor Aronson, Brad Ross and goalie Mac Carruth. And yes, I will be sitting home watching the full NHL Network coverage of draft day. Duh.

And, even though I know this probably won't happen because of the draft order and all, here are my picks for where I'd like to see these players land:

Ryan: Vancouver Canucks. Genius playmakers are always in style, but they are even more fashionable when they are roaming freely around my favorite city. Backup choice: LA Kings.
Nino: Chicago Blackhawks. A worldly boy in one of the world's best cities, playing for a team that's just as hot as he is right now.
Brad: Philadelphia Flyers. An easy choice. Brad leads the Hawks in penalty minutes.
Troy: Pittsburgh Penguins. Outstanding defenseman going quietly about the business of scoring a goal now and again. Plus, he was brave enough to serve as Nino's chauffeur for most of the season. He can handle anything after that.
Taylor: Anaheim Ducks. He's from that part of the world, and they need all the help they can get to come back around into the playoffs next year, especially if it's a high-scoring defenseman.
Mac: Dallas Stars. Marty Turco is out. They need fresh talent. And he'd join former Winterhawk and Dallas captain Brenden Morrow on the roster.

Will any of these predictions happen? Probably not. But as I'm finding in the playoffs, sometimes it's better to vote with your heart.

Oh right, the rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 480, Puck Out of Bounds. Rule 481, Puck on the Net.

480, Puck out of Bounds: When the puck goes out the playing area or strikes any obstacles, other than the boards or protective glass above the ice surface, the play shall be stopped and the face-off shall take place at the nearest point on the imaginary line from where the puck was shot or deflected, unless otherwise expressly provided in these rules.

481, Puck on the Net. When the puck is lodged in the outside netting of the goal net for more than three seconds or held against the goal net between opposing players, the Referee shall stop the play and a face-off:
1. At the nearest end-zone face-off spot.
2. At the nearest neutral zone face-off spot if, in the opinion of the Referee, the stoppage has been caused by an attacking player.

Morals of the story:

The game: I will never again be able to listen to the post-game/intermission go-to cliche "we just have to get pucks on net" the same way again. What's wrong with "pucks IN the net?" I mean, really, you don't want a puck ON the net, now do you? And who decided the three second minimum? I say give it three minutes and let them go at it to get it out of there. There's bound to be one or two fights in the meantime...what's the harm?

Life: In life, I prefer to be out of bounds. As often and as freely as possible. I like to be everything I'm not supposed to. I like saying and doing the thing nobody wants to hear or has the balls to do. Living a nice neat life where I graduated from college, got married before 30 and had 2.3 kids with the matching dog, cat and goldfish is fine if that's really what you want. If it is, then run don't walk to that life. But I don't and I never have. Many a boyfriend left and married their ex-girlfriends instead of me because I didn't fit their checklist for an ideal wife. One of them even showed me his, and it included: younger than him (I was two years older) preferably no taller than him (I was 2 inches taller in bare feet), willing to live in the suburbs (I'd rather die), love dogs (walk around picking up poo in a little bag? no thanks) and give up my season tickets to the Rangers because he didn't like it that I went to hockey games with my guy friends (so clearly, that attempt at a relationship didn't work out). Oh, and the ex he married? I hear she's taking him to the cleaners on the divorce...seems she didn't like the other item on the checklist: not minding while he slept around with other women.

Like I said, I live outside the boundaries and I like it that way. Even if you live the nice neat little life and you like it, good for you, but may I suggest you bust out now and again. Who knows, you might actually like it.

Next up on 4/29: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 482, Puck out of Sight. Rule 483, Illegal Puck. Rule 484, Puck Striking an Official. And the Portland Winterhawks' Bantam Draft results.

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