Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's a Good Day to be a Hockey Fan

The games: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders. Boston Bruins vs. Washington. Flyers vs. Rangers.

Why I chose them: Because I want to see Sidney Crosby hit 50 goals in the regular season. Because I want to see the Rangers get into the playoffs again, at last. Because I want to see if the Bruins can do this again:

Best play, EVER: Boston Bruins scoring three short-handed goals on one penalty kill.

Running a close second: Steven Stamkos becoming the third youngest player to score 50 goals in the regular season.

And this: The Portland Winterhawks (WHL) have lived to fight another day and they return to Portland this Tuesday for Game 6 against Vancouver. My advice to them: Ignore the fans, the home ice, the game day press and the chat rooms and whatever you did on Saturday, please do that again. Plus, how awesome would it be to play a Game 7 on home ice?

But mini bummer alert: Defenseman Taylor Aronson is down with an injury. I saw some chat room somewhere that it wasn't that bad, since defensemen are easier to replace. Dude, not the one who's leading all rookie defensemen in scoring! I will think positive thoughts for a speedy recovery and slightly evil ones for the tiddlywinks who don't realize that good d-men are hard to find. And harder to lose during the playoffs.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 422 , Time-Out.

So, not just the Captain has the privilege of conversation: 422.b, During a normal stoppage of play, any player designated by the Coach may ask the Referee for the time-out. The Referee shall report the time-out to the Scorekeeper.

Is it a rule or a math textbook?: 422.d, Each team may take their time-out at the same stoppage of play, but the team taking the second time-out shall notify the Referee before the end of the first time-out.

Hey look, it actually comes with a picture of the imaginary line: If the game is stopped for any reason that is not specifically covered in the rules, the puck shall be faced-off at the nearest spot or imaginary line where it was last played. The imaginary face-off line spans the distance between the two red spots on either side of the blue line. So...there's four red face-off spots and two imaginary lines.

Morals of the story:

The game: Today is the last day of regular season play for the NHL. 82 regular season games, 30 teams...and only 16 will go on to the playoffs. Last year, Anaheim was in and Pittsburgh was almost out. Detroit was considered a lock in 2009, and this year Pittsburgh is defending the cup. On the WHL front, in 2009 the Winterhawks' season was done and not exactly one for the record books. Anything can happen in a year. On that note:

Life: NHL and WHL playoffs are like a second new year. Which means as fans, we also have the chance to start over. We can go back on that diet, start over with the vow to eat from the four food groups, stop spending money on $3 lattes...whatever. In the spirit of the playoffs, I will now renew my resolutions to do the following:

-- Watch something other than hockey at least one night a week.
-- Only spend $3 on latte once a week instead of every day.
-- Not use the f-word when referring to hockey teams I don't like. I already did it once this morning, so I'll try again tomorrow.
-- Rethink my personal conviction that extra-crunchy Cheetos are in fact a food group (dairy) and therefore are an acceptable food substitute during playoff games.
-- Attempt to actually be a girl and manicure my nails, put some makeup on in the morning so I don't frighten children and small furry animals, and wear some orange blossom body lotion and perfume so other people don't have to smell the disgusting effects of my occasional hot flashes.

Next up on 4/12: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 430, Determining the Outcome of the Game. No clue what happened to Rules 423 to 429, but this is an international rulebook after all, so we'll just go with the flow.

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