Friday, April 9, 2010

Never Mind the Injured Player, Get That Puck Back Over Here

The games: Chicago vs. Colorado (NHL). Portland Winterhawks vs. Vancouver Giants (WHL Playoffs, Round 2, Game 4).

Why I chose them: Because apparently, there's baseball games on my Center Ice hockey channels, and Versus is showing the Chicago vs. Colorado game. Dude, get your baseball crap off my hockey channels. The regular NHL season isn't over yet.

I'm the most boring woman in Portland: I'm a little too excited about pan frying the trout fillet in my fridge. But in my defense, I just spent three weeks on anitbiotics, steroids or pain medication, and I couldn't and didn't eat any normal food. Unless you consider whole wheat crackers and Reese's peanut butter chocolate eggs to be normal food.

Coffee, tea, or Boston?: The Bruins are in the hunt for a playoff spot, but it depends on the Rangers and whether John Tortorella calls somebody's bluff and actually starts a fight.

As for the Winterhawks: Did I call it or what? Six is the magic number. The Central Scouting Report reveals that six Winterhawks are in contention for the draft: Ryan Johansen (jumped to 10 from 16), Nino Niederreiter (up to 12 from 14), Taylor Aronson (leads all WHL rookie defensemen in scoring), Brad Ross, Troy Rutkowski, and goalie Mac Carruth.

But let's reflect on last evening's festivities for a moment: If you're a dedicated Sidney Crosby hater, you might want to skip this section. Best move last night: In the last-ever regular season game in Mellon Arena, Sidney Crosby came within a hair's breadth of being the first player to reach 50 goals. Originally he had it, but it was overturned on a post-game review. He's also reached the 500 point mark and is in a serious hunt for the Rocket Richard Trophy. He's all of 22 and in less than one year's time, Crosby has won the Stanley Cup, carried the Olympic torch and scored the winning goal in the gold-medal Olympic game (after being notoriously excluded from the 2006 roster).

Friends, haters, fans and others....what had YOU achieved at 22? Myself personally, I can make no such claims. My big achievement at 22 was surviving finals week and successfully avoiding a hangover the morning after my college graduation. That being said... as for hockey's boy wonder, you don't have to like him, but at least have some respect for what he's done for the sport. We all benefit from it in the end. For example, more public interest in him means more hockey on Versus, TSN, CBC, NHL Network and NBC, where we can watch an actual sport, instead of flippin' baseball.

The rules: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 416, Injured Players. Rule 417, Injured Goalkeepers.

Proof that there's no crying in hockey, and pussies can go home: 416.1, If a player is injured and cannot continue to play or go to the bench, the play shall continue until his team has secured possession of the puck, unless any team is in an immediate scoring position. Never mind that open ice hit that gave a young, talented player a concussion that must be treated immediately or he'll suffer lifelong damage, get that puck back in our mitts.

And if he does try to show what a man he is and come back into the game: If an injured player returns to play before his penalty has expired, the Referee shall assess additionally to this player a minor penalty.

And if you're a goalie, just shoot yourself, because nobody is going to have a shred of sympathy for your weenie little netminding ass: 417.1, If a goalkeeper sustains an injury or becomes ill, he shall be ready to resume play immediately or be replaced by a substitute goalkeeper.

Final scores: Chicago 4, Colorado 2 with 9 minutes to go in the third period. Vancouver 3, Winterhawks 2 about midway through the second. The quirk: Nearly all the goals in the WHL game have gone to video review.

Morals of the story:

The game: Hockey is not and will never be for pussies. My mom likes it because, and I quote, "if you don't like what some guy did, you just hit him." True, I did grow up in a desert, but clearly hockey is in the blood.

Life: What with swine flu and flesh-eating bacteria and the return of smallpox and such, most companies, stores, etc. have adopted an attitude and policies that basically amount to "don't bring your germs in here." After my recent barrage of illness, medication side effects and weird hand thingys, I'm on board with this philosophy. However, even in cootie-fearing corporate America, there are those employees who fancy themselves little office versions of hockey players, in that they come in sick, injured or carrying all manner of germs because they want to avoid using vacation time to be sick, or because they get paid by the hour and it's lost paycheck money.

Here's the deal: Being a tough guy is fine in hockey, because let's face it, who wants to watch a bunch of pussies faking an injury or illness? If I want to be bored, I'll watch major league baseball. But in life, if you think you're coming down with something catching, be a wuss and stay home. If you want to supersize the wussiness, check into an emergency room. I don't care. Just don't bring your cooties anywhere near me. Because if you do, I will not be responsible for my actions and this blog entry will disappear.

Next up on 4/10: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 419, Ice Cleaning. Rule 420, Timing of Game. Rule 421, Overtime Period.

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