Monday, April 5, 2010

Note to Self: Self-Medicate BEFORE the Game Next Time

The games: Portland Winterhawks vs. Vancover Giants (WHL Playoffs, Round 2, Game 2). Boston vs. Washington (NHL).

Why I chose them/major bummer alert: I had hope for the Hawks until last night. But alas, our playoff run may very well come to an end on the road in Vancouver. As for the NHL. I'm only watching this game because nothing else is on tonight. Plus, with baseball season underway, there's all this baseball crap taking up the empty NHL Center Ice Channels. Dude, don't put your lame baseball programming in my hockey space. It's just wrong.

But this might have set up one of the worst weeks on record: Final score (WHL), Vancouver 7, Portland 4. Before the game, I went to buy a tuna sandwich at Subway and they were out of tuna. The hell continued at the game, where I could not consume a beer because I can't drink any adult beverages until I'm off steroids and painkillers. Plus, I just read that Peter Mueller, my favorite story from the trade deadline, is out with a concussion after producing some excellent results in his first month or so with Colorado.

There's always Wednesday: At which time I will be off meds, on a very large glass of red wine and listening to the Winterhawks take back what is ours from the road.

Until then, back to the rules: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 412, Change of Players Procedure During Stoppage of Play. They should just call this the five-second rule:

412.a. Following a stoppage of play, the visiting team shall promptly place a line-up of players on the ice for play and no substitution shall be made until play has resumed. The home team may then may any desired substitution which does not result in the delay of the game. If there is any undue delay by either team in changing lines, the Referee shall order the offending team or teams to take their positions immediately and not permit a line change.

412.b. The procedure shall be carried out as follows:

1) The Referee shall take his position for the start of the next play, and the Linesman dropping the puck shall proceed promptly to the location of the face-off.
2) The Referee shall allow the visiting team five seconds to make their player changes.
3) After the five seconds, the Referee shall raise his arm to indicate that the visiting team shall no longer make a player change.
4) With the arm still up, the Referee shall allow the home team five seconds to make their player changes.
5) After the five seconds, the Referee shall drop his arm to indicate that the home team shall no longer make a player change.
6) As soon as the Referee drops his arm, the Linesman conducting the face-off shall blow the whistle, which signals to both teams that they shall have have no more than five seconds to line up for the face off.
7) At the end of the five seconds, or sooner if the facing-off players are ready, the Linesman shall drop the puck. It shall not be the responsibility of the Linesman to wait for the players to come into position for the face-off.

Ok, math majors: How many total minutes does it take to make a line change after a stoppage of play? Also, what if the Referee and/or the Linesman are tired and drop their arms too soon? Is there a do-over? Does the team so affected by said action get an extra second to report to the face-off? I'm serious...'cause there's no answer for that in this book.

Morals of the story:

Life/game: There is a reason the playoffs (NHL or WHL) matter more than the regular season. Because there are no second chances. Because you have to make it happen. Right here. Right now. There's no tomorrow. You go in. You do what you need to do. And you get out or go on. We should live this way, but we don't. Most of us play like there's another game tomorrow and we'll get it right next time. In the spirit of the WHL playoffs and the approaching NHL playoffs, I propose that we all try the following in our lives this week:

1) Try something you are afraid of. At the very least, try something new: food, movie, book. Whatever. Just do it.

2) Stop procrastinating. Whatever it is, if you at least take the first step today, you'll be closer to your dreams and goals than you are right now.

3) Believe in the impossible. I stole this one right from a press release about one of our most popular Winterhawks, Nino Niederreiter. It's from a Swiss-German expression that basically means believing in the impossible makes the impossible possible.

3) See through the noise. Watching the Winterhawks play Vancouver this weekend was a lot like trying to tune in your favorite song on a static-ridden radio station. You know it's there, and you can hear it, but not quite. But if you remember the pre-iPod and CD player days, you know if you really wanted to hear that song, you just listened though the noise anyway.

Vancouver got to the Winterhawks early because they got inside our heads and made a lot of noise. Just like life...only in the everyday world we are detracted by noise that comes from other people, societal expectations and constant advertising and marketing in our faces. Surviving the playoffs is a lot like surviving life -- you just have to keep listening even when the static interferes. Look at this way: just like driving in your car, sooner or later you'll drive back through a place where you can hear the song clearly.

Next up on 3/7: A very large glass of red wine, hope for the Portland Winterhawks and Rule 413, Change of Players from the Players' Bench and 415, Change of Goalkeepers During Stoppage of Play. Speaking of math: Also on deck, the search for the missing rule 414.

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