Saturday, April 17, 2010

Put The Face-Off Down and Walk Away

The games: Montreal vs. Washington and Vancouver vs. LA.

Why I chose them: Duh. It's NHL Playoff heaven. Plus, it's the first time I haven't either been at a Winterhawks game or listening to one. I can only last one or two days at the most without hockey on my radio, on my TV or on my brain. I tried going longer than that once. It wasn't pretty. It was like the time I got up on a Sunday and declared that never again would I drink wine or latte, go a day without going to the gym, or eat a cupcake. I don't know what I was thinking. But I know I'll never do it again.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 442, Procedure for Conducting Face-Offs.

I didn't even think about this until just now: 442.b. The players shall be positioned squarely facing their opponent's end of the rink, approximately one stick length apart, with the blade of their stick on the ice on the white spot of the face-off spot. That explains why you always tip the puck behind, I didn't know they faced off against their opponent's end of the rink. I thought it was just the opposing players...I didn't notice the rink part. Go ahead, call other people over to look at this entry and laugh at me. I don't care. But wait, it gets better. I didn't even notice that there was a white spot in the face-off spot until I read this rule. Really.

Sometimes it's good to be on the road: 442.d. However, when the face-off is at the center ice spot the player of the visiting team shall place his stick first on the ice.

And if you're thinking you don't need to abide by these rules: If the player facing-off fails to take his proper position immediately when directed to do so by the official, the official shall order him replaced for the face-off by another team-mate on the ice. If a player enters the face-off circle, the Referee or Linesman shall blow the whistle to re-face-off the puck, unless the non-offending team gains possession of the puck.

Final scores: Montreal 2, Washington 1 at end of the first. Face-off in the LA vs. Vancouver game is at 7 pm Pacific.

Morals of the story:

Game: There is no bullshit to the face-off rules. You get less than one stick length into the circle or you don't put your stick in the little white spot, or you fail to report on time to your position, in comes your back-up. It's also the one rule that gets violated pretty much 100 percent of the time. I don't even remember a game where at some point, players didn't get waved out for one or more of the face-off violations.

Life: I want a referee to follow me around in my daily life and substitute a player for every time people violate the life version of the face-off. For example:

1) If you are standing in line in Starbucks and it takes you longer than a minute to order coffee, he will escort you to the back of the line so you have more time to think about what you want BEFORE you get the register.

2) If you are walking in front of me on a city street and keep weaving back and forth because you need to keep your cell phone reception going, thus making it impossible for me to pass you safely, my referee will simply pull up in a large bulldozer and scoop you up off the street so I can go on my way.

3) If I am driving the normal speed limit in a parking lot (10 - 15 mph tops), and you go tearing through it thinking that you don't need to stop or go the speed limit like the rest of us, then my referee will bravely jump in front of your car, put up his hand and demand that you stop. If you are smart and don't run him over, he will forcibly remove you from your car, escort you to the passenger seat and give you a brief refresher on how to drive safely and with respect to the fact that you are not the only driver on the road.

Next up on 4/18: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 450, Offsides. And after that, my favorite... Icing the Puck. It even comes with a picture.

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