Monday, May 31, 2010

I Attempt to Head-Butt! I Get Match Penalty!

The game: Philadelphia vs. Chicago.

Why I chose it: It's quite literally the only game in town.

But there are a few other hockey-related adventures happening out there: Like the just-ended NHL Scouting Combine, where Portland Winterhawks Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen could be found getting tested, working out, getting scouted, and interviewing each other for Check it out if you have the chance. It's hilarious. And informative. From this interview alone, we know that both like girls, they don't drink beer and are too busy to bother with either distraction. It's a shame their line with Brad Ross will only last a short time here in Portland. They're like shooting stars...catch them while you can.

And in other Portland Winterhawk trivia: It is guaranteed a former Hawk will win the Stanley Cup this year. Philadelphia's Braydon Coburn and third-time's-a-charm Marion Hossa both played here, and Hossa was on the 1998 Memorial Cup team. It's been a while since Portland won the Memorial Cup, but we will always be the first team to host the tournament (in 1983) and that same year we became the first American team to win the prize. And, here's one more for of the current Winterhawks' alternate captains is the son of a former player. Luke Walker's father Gord played on the 1983 championship team, along with Cam Neely (who led the scoring with 3 goals) and the Sutter twins.

The rule: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 529, Head-Butting. Rule 530, High Sticking.

Rule 529 is what it is: It doesn't even define head-butting, it just says that a player who attempts to or deliberately head-butts an opponent shall be assessed a match penalty.

Don't even try it: Because you'll still get a penalty. "Attempt to head-butting" shall include all cases when a head-butting gesture is made but no contact is made.

Rule 530.a: A player who carries or holds his stick or any part of it above the height of his shoulders that makes contact with an opponent shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a minor, major + automatic game misconduct or match penalty. If you do this and cause an injury, it's major + automatic game misconduct or match penalty. But there is an out clause:

530.c.: If the high sticking action that caused the injury was judged accidental, the offending player shall be assessed a double minor penalty.

How they are different from the NHL Rulebook: They're shorter of course. In the NHL, attempting to head-butt is only assessed a double minor. And supplementary discipline may be imposed for actual head-butting. The NHL also defines the types of goals that will and won't be allowed if a player commits the high sticking foul. It's also much more specific about the definition of accidental high sticking, which is defined as happening during a normal windup for a shot or accidental contact on the opposing center who is bent over during the course of a face-off.

Final score: Chicago 2, Phildelphia 1. Two down, two to go for Chicago?

Morals of the story:

The game: I wonder what the rule would be if you did these things on purpose and tried to make it look like an accident, the way criminals do. Could you even get away with it, or would the discretion of the Referee make it impossible? Or perhaps all too easy?

Life: Attempting to head-butt is sadly something we probably do way too much of in life. Banging our head on the proverbial wall to no avail over things that we can't control, such as:

-- slow drivers in a 65 mile an hour zone on the weekend at 5 pm when the cops have had it and gone home and aren't bothering if they are still around.

-- colleagues who do half the work for twice the money and a bigger office.

-- cell phone chatters who think that everyone would like to drop in on their conversation about "I don't know, I think he likes me, but he hasn't called and I'm thinking of calling him but I don't want to seem too clingy," etc.

For the attempt at head-butting I say minor penalty at most, because after all it's not really your fault now is it? As for the offending slow drivers, etc...definitely a match penalty, no exceptions. Because really, if you're doing something so annoying that other people want to kill you, a penalty is saving your life.

Next up on 6/2: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 531, Holding an Opponent. Rule 532, Holding the Stick.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Here Honey, Hold My Latte... I Have To Go Start Some Excessive Roughness

The game: Because I know how to partay, I'm using my precious day off to sit around in my PJ's watching the all-day, pre-Stanley Cup final NHL Network hype-o-rama. Woohoo! But at least it beats the day I had yesterday. With a stick. It started with this:

Regular readers know I hate twits who take three hours to order coffee in Starbucks, but this takes it: Yesterday, some Class A with a cherry on top asshole actually walked right in front of me and stole my breakfast sandwich. He had also ordered one, but was in line behind me, and when they put mine out first, he walked right in front of me, swiped it and kept walking. Mind, the clerks and I both realized it and they made me another one, and it's not like I'm starving. But it's the principle of the matter.

Penalty for this one: Match penalty consisting of no re-entry into a Starbucks for the rest of the day, followed by a season-long suspension from Starbucks or any other establishment that makes breakfast nibbles. But maybe this is enough: What goes around comes around. He ordered an artisan sandwich that cost more, so he got something he didn't want, and very likely didn't realize it until it was too late.

But at least it ended with this: I did manage to see the new Robin Hood movie, complete with Alan Doyle in the cast. Doyle is a founding member of Great Big Sea, one of my favorite bands. They're from Newfoundland and you should put them on the iPod if you've not already done so. And in what had to be part of the reason he was cast, or at least a very funny coincidence, he played Alan A' Dale.

Ok, enough with my bad day, on with the rules: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 527, Excessive Roughness. Rule 528, Fisticuffs or Roughing.

527, Excessive Roughness: Any player who commits an action not permitted by the rules that may cause or causes injury to an opponent, to a team or game official shall be assessed a match penalty. The circumstances shall be reported the proper authorities. Both parties can be assessed an appropriate penalty according to this rule.

528, Fisticuffs or Roughing:

Go ahead, drop the mitts, they dare you: 528.a. A player who intentionally takes off his gloves in a fight or altercation shall be assessed a misconduct penalty. 528. b. A player who starts fisticuffs shall be assessed a match penalty.

But if you attempt to fight back, think again: 528.c. A player who, having been struck, retaliates with a blow or attempted blow, shall be assessed a minor penalty.

And on the rare occasion a goalie loses his shit and decides to join the fray: 528.d. Any player or goalkeeper who is the first to intervene in an altercation already in progress, shall be assessed in addition to any other penalties incurred in the incident, a game misconduct penalty.

If you started it, why not carry on, you're going down anyway: 528.e. If a player, after he has been ordered by the Referee to stop, continues the altercation, attempts to continue, or resists a Linesman in the discharge of his duties, he shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a double minor penalty or major penalty + automatic game misconduct or match penalty.

And why stop at the action on the ice, when you can do this?: 528. f. A player or team official who is on or off the ice and is involved in an altercation or fisticuffs with a player or team official off the playing surface, he shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a misconduct penalty or game misconduct or match penalty.

How it's different from the NHL Rulebook: It's essentially the same as the fighting rules, but with less verbiage and the same penalties. Fighting on the ice, off the ice, starting a fight, joining a fight, defending yourself against another player...the wording may be different, but you're still screwed.

The game: So, basically, if you get hit with an unacceptable wonk to the head or other body part and you defend yourself, you're screwed. But what are you supposed to do, be a wussie and do nothing? Please. This is hockey, for pity's sake, not golf.

Life: I should have read this rule before I got coffee yesterday morning. Any ordinary citizen who intentially drops her handbag for the purpose of retaliating against another customer for stealing her breakfast shall be assessed, at the discretion of the barista, a minor penalty consisting of nothing more than waiting a few minutes for her sandwich to be remade, because after all she wasn't really the one at fault.

Next up on 5/30: Game 2 of the Chicago vs. Philadelphia game and Section 5, Penalties, Fouls Against Players. Rule 529, Head-Butting. Rule 530, High Sticking.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Hockey, the Elbow is Connected to a Serious Penalty

Four days in May without hockey, what's a girl to do?: It goes something like this...sit in my pajamas on my couch, debating whether to get the fireplace going while it pours rain and hail outside. It's just wrong.

Super cool mini-celebrity moment: Portland Winterhawk Center Ryan Johansen was on the NHL Network Prospect Profile. And he was just like he is in person... very animated, charming and sweet. Good kid with a huge future. As I've said before, if you're not tuned into his frequency, I suggest you do so. It's about to get very loud. Keep an eye out for Nino Niederreiter too...he's our resident European glamour boy who just got back from the World Championships in Germany.

And in case you're wondering: I'm in for Chicago all the way. Philadelphia already has two back-to-back Stanley Cups. True, it was three decades ago, but still. That, in my opinion, is quite enough of that.

The rules: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 525, Cross-Checking. Rule 526, Elbowing.

525. A cross check is a check delivered with both hands on the stick and no part of the stick is on the ice. Penalties are minor, major + automatic game misconduct or match. If injury results, it's major + automatic game misconduct or match.

A picture is worth a thousand words: 526. There is no official definition of Elbowing, but there is a very clear and ugly picture. The potential penalties that can be assessed are minor, major + automatic game misconduct or match. If injury results, it's major + automatic game misconduct or match.

How they are different from the NHL Rulebook: The NHL Classifies Cross-Checking as a stick foul and Elbowing is defined as a Physical Foul. And, of course, the number of sections and pages it takes to explain the NHL rules is about 3 times as long. In lieu of long copy, the IIHF Rulebook comes complete with color photos taken at actual games as visual aids. Elbowing, for example, is shown by a picture, not a page-long written definition.

Morals of the story:

The game: I do love a good clean, fight and I see no point in watching a game where there isn't a good scrum, but elbowing is not cool, dude. Check out junior hockey wild child and NHL draft pick Patrice Cormier, who damn near killed another player with a very deliberate, convulsion-inducing elbow. But what goes around comes around. He was suspended for the season, including playoffs, and was traded from New Jersey to Atlanta in the Kovalchuk deal. Enough said.

Life: It's a good thing the law would charge me with assault if I elbowed somebody in a Starbucks line for taking three hours to order a croissant, or for knocking down the class A twits of the world for answering their cell phones in the library. I would be a danger to myself and others. And that's just my top picks. I can think of so many other situations where I'd love to give people a little ping with my elbow. To name a few:

-- Anyone who chews and/or pops gum with their mouth wide open. I'd wait until the split second when they close it, and then tap them from behind, with the goal of causing them to swallow it and choke on it slightly.

-- Rude people who tell the Subway clerk the exact amount of every little thing they want on their sandwich, not too much lettuce, no oil, only two cucumbers, no tomatoes, onions but put the lettuce on last, on top of everything else. It's a $5 fast-food sandwich, not a four-course meal at Daniel Boulud's newest restaurant. Take one of those newfangled drugs they keep inventing for OCD or get out, twits.

-- People who wander into a store, onto a train or across the street, without any regard whatsoever for the fact that people are behind them and might also wish to get on the train before it closes or go beyond the entrance of the store to do their shopping or get across the street before the red light. You know who you are. If you're wandering around Portland at lunch anywhere in front of me, and you suddenly fall to the ground, I did it. And I'll do it again.

Next up on 5/28: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 527, Excessive Roughness. Rule 528, Fisticuffs or Roughness.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Here A Clip, There a Clip, Everywhere a Clip Clip

The game: Montreal vs. Philadelphia.

Does this mean Mike owes me a beer?: Alas, it's over for the Habs. But I was quasi-right about my prediction for Chicago vs. Pittsburgh for the final. Right state, wrong city.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: And it might just win you a Stanley Cup. After Pittsburgh broke the curse last year, the Flyers touched the Eastern Conference trophy. The Hawks, however, didn't touch the Western Conference prize. Second time's a charm? We'll find out as the final games of the season get underway this week.

And in other news: The NHL Scouting Combine is underway. On the roster are Portland Winterhawks Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter. Nino is fresh from the World Championships, where he played for Switzerland. Keep an eye on the NHL Network this week for profiles of the prospects and little news kibbles from the Combine. You think I'm crazy about this? This is just a preview. I plan to take off work early on June 25 to go to the Winterhawks first round NHL Draft viewing party. WHL season tickets are the path to total hockey geekdom. Join us. I mean seriously, are you really going to be working on a Friday? Please.

Now, back to topic: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 524, Clipping. Clipping is the act of throwing the body across or below the knee of an opponent, charging, or falling into the knees of an opponent after approaching him from behind, side or front.

524.a. A player who lowers his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponent's knees, shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a minor penalty, major penalty + automatic game misconduct penalty, or match penalty.

524.b. A player who injures his opponent by a clipping action, shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a major + automatic game misconduct penalty or a match penalty.

Morals of the story:

The game: So the keys here are "shall be assessed" and "at the discretion of the Referee." And if you injure someone, it's not minor. What do you need discretion for? This is so obvious, you either did it or you didn't. Either someone gets hurt or they don't. But that's the thing about's never easy and it's never that clear. Kind of like life, which brings me to this:

Life: Clipping in life is so obvious, you wonder why it goes undetected so much of the time. For example:

-- Drivers who speed, weave in an out of traffic and cut you off, but you have no choice but to let them or risk being sideswiped, rear ended or getting your hood clipped as they cut back in.

-- People who see you standing in line alone and quasi cut ahead by pretending they are with you and sort of stand next to you, and then move ahead when it's time to actually buy their ticket. But the whole time they are on their cell phone, so when you yell at them and demand they move to the back of the line, it's pointless... they aren't listening and they split before you can cut back into your rightful place.

-- People who smile and "dress for success" their way to the top without actually doing any work, thereby leapfrogging the people who have been there longer, worked harder and deserve more credit.

At the discretion of the life Referee, a major or match penalty shall be assessed in the form of the following:

-- Stoppage on the highway by a member of law enforcement that will result in your being stripped of not only your license (a minor penalty, really) but also the shiny new red whatever that you were trying to show off by speeding and what not, and said car being given to the biggest high school nerd the law enforcement official can find, along with your fake boob job botox trophy girlfriend, who said nerd can then take to the prom...along with his flip cam, iPhone and other evidence-producing technology.

-- Mandatory installation of a large swinging device that is motion-sensitive and swoops in every time someone cuts ahead of another person in line, thereby knocking them out of the line and preferably unconscious.

-- Humiliating public discovery in which fake, unqualified business professional is locked into a room not unlike a police interrogation cell, where they are forced -- without assistance from anyone or anything -- to complete a project all by their little, shallow selves. No matter what it is... designing a building, writing a press release, you name it. They have to do it alone without stealing it, which of course means they will be discovered, replaced and vanquished from every job web site on the Internet.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 525, Cross Checking. Rule 526, Elbowing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's 1980 All Over Again, Complete With Hockey Hair

The games: Chicago vs. San Jose. Brandon Wheat Kings vs. Windsor Spitfires (Memorial Cup final).

Why I chose them: Chicago could sweep it and take the Sharks out in four games. Cup host team Brandon staged an epic upset over Calgary to get the finals, where they will face Taylor Hall, Cam Fowler and half the future of the NHL. Of course, it should be the Portland Winterhawks vs. whoever. But still, I'm thinking the junior game is going to be the more exciting of the two. Plus, the Chicago Blackhawks appear to be growing mullet-like hairdos alongside their playoff beards. I'm in for Patrick Kane as the prize winner..of course. It's my favorite bad ass growing a mullet. Duh.

Oooohh, yes I said this out loud/age-appropriate cutie pie alert: My very favorite referee Matt Kirk is officiating the Memorial Cup final. It's the cherry on top of a guaranteed awesome hockey Sundae. With chocolate sprinkles.

Proof that I am, in fact, a nerd: In between games, I'm watching the Spike Network's marathon showing of the first three Star Wars movies. I was excited, until they announced the reason why: it's the 30th anniversary of the original release of Empire Strikes Back, my favorite of the first trilogy. Where the last 30 years of my life clue. But I do remember that 1980 was not only the year I discovered hockey. It was also the year I entered junior high, and in the summer preceding that epic adventure/torture session, I spent nearly every weekend at the theatre watching Empire Strikes Back yet again. Yes, I can recite all the dialogue from memory. It's like singing along to a song at this point.

The rule: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 523, Checking from Behind. A check from behind is a check delivered on a player who is not aware of the impending hit and is unable to protect himself and contact is made on the back part of the body. However, if a player intentionally turns his body to create contact, this shall not be classified as a check from behind.

523.a. A player who runs, jumps or charges or hits in any manner an opponent from behind shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a:
-- minor + automatic misconduct penalty
-- major + automatic game misconduct penalty
-- match penalty

523.b. A player who injures an opponent as a result of checking from behind shall be assessed a match penalty.

Morals of the story:

The game: So, this is pretty much like shooting a man in the back, isn't it? Whether you commit the offense on a player who doesn't know you're coming or you turn to try and draw the penalty...either way, you're a pussy. And there's no room in hockey for woosies, pussies or any derivative there of.

Life: Tailgating, crowding someone in a line, shoving onto an already crowded train and pushing the personal bubbles to make room for your weenie -should- have-set-the-alarm-back-10-more-minutes ass...take your pick, it's all the life version of checking from behind. Although I wouldn't wait for the penalty to be assessed. I'd be the one who turns around to initiate the contact and draw the penalty, such as:

-- slowing down and tapping my brakes just to piss of someone who's tailgating me. And if they really piss me off, I start hitting the brakes at a stop light way early, so they think I'm going to stop short. Depending on whether the car has tinted windows, I can usually see their hair actually stand on end. It's more fun than a Star Wars movie.

-- Taking the end of my umbrella and poking the train-shoving offender very lightly in the butt or hip, just enough so they know something's there but not enough that they know it's me with a sharp object in my hand.

-- Shoving my very large multipurpose handbag back further over my shoulder, thereby bumping the cell phone out of the hand of the line crowder, forcing them to step away from me to pick it up. And if that doesn't work, then I turn around and add the evil "don't try it again" look to the mix.

Up next: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 524, Clipping.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Skate Don't Run to a Charging Penalty

The games: Chicago vs. San Jose (NHL Finals). Calgary Hitmen vs. Brandon Wheat Kings (Memorial Cup).

Why I chose them: It's Friday night in the Madhouse. The host of the Memorial Cup and Calgary are tied and going to OT. Ditto for the Blackhawks and the Sharks.

This is the coolest hockey moment of the week: Brandon just clinched it in OT. They will play for the Cup against Windsor on Sunday. I was in for Calgary, but I love a good upset. Especially if it's the future of the NHL on their home ice. Way to go boys, and good luck to all of you.

Oohh, did I say that out loud: Ok, I know Patrick Kane is a little bad-ass and all-around troublemaker, but that's kind of what I like about him. If he keeps doing it, then it will get boring. So he needs to mix it up every now and again. For example, perhaps next time he could try getting into trouble sometime other than while a passenger in the back of one vehicle or another. There. I said it. Now I feel better.

T minus 35: While we're watching junior hockey, make note: It is officially 35 days until the NHL Draft and in my first official action as a Portland Winterhawks season ticket holder, I'm going to the team's draft-watching party on June 25. To watch Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen and possibly a few others get taken in the first round, of course. Duh.

This is just wrong: It's May-going-on-June and I'm sitting on my couch in a sweater, with the heat on and the fireplace going. And I have a lovely view of my plants that just died in the overnight frost warning last evening. It's perfect hockey weather, but seeing as how the hockey season is nearly over, perhaps we could dispatch the winter weather alongside it.

And I still can't believe this either: That dingdong of a PR twit at the IIHF who blogged about how Sidney Crosby hadn't done enough for his country and therefore should come to play for Canada in the Worlds at what turned out to be, well...not the best display of their considerable talent. Dude, Crosby has done his part for Canada. And the NHL. And hockey. And fans. And Pittsburgh. He doesn't owe anyone. We owe him. He has paid his debt. Perhaps we as fans, bloggers and others should repay ours, by appreciating what he has done for the sport, for the NHL, and for a team that was not that long ago on the verge of being sold out of Pittsburgh, it had fallen so far from grace. The lockout was just about the ugliest thing I've seen except for this. Speaking of which...just a friendly reminder...Crosby was drafted in the immediate aftermath of the lockout. And so, out of hockey's darkest hour emerged its brightest future. Be glad there was light at the end of the tunnel. There, I said it. Again. I feel better. Let's move on to the rule:

Section 5, Penalties. Rule 522, Charging. Charging shall mean the action of a player who, as a result of distance travelled violently checks an opponent. Charging may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or on open ice. Penalty is major plus an automatic game misconduct or match penalty. At the discretion of the referee, of course.

But this I have to see: 522.a. A player who runs, jumps or charges an opponent or who runs, jumps or charges the opposing goalkeeper in his crease shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a minor, a major plus an automatic game misconduct or match penalty.

Morals of the story:

The game: I think they mean "runs into," because I have no clue how a player would actually run. But I would like to see it. Maybe it's those players who look more like kids let loose for recess instead of smoothly gliding at high speed across the ice. Max Talbot kind of skates like that when he comes off the bench on a shift change or out of the penalty box. It's kind of funny, but I like it because he looks like he'd charge you not only into the boards, but right out of the rink if you're in his way. Which is one of many reasons why he's my favorite player.

Life: Daily life in the 21st Century has somehow, in spite of technology and mass transit and digital cable, gotten way more complicated and with it, we pretty much have to charge our way through every day now. Think of these situations where it might really nice to have the "Discretion of the Referee" to speed things up or stop them altogether.

-- Automated customer service numbers where if you are lucky, you will get to talk with a real person after 10 minutes of either waiting or pushing buttons. But the worst offenders are the ones where they make you talk into the phone like you're talking to an actual person. It's right up there with yelling a food order into a McDonald's speaker or realizing after you get your groceries checked out that either you don't have your wallet or you don't have enough money. We've all done it, but it's not exactly what one would call dignified now is it? Major penalty plus game misconduct in the form of an automatic shutdown of your business if more than 5 people call and hang up in frustration and agony.

-- Rush hour traffic where, instead of tuning out and slogging along listening to drive time radio, you have to be on constant alert for the twits who are driving and texting, Bluetoothing or making cell phone calls. Scary, illegal and deadly, you twits. Knock it off. Nobody is so important they don't have to put both eyes on the road at all times to take a call or send a text or whatever. Nobody. Not even NHL All-Stars. Match penalty, automatic game misconduct and supplementary discipline that will result in you being marooned on a desert island with a fishing spear, one clean pair of underwear, two small sticks to rub together to make fire and a rotary phone that doesn't work, but which you will dial in desperation thinking that maybe today it will. That is, of course, if you know how to actually dial a rotary phone.

-- Standing hopelessly by while Wall Street computers crash and investors make off with your life savings. I'm going old school and investing in a really big mattress myself. Maybe a piggy bank too, for all the spare change. Major penalty in the form of being driven to the most deserted part of the Nevada desert, and being made to work 16 hour days at a gas station, seven days a week, with no health benefits and weekly garnishing of your minimum wage paycheck until your debt is repaid.

-- Death by PowerPoint in corporate meetings, which presenters only use because nobody really bothers to prepare anymore with flash cards and studying and all that. Work? No, no, no....see, this is the 21st Century, where one abuses technology by having overloaded slides right in front of him or her instead of memorizing what's on them and wastes other people's precious free time because the world does revolve around mois, after all. Major or match penalty in the form of immediate firing and notification to other businesses not to hire you on account that you are a self-entitled tiddlywink who is addicted to technology and allergic to actually working.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 523, Checking From Behind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So This Is How You Give Somebody the Shaft In Hockey

The game: Montreal vs. Philadelphia.

Why I chose it: Because I knew Montreal could do what they did.

Final score: Montreal 5, Flyers 1.

Across the pond: Russia took out Canada in some serious post-Olympic redemption at the World Championships. Germany took out Switzerland. So no more updates on Nino, my fellow Winterhawks fans. But have no fear...the NHL draft gets closer with each day and the NHL Network is running features on the prospects. So tune in Portlanders, our hometown heroes could show up on national TV any day now.

Perhaps it was because Team Canada's front office was busy filing formal complaints about this: In the mother of all PR "Don'ts" the director of communications for the IIHF ripped NHL athletes who chose not to compete for their countries at the World Championships. More to the point, he ripped Sidney Crosby. Friends, I have a master's degree in strategic communication and let me just say, nowhere in our profession, in any textbook, or in any class is such a classless, useless and tactless move deemed acceptable. I say match penalty and automatic game misconduct for Class A tiddlywinks who disgrace themselves, the sport and our profession. Period. No exceptions.

And let's face it, who are any of us to judge? If I went to the Stanley Cup finals two years running, recovered from an injury in Game 7 last summer, won the Stanley Cup, spent the summer fulfilling the obligations that go with it, carried the Olympic torch, led my country to a gold medal in the Olympics, only to watch it all come crashing down in a humiliating, crushing playoff semi-final defeat, all in less than a year...I would directly thereafter curl up in the fetal position in my apartment, with my Star Wars Attack of the Clones DVD on repeat, feeding every now and again out of a bag of Cheetos and occassionally turning the sound off when the really bad romantic dialogue comes on, and hoping that someone would break in and either deliver some real food or put me out of my misery.

I was going to boycott the IIHF rules in response, but since I'm already knee deep in the book:

The Rule: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 521, Butt-ending. There are three basic levels to all the physical fouls: attempting to commit the foul, actually committing the foul and causing injury. The penalty increases with each level. They also come complete with various versions of "in the opinion of the Referee," "in the judgment of the Referee" or "at the discretion of the Referee." So in other words, the rules are only as good as the men who enforce them. That is true in this case.

521.a. A player who attempts to butt-end an opponent shall be assessed a double minor and a misconduct penalty.

521.b. A player who butt-ends an opponent shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, major penalty + automatic game misconduct or a match penalty.

521.c. A player who injures his opponent by a butt-ending shall be assessed a match penalty.

Butt-ending, by the way, is when a player uses the shaft of the stick above the upper hand to check an opposing player.

Morals of the story:

The game: I want to know exactly how you attempt to do this, but don't end up actually doing so. Seems like you'd end up either hitting the glass with your stick, or yourself. It's a good thing I can barely stand up on skates because I'd totally fall into the "attempt" category and end up hitting myself in the head. I'd be a new league record setter: most penalty minutes for attempted checks that resulted in injury to my own person.

Life: Ok, I admit is the list of people I would like to butt-end without penalty:

-- whiners who don't know how they're going to function because their cell phone lost service or ran out of power and their charger is at home and they have 15 phone calls to make on the 10 minute bus ride home, where they can in fact make said phone calls in private where others don't have to listen to just means you have to wait. Oh, the horror.

-- people who claim the US way is the best way when in fact they have never left the country. I love my country, but there a few things I would personally change in our cultural lifestyle...such as the French tradition of a two hour lunch (with wine, so I could go back to work and actually tolerate it), the German custom of 100 sick days a year, and the complete shutdown of business for a two week vacation in August, as they do in Italy. Hey, when in Rome...

-- and of course, anyone who takes up time, space and any shred of my personal patience ordering an extra hot, Vanilla sugar-free, no foam, half-decaf Americano with no whip in Starbucks or any other coffee establishment. I would place an order like that, but I'd forget what the hell I asked for about midway in. Order the whip, do the caffeine, go for the sugar. If I'm standing in line next to you, it will save your life.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 522, Charging.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Over the Playoffs and Through the Finals, Into the Boards We Go

The games: Chicago vs. San Jose (NHL Finals) and Moncton vs. Windsor (Memorial Cup Round Robin).

Why I chose them: Because I want to see what all the Taylor Hall fuss is about. In the two minutes I've watched so far, I get it. Because I'm all in for Chicago to take the Cup this year. It's the NHL and future of the NHL on one night...what's not to like?

And there's always next year: It's sad and exciting at the same time to think of where the Winterhawks are this year (at home, in Germany at the Worlds or off-season traning), but exciting to think that next year, they could be playing for the Cup. It's there. They can do it. You can see it, you can feel it and you know it. The question they?

Here's my advice to them, which I can offer because I've met a few of them: They are super nice, which is good off the ice and shouldn't be changed. But here's the deal: These Windsor Spitfires are ruthless. They look like they are already playing in the NHL and they are not screwing around. They play like they will take your head off and decorate their car with it if that's what it takes to win this thing. Watch and learn, boys. Be nice all you want when you are signing autographs in Fred Meyer. But leave it at the door when you get to the rink. Trust me. It's working so far for Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler and their teammates.

Super cool sportsmanship moment of the week: After losing to Windsor and with it their chance to move on in the Memorial Cup playoffs, the Moncton Wildcats skated around the rink with a banner that thanked the Brandon fans for supporting them during the tournament. Like I said... ruthless on the ice, totally cool and sportsmanlike off of it. That's the way to get it done.

And speaking of the Winterhawks' off-season activity: Dude, what's up with Switzerland scratching Nino for yesterday's World Championship game? So not fair. I was expecting to hear about him scoring a goal any game now. Not to worry...he got on the team and he's there and he's in it. And he's 17. Not too shabby for a teenager who less than a year ago was struggling with English and hadn't learned to drive.

Now, on with one of my favorite rules: Section 5, Penalties. Section: Fouls Against Players. Rule 520, Boarding.

520.a: A player who bodychecks, elbows, charges or trips an opponent in such a manner that it causes the opponent to be thrown violently in the boards, shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee:

-- Minor penalty or
-- Major penalty and automatic game misconduct or
-- Match penalty

520.b A player who injures his opponent as a result of boarding shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee, a:

-- Major penalty and automatic game misconduct or
-- Match penalty

In the NHL Rulebook, there is of course far less mercy. That edition includes a mention that the Referee may consider whether or not the player being boarded was in a vulnerable position and knew it. Which may also explain this caveat in the IIHF Rulebook: "Rolling" a opponent, who is the puck carrier, along the boards when he is endeavoring to go through an opening, is not boarding.

Morals of the story:

The game: Save for the "rolling" move, this is what it is. Either you boarded the guy with intent to harm or you didn't. I have yet to see a player who wasn't nailed so bad they weren't taken out of the game by this, at least for a few minutes. And in the case of Andy Sutton boarding Pascal Dupuis, it resulted in a few stitches and a swollen eye. And very nearly something far more serious. So, as much as I like fights because fights are just two guys telling it like is and going "do not fuck with me," I am not a fan of boarding. It's just plain cowardly and it's just plain stupid.

Life: On the other hand, there are more than a few people I'd like to board in life, such as:

-- Scary skinny models, trophy wives, actresses, girlfriend of rock stars and athletes, etc. who perpetuate an unrealistic and dangerous body ideal for all women and give in to an unrealistic male ideal of what women should be. Women are supposed to have hips, girls. We're supposed to have breasts and curves and muscle in our thighs and stomachs that poke out a little. If your boyfriend tells you to lose a few pounds and order a diet soda, unless a doctor has told you that you are medically overweight, get up from the table, throw the low calorie beverage in his face, walk to the bar, order a piece of chocolate cake and tell the bartender to add it to the boyfriend's tab. And when you're done with that, delete his cell phone number and order some ice cream to go with the cake. This sort of happened to me once...minus the cell phone. And for the record, I'm 5'9" tall and I weigh 135. The maximum recommended BMI for my height is 160 pounds.

-- People with little or no work ethics, or no ethics at all. I will never -- nor do I want to -- understand people who think it's ok to coast through life while others do their work for them, and who really don't get any of life on them. And worse, the ones who complain about what life didn't give them or who bother with petty complaints like telling the clerk to re-do their sandwich because he didn't put the mustard on the same side as the pastrami. Get over it and be glad you have a job to pay for the sandwich and that you are in fact, not starving to death in the Sahara in August.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 521, Butt-Ending and Rule 522, Charging.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Delayed Penalty for Parents Who Don't Name Their Child Taylor, Tyler or Evgeni

The games: Chicago vs. San Jose (NHL Western Conference Final, Game 1). Moncton vs. Brandon (Memorial Cup).

The only thing better than hockey: The nicknames of their rinks. The Chicago vs. San Jose games will either be played in the Shark Tank or the Madhouse. I love it. I do love the Portland Winterhawks and my city, but I really must make note to live in an NHL town again before I die.

Remind me never to do this again: Go 24 hours without hockey. In lieu of a game last night I watched "The Hangover" and it was hilarious. Further proof that I was, in fact, a guy in another life.

The quirk: Is it just me or are half the players in the junior hockey leagues named Taylor or Tyler? The two top prospects for the NHL Draft in June? Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. The Portland Wintherhawks alone have three Taylors (although one is spelled Tayler) and two Tylers.

No rest for the Penguins: Evgeni Malkin is already in Germany and racked up a goal and two assists in the game against Denmark. I only want to know one thing...why am I not in Germany watching good-looking hockey players sweat and spit and swear and score goals? I really must make note to get my vacation/hockey schedule together next year.

Speaking of Russian cutie pies named Evgeni: How come I just now took notice of Nabokov beyond his obvious talent? Prime oggling material for the finals, which I was going to boycott since the Pens are toast. Obviously, that was an ill conceived notion that will not be happening. Plus, check this out: In 2002, he became the first goalie in NHL history to score a power play was against Vancouver.

Now, on with the rule: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 514, Calling of Penalties.

514.a: If the team of the offending player is in possession of the puck, the Referee shall immediately blow the whistle and assess the penalty. The face-off shall take place at the nearest face-off spot in the neutral zone to where the play was stopped, unless it was stopped in the attacking zone of the offending player. Ok, but then where is the face-off? These Europeans need to embrace the NHL-style paragraph-long sentences.

Aha, now I get where the term "Delayed Penalty" comes from: 514.b. If the team of the offending player is not in possession of the puck, the Referee shall raise his arm, signifying the calling of a penalty and, upon completion of the play by the team in possession, shall blow the whistle and assess the penalty. 514.c. If, after the Referee has raised his arm signifying the calling of the penalty, a goal is scored in any manner against the non-offending team as a result of an action of that team, the goal shall be allowed and a penalty shall be imposed in a normal manner.

Morals of the story:

The game: About every 10 rules or so, there is a provision that proves hockey is occasionally fair. This is one of them. If you commit the penalty, and your team scores, no goal is allowed. And vice versa. Of course, all the rules come complete with "in the judgment of the referee" or "in the opinion of the referee." So really, fairness in hockey boils down to one guy who's dressed in an outfit that kinda looks like pajamas. And therefore, it isn't really fair. But then again, if it was, we wouldn't bother watching, now would we?

Life: If you had Refs in life and they called every penalty that was committed, none of us would get anything done. We'd spend half our day in the penalty box. No matter how minor the infraction, most of us commit some form of a penalty during our average day or week. Be glad only the really big ones get caught. For example, if these minor slip ups were penalized, I would never have crossed anything off my to do list yesterday:

-- Not parking exactly straight on the curb or in the parking space because you lived in New York City for 10 years and forgot how to. Not that I would do this...but if I did, it's ok since I drive a Mini Cooper and it's so small it doesn't really get in anyone's way.

-- Not pointing out to the clerk at the grocery store that he forgot to ring up your toilet paper that was on the bottom of the cart, because really it was only 1.79 on special anyway so they won't miss it, and they scrimp and use one plastic bag now instead of two, so it's just revenge for bagging things in such a way that they will fall out while loyal customers carry them up three flights of stairs to their apartments.

-- Squandering precious free time by watching movies like "The Hangover" on a Saturday night in your pajamas, when really you should be out trying a new restaurant and going to a movie, or some other worthwhile endeavor.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 520, Boarding.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm Going On A Hockey Strike. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The game: Philadelphia vs. Boston (NHL). Windsor vs. Brandon (Memorial Cup).

Isn't there a rule against this?: I didn't know you could score this many goals in a game. World Championships...Canada 12, Norway 1. Windsor 9, Brandon 3. I mean really, shouldn't there be a rule that if you are leading by more than 10 points, you should be required to at least give the other team a small kibble?

When ousted from the playoffs, score!: Cutie pie alert...Peter Regin scored 2 goals in Denmark's 6 goal shutout over Slovakia. And my pick for the Calder, Matt Duchene, is scoring like crazy in every game.

Refresh me: Was it not just a few short weeks ago that Boston had a three game lead in the series over Philadelphia? And prior to that, they set a new league record and pretty much made it impossible for every other team in the league to say can't when they scored three short-handed goals in one two-minute penalty kill.

I give up...for real this time: I can't take it anymore. The Portland Winterhawks aren't in the Memorial Cup finals. The Pens are toast. Boston blew it. I'm going on strike. I'm not sure what will happen to me or others in close proximity to my person, but I'm pretty sure it will resemble a cheesy 80's horror film. If Portlanders see a tall woman with partially gray hair wandering over by the Rose Quarter talking to herself and playing with the lintballs on her sweater, run very far away and call the proper authorities. And if you don't see an entry on this blog in the next 48 hours, you'll know what happened.

Now, on with the rules, because apparently there's no actual hockey happening at this particular moment:

Section 5, Penalties. Rule 513, Delayed Penalty.

Well at least now I know this isn't because the referee called a penalty too late:

Rule 513. Basically, a Delayed Penalty is when the team not in possession of the puck commits a penalty. One of the rules is that when the offending team gains possesion of the puck, play is stopped. So the team in possession at the time of the penalty can pull their goalie and put an extra attacker on without fear of getting scored upon. But the IIHF Rulebook states it this way:

2. If after the Referee has signalled a penalty, but before the whistle has been blown, the puck enters the goal of the non-offending team as the direct result of the action of the player of the offending team, the goal shall not be allowed and the penalty signal shall be imposed.

Morals of the story:

The game: Dude, don't commit a penalty when you don't have the puck. And whatever you do, don't blow a three game lead in the Stanley Cup semi-finals.

Life: This rule in life is for people who speak out of turn at corporate meetings because they know nobody gives a rip about what they think, so they just insert themselves inappropriately anyway. The penalty should be the same. Only in this case instead of not getting to score a goal, you don't get a promotion, a corner office or any real friends around the water cooler. You just go back to your little hovel of a cube and text friends who really, would rather not hear from you ever again, and wonder how you're going to fool your colleagues who ask "what are you doing this weekend" not becuase they care but because it's the politically correct thing to do, when you really don't have any plans at all.

Next up on 5/15: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 514, Calling of Penalties.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Turn Right At Milepost 46 to Watch the Pittsburgh Penguins Win the Stanley Cup

What's a girl to do when there's a whole night with no hockey?: Oh, I know. Think too much about where I was at this time last year.

Same time, next year?: I watched last year's Stanley Cup final Game 7 on the eve of graduation from grad school, in a bar/resataurant that anchored an upscale RV park. When we asked the innkeeper in Eugene where we could go to watch sports, she said "The Holiday Farm Resort. Turn right at Milepost 46."

The Holiday Farm Resort, if one is an RV afficionado, is a must. Mostly because it has a wide screen TV right in the middle of the bar and most of the residents appear to be hockey fans. And it has a table for two right in front of it that was conveniently not occupied on that particular night.

Funny thing about cable TV: It can connect you to places you may never go. Like Stanley Cup finals. And thanks to cable, in a tiny bar by a river, after 8 pm on a Friday, alongside fishermen and construction workers and waitresses, I watched that second Max Talbot goal and I waited for the clock to run down while Marc-Andre Fleury made one last save. And I watched Sidney Crosby lift the Cup and I clapped out loud when Malkin won the Conn Smythe trophy. It was the middle of nowhere on an otherwise average night, but it felt and sounded and looked like the center of the world.

Moral of the story: Why do we care so much about who wins and who goes home? Why do we watch replays at 3 in the morning so we can see that game winning goal one more time before we nod off? Because it reminds us of the potential greatness that humans are capable of. Because it gives us something to live for when not much else is going our way. Because it binds us in spite of our differences, no matter where we live, and no matter who our favorite team is. And because it inspires us to lift a Stanley Cup of our own. Like master's degrees. Or our own homes. Or that triathlon we always said we'd train for.

The Pittsburgh Penguins' run at a second Stanley Cup is over, for now. I doubt they'll make the same mistake twice. And they do have a new building in which to start over next year, and so with it will come new memories and a new future that some day will be part of history. It is someone else's turn this year, and we will cheer them instead.

It's easy to say "that's it. My favorite team is out. I'm done. I'm going to go watch Tiger Woods meltdown at the Masters." But let's face it...we couldn't go that long without hockey if we tried. I did try it for tonight. And let me just say, that will be quite enough of that.

And for future reference, chocolate covered Oreos and wine are not part of the USDA food pyramid and as such should only be consumed in desperate circumstances, like starvation or when one is for example, going 24 hours without live hockey.

Next up: Ok, tomorrow I'll really get back to the rules. And Boston better get it in gear.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Montreal Is the New Pittsburgh

The game: Montreal vs. Pittsburgh.

Why I shouldn't have chosen it: Montreal 5, Pittsburgh 2. The last game in Mellon Arena. Marc-Andre Fleury got pulled after letting in 4 goals on 13 shots.

Now it's someone else's turn to wear the magic slipper: Every season has a Cinderella story. Last year, it was the Penguins and the miracle turnaround after getting a new coach, winning the Eastern Conference final, Malkin winning the Conn Smythe and beating Detroit in a rematch. This year it's Montreal's turn. Let's face it, last year for the Penguins was so fairy tale in the end, there wasn't any way they could truly repeat it. And it's been 17 years since the Canadiens made it to the Conference finals. Bonne chance, garcons.

So, they went out with a bang, with a small b: Jordan Staal is a Selke Trophy finalist, Makin finally broke his scoring slump, Crosby will share the Richard Trophy and is in the running for two others, and several players returned from the Olympics with something shiny. And they made it to the semifinals in the playoffs. Not too shabby for a team that everyone accused of having a Stanley Cup hangover six months ago.

And the good news, as I see it: Now that my favorite teams are done, I don't have to stress about who's going to win. I can just enjoy the playoffs and cheer for whomever I feel like. But I think I'll feel like cheering for Montreal and Chicago.

And what's up the Bruins?: Refresh me...did they or did they not have a 3-game lead and not too long ago score three short handed goals in one penalty kill? I give up. I'm in for a new Stanley Cup final prediction: Chicago vs. Montreal, with Chicago taking it by a narrow margin. I definitely vote for a Game 7 with a few overtimes.

On the other side of the pond: Switzerland beat Canada in the World Championships. Nino's not on the scoreboard, but I did read somewhere that he's the youngest player on the Swiss roster. Besides, who goes to the World Juniors and the Worlds in one year? And in four months, he'll be right back here, driving on our streets, playing in our arenas and going to college. Or, the NHL will be super smart and snatch him up and we will be grateful for the short time he called Portland home.

And here are the things:

1) Cinderella seasons are magical because they only happen once. Pittsburgh deserved to win again, but they also deserve a break to heal from injuries and illness and the pressure to win again.

2) You can't win every game, but you can learn from every game. Especially the ones you lose. The most dangerous opponent in any game is the one with nothing to lose....especially if they speak French and haven't seen the finals since the nineties.

3) In the meantime, whilst I am lying under large furniture and crying and feeding out of a box of Girl Scout tagalong cookies, I will try to come out every once in a while for water and air and to appreciate my favorite Pens moments of 2009 - 2010:

-- Meeting the President and Malkin's infamous photo of said leader's behind. Priceless. Only a Stanley Cup champion who's still learning English could pull off such feats. It was almost as good as the no-look backhander into the Carolina net in last year's playoffs. Which, by the way, I still watch to de-stress on nights such as this one.

-- Sidney Crosby taking a little winter vacation to go carry the Olympic torch and score the game winning goal for Canada on their home ice.

-- Bill Guerin proving pretty much everyday that 30-something is not old.

-- Names like Rupp, Goligoski and McKee becoming a regular part of Penguins' fans vocabulary.

-- Sidney Crosby proving that yes, he really is that good by turning his stick to shooting as well as playmaking.

-- Pascal Dupuis, Jordan Staal and Jordan Leopold proving that hockey is not for pussies by returning to the game from painful and serious injuries. And scoring some serious game saving goals, thank you very much.

-- Max Talbot's return to the playoffs. A sight for sore eyes, even if it was only for a while. Who knows what he might have done if they'd kept going.

Next up: Back to the rules. And Boston better get their act together or I might have to stop watching hockey altogether. Which I really don't want to do, because I'll be a danger to myself and others. But I'll do it if I have to.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Give Up. I Owe Mike A Beer.

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Montreal.

Why I chose it: Because it was what the playoffs are all about. Montreal goes home or Montreal forces Game 7. In this case, it would have been more like the Habs stay home, because they were on home ice for Game 6.

Alas, it's back to Pittsburgh: Final score...Montreal 4, Pittsburgh 3. But that last goal by Sergei Gonchar and Bill Guerin was still pretty cool.

And across the pond: Switzerland blanked Italy 3-0 in the IIHF World Champinoships, though sadly none of the goals were courtesy of Nino Niederreiter. They play Canada on Wednesday. Plus half the NHL that's not playing in the playoffs is in Germany competing on their respective home countries' teams. Note to self: don't be a dingdong like you were for the Olympics and make plans for the world championships next year.

I wonder if any of these penalties are being called in Germany: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 511, Goalkeeper Penalty Procedure. Rule 512, Coincidental Penalties.

We knew this, but just in case: The goalkeeper never goes to the penalty bench for Minor or first Misconduct penalties assessed to the goalkeeper:

-- The goalkeeper continues to play.
-- His penalty shall be served by another member of his team who was on the ice at the time the play was stopped to assess the penalty for the infraction and was designated by the Manager or Coach through the Captain.

But if he really screws up, forget it: For Major, Game Misconduct or Match penalties, the goalkeeper shall be ruled off the ice for the balance of the game. He is replaced by a substitute goalkeeper, if available, or another member of his team who is given 10 minutes to change into the goalie's gear. 10 minutes to put on all that gear? Is there a special class for non-goalkeepers to learn how to put all of that crap on in less than 15 minutes? Because there should be.

Rule 512, Coincidental Penalties: 512.a. When an equal number of penalties (Minor, Major or Match) are assessed to both teams at the same stoppage of play, such penalties shall be known as coincidental penalties. Simple, right? Please...this is hockey. 512.d. There is only one exception to this rule: when both teams are at full strength on the ice, no substitution shall be permitted if only one minor penalty is assessed to one player on each team at the same stoppage of play. In the application of this rule, Minor and Bench Minor penalties considered as identical.

And if you were wondering about the difference between Minor and Bench Minor penalties, as I still do, here it is: Minor penalty must be served by the player who committed the infraction. For a bench minor, ANY player can serve it. Also, bench minors can be assessed to coaches for unprofessional behavior like arguing with the refs.

Morals of the story:

The game: I was ok with the goalkeeper never goes to the penalty bench, but you lost me after that. But I have realized that if I even knew the first thing about doing little more than skating around in circles on a rink and I played goalie, and I figured how to get all the gear on...I'd be like the little boy in "A Christmas Story" who falls down while he's wearing the snowsuit and can't get back up. I might get in, but I'd never get back out.

Life: Not going to the penalty bench and letting other employees serve it for you is a lot like what CEOs do every day. They just keep going and keep making mistakes and other people in their companies and their customers must pay for it. There should be a Major, Game Misconduct or Match penalty assessed, so they can leave the game and someone with half a brain and no ego can step into their shoes, such as:

-- Major penalty in the form of foreclosure on the country house that was photographed for Architectural Digest. If you want to get away from it all on the weekends, you will be given a voucher for any one of several very lovely Super 8 Motels in the area.

-- Match penalty in the form of someone else taking responsibility for your error, but in return they get to leave hourly voicemails, texts, emails (whatever works for them) with the insult or derogatory comment of their choosing. This will not be limited to work hours, and said messages may be left for you whilst asleep, on vacation or away from the office, so that you have a constant reminder of your epic failings.

-- Game misconduct to include all of the above, automatic firing and a "wanted" style notice to all major companies in the area, in case you try to peddle your bullshit somewhere else.

Next up: I will be hiding under something for the Montreal vs. Pittsburgh Game 7, but in the event I come out: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 513, Delayed Penalty.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Way to San Jose is Through the Second Round of the Playoffs

The game: San Jose vs. Detroit.

Somebody owes me a beer: Final score...San Jose 2, Detroit 1. In with the Sharks, out with the old, thank you very much Patrick Marleau.

As for my favorites, the Penguins: So, some different stars are shining during this playoffs in lieu of the usual favorites, so what? Isn't that what the playoffs are all about? Besides, they have a long way to go before it's all said and done, so I wouldn't count anybody out just yet.

The rules: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 509, Penalty Shot Procedure. Rule 510, Supplementary Discipline.

Of course there's a separate rule for the procedure: And of course it's different from the NHL. 509.c. The players of both teams shall withdraw to the sides of the rink and behind the redline. But here's something I didn't know: The time required for taking a Penalty Shot shall not be recorded in the actual playing time in any period.

It's the same rule, but it just sounds so much better in this book: 510, Supplementary Discipline. In addition to the suspension imposed under these rules, the Proper Authorities may, at any time after the conclusion of the game, investigate any incident and may assess additional suspensions for any offence committed on or off the ice at any time before during or after the game, whether or not such offences have been penalized by the Referee.

Morals of the story:

The game: Supplementary Discipline is the failsafe of hockey. It's like, if you thought you got away with that elbow or that open ice hit, forget it. They can still nail you. But the good news is there's also "do over" rules like the Penalty Shot. If you are en route to a perfectly good goal, and someone obviously gets in your way, they suffer the consequences. It's good to know even in hockey there is occasionally justice.

Life: Bad drivers definitely need the supplementary discipline rule. If you have merelly been slapped on the wrist for offenses that endanger others, such as DUI, speeding, tailgating and cutting other motorists off in traffic, drivers with flawless records who abide by the law shall be given free devices by the department of motor vehicles that, when activated, will automatically put the brakes on in the offender's car and force his or her vehicle to pull over to the side of the road and cause the engine to die immediately upon stoppage. Said device may also be used to delay tow trucks from reaching the stopped offending vehicle for two or three hours, forcing them to either risk their own safety as punishment and walk home, or sit and think about their actions while they wait to be towed.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 511, Goalkeeper Penalty Procedure. Rule 512, Coincidental Penalties.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cutie Pies, World Champions and Game Sixes, Oh My!

The games: Tri-City Americans vs. Calgary Hitmen (WHL Playoffs). Pittsburgh vs. Montreal. San Jose vs. Detroit.

Final scores: Calgary 4, Tri-Cities. Calgary Wins the WHL championship and moves on to the Memorial Cup next weekend. The Memorial Cup will be broadcast on the NHL Network, if you want to be a full scale playoff nerd. Pittsburgh 2, Montreal 1. I knew I shouldn't have even thought shutout. Montreal scored in the waning seconds of the game, but Pittsburgh's back on top. Back to Montreal for Game 6 and bonne chance to the Pens.

And in other news: The IIHF World Championships are underway, and there are cutie pies and hometown heroes all over this thing. Portland's own Nino Niederreiter is part of the Swiss team that defeated Latvia, and Peter Regin is playing for the Danes. Well, ok, Nino's not really ours..but he sort of is, for now.

Speaking of cutie pies: Note to self: pay more attention to players when they are out of the helmet and the gear. Why didn't I notice until now that Valtteri Filpulla was totally hot? Oh right...because I am an avowed anti-Wings fan. Perhaps I will rethink my "out with Detroit, in with the new" strategy for playoff advancement.

Here's the thing about the Memorial Cup: I'm excited that the NHL Network has seen fit to broadcast it, but it's also a reminder that the Portland Winterhawks aren't part of it. On the other hand, if they were, Nino wouldn't be playing in the Worlds in Germany. In a little over a month, he'll be an NHL draft pick, and in just over four months, he'll be back here, playing on our ice. Ditto for the five other prospects who may very well return to Portland with the NHL in their future. For those about to rock, we salute you.

The rules: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 507, Match Penalty. Rule 508, Penalty Shot.

Rule 507, Match Penalty: For a Match Penalty, any player, including the goalkeeper, shall be ruled off the ice and ordered to the dressing room for the balance of the game and substitution shall be permitted after five minutes.

Rule 508, Penalty Shot:Five conditions are required to award a Penalty Shot to a player being fouled from behind:

1. The infraction shall take place when the puck is outside of the player's defending zone (completely across the blue line).
2. The attacking player shall be in possession and have control of the puck.
3. The infraction shall have been committed from behind.
4. The attacking player in possession and control of the puck shall have been denied a reasonable scoring opportunity.
5. The player in possession and control of the puck shall have had no opposing players to pass to other than the goalkeeper.

And if you are the goalkeeper and you want to interfere with this, forget it:
If the goalkeeper leaves his crease before the player has touched the puck, or commits any foul, the Referee shall raise his arm but allow the shot to be completed. If the shot fails, he shall permit the Penalty Shot to be taken again. If the goalkeeper leaves the crease too early, the Referee shall:

1. Issue a Warning the first time and a new penalty shot.
2. Issue a misconduct penalty the second time and a new penalty shot.
3. Award a goal the third time.

Also....all penalties imposed to a goalkeeper, regardless of who serves the penalty, shall be charged in the records against the goalkeeper.

Morals of the story:

The game: So, basically, don't interfere with a perfectly good scoring opportunity, no matter how pissed off you are. Explain this to exactly could you be in possession and not in control of the puck, and vice versa? And could we give goalkeepers a small break? Can they even come a smidge out of the goal crease without being penalized? And how does anyone keep track of these rules? No wonder a lot of the WHL referees are lawyers. Well, ok the only one I pay attention to is a lawyer, but boggles the mind of hockey bears of very little brains.

Life: I never have understood why certain people seem to get to the top by interfering in other people's scoring opportunities. Stealing work from colleagues, dating your best friend's wealthy boyfriend behind her back, slippping onto a crowded train at the last minute and somehow getting the one seat available because the person in it got up right as you got on. Whatever the offense, there should be a matching penalty shot to go with it. For example, if you steal other people's work you should be given an assignment all on your own, and locked in a room until you can produce the report, slide presentation, whatever, on your own, without assistance or without asking someone else to do it and then passing it off as your own. For dating infractions, it's a little easier, because life usually takes care of it. Give it about 20 years, and said boyfriend will just go cheat with an 18 year old while the offending friend tries to hang on to what's gone with regular infusions of botox, collagen and valium.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 509, Penalty Shot Procedure. Rule 510, Supplementary Discipline.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Automatic Game Misconduct for NHL Teams Who Blow a Perfectly Good Chance at a Playoff Sweep

The games: Pittsburgh vs. Montreal and San Jose vs. Detroit.

Ok, so maybe I owe my friend Mike a beer: Both my teams (Pittsburgh and San Jose) went down. In San Jose's case, like a rock. And both on the verge of either a sweep or wrapping it on Saturday. But then again, if it was easy, what would be the point of watching?

The rules: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 504, Misconduct Penalty. Rule 505, Game Misconduct Penalty.

It's a long time to sit on the bench: 505.a. For his first Misconduct penalty, any player, other than the goalkeeper, shall be ruled off the ice for ten minutes and immediate substitution shall be permitted. The player whose Misconduct penalty has expired shall stay on the penalty beach until the next stoppage of play.

At last, a rule where the goalkeepers get booted out: 505.b For his second Misconduct penalty in one game, any player, including the goalkeeper, shall automatically be ruled off the ice for the balance of the game (Game Misconduct penalty) and immediate substitution shall be allowed.

Since the NHL playoffs totally blow at this particular moment: How cool is this? If I'm reading the Swiss Ice Hockey web site correctly, Portland Winterhawk Nino Niederreiter made the Swiss World Championship team. The competition gets underway in Germany on May 7. Plus, Winterhawks coach Mike Johnston is on Switzerland's coaching staff. Bonne chance to Portland's hometown heroes. Look for coverage of their progress starting this weekend.

Plus, let's not forget: It's only Nino's rookie season and so far he's helped us get to the playoffs for the first time in four years, competed with Switzerland's World Junior Team, made two different all-star teams, played in the CHL prospects game, been invited to the NHL Scouting Combine later this spring, and is one of six Winterhawks expected to be taken in the draft.

Morals of the story:

The game: Really, if you wanted a player to get the message, why wait until the second penalty to throw him out for the balance of the game? It's like scolding children. You have to send the message the first time and keep sending it.

Life: I want these penalties for corporate meetings and endless conference calls. For going off topic and answering every little question one after the other instead of waiting for a Q&A at the end, conference call leader shall be ruled out of the meeting for five minutes, with subsitution allowed only by someone who has a proven track record of staying on topic and taking things offline if attendees detract from the matters at hand. For their second offense upon returning to the call, conference call leader will be permanently banned from doing anything more than pushing the buttons on the phone to dial in and taking minutes during the meeting.

Next up on 5/8: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 507, Match Penalty. Rule 508, Penalty Shot.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Penalty For Life's Blunders... Five Minutes. No Substitution.

The game: Chicago vs. Vancouver.

Why I chose it: Can you say comeback? I wouldn't get too comfortable in Vancouver if I were you, Canucks fans.

Final score: Chicago 5, Vancouver 2. Chicago now leads the series 2-1.

Gotta love Wikipedia: I was looking up useless hockey trivia when I came across the delayed penalty rule. At last, I get it. A delayed penalty is when the team not in possession of the puck commits an offense. Play is not stopped until a goal is scored, the opposing team gets the puck or the team in possession of the puck commits a penalty. What it also means is that the team against whom the penalty was called can't score without stopping play, so the team in possesion of the puck can pull the goalie and substitute an extra player without the fear of being scored upon.

By the way: Wikipedia also defines a penalty as punishment for inappropriate behavior. Which is fine, if you work in an office all day. But let us hope that the NHL never sanctions a game in which there is a full 60 minutes of appropriate behavior. I mean really, why bother watching hockey?

But some things I will just never understand: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 501, Minor Penalty. Rule 502, Bench Minor Penalty. Rule 503, Major Penalty.

I'm still trying to figure out the difference between a Minor and a Bench Minor penalty. No, I'm not going back on Wikipedia, that's cheating. This is more fun.

Minor penalty: For a minor penalty, any player, other than the goalkeeper, shall be ruled off the ice for two minutes and no substitution shall be allowed.

Bench minor penalty: For a bench minor penalty, any player, other than the goalkeeper of the penalized team, designated by the Manager or Coach through the Captain, shall be ruled off the ice for two minutes and no subsitution shall be permitted.

So, no five for fighting, then?: Rule 503, Major Penalty. For a major penalty, any player, including the goalkeeper, shall be ruled off the ice for the balance of the game (Game Misconduct penalty) and substitution shall be permitted after five minutes.

Morals of the story:

The game: Screw it. I'm making up my own rule. Five minutes, no substitution for everything except injury-causing penalties like boarding, open ice hits and checking from behind. And for these, you will simply be removed from the game, emasculated by a Bridezilla so that you will realize you are in fact a pussy who needs to release pent up passive-agressive energy with a bullshit penalty and forced to rethink some of your macho bullshit during a mandatory one-game suspension.

Life: In this installment, I continue my recommendation for the life equivalent of minor penalties, as follows:

-- Offenses for which a minor penalty may be imposed:

1) Texting or calling other people from the cell phone in the bathroom to update them on information that is way past "TMI." If you feel the need to order spicy dishes in an exotic restaurant whose name you can't pronounce, and you pay for it later, it is not fodder for text, Twitters or Facebook pages.

2) People who waste their time hating Sidney Crosby or anyone else who they are in fact envious of, because said individual has the life and genius talent you always wanted but will never have. Oh right, like you don't want your own mansion by a lake, an Olympic medal and a Stanley Cup or two. Sure you don't. Get over it. Get a hobby. Better yet, make the most of your own talent...start a blog, write a book, join a master's swim team...whatever. Not everyone can be Sidney Crosby. But everyone can lift their own version of the Stanley Cup if they set their mind to it.

Next up on 5/6: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 504, Misconduct Penalty. Rule 505, Game Misconduct Penalty. I still won't understand them, but onward we go.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favorite Penalties

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Montreal.

This is why I'm all in for the Penguins: Shut out for Marc-Andre Fleury, another game-winning goal for Pascal Dupuis. And on their personal hometown turf. Vous allez, garcons.

I may not win this one, but I'm still in: My friend Mike and I have laid down our bets for the semi-finals. We agree on all fronts except the San Jose vs. Detroit series. I'm in for the Sharks, and he's down for the Red Wings. The Red Wings have enough Stanley Cups, thank you. It's San Jose's turn.

Somebody whose name starts with an M owes me a beer: Rookie Logan Couture just tied it for San Jose up to 3-3 with 6:43 to go. Oh wait...the Sharks just won 4-3 OT. They now lead the series 3-0. Two words: Wings. Toast.

The rule: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 500, Penalties, Definitions and Procedures.

Some things never change: Minor and bench minor penalites are two minutes, major is five, and misconduct is 10.

But some things are different: Game misconduct is 20 minutes, match penalty is 25 minutes. In the NHL Rulebook, for a match penalty the player is suspended for the balance of the game and substitution is allowed after five minutes. For game misconduct, it's still suspension for balance of the game, but substitution is allowed immediately.

Hey look, there's almost as much red tape and bullshit in this rule as there is in corporate America: 500.3. When the Minor or Major penalties of two players of the same team terminate at the same time, the Captain of that team shall designate to the Referee which player shall return to the ice first. The Referee shall then instruct the Scorekeeper accordingly.

Morals of the story:

The game: I see now why there are so many "failsafes" in these rules, like substitution and telling the Ref who gets to return to the ice first. Because if you didn't, players would just run around willy nilly ignoring the rules. Like bad drivers without a mark on their records. And, as I've said before, the rules don't tell you not to do something, they just define the punishment if you do defy the rules.

Life: Here are a few of my favorite life offenses, and their matching penalties:

-- Minor: Taking more than one minute to order breakfast in a grab-n-go establishment. My fellow Americans, I can prove that it does not take five minutes to order an extra hot, sugar free, fat free, no whip Vanilla latte and a multigrain scone. Witness our friends to the North at Tim Horton's, where I once stood behind someone who ordered a fat-free cappucino and a whole breakfast sandwich in less than a minute. Penalty for said offense shall be relegation to a small training camp in Northern Canada, where you will be reprogrammed in a special brainwashing program on how to order fast food so that your order is in fact, fast.

- Major: Complaining because Twitter melted down for 10 minutes yesterday while you were tweeting your friend about what you ate for lunch. Penalty is mandatory community service at an organization that serves the generation who remembers life when a Princess rotary phone was a big deal. If you don't know what a Princess phone is, this rule is for you.

-- Match: Wearing pajama bottoms as clothing in public (mostly reserved for teenagers, who seem to find this attractive). Not holding the door for honored citizens or children, unless of course they are the obvious spoiled brats whose parents haven't taught them about personal space and not crowding people or cutting them off, because said parents were committing the offenses listed below. Punishment assessed will fit the crime in the form of being forced to wear the top and bottom of your pajamas to your prom, so you will understand once and for all it's not fashionable to wear PJs in public. Ever. And, for the other, being locked in a small room, while little whippersnappers run around you playing "Ring Around the Rosie" for twelve straight hours.

-- Misconduct: Answering the call phone while on the toilet. Talking on the cell phone at all in a library. Talking on the cell, iPhone, texting, etc. while driving. Gone. Poof. In the wind. Automatic extradition to a deserted island with a manual typewriter, a rotary phone and a television with three network stations that stop broadcasting at midnight.

Next up on 5/5: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 501, Minor Penalty. Rule 502, Bench Minor Penalty, Rule 503, Major Penalty.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vancouver Should Stop Interfering With Chicago Getting to the Stanley Cup Final

The game: Chicago vs. Vancouver.

Why I chose it: One word...revenge. Game on. This Philly vs. Boston game tied at 2-2 with 6 minutes to go in the third isn't bad either. Way to go Bruins with the third goal.

The weather must know hockey is still on: It's May and it's like freakin' winter outside. My geraniums are definitely done for the moment. Much like the Winterhawks, who like I said are still beautiful. And still worth the season tickets I just bought.

Speaking of junior hockey: Among the boys taken in last week's Bantam Draft, one is from Arizona. Amen. Of course, the majority are from Alberta, but still. Who cares? He's like a one-man Jamaican bobsledding team.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 493, Interference by Spectators.

To refresh, hockey is not for pussies: Once again, unless somebody is bleeding out their eyeballs, there's no need to interrupt a perfectly good scoring opportunity. 493.b. In the event of a player being held or interfered with by a spectator, the Referee or the Linesman shall stop the play. If the team of the player interfered with is in possession of the puck, the play shall be allowed to be completed.

Morals of the story:

The game: Explain to me how a player is supposed to continue playing if he's being held by a spectator. Speaking of which, how exactly do spectators even get on the ice? And if the player defends himself, does he get a penalty for knocking the fan into the boards?

Life: We get spectators interfering with our lives all the time: busybody relatives who want to set you up with the cute guy in their office not that bad boy you're wasting time on; friends who give you bad advice about that outfit that really, you shouldn't wear in public; and micromanaging bosses. And like hockey, play carries on whether you are in posssession of the puck or not. For life, I think there should be more than a stoppage of play and a face-off. For offenses of the aforementioned nature, there will be a minimum of a minor penalty in the form of a "Life Ref" who will pull the offending individual aside, give the friendly reminder to bugger off, sit them down in a small box and take away their mobile devices so they can sit and think instead of calling other friends and relatives to validate their bad advice.

Next up on 5/4: Section 5, Penalties. Rule 500, Penalties: Definitions and Procedures.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thankfully, This Is Hockey, Not Baseball

The game: Pittsburgh vs. Montreal.

Why I chose it: Mais oui. Now, I love the Habs, but I'm still all in for Pittsburgh vs. Chicago in the final. Yes I know Vancouver ate Chicago for a snack last night. It's only Game 1, be patient.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 491, Kicking the Puck. Rule 492, High Sticking the Puck.

Yes, you can apparently do this: Kicking the puck shall be permitted in all zones, but a goal may not be scored by the kick of an attacking player, unless deflected off the stick of an attacking player. So when it really matters, you can't kick the puck. But hey, if you want to move it down the ice a little so someone else can score legitimately, carry on.

I always wondered about this one: Now I know. 492.a. Stopping or batting the puck with the stick above the height of the shoulders is prohibited, and play shall be stopped, unless:
1. Puck is batted to an opponent in which case the play shall continue and the Referee shall give the "Wash Out" signal.
2. A player of the defending team bats the puck in his own goal, in which case the goal is allowed. So like life, you can't do this, but if you're stupid enough to do it into your own goal, the resulting goal is punishment in itself.

Hey look, at least this is simple: 492.d. No goal shall be scored when the stick of an attacking player above the height of the crossbar of the goal net contacts the puck.

Morals of the story:

The game: So, don't kick the puck, don't bat the puck, don't touch the puck, don't hold the puck. Might as well put the puck down and walk away. My friends and colleagues are what I like to politely call non-appreciators. Perhaps because they do not appreciate all the ways you can't score a goal, which makes it all the more beautiful when you do. Either that, or they just don't like it. Why not, I'll never know.

Life: I think I finally get this rule. High sticking a puck is an excellent and all too easy way to get around a goaltender in a vulnerable position. So, in hockey, if it's easy, it's banned. This is sort of the ultimate life rule. Nothing in life is easy anymore. That being said, why don't we get a high sticking rule? I'm thinking we need something like this:

1. Getting to the parking lot at just the right moment when someone is pulling out of a spot and trying to take it when in fact someone else has been waiting patiently for it. Said parking infraction will be punishable by having your car broken into or otherwise robbed by professional thieves who will steal something from your vehicle that can't be replaced: like the out of print CD from your favorite band that you left on the floor of the passenger side. Or the Stanley Cup playoff coffee cup from the early nineties that is no longer available, even on ebay.

2. If you're standing in line by yourself and someone tries to cut ahead of you by pretending that you are in fact not there, the clerk at the Starbucks or bank or whatever will promptly grab the offender you by the back of her designer cashmere sweater, walk her to the end of the line, stick a number on said sweater and make her wait there until she is called, which will take a minimum of 10 minutes. Security will be assigned to the exits to ensure that said offender must stand there and take the punishment instead of leaving in protest.

Next up on 5/3: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 493, Interference by Spectators.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

This Year, I Will Hand Pass My Best Wishes to Chicago

The game: Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 1, Western Conference Semi-Finals.

Why I chose it: Duh. It's a rematch of last year's semi-finals. Somebody's going home really happy and somebody's going home really pissed.

But next year's a whole different story: I will automatically be pro-Vancouver, as Portland Winterhawk Stefan Schneider has signed with them.

This is why Chicago should replace Niemi with cutie pie Frenchman Cristobal Huet: Vancouver just scored for the second time with 10 seconds to go in the 1st. Perhaps I will get a jump on being pro-Vancouver now.

Major bummer alert: While playing in his 358th consecutive game on Friday, Jordan Staal suffered a torn tendon in his foot, which required a surgical procedure. Depending on which news flash you read, he's out indefinitely. But I wouldn't get too comfortable Habs fans, because the Penguins are known for stepping up when one of their own goes down. And Max Talbot, the penultimate playoff/big game player, is back with a capital B.

The rule: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 484, Puck Striking an Official. Rule 490, Stopping/Passing the Puck with Hands. No clue what happend to Rules 485 to 489.

It sounds simple enough, but: In late January, a Swedish referee died after being struck in the back of the head with a puck. Hopefully they ignored this rule: Rule 484, Puck Striking an Official. Play shall not be stopped because the puck touches an official except when the puck has entered the goal.

It's hockey, not baseball...sort of: Rule 490, Stopping/Passing the Puck with Hands. A player shall be permitted to stop or bat the puck in the air with the open hand or push it along the ice with his hand, unless in the opinion of the Referee, the player has deliberately directed the puck to a team-mate.

Just when I thought I understood the face-off rules: 490.c. If the team-mate of such a player obtains possession of the puck in his Defending Zone, the Referee shall not stop the play provided the hand pass is completed before the player and puck leave the zone. However when the puck is passed with the hand from a player in the Neutral Zone to a team-mate in the Defending Zone, the Referee shall stop the play with the face-off at the point of stoppage. But, I think at last I understand that the face-off location is all about which zone the offense occurred in.

Morals of the story:

The game: So, basically don't bat or pass the puck with your hands to a team-mate any zone. Now I understand why hockey players like things like bowling and golf. At least they can touch the golf ball or bowling ball and not get busted.

Life: So, if I understand this rule correctly, this basically bans players from giving their team-mates a little boost with a hand pass. Which I understand. But I'm really glad life looks upon helping our fellow man as a good thing. I'd be most distressed if we were punished for the life version of hand passing, like making financial donations to charity, or holding the door for senior citizens and children.

Next up on 5/2: Section 4, Playing Rules. Rule 491, Kicking the Puck. Rule 492, High Sticking the Puck.