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.

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