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.

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