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.

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