Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Don't Even Try Slashing Chicago's Chance at the Cup.

The game: Philadelphia vs. Chicago, Game 6.

Sometimes the game chooses us: Chicago could win and take it. Or Philly can tie it and return to the Madhouse. Plus, it could be the end of the season tonight. In several hours, hockey fans could very well have no hockey to watch for the next few months. You have to watch. Period. Exclamation point.

Here in Portland it's a win-win for us: Portland Winterhawks are on both teams, so a former Hawk is going home with the Stanley Cup one way or another. And if it's Marion Hossa, the third time will be a charm and one for the history books. He is the first NHL player to appear in three consecutive finals for three separate teams.

And it's very possible in a few years, the same scenario could transpire: We have three Hawks already drafted and/or signed (Stefan Schneider has signed with Vancouver, Brett Ponich signed with St. Louis, Spencer Bennett was drafted by Calgary). On tap in this year's draft: Nino Niederreiter, Troy Rutkowksi, Brad Ross, Taylor Aronson, Mac Carruth and -- sitting pretty at number 10 on the scouting report, thus making him our top ranked prospect -- Ryan Johansen. My personal favorite to become a Winterhawk sleeper hit, Luke Walker, has been scouted pretty actively by the New York Rangers. Get ready hockey the next two to three years, Portland's finest will be coming to a rink near you. Oh, and don't forget Luca Sbisa, who should be returning to his rightful home with Anaheim this season.

Although this I will never quite understand: On draft day last year, apparently Brett Ponich was golfing with his billets. In Portland. In June. I don't proclaim to know everything about hockey, but I do try. Still, I'll never fully understand why a talented teenager like that was on a golf course on draft day. If I ever get the chance to meet him, I shall report back. I did see something where he said that he didn't think he was going to be drafted that high, which makes it ever cooler that he was, but can you play golf when strangers in a strange town are deciding your future? It boggles the mind.

I want this job: Stanley Cup keeper. How awesome would that be? You get to travel all over the world, you partay with NHL stars and you get to keep watch over the most beautiful prize in the world. On the other hand, if you lose it, damage it or misplace it, you'll be marooned to a deserted island with a pile of sticks to build a hut and a knife to sharpen a spear for hunting and foraging. So think carefully when applying for this one, dreamers.

The Rules: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 537, Slashing. Rule 538, Spearing.

The wording's different, but it's the same as the NHL: Slashing is impeding or seeking to impede an opponent by slashing with his stick. In the NHL Rulebook, the definition includes slashing and the motion of slashing. In the IIHF book, they simply state that it is also a player who swings his stick at another player in the course of any altercation.

Don't even try it: Spearing and attempting to spear are both penalized. Attempt to spear includes all cases when a spearing motion is made, but no contact is made. Spearing is the act of stabbing the opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether or not the stick is being carried with one or both hands.

Morals of the story:

The game/why even try it?: I'm pretty sure that when you stab another person with a pointy object in one hand, it's called fencing. And if you do it as a sport, you get medals for being good at it, not penalties. Plus, you'd look pretty silly attempting to spear, only to have the player skate away from you so you can't actually stab them. It would be like kids playing tag, NHL style. Hence, the rule about not even trying it. Well, that and you have to send the message that if you go further the next time and do it, you're toast.

Life: I would so love to leave my house in the morning and just attempt to spear so many things along the way. Just so they'd get out of my way or stop to let me pass. For example: 1) Drivers who pull into the crosswalk as I'm about to cross and try to cut me off. Here in Oregon, you're supposed to wait until the pedestrian is at least six feet from your car. 2) Pedestrians who weave on the sidewalk because they are trying to get good cell reception. Never mind the attempt. I say plan strategically and poke 'em right as they are passing a gutter, and down goes the pedestrian and into the gutter goes the phone. 3) Bus riders who think the rest of us enjoy listening to their iPod, hearing their phone conversations, or smelling their body odor. If we want to partake of any of the above, we'll let you know.

Next up/yes there will be content here in the off-season: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 539, Tripping. Rule 540, Checking to the Head and Neck Area.

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