Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Go Ahead, Hold On. It's Only a Minor Penalty.

The game: Philadelphia vs. Chicago. Not counting the NHL Draft hype-o-rama, this is the only game in town.

And what a game it is: Tied at 3, four minutes into the third. Both teams just scored within a minute.

Speaking of the NHL Draft hype machine: If you want to see what all the Portland Winterhawk fuss is about, check out and search for Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen, Troy Rutkowski and Brad Ross. You'll see what I mean, especially the one where Nino and Ryan interview each other. Classic. Missing are prospects Mac Carruth and Taylor Aronson, but you'll read more about them here as we get closer to the draft. And yes, fellow Portland hockey nerds, I will be at the Winterhawks' draft party. Duh. I'm a newly minted season ticket holder and there is nothing I love more on a Friday afternoon than chicken wings and beer. NHL Draft on.

The rules: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 531, Holding an Opponent. Rule 532, Holding the Stick.

Rule 531: A player who holds his opponent with his hands or stick or in any other way shall be assessed a minor penalty.

Rule 532: A player who holds his opponent's stick with his hands or in any other way shall be assessed a minor penalty.

How they are different from the NHL Rulebook: Holding is also defined as any action that impedes a player, but there's this extra tidbit/exception: A player is permitted to use his arm in a strength move, by blocking his opponent, provided he has body position and is not using his hands in a holding manner, when doing so. A player is permitted to defend himself by defending against an opponent's stick. He must immediately release the stick and allow the player to resume normal play. I can't recall as I've ever seen a player honor this and "immediately release the stick," but I'll keep an eye out in the remaining playoff games, in the event such a momentous occasion should occur.

Morals of the story:

The game: It's easy to see why there is no "attempt to hold" or "holding action" built into this one. Either you held the guy or his stick, or you didn't. I wonder, though, what would be the penalty for "attempting to hold?" Would you just be classified as an idiot and sent back to the bench to think it over, or would there be a minor for the attempt? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Life: In life, there is no more dangerous form of holding than those situations in which we hold ourselves back. Can't is toxic, and won't is worse, but we do it far too often, without even thinking about it. To save us from ourselves, there should be a series of increasingly serious penalties assessed for the following situations in which we hold ourselves back from achievement and happiness:

-- Taking a day job or any job "just until" you do whatever it is you really want and then giving up on the dream and the just until job becomes a career where you burn out on extra hours and office politics for something you don't even love. Match penalty in the form of immediate firing and no similar careers listed on or jobbuilder or wherever, thereby preventing you from falling further down the sellout rabbit hole by simply taking the next bullshit hopportunity.

-- Deciding that you can't or won't do something because you're worried about what other people think. Let's face it, do most of those people have their shit any more together than you do? Things are never what they seem, and anyone who has it made is a has-been/comeback waiting to happen. So, before you stop yourself because of other people's opinions, think about it his way. Most of those people are just as afraid of what you think. And if that doesn't work, try this: saying can't because of someone else is a lot like diving in's the all-too-easy way out of a hard situation. Automatic game misconduct in the form of suspension from social opportunities -- no matter how important and hobnobbing with celebrities they might be, and where you may be overly worried about other people think -- until you genuinely can say with reckless abandon that you don't give a rip.

Up next on 6/4: Section 5, Penalties. Fouls Against Players. Rule 533, Hooking.

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