Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ok, But What's the Penalty for Handling Cute Hockey Players if You See Them Wandering Around Portland?

The distraction: Re-watching the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup DVD and wondering what's left of the defensive core that was on that team.

The answer: Ummmm....oh, wait....never Zilch. Gone. Poof. Off to LA and Montreal and New York and Ottawa.

On the local front: Look out Portland, a new all-Winterhawks blog is coming this fall. More on that later this week.

Other distractions: Guitarist Carter Gravatt from the band Carbon Leaf, who were just in town this past week. And looking forward to Great Big Sea and my fave non-hockey crush Murray Foster in another week at the Oregon Zoo. Check them both out in the off season and check them out if they come to your town. Especially Murray Foster....very pretty no matter what the season. Plus, he predicted the outcome of the final Canada vs. USA score in the Olympic gold medal game, give or take a goal or two.

The rule: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 559, Handling the Puck with the Hands by a Player. Rule 560, Handling the Puck with the Hands by a Goalkeeper.

Don't try this one either: 560.a: Any player, except the goalkeeper, who closes his hand on the puck shall be assessed a minor penalty. It's the same if you pick it up from the ice.

And forget about doing this in the goal crease: If a defending player picks up the puck in his goal crease, it's a penalty shot to the non-offending team. And if the goalkeeper wasn't on the ice, the non-offending team is awarded a goal.

But at least the goalkeepers get a break, sort of: 561.a. Unless he is being pressured a goalkeeper who holds the puck more than three seconds shall be assessed a minor penalty. It's also a minor if the goalkeeper throws the puck forward and it's first played by a teammate, or if he deliberately drops into his pads to force a stoppage of play.

Morals of the story:

The game: Ok, but what if it goes flying into your pads by accident? Hey, it happened in Chicago and Jonathan Toews found it when he jostled Niemi's jersey to jar it loose. Stranger things have happened, especially in hockey. And what if the goaltender is being pressured? Is it like that scene in "Empire Strikes Back" where Yoda hits R2-D2 when the droid tries to take the lamp and yells "Mine! Mine! Mine!" I must keep an eye out next season, because that would be more entertaining than the Brett Ponich/Andy Blanke fight last December at a Winterhawks game.

Life: The justice system needs this rule. For example, what if they had this rule for similar life crimes, like grabbing and holding someone's purse in a mugging? Minimum minor penalty of a year in jail no exceptions, no time off for good behavior. Or what about those skanky guys who lurk on crowded trains and try to "close their hand" on your ass? Definitely a minor penalty of somebody -- anybody with really big shoes, for example -- kicking them in the nuts continuously for at least five minutes. Guaranteed the next time they try it, their brain will remember and they'll stop. Yes, both of these things happened to me, and sadly there was no justice in either case. But like I've said, sometimes I have thoughts and sometimes they're better than reality.

But it's a good thing they don't have this rule for fans handling players. Anze Kopitar's brother Gasper plays here in Portland, and the older bro was seen and heard around the Memorial Coliseum last February. Really good thing he was with his girlfriend and my hands were occupied or you would have heard an announcement on the PA system: "Clean up in section''am... put the LA Kings superstar down and walk away."

Next up on 7/18: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 561, Interference with Spectators. Rule 562, Players Leaving the Penalty or Player's Bench.

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