Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reason #1 to Love Canada: Hockey is Everywhere.

I'm back from my vacay, but where is summer?: I know it's summer somewhere, but here in Portland I am debating which fleece to wear while watching the fireworks. It's just wrong. At this rate, it means summer will show up around these parts about...oh, say...Thanksgiving.

Whilst I was buying tacky hockey souvenirs in Canada: Three more Portland Winterhawks have attracted the attention of NHL teams. Oliver Gabriel (Columbus Blue Jackets), Tayler Jordan (Vancouver Canucks) and Taylor Peters (Pittsburgh Penguins) have all been invited to training camp this fall. And, as for the tacky souvenirs, I'm now the proud owner of a Penguins' coffee mug, a Stanley Cup keychain, a Toronto Maple Leafs holiday stocking and a Vancouver Canucks' t-shirt. But it's all for a good cause. I bought them in support of the Hawks who are en route to the NHL. Well, that, and I just decided that I needed them. I said no to the Montreal Canadiens' piggy bank and winter hat, but only because they took out Pittsburgh and I couldn't purchase said items in good conscience.

Three is the magic number: In his third and final year of draft eligibility, Portland Winterhawk Luke Walker finally hit the NHL Draft jackpot by getting snatched up by the Colorado Avalanche. Third time's a charm for him all around: I counted once and any time Luke goes for two goals and they don't go in, he gets it on the third try. If he does come back for his overage year, check it out. And, with Oliver's training camp stint, that makes three Winterhawks in the Blue Jackets' system: fourth overall pick Ryan Johansen, Oliver and Chris Francis, who just signed with their AHL Affiliate the Springfield Falcons.

Trivial pursuit, part 2: How many Portland Winterhawks were drafted or signed the same year by the same team? Luke Walker (139th) and Troy Rutkowski (137) by the Colorado Avalanche. Stefan Schneider signed with Vancouver in spring 2010 and Tayler Jordan is going to training camp with the Canucks in the fall of 2010.

Mini bummer alert: All of the Winterhawks pre-season games are on the road. We won't have our home opener until Oct. 2. Looks like it's road trips for me, because I'm not sitting around here when there's quality hockey to be had before Labor Day.

On the other hand: The home opener is Nino Niederreiter bobblehead night. Get your own. I'm hiding mine in a closet for safekeeping.

Now, where was I? Oh right: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 554.b. Displacing the Goal Frame.

a. A player or goalkeeper who deliberately displaces the goal frame from its normal position shall be assessed a minor penalty.

So displacing the goal frame is no Hail Mary pass, then?: b. If it happens in the last two minutes of the game, or at any time during overtime, by a defending player or goalkeeper in his Defending Zone the Referee shall award to the non-offending team a penalty shot.

And if you think the goalkeeper being pulled for an extra attacker makes it ok: Forget it. d. If, when a goalkeeper has been removed from the ice, a player of his team displaces the goal frame from its normal position the Referee shall award to the non-offending team a goal.

Morals of the story:

The game: Easy. Don't displace the goal frame on purpose, ding dongs. Enough said.

Life: This rule should be used to penalize people who cheat in plain sight with stupid shit. Like those guys who switch name plates at a wedding so they can sit next to the hot single chick and get her drunk on free champagne. Or the colleague who presents your death by powerpoint as their own in a meeting where they know you won't or can't speak up. In my world, such penalties will be punished by the following:

If a weak-minded individual who would in another galaxy be an easy target for Jedi mind tricks feels compelled to cheat or take the high road to personal success because they feel too inferior to do it the fair and right way... I shall award to the non-offending individual one week's worth of paid vacation time, a free stay at a four-star hotel to be paid for by the offending player and one complimentary spa treatment to help them forget about said offense.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 554c, Shooting or Throwing the Puck Outside the Playing Area. Rule 554d, Adjustment of Equipment.

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