Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Step 1, Deliberately Fall on the Puck. Step 2, Be Labeled a Lamo for Taking a Bad Penalty.

The distraction: Trying to figure out why playoff heroes like Jaroslav Halak and Antti Niemi are either getting traded or in salary arbitration. Yes, little armchair experts, I KNOW why, but that doesn't mean I like it.

And this is how I know I REALLY need the regular hockey season to start like, right now: I've been occupying my free time playing Six Degrees of Separation to see how hockey players' lives are related to mine. So far, I've only come up with two: I have the same birthday as Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby's dog is named Samantha. And Sidney Crosby has long been touted as the "next Wayne Gretzky." Let me just say this... if you happen to play on a beer league in Portland that's by chance playing this summer, do let me know. Because clearly going without live hockey for longer than 30 days just isn't good for some people.

What goes best with watching Nino play for the Islanders?: A cupcake of course. reports that Nassau Coliseum has officially inked a deal that will add cupcakes to their menu. Beer + cupcakes + hockey + Nino = heaven.

Distraction, Part 2: Twitter. To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question. Mind, I had to consult the handbook to figure out how to use the space bar on my cell phone for text messages, and I don't even know how to use the camera feature except for the one time I accidentally pushed the wrong button, so don't look for me on Twitville anytime soon. Back to topic...

The rules: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 557, Falling on the Puck by a Player. Rule 558, Falling on the Puck by a Goalkeeper.

557.a: If a player, other than the goalkeeper, deliberately falls on, holds or gathers the puck into his body, he shall be assessed a minor penalty. And forget it if you're trying to defend the zone. If a defensive player does this when the puck is in the goal crease of his team, the non-offending team gets a penalty shot. If the opposing goalie has been removed and a player does this in the goal crease of his team, the Referee awards a goal to the non-offending team.

Ok, now I'm officially confused: These come with color-coded specifications about where the goalkeeper can be on the ice when he is (or isn't) allowed to purposefully fall on the puck. Either let him hold the puck or don't. It's not complicated. How are hockey players supposed to mean it when they bust out the "we just gotta keep it simple" cliche when rules like this are running amok?

1) Goalkeeper is allowed to hold the puck only when the goalkeeper's body remains at least partially in the goal crease. This looks to be the equivalent of the trapezoid behind the goal in NHL rinks, which of course don't exist on international ice.

2) Goalkeeper is allowed to hold the puck only when he is pressured. This area is between the goal line and just past the hash marks in the face off circle.

3) Goalkeeper is not allowed to hold the puck. Everywhere else not listed above.

Morals of the story:

The game: This is the puck-protecting version of diving. Don't do it, don't try it, don't think about doing it or trying it. Period. End of rule. There is a better way than this, and surely a less obvious one.

Life: Let's face it. Falling on the puck in life is equally lame. We all know what the right thing is, but nobody ever said the right way was the easy way. We've all done it, but that doesn't make it ok. Good thing life doesn't penalize us for the life equivalent of falling on the puck, but maybe it should. For example,

-- Dinging a car in the parking lot but not enough so the owner would think it was anything more than a door ding, so you don't leave a note and figure no harm no foul. The penalty: All new cars built after 2010 come with small video cameras built into the windshield. If someon tailgates you, dings you, bumps you from behind, sideswipes you, whatever, you can record it and turn it into the proper authorities for immediate compensatory action.

-- Stealing other people's breakfast sandwiches in Starbucks without checking to see if hey, it might actually be for someone who was in line ahead of you and has been waiting longer, and walking away like you didn't do anything wrong. Yes, this happened to me. No I wasn't the one who stole it. In this case the penalty was assessed in the form of the dingdong opening his sandwich and finding he had overpaid for a sandwich he didn't order. And I still got mine all the same. Ok, sometimes life does punish us for falling on the puck. But still, don't steal the sandwich, stupid.

-- Cheating on your taxes because you came out behind the financial 8-ball this year, an offense for which we all pay, because, guess what, the states and the Feds come up short on many occasions too. Only in their case, they just charge all of us more. Penalty: Full scale audit by the IRS and your state of every dollar you've ever earned since you got a social security number, including babysitting money, tips from waiting tables in college and the "consulting fees" you charge to clients for telling them how to cheat on their own taxes, complete with late fees, assessments and interest that will equal about 10 times what you "saved" by cheating.

Next up on 7/16: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 559, Handling the Puck with Hands by a Player. Rule 560, Handling the Puck with Hands by a Goalkeeper.

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