Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer's Here and the Free Trading's Fine. Unless You're a Chicago Blackhawk.

The distraction: NHL Free agent feeding frenzy.

Best trade: Colby Armstrong to Toronto. He got a raw deal when he was a victim of the Hossa trade that sent him away from Pittsburgh and playing on a line with Sidney Crosby. Plus, Portland's own Brad Ross may be playing alongside Armstrong in a few years. Most excellent all around.

Worst: The unloading of newly crowned Stanley Cup winners Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and Chris Versteeg mere weeks after their victory. Yes, little experts, I know it had to be done, but could you at least let them enjoy the moment first?

Good and bad news: has a feature about Nino Niederreiter visiting the New York Islanders, which indicates he may join them right away next year. Soooo happy for him if he does, but bummed for Portland Winterhawks fans because it would mean his time here was far too short to really be appreciated.

Yes, it's all about the money: The Kovalchuk "we're in, no we're out" wheeling and dealing. Maybe it's just me because I work for a living, but asking for more than $100 million in salary is always about the money. Get over it.

Holy crap! When did this happen?: San Jose signed Antero Niittymaki to a two-year deal. I really must keep up on current affairs while on vacay.

The rule: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. Rule 554e. Injured Player Refusing to Leave the Ice, 554f. More Than One Change After Goal Scored, 554g. Violation of Face-Off Procedures.

Oh, the irony: In a tough guy sports where you are expected to keep playing while bleeding out of your eyeballs, I find it ironic that for refusing to leave the ice while injured it's a minor penalty.

554f: It's a bench minor if the team that scored has more than one change of players on the ice after scoring the goal.

554g: These are also bench minor: a) when a player has been removed from the ice by an official and another player of the same team delays taking his proper position after a "Warning" his team shall be assessed a bench minor. b) when a player not taking the face-off enters the face-off circle before the puck is dropped, the player of his team taking the face-off shall be removed and replaced. For the second violation during the same face-off, the offending team shall be assessed a bench minor.

Morals of the story:

The game: On the other hand, now that I think about it...refusing the leave when ordered is also a way to delay the game and defy the Referee, so perhaps it's not so ironic after all. And I think I finally get another thing that distinguishes bench minors from minors. Bench minors appear to be for penalties that are not physical, like profanity, spitting or defying an order to leave to fix an injury. My life is complete. Sort of. Because I doubt I'll ever memorize all the face-off rules. So I'll just say this. I would not want to be the first class, Grade A twit who moves into the face-off circle before the puck is dropped when Sidney Crosby's taking it and it's tied in the third with 5 seconds to go. Now, mind, he's very lovely in interviews and all, but if you watch him when he's playing, forget about it. Good luck to you. Because all that polite small town boy from the Maritimes nice guy crap goes out the window. Poof, bye-bye, in the wind. As well it should. This is hockey, after all.

Life: I want the face-off rule for those twits in a super-sized SUV, who, when you are at a side street in your little Mini waiting to turn right onto the main street, pull up alongside you for the purpose of turning left, but they pull up just far enough past you that you can no longer see to turn right because their hood is in their way. But I wouldn't give a warning. I'd just require that all cars be built with a special Transformers-like device in which they could turn into a giant vehicle that would pick up said SUV and plunk it down in the bushes, where it will take three large men who might happen to drive by, if you're lucky, to push it out of there.

Next up: Section 5, Penalties. Other Penalties. 554h, Late Line Up. 555, Illegal or Dangerous Equipment.

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