Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hybrid Icing = Don't Even Think About Chasing The Puck.

The distraction: The new hybrid icing rule under debate at the NHL's research and development camp.

Why I'm distracted by it: I think I might finally understand icing. And why this rule is so important. Normally, icing is called when a team shoots the puck from beyond the red line into the attacking zone and it crosses the goal line untouched. But this also triggers a an injury-inducing, frenetic scramble to get to the puck first. Hybrid icing is a mix of touch and no-touch icing.

It's kind of like probable cause in the law books: The linesman could blow his whistle if he believes a defending player will reach the puck first. If he thinks the attacking player will get there first, he holds the whistle and lets the play continue. The linesman will always side with the defending player if he thinks there will be a tie when both players get there.

In other words: Safety first for the defensemen, who become a target when trying to chase down the puck.

Personally, I like it: But then again, I'm still trying to understand it.

Speaking of rules: Annex 4, Duties of the Officials. A4.24, Timekeeper's Duties.

A4.24.a: The Timekeeper shall record:
1. Game countdown before the game.
2. Time of starting and finishing of each period and game.
3. 15 minute intermission between each period.
4. All actual playing time during the game.
5. Time of the start and finish of all penalties.
6. Start and finish of time-outs.

And of course: Let's say it all together now...In the event of any dispute regarding time, the Referee's decision shall be final.

Morals of the story:

The game: Timekeepers are like the accountants of hockey. They track every last minute of every last play, penalty and break. We all know that companies live and die by their bottom line and just the way number crunchers keep corporate America running, timekeepers keep a game running. Unless, of course, the Referee decides otherwise.

Life: We all know life is far too short and every minute is too valuable to waste it, but we do. But what if every minute of everything we did in life was recorded and provided to the proper authorities on an official Game Sheet? Would we spend whole days sitting on the couch watching reality reruns? Would we say "Maybe someday" or "I'll do that tomorrow?" I'm guessing not. If someone kept track of my every minute, for example, I guarantee I'd spend a lot more time in the gym, a lot less time making paper clip forts during boring conference calls and a lot less time driving through the Sonic burger window at midnight.

Next up: Annex 4, Duties of the Officials. A4.25, Announcer's Duties. A4.26, Penalty Bench Attendant's Duties.

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