Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's the mother of all NHL game days

The game: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins in the only match-up before the Winter Classic.

Why I chose it: Ummm.....let me see....oh right.....DUH.

I'm so glad my employer's offices are closed today: The NHL Network is broadcasting an all Caps, Pens, Crosby, Ovechkin fest, complete with Winter Classic promos, a replay of the matching hat trick semi-final game from 2009 and Sidney Crosby Reebok ads.

And you thought holidays with the crazy relatives was bad: I read a tidbit on TSN that Ryan Johansen's family is traveling from Vancouver to Buffalo at 8 am on Christmas morning to watch Ryan play for Team Canada at the World Juniors. Ryan told TSN his little brother is probably going to be a little pissed. So, note to Ryan's little brother: In a few years, the older bro is going to be in the NHL, and making an NHL salary along with Gatorade promotions and what not. So all future Christmas presents are gonna be way better....ya' know, like sports cars and big TVs and stuff. Besides, I know your brother and he's one of my favorite people in the world. And I know that if the shoe was on the other foot, he'd do the same for you.

So, to keep track: The Portland Winterhawks have three players at the World Juniors (Ryan, Nino Niederreiter, Sven Bartschi), two at the Under-17 World Challenge (Derrick Pouliot, Brendan Leipsic) and four who will be trekking to the CHL Prospects Game in January (Sven Bartschi, Ty Rattie, Tyler Wotherspoon, Joe Morrow).

At last, I'm in the holiday spirit: Skating with Santa, Winterhawks on the loose at tourneys and prospects games, Pens and Caps preview. Happy holidays, indeed.

The rule: NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Article 15, Training Camp; Travel Expenses.

15.3(c)/of course there's a rule for this. It's hockey, after all: No more than 9 exhibition games shall be scheduled by each Club during said period each season, except that this subsection shall not be applicable with respect to any game provided for in Article 24 hereof.

Proof that veteran doesn't equal "old": A Club shall be permitted to dress a minimum of 8 veterans for any Exhibition Game. For purposes of this section, a veteran shall constitute either: (1) a forward or defenseman who played in 30 NHL Games during the previous season, (2) a goaltender who either dressed in 50 or more NHL games or played in 30 or more NHL games in the previous season, (3) a first-round draft choice from the most recent year's NHL Entry Draft or (4) any Player who has played 100 or more career NHL games.

Morals of the story:

The game: So technically, Nino Niederreiter -- who was 17 at the time he went to the New York Islanders training camp -- qualifies as a veteran because he was a first-round draft choice from this year's NHL Entry Draft.

Life: I love it. The minute you're drafted, you're already a veteran. How like life hockey is. The minute you're born, you start getting older and every minute that passes in life is one you don't get back. And the magic number is 30: you reach this age in life, and you're considered a "veteran," just like hockey. Which is hilarious, because once you cross the 40 mark, you realize that 30 isn't old at all. And to those of you haven't reached either milestone: trust me when I say life starts at 40. Because if you make it that far, it's like "bring it on. I made it this far. What else 'ya got for me." I didn't get it until I got there myself. And now I understand: 40 is just the beginning.

Next up: Article 15, Training Camp; Travel Expenses. 15.6 and 15.7, which deal with injured reserve and renting or purchasing a home.

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