Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, February 11, 2008

What I Don't Understand

As we try to distract ourselves from Richard Zednik's neck wound (and to think, all these years I've been making fun of Alexei Yashin for wearing a turtleneck), I was thinking about things in hockey I don't understand. Everyone, whether they're newcomers or seasoned veterans of the game, have at least one rule or custom in hockey that they don't really get. I have two.

First, I don't understand why they kick people out of the face-off circle. I mean, I get why they do; I know the rule and everything. But I can't call it at all. When I think a guy should get kicked out, the refs don't. When I don't think anyone should get kicked out, the refs inevitably make someone else leave.* My roommate doesn't either, and we've both been playing hockey for years now. It is just because the rule is ambiguous, or is just something I don't know?

*I'm always kind of embarrassed for a player when he gets kicked out of the circle, because the ref will just point and tell him to get out and he always doesn't notice immediately and then he just puts his head down and skates away. Poor guy, getting humiliated in front of his friends like that.

Another thing I don't understand: why do they give both players penalties when someone gets called for diving? If a guy dove, that means to me that he created a penalty where none took place, so only he should get sent to the box. Sometimes they'll only send the diver to the box (Holmstrom got called for diving last week with no corresponding penalty), but a lot of the time it'll be one guy for hooking or tripping and then another guy for diving. It seems to me that they should only call the diver in order to discourage such practice. Am I wrong?

So that's 2 things in hockey I don't get. Anyone else have something random in the game that has always bothered them? Don't worry, we're all friends here, no one will make fun of you.

Well, unless it's something I already know, and then I'll mock you mercilessly.

24 comments:

Mike said...

I don't get why you can hand-pass to a teammate in your zone, but you can't high-stick a puck to them.

I don't get why goalies get to wear 30 lbs of protective gear, but nobody can run 'em when they're outside the crease.

I don't get how Pronger can take 5 steps to his right or left after someone dumps the puck in, cutting off they guy's line, and it's not obstruction.

Earl Sleek said...

Ever since the rule changes, I've lost my grasp on what constitutes icing. I understand the bare-bones ruling, sure, but now that linesmen can wave off icings for "intended passes" (or whatever), I'm completely confused. I mean, I'll watch a pass miss a guy's stick by inches and it will be an icing. Other times, I'll see it miss a guy by a few feet but I guess the passer meant well; play on.

I used to be able to call icings with incredible accuracy; nowadays I'm just waiting for some linesman to tell me what the icing rule is for that moment in time.

Secondly, I'm confused nowadays why clubs have a policy of not disclosing salary data for contracts just signed. I mean, before that was cool, whatever a team wanted to spend could be between a team and a player, but now it's a cap era. Every single salary matters, and GMs get hamstrung by cap space and the like; what good is it to hide this information? It's one thing if your GM won't make any trades to improve a club, and quite another if your GM can't make a trade because of cap issues. Yet clubs want me to keep guessing whether a GM is chickenshit or horsetied; I have no idea who the secrecy benefits.

KMS2 said...

I don't get why goalies get to wear 30 lbs of protective gear, but nobody can run 'em when they're outside the crease.

That's a good one.

One that my dad always didn't understand was, if a player is against the boards and an opposing player comes barrelling at him to deliver a check, my dad always thought that the victim should be able to spear the checker. Sort of like, "you going to check the shit out of me? Well I'm going to make you pay for it." I don't exactly agree with my dad but considering he's one of the nicest people ever I always thought he might be right.

As for the coincidental penalties for diving and something else, one reason I heard was if the guy hadn't dove, then it probably would have been a (hooking or tripping) penalty anyway which is why both guys receive a penalty. But I agree, call it one way or don't call it at all.

RudyKelly said...

The high-stick one is because they don't want people waving their sticks around people's heads.

I don't understand the goalie one either, but I'm selfish and enjoy the immunity I get when I'm in net. My favorite thing? Stop the puck in the corner and then check a guy on the other team while skating back to my net. They never call it because they assume I'm too clumsy to do it on purpose.

Earl, they used to waive icing all the time if it were an attempted pass right when hockey came back but they've really cut down on it recently. It annoys the hell out of me too, because I don't see why a team should be punished for trying to get a breakaway.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I know they made the change to icings, but I feel like now we're in some sort of middling era with varying standards--the same exact play (a near-connected pass) can be icing or can be not icing, depending on who's got the whistle in their mouth.

(I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. I think the "N" in the "NHL" stands for "Inconsistency". Terrible spellers, those hockey acronymists.)

Frisby said...

I don't get why there are no plays called dead for a two line pass anymore. I thought that they kept the rule but just eliminated the center red line from it. So a pass from inside the defensive zone all the way into the offensive zone (crosses two blue lines) would still be considered a two line pass.

Earl Sleek said...

Frisby, while technically a pass that crosses two blue lines is still a two-line pass and still not allowed, they don't blow those plays down for being a two-line pass.

Instead, they blow them down for being offsides.

Anonymous said...

This is probably stupid, but something that's always bugged me is why there are so many left-handed shots in hockey. Surely they're not all left-handed in real life. Can anyone shed light on this?

Rex Waverly said...

I read something about sticks a while back on a blog: http://tropicofhockey.blogspot.com/2007/05/sticks_17.html

Something like 70% of Canadian hockey players shoot left, as opposed to about 70% right-handed shooters for Americans.... (apparently 90% of europeans shoot left, so, yeah...)

I think it's because a lot of the time, the stick is only held in the top hand (stickchecking, skating, etc.) so the stronger hand is up top.

Earl Sleek said...

Good question, Anonymous.

Here's another one, except this one's more of a rhetorical gripe (no answer needed): Why, on a weekday with only one game on the schedule, is a Pacific Division matchup starting at 4 pm Pacific?

Nobody's delaying any east coast games so the west coast can watch 'em. Just sayin'.

mc79hockey said...

My favorite thing? Stop the puck in the corner and then check a guy on the other team while skating back to my net. They never call it because they assume I'm too clumsy to do it on purpose.

My favourite thing is drilling the goalie the second time he does that. The penalty call is usually fifty/fifty.

John Q. Phats said...

This is probably stupid, but something that's always bugged me is why there are so many left-handed shots in hockey. Surely they're not all left-handed in real life. Can anyone shed light on this?

Rex was right. This is actually a Canadian/American thing. I asked a guy in a hockey shop once and he told me that Canadians train with their more coordinated hand on the top of the stick because they feel that directs the stick the most during play. Americans play with what feels the most comfortable. Which, most of the time is right handed. Once in a great while you'll see a kid playing with a straight stick. Coaches and parents watch them to see which way they hold the stick and play the puck. Whichever hand they use, that's the stick curvature that they give them. Considering most of the NHL is Canadian it would make sense that most of them play with left handed sticks.

doctorgonzzzo said...

Rex is definitely right. I'm left handed but shoot right, because my left has all the control and can control the curling and dragging while my right is just for power. I don't understand when right handed players shoot right handed, unless they're abidextrous (sp). A lot of times on faceoffs they kick the center out because either the left winger or right winger is dicking around with the guy he's lined up with. I don't understand why the NHL keeps renewing its deal with VS. instead of going back to ESPN

Anonymous said...

Why is the Nhl NBC's bitch?

Kirsten said...

I'm extremely left-handed and I shoot left, though in recent years due to injury and surgery I've become more ambidextrous. Our coach told us to do whatever was most comfortable, but I know a lot of kids whose parents MADE them shoot one way or another because they thought it would make them more valuable to the team.

When deciding whether to be a Starboard or Port in crew, the coach put is all in a line in order of height and just went port, starboard every other. Maybe that's what hockey coaches should start doing too.

CKim said...

Kirsten, are you port or starboard? I'm left-handed, shoot right, and was a port. I also grew up with right-handed older brothers, so I'm probably f-ed up in what hand I'm supposed to be using in whatever sport I'm doing.

I'm always kind of embarrassed for a player when he gets kicked out of the circle

This reminds me of a faceoff where Army was whistled for failing to take the faceoff correctly after a different King was first kicked out. I feel like I might be incorrectly recounting this incident, but that was a little embarrassing.

Itlan said...

I don't get why the stupid trapezoid is within a stick length of the crease. I think it should be wider by 3 feet or so on each side of the net. A goalie should be able to pounce on a puck within a 10 foot radius of the crease and not be penalized.

Itlan said...

Maybe they should just angle the trapezoid the other way so the widest part is at the back of the net and the narrow part is at the boards.

Bryan said...

Being kicked out of the faceoff circle can also happen if your wingers do something to piss of the ref.

Does charging even exist anymore?

I hate how a team can ice the puck and get time to rest on a tv timeout.

Kirsten said...

I'm a starboard. I'm left handed, shoot left (or sometimes right, but my wrist shot is no good from the right side), bat left and now switch, I can throw ambidextrously, but I can only golf, bowl, and shoot pool left handed.

Heather B. said...

I'm way behind here but it bothers me that shots that hit the posts aren't considered shots on goal.

Doogie said...

I don't get why you can hand-pass to a teammate in your zone, but you can't high-stick a puck to them.

Because the hand-pass rule is philosophical, whereas the high-sticking rule is a safety one.

Also, I'm a Canadian rightie who shoots right, too. (I also didn't start playing "real" hockey until age 21.) It bugs me when I can't find a right-hand curve to save my life.

And maybe they should just get rid of the fucking trapezoid. Worst. Rule. Ever.

Bryan said...

Posts aren't counted as shots on goal because it is more of a goalie stat than anything else. Can't reward us goalies for that.

Heather B. said...

bryan, that makes sense. It's much better than the response I usually get her which is, "I dunno."