Posted on: April 24, 2010 5:58 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2010 1:41 am

"Distinct kicking motion"

What a weird phrase to repeat over and over again when there's a goal being reviewed. As much as it's repeated I don't think there is a nice neat definition for this "kicking motion". A friend of mine (a Flyers fan) said of the Flyers goal overturned in the first overtime of the last Penguins game that his foot didn't leave the ice, so he didn't kick it. That seems like a terrible way to define it. Most of the borderline kicks are when a player is stopping and it hits his skate. Feet are bouncing. Snow is flying. Defenders are pushing. It's a confusing time to concentrate on keeping your feet still.

It's probably been suggested before, but I'd like to explicitly state my position. How about we disallow all goals off of your own team's feet? Hit it off a defender any way you want, but don't use your teammate's feet.

The first objection I can think of is "what is part of 'feet'?" Well, blades of skates are obviously part of feet. Laces and below are really pretty obvious. Do ankles count? My gut says no goals off of ankles either. Shins? Getting into a gray area again. Maybe the "no feet goals" rule idea needs to be changed. What about nothing below the knee? Nothing below the waist? I'm not sure where it should be. I think arms and hands should definitely be disallowed (in case they aren't already). Body deflections might be ok. If someone can deflect a puck off their head into the net, they deserve a goal. In any case, I think the rule should be changed from disallowing the motion (whatever that motion looks like) to disallowing the point of contact. It would make for less arguing and less confusion.

Category: NHL
Tags: kick, rules
Posted on: October 5, 2009 10:00 am

There Oughta be a Law

So I was watching the Pitt/SD game last night, and saw the Steelers almost squander another sure thing. I started getting angry when Stefan Logan was stripped of the ball after running a punt for a bit. I wasn't angry about him trying to run with the punt, though. I was angry that the play wasn't stopped because his forward progress had stopped.

Football games are run as close to "by the numbers" as you can get in sports. Hockey and basketball have a lot of judgement calls and loose officiating. Soccer has "injury time" (the worst rule in sports). I've even seen some fuzzy calls in baseball (but who's watching that?). Football has actually worked to get rid of judgement calls by officials. I was excited when they got rid of the push out. I want the rules to be clear-cut enough that we can have robots making the calls. In order to do that we need to work on this forward progress nonsense.

I propose a rule change for forward progress that would make it challengeable. This is just a suggestion--a starting point:
Forward progress has been "stopped" if one of the following occurs:
1. The ball carrier has not gained yards for five seconds while being contacted by defenders.
2. The ball carrier is pushed back five yards from the point on the run which was farthest forward with constant contact by defenders.
I think the 5-yard/5-second rule sounds reasonable, but it may not be perfect. Suggestions for changes? I'm all ears.

While we're at it can we make holding a 5-yard penalty? Ten yards for touching a guy's shoulder in the wrong way seems like a bit much.

Posted on: June 5, 2009 9:10 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2009 3:36 pm

Stanley Cup Finals - Almost Everything Is Even

Detroit won by 2 in the first 2 games. Pittsburgh won by 2 in the next 2. Goals are even (5 apiece). The series is even at 2. A bunch of other stats are even, too. Let's go to the table:
Stats are shown Pittsburgh/Detroit
                    PIM         FO           Shots        Hits
Game 1:    2/4          16/39      32/30        32/33
Game 2:    21/7        27/24      32/26        36/17
Game 3:    4/6          23/24      21/29        33/34
Game 4:    10/8        26/34      31/39        39/43

Total:         37/25      92/121    116/114   140/127

But the PIM totals need to be adjusted. At the end of game 2 (20 seconds left), 5 minutes were given to Detroit, and 14 were given to Pittsburgh (one was a 10 minute GM). Since there was so little time left, they weren't really served, so let's discount those. The new PIM totals are 23/20.

The Pens have 1 shorthanded goal to Detroit's 0. Hardly enough of a difference.

The Pens have 4 PPG's to Detroit's 1. That makes up for the faceoff difference.

After all that math, it looks like everything is pretty much even (except the number of games left in the series). Still the slight majority of people would probably tell you that Detroit is a better team (contrary to a very loud slight minority). After all that work, though, we're basically back to the start. Amazing how these things work out sometimes, huh?

Category: NHL
Posted on: May 28, 2009 10:09 pm

Some Classes of Hockey Players

I wanted to classify some of the kinds of hockey players that "get in the heads of their opponents". These players contribute a lot to the emotional game of hockey. I only have a few classes, but they are well-defined. My examples will mostly come from Eastern Conference teams because I am a Penguins fan, who grew up in Flyers country, and is dating a Sabres fan. Let's begin.

Stars (not necessarily from Dallas)
Stars get in their oppoents' heads by drawing attention and making (or at least threatening to make) clutch plays. Stars are usually skaters, but can be goalies. They are usually easy to pick out because no one will stop talking about them (Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Marian Hossa, etc.). They have skill and they end up on Sportscenter.

These guys are just annoying. They don't usually have any particular amazing skill, but they just bug people. They talk smack before faceoffs, they celebrate too much, they do stupid things like jump around in front of goalies, but they don't always do shameful things. They screen well, they nip at guys on breakaways, and they get the crowd excited (either for them or against them). Sean Avery is pretty much a pest (on and off the ice).

They're scary. They're big. They're merciless. If you hear footsteps, it's probably one (or two) of them. If you play the puck near the boards, you'd better get rid of it fast or you're getting hit hard. If you take a cheapshot at a player on their team, they will find you and hurt you. They can make you nervous. They don't say much; They let their hits say it for them. Andrew Peters of the Sabres is an enforcer through and through.

These guys are somewhere between enforcers and pests. They don't hit as hard, but they like to talk a bit. They get into fights, but they don't always win. Either way, they try to pump up the home crowd. They kind of annoy you and kind of scare you. It's not much on either front, but sometimes it's just enough to make you slip up a bit. Daniel Carcillo took this role in game 6 against the Penguins this year:
youtube video of the fight (the fight starts about a minute in, and note the crowd pumping at the end).

These are the classes I have so far. You can only be one out of pest, enforcer, or goon, but you can be a star as well as one of those.

Category: NHL
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