Monday, February 4, 2013

Columbus Blue Jackets Schedule Feb 4 - 10

Columbus Blue Jackets Summary
Current Rank:  13th Western Conference / 5th Central Division
Current Record:  3-5-1 (7 pts)
Home Record:  2-2-1
Away Record:  1-3-0

This week of games will all be played at Nationwide Arena.  It is part of a 6 game home stand with games from January 31 to February 11.

Columbus Blue Jackets Schedule
February 4- February 10. All times EST.
All information was correct at the time of publishing.
Los Angeles Kings at Columbus Blue Jackets
Tuesday, February 5
Los Angeles' Current Rank:  14th Western Conference / 5th Pacific Division
Los Angeles' Current Record:  2-3-2 (6 pts)
Los Angeles' Away Record:  1-2-1
Blue Jackets' Record vs. Kings This Season: 0-0-0
Blue Jackets' Record Last Season vs. Kings:  2-2-0
Last Game vs. Blue Jackets: This will be the first game against the Kings this season.

The Kings are the current Stanley Cup Champions.

Calgary Flames at Columbus Blue Jackets
Thursday, February 7
Calgary's Current Rank: 15th Western Conference / 5th Northwest Division
Calgary's Current Record: 1-3-2 (4 pts)
Calgary's Away Record:  0-0-1
Blue Jackets' Record vs. Flames This Season: 0-0-0
Blue Jackets' Record Last Season vs. Flames: 3-0-1
Blue Jacket's Last Game vs. Flames: This will be the first game against the Flames this season.

Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets
Sunday, February 10
Edmonton's Current Rank: 7th West Conference / 2nd NW Divison
Edmonton's Current Record:  4-3-1 (9 pts)
Edmonton's Away Record:  2-2-1
Blue Jackets' Record vs. Oilers This Season: 0-0-0
Blue Jackets' Record Last Season vs. Oilers: 1-3-0
Blue Jackets' Last Game vs. Oilers: This will be the first game against the Oilers this season.

The Blue Jackets will wear their cannon third jerseys this game.

Winnipeg Jets Schedule Feb 4 - 10

Winnipeg Jets Summary

Current Rank:  10th in the Eastern Conference / 2nd in Southeast Division
Current Record:  3-4-1 (7pts)
Home Record:  2-1-0
Away Record:  1-3-1


Winnipeg Jets Schedule
February 3 - February 10. All times EST.
All information was correct at the time of publishing.

Florida Panthers at Winnipeg Jets
Tuesday, February 5

Florida's Current Rank:  13th Eastern Conference / 4th Southeast Division
Florida's Current Record:  3-5-0 (6 pts)
Florida's Away Record: 1-3-0
Jets' Record vs. Panthers This Season:  0-1-0
Jets' Record Last Season vs. Panthers:  3-2-1
Jets' Last Game vs. Panthers:  Panthers 6, Jets 3 at Florida

Toronto Maple Leafs at  Winnipeg Jets
Thursday, February 7

Toronto's Current Rank:  8th Eastern Conference / 4th Northeast Division
Toronto's Current Record: 4-4-0 (8 pts)
Toronto's Away Record: 3-1-0
Jets' Record vs. Maple Leafs This Season: 0-0-0
Jets' Record Last Season vs. Maple Leafs:  2-2-1
Jets' Last Game vs. Maple Leafs: This will be the first game against the Maple Leafs this season.
Winnipeg Jets at Ottawa Senators
Saturday, February 9

Ottawa's Current Rank: 6th Eastern Conference /3rd Northeast Division
Ottawa's Current Record: 5-3-1 (11 pts)
Ottawa's Home Record: 3-0-1
Jets' Record vs. Senators This Season: 0-0-0
Jet's Record Last Season vs. Senators: 1-3-0
Jets' Last Game vs. Senators:  4-1 loss in Winnipeg
The Senators are scheduled to wear their third jerseys this game.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I have been out of town recently, so there has been a lack of updates.  My apologies.  I will update as soon as possible.  Look for calendars for the upcoming Jets and Blue Jackets games.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Analysis of Columbus No Goal: Bad Call, and Chicago Wins

The Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated, and the Referee made the wrong call.

Blackhawks 3, Blue Jackets 2

Let's go the video with 7:25 to go in the second period.  The Jackets are on the powerplay and down by one.

Referee Dan O'Rourke was wrong.  And here's why...

First things first.  This possible goal was NOT subject to video review.  Video review only reviews factual matters. 

Rule 38.4 - Situations Subject to Video Review -

The following situations are subject to review by the Video Goal Judge:
(i) Puck crossing the goal line.
(ii) Puck in the net prior to the goal frame being dislodged
(iii) Puck in the net prior to, or after expiration of time at the end of the period
(iv)  Puck directed or batted into the net by a hand or foot or deliberately batted with any part of the attacking player's body. ...
(v) Puck deflected into the net off an Official
(vi) Puck struck with a high-stick...
(vii) To establish the correct time on the official game clock...
(viii) Establishing "good hockey goals", For example, but not limited to puck going through the mesh...

Again, none of these are matter of opinion questions.  Sure, there is some debate over where a puck might be, so did it cross the line?  But the base is simple, not opinion.  For example, the puck entering the net after the referee deciding the play is dead, even before he blows his whistle.  A puck entering the net before or after a whistle is NOT subject to review.  This goes back to Rule 31.

Rule 31.2 Disputes

"...As there is a human factor involved in blowing the whistle to stop play, the Referee may deem the play to be stopped slightly propr to the whistle actually being blown.  The fact htat the puck may come loose or cross the goal line prior to the sound of the whistle has no bearing if the Referee has ruled the play has been stopped prior to this happening."

So, what happened in Columbus?  The puck clearly entered the net. 

It was disallowed under Rule 78.5 (v). 

"Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee and the appropriate announcement made by the Public Address Announcer for the following reasons:

"...When an attacking player has interfered with a goalkeeper in his goal crease."

This rule alone does not specify what "interference" is.  Luckily, there is a seperate, lengthy explanation elsewhere.  First, interference on a goaltender is specifically the call of the on-ice official and NOT, by Rule 69.1, subject to video review.  So let's dive into the contact inside the crease.

Rule 69.3 Contact Inside the Goal Crease.

"[1] If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. 

"[2] If a goalkeeper, in the act of establishing his position within his goal crease, initiates contact with an attacking player who is in the goal crease, and this results in an impairment of the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. 

"[3] If, after any contact by a goalkeeper who is attempting to establish position in his goal crease, the attacking player does not immediately vacate his current position in the goal crease (i.e. give ground to the goalkeeper), and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed. In all such cases, whether or not a goal is scored, the attacking player will receive a minor penalty for goalkeeper interference.

"[4] If an attacking player establishes a significant position within the goal crease, so as to obstruct the goalkeeper’s vision and impair his ability to defend his goal, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

"[5] For this purpose, a player “establishes a significant position within the crease” when, in the Referee’s judgment, his body, or a substantial portion thereof, is within the goal crease for more than an instantaneous period of time."

So, what's fact and what's fiction?  We've got five paragraphs to look at.  First, neither #18 RJ Umberger or #71 Nick Foligno of Columbus established a significant position within the goal crease, so let's ignore the last two paragraphs.

There WAS contact (dispite the announcers saying there wasn't) by Foligno and the Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.  It is best seen in the overhead, happening at the 47 second mark in the video.  But it was Crawford initiating the contact, not Foligno.  So throw out the first paragraph.
Let's glance at the third.  Foligno immediately vacated the area, so there is no penalty.

The legitimacy of this goal comes in the second paragraph.  Crawford was trying to establish position within in crease.  He was moving from right to left.  Foligno was clearly in the goal crease.  The shot was made on Crawford's glove side.  He was able to fully extend his pads.  He was able to put the glove in a better position.  He was able to defend the goal, even though there was contact inside the crease. 

According to the second paragraph in Rule 69.3, a goal shall be disallowed only if a a goalkeeper iniates contact with his goal crease AND this results in an impairment of the goalkeeper’s ability to defend his goal.  Since Crawford was fully able to defend his goal dispite contact with Foligno inside his goal crease, I would argue the goal should have been allowed.

Bottom line:  Did Crawford protest the goal?  Goalies protest all the time.  They only go for the water bottle when they know they have been defeated.  What did Crawford do?  Water bottle.

This was a bad no goal call.  And that's not my just my opinion as a Columbus fan:  I read the rules.

Anyway, the no-goal kept Columbus down by one.  Chicago would add another before a late third period goal by Jacket Artem Anisimov signalled a possible comeback.  Alas, it wouldn't happen.

Major props to the Jackets for not just rolling over, dispite being down by Blackhawk goals and a bad call.  They fought.  These guys are fighters.  Especially Jared Boll who got whistled for a fight and unsportsmanlike conduct soon after the no-goal in the third.
The Blue Jackets will play the Dallas Stars in Columbus on Monday night.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Jets Top Pens, Deny Crosby Hat Trick

A two goal first period for Sidney Crosby left the Jets in a hole heading into intermission.  But the Jets would come out of the locker room flying.

Jets 4, Pittsburgh 2

The always sold out MTS Centre got its first look at Sidney Crosby who did not play last season in Winnipeg due to injury.  And Sid the Kid lived up to the hype.  He put the Pittsburgh Penguins up by two scores.  The first came a little over 4 minutes on a slapshot while the second was past the 14:00 mark on the backhand.  It certainly seemed like the Pens were on their way to a victory and a Crosby hat trick.
Goalie Tomas Vokoun was acquired to upgrade the Penguins’situation with long time netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.  This was Vokoun's second start this year.  He shutdown several Winnipeg attempts to sustain offensive pressure in the first period. 

But something Winnipeg Coach Claude Noel said in the lockerroom must have sparked the team because they came out hard and fast.  Evander Kane got the ball rolling with a wrister at 1:10 in the second followed by a Dustin Byfuglien powerplay goal at 13:35, tieing the game.  It was Jets' Captain Andrew Ladd that scored the game winner four and a half minutes later.  An empty net goal just with just 65 seconds left off the stick of Blake Wheeler sealed the first home win for the Jets this year and the second of the season.

Ondrej Pavelec did not let the two goals scored on him in the first phase him.  He responded  under heavy Pittsburgh pressure in the second period’s first eight minutes brilliantly. Pavelec made three point-blank stops on Evgeni Malkin.  Malkin, historically, destroys the Jets.  In thre games last season between the two clubs, he scored three goals and had eight assists.  In all, Pav's had 33 saves.

Both clubs were extrodinarily disciplined tonight.  Winnipeg only committed one penalty (an Olli Jokinen hooking call in the second) and Pittsburgh was only whistled twice.  It just so happens that it was Malkin sent to the box for a hook that allowed the game-tieing powerplay goal.

The Jets will back in action on Sunday as they host the New York Islanders.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rough and Tumble Game As Colorado Blanks Blue Jackets

I was following the fight at the Pepsi Center in Denver, and a hockey game broke out.

Avalanche 4, Blue Jackets 0

Things did not get off to a good start for Columbus.  Just 51 seconds into the game, Colorado's PA Parenteau.  That caused Patrick Bordeleau of Colorado and Jared Boll of Columbus to fight quickly thereafter.  Things were chippy as both teams starting hitting a little harder, particularly when Av's Matt Duchene netted a second goal putting the Union boys in a two-goal hole at 12:25 in the opening period.  A Columbus powerplay was negated early when an undisciplined Brandon Dubinsky was whistled for a crosscheck and an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Luckily, nothing became of that Colorado powerplay.

Another fight symbolized the boiling over of emotions; a retalitory fight at the end of the first for knocking over the Columbus tender Sergei Bobrovsky sent Jacket Dubinsky back to the sin bin along with Av's fight-loser Jamie McGinn.

The intermission didn't calm the nerves as Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog and Columbus' Derek Dorsett came out swinging.  Roughing calls for both men at 44 seconds in.  There were several other "group hugs" between the two hockey clubs that didn't amount to penalties throughout the game.  But this tough-man mentality did not help the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The penalties rained down from the officials.  A roughing call followed by a roughing call followed by a fight, and roughing and a fight.  Hook here, hold there.  Roughing.  You know.  Hockey.  I'm not suggesting the Referees were unfair, but I just wanted to show the chippiness of this game.  Dorsett alone got three roughing calls in the second period alone.

John Mitchell added to the Columbus woes as he came up in the zone for a nasty wrister to put the puck behind Bobrovsky.  That put the Jackets behind 3-0 with a little over 15 minutes to go in the third period.  The icing on the cake came at 18:42 mark for Duchene.  AAAAAAAAAAVVVAAAALANCCCHHHEE GOOOOAAAL! as their PA Announcer Alan Roach would say.

The Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov was shutting the door shot after shot.  He didn't give up a lot of rebounds and seemed to see the puck very well.  He certainly had some help in front of him.

The Avalanche kept ahead of the Blue Jackets in the shots department for the first period; a deficit that was erased in the second when the Jackets outshot their opponents 12-6.  This is a good sign for the Columbus club.  They didn't give up and roll over, especially after being in that hole less than a minute into the game off the Avs' first shot of the game.  They kept their shots up and fought back, literally.   They did take some unnecessary penalties, but the penalty kill unit was strong.  Unfornately, the powerplay people didn't cash in, 0-5 in the first two periods.

This is the first shutout the Blue Jackets have suffered this season and the second regulation loss in a row (third including a shootout loss to the Red Wings on Monday).  The scoreboard was not represenative of the fire the Blue Jackets showed.

The Blue Jackets return to action on Saturday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.  The Blackhawks will be undefeated with a 4-0-0 record.

NHL Mascot Beats LA Laker in Basketball Challenge

The Los Angeles Kings' mascot Bailey challenged NBA superstar Dwight Howard to a shooting competetion at a Lakers' practice.

Who would you put your money on? 

The multi-million dollar professional basketball player?

Or the 5'10" lion mascot of a hockey team?

Yeah, the lion.

It is unclear if the superstar actually lost on purpose or not, but it is certain that Bailey has some skills with the roundball.  He bested Howard from the free-throw line and in 3-pointers. 

Let's go to the video, shot in November.

Steve Sullivan's Hat Trick Sinks Blue Jackets in Phoenix

Coyotes 5, Blue Jackets 1
It was a rough night in the desert for the Columbus Blue Jackets as the team took a regulation loss to the Phoenix Coyotoes.

Neither team managed a goal in the first period.  The Jackets started off slow and down in the shot category, down 8 shots to 2 at one point.  That trend extended into the second when the Coyotes had 17 shots to the Blue Jackets 7.  But as Feder Tyutin proved just 5 and a half minutes after the first intermission, it only takes one shot to get a goal.  The slap shot went past the Yotes' tender Jason LaBarbera who was replacing injuried starting goalie Mike Smith.  Smith substained a lower body injury and did not return.

The injury to Smith could effect the local Gwinnett Gladiators as they are the ECHL affiliates of the Portland Pirates and Phoenix Coyotes. The Pirates will likely send a player to Phoenix (actually San Jose, where the Coyotes will play on Thursday) sending a Gladiator up to stand between the pipes in Maine. 

Phoenix got to play that annoying goal-scoring coyote howl sound effect not too long after that.  A rebound was put home by Steve Sullivan about two minutes after the Tyutin goal.  Another wrister from Oliver Ekman-Larsson off a mishandled while Jacket tender Steve Mason was caught off guard.  Mason got the start over Sergei Bobrovsky who had great performances for the Blue Jackets in the opening two games, getting the team into a shootout both nights.  In this shortened NHL season, all teams will likely be using their backup goalies significantly more percentage-wise than they would otherwise since the time between games is a lot less than normal.

Each teams demonstrated great discipline throughout the first part of the night. Neither team send too many men to the box, including a penalty-free first period. Both teams took silly "too many men" penalties in the second, including an extremely disappointing one for Columbus with just three seconds left in the 2nd.
However, a rare coincidental pair of minor tripping penalties committed by Columbus at the 3:20 mark of the third put both Derick Brassard and Derek Dorsett in the box, giving Phoenix a full 2:00 5-on-3 powerplay. They would need just one minute for Sullivan to wrist his second goal of the game. Sullivan would notch the fourth Phoenix goal at 10:01, solidifing his 8th career hat-trick and the Coyotes win. 
The frustrations started showing late in the game as evidenced by a roughing penalty and a slashing call.  The Jackets have to control their emotions if they want to give themselves a chance to win late in the game.  And the way this team has looked so far, there will be quite a many games to be won in the last period.  The final tally would be 5-1 for Phoenix.

It was disappointing the team wasn't able to get more shots on goal, particularly immediately following the replacement of injured Phoenix goalie Smith.  Smith was a big part of the impressive Phoenix run in the playoffs last year, so the Blue Jackets needed to pounce on the opportunity to face an unprepared goalie.  Actually, they never really took a lot of shots on goal, even after the "first minute jitters" as the Coyotes outshot the Jackets 42-26.  Since they gave their starting tender Bobrovsky the night off, the Jackets really needed to have a strong defensive showing, and they simply did not do that.  The Coyotes needed a big game after a slow start to the season (two losses), and they certainly got it against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

The Blue Jackets will play on the road again tomorrow in Colorado with a 9:00 start time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Suspension of the Season - PHI's Brayden

"Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn has been suspended for one game for charging New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in NHL Game No. 30 in New Jersey on Tuesday, January 22, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

"Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Schenn will forfeit $4,702.70. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

"The incident occurred at 12:37 of the second period. No penalty was assessed on the play."

A few notes:

First, it is good to see the NHL Department of Player Safety continuing the videos.  It is good to hear Brendon Shanahan (though we didn't see him and his jacket / no tie self) in this video.

I have always argued it is good for these videos to exist because it allows the NHL to explain, with evidence, their position regarding a supplimental discipline decision.  I certainly hope there are more videos on why they didn't suspend someone after controversal hits, but I don't have hopes that will happen. 

Second, this supplimental discipline seems reasonable.  No priors, no apparent injury, not a particularly vicious hit, but certainly outside the lines of acceptability.  Yeah, one game seems fair.

Last, why in the world wasn't this play called on the ice?  Referee Jean Hebert was behind the net, watching the puck go around the ice.  Referee Brad Watson was at center ice near the penalty boxes, also watching.  Hebert didn't see how far Brayden had travelled, but certainly saw the impact.  Watson should have been able to see the distance and the hit.  I put the onus of this non-call on Hebert because, although distance is mentioned in the rules, it is not the overriding factor.  It's the degree of the hit.

Rule 42:1 Charging

"A minor of major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or chages an opponent in any manner.

"Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner.  A "charge" may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice."

It is apparent that the jumping and knocking over of Volchenkov should have been enough to merit a penalty for charging.  If it wasn't for the distance traveled (say, if Brayden had been standing there and jumped), Brayden would have been knocked over by Volchenkov's momentum. 

If you missed this game, you missed Ilya Kovalchuk scoring on a penalty shot.

Hockey and Life: Interference

I've decided to relate some life lessons on this blog.  Something a little different.  I've just started thinking that many hockey rules, or at least their names, can be applied in real life.  These are mostly my interpretations of things, so keep that in mind.  I bearly know what I'm talking about when it comes to the NHL Rule Book- and that contains rules written down.  Life?  Not so.

Anyway, I wanted to take a minute to discuss a situation that has been on my mind a lot over the past several months:  interference.

It's Rule 56 in the NHL Rule Book.  Essentially, you can't impede the progress of a player who doesn't have possession of the puck.  So what does this have to do with life?

Well, I'll use my own life as an example.  I may have lost a friend because of interference.  There was a severe difference of opinion on the right course of action after someone's heartbreaking and depressing situation.  One person's noble gestures started coming across not the way it was intended.

Something happened over a few weeks and it left the person low.  Very very low and depressed.  They weren't eating right.  They didn't sleep well.  There was a lot of crying.  It was one of those situations where the world just seemed to completely crumble around them.  A truly horrible way to see a friend.  Luckily, there were still going to work.  Still interacting with others.  Still participating in life, even though it was very difficult and hard.

The situation was complicated because the catalyst involved one friend acting in a manner that hurt another friend, which obviously leaves the rest in the group in a truly ackward position.  Now, we can't be held responsible for the actions of our friends, but I've discovered that a friend's proximity has a ripple effect (or is it affect?) on those around them.  It is an unfortunate aftermath any time there is a disruption in a group.

Well, in my situation, the person was hurt and became a broken heap of a shell they once were.  This just destroyed them to their very foundation.  And they asked for time to recover in their own time in order to build themselves up with self-worth.  They had previously put a lot of faith in their friends and the sting they obviously felt when they were (at least in their mind) betrayed by some of those friends was hard.  They decided to build themselves back up without anyone from that group around. 

That is a hard thing to hear.  You want to be there for someone when they fall.  And it is heartbreaking to think that just the thought of you could be hurtful.  It is so hard to watch someone build themselves knowing they don't want your assistance.  But, in this case, it seems to have been necessary.  They had to build their own foundation and restart.  And they asked for time to heal away from the group.

This is where the notion of interference comes in.  Good intentions got in the way.  Instead of being allowed the space they desired, it was decided that a nice reminder of past happiness or future good-times would be appropriate.  A picture from a past vacation together.  Or a "hey, thinking about you!" text ever now and again could only raise their spirits, right? 

That was interference.  It wasn't meant to be, but it was.  That happy vacation picture?  Not only did it remind them of that happy trip, but other trips.  Trips that included the people that hurt them.  Thinking of you texts?  Same thing.  Good times were seen with a heavy shadow of doubt.  After all, the person that hurt them was a friend.  A close friend.  Someone they loved.  The thought was that all those friends, close friends, loved ones were capable of creating such pain.

You may be thinking to yourself "well, they just need to get over it," and I absolutely agree with that.  They do need to get over it.  Life sucks sometimes.  Life isn't perfect.  They can't forever live in the past.  True, true and true. 

But how long does it take for one to get over it?  That moment?  A year?  A few months?  What's the timeline?  And who decides when they can get over it? 

I wish the request for space and time had been adhired to.  Enough time hadn't pasted to reach out to them.  They felt they needed to work on themselves significantly and not place so much of their emotions on the actions and reactions of their close friends.  I am happy to know that they feel they are in a much better place after this experience, though the pain and distrust among that group are still there.  They weren't given the time to deal with that emotion in their way.

It was intereference to prematurely reach out to them.  They knew not everyone was guilty of past evils.  They knew many wanted to support them and only had good intentions.  But, in this situation, those intentions were only painful reminders of a past pain because of the proximity. 

It should have been obvious that space and time was the best course of action, even though it is hard to give that to someone in pain.  They initially asked for the time, then ignored those friendly texts, then blocked and erased messages until it finally culminated in a direct (and frankly very strongly worded) angry blow out.  I am ashamed it got to the point of just distasteful cussing, but frankly can see why it got there.  There were signs, but, I don't know, thickheadedness maybe got in the way.  We can all be a bit thickheaded, espescially when trying to do the best thing for a friend.

Intereference.  It's a funny thing.  There are times when interfering is the absolute, without question thing to do.  If a friend is drinking their problems away or not going to work or avoiding EVERYONE or actively harming themselves or going to harm others or turning to drugs or anything like that, then I strongly recommend you step in.  Without question.  But a time and space request away from a group whom certain members created such conflict in order to attempt to build one's self up and heal emotional damage?  Maybe that should have been respected.

I would urge you not to interfere with a person taking time to build a broken heart or you might just destroy a friendship with misinterpreted good intentions.  If they ask for help, help them.  But if they ask for space, respect that too.

I certainly don't want anyone reading this to lose a friend because of their interference.

I hope I haven't lost a friend, though it seems that way at this moment.  I don't know how long it will take them to heal and hopefully rejoin the group (at least, in some capacity).  Maybe they never will.  But the time to help them personally or welcome them back will come when the person that was so hurt makes the first move.  Otherwise, it's just interference.


Okay, enough deep stuff for now.  Again, those are just my thoughts on life with a little bit of hockey terms mixed in there.  It may have been hard to follow, but I don't think it would be appropriate to name names or exactly say what happened.  Frankly, my version of the story is through my eyes anyway, so it is probably a little skewed. 

For those of you that suffered through all that, a reward:

If you like-a da ladies:  here you go.

If you dig guys:  this is for you.

And something we all can agree on:  Sean Avery bleeding after a fight.

I'll do more of these from time to time.  I may not always use my own life, but it will always be my own take.  Some rules really do just lend themselves to life lessons:  Offsides.  Diving.  Fighting.  Hooking. 

...I may need to reconsider donig an entry on that last one.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jets Grab First Win Of The Season

Jets 4, Capitals 2
The Capitals opened their home season tonight against the Winnipeg Jets, and the Jets made it quite the unhappy homecoming at the Verizon Center.  Jets took their first win of the season with a 4-2 final despite a fullhouse of rapid Cap fans "rockin' the red".
The Jets scored the first goals in their first two games, and those would be the only goals of those games.  That was not the case tonight.  Washington's Matt Hendricks deflected a shot past Ondrej Pavelec just about half way through the first, taking the early lead.  The Jets tied it up on the powerplay with a deflection of their own off the stick of Evander Kane just two and half minutes later.  Another goal on the powerplay, courtsey of Andrew Ladd, came at 16:26 in the period.  And that tally by the Winnipeg captain put the Jets in the lead for good.
Blake Wheeler and Jim Slater also put shots past Cap's goalie Braden Holtby in the second, which would be the final goals for the Jets.  But they would be enough.

The flatfooted Washington club added a goal late in the third, but it was far too late.  Mike Ribeiro of the Capitals didn't help his team as he was charged with a two minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct.  At this time, I am uncertain what exactly the penalty was for, but Jets radio seemed to think it was a verbal incident.  He was jawing all night about an apparently missed high-sticking call, so that's got my bet at the moment.

Another note related to hockey rules:  a Jet was whistled for that aggressive hacking at the wrists the NHL is trying to cut down on.  Hitting the hands of a player was once more accepted, but anything around that area is getting called this year, even if the slash doesn't actually hit the hands.  Slashes that break the stick are also going to be slashing penalties 9 times out 10 this year, though the officials can use their judgement.

Things certainly went well for the Jets tonight.  They stayed relatively discipline, only going to the box four times (plus two for seperate fights involving Chris Thorburn and Slater).  This was also the second game in two nights and third in four, and those first two weren't all that good.  A loss to open the season at home and a long game against the Bruins last night put this team in prime position to start the season with one point.  But the players rallied and dug deep, decisively beating the Southeastern Division foe. 

This is especially comforting as it is the second straight away game, and last season the jets struggled away from MTS Centre, and downright sucked on the second game.  Without the emotion of the awesome Winnipeg fanbase, the team was void of spirit.  That seems to have turned around this year as the only points thus far this season have been earned on the road.  Only time will tell.  The next opportunity to test the road skils of this hockey club will next Tuesday when the Jets travel to Montreal.
The Jets return home on Friday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Oh, and the Jets radio is still screwed up.  I tried on their website and that didn't work at all.  I tried the Caps feed from their site and it was the St. Louis Blues game in Chicago.  The archive was Game 7 of last year's opening round of the playoffs.  Luckily, the feeds on's GameCenter are working just fine.

Blue Jackets Comeback Falls Short In Shootout

Red Wings 4, Blue Jackets 3 (Shootout Loss)
If you are going to lose in the shootout, at least lose against one of the most spectacular goals you'll see in some time. 

Damien Brunner's spectacular goal was the only one of the shootout, coming at the fifth round.  An earlier shot by Cam Atkinson was waived off after video review showed he scored on the rebound.

I had the pleasure of watching this game on TV and there were many things I noticed taking place at the soldout Nationwide Arena.

First, thank God and the manufacturer for Sergei Bobrovsky and the pipes.  The Columbus tender was incredible throughout the night, especially in the first.  3 Detroit shots hit the post, so some of the credit goes to the metal frame. 

The Blue Jackets fought hard for the puck all night long, but lost momentum early in the second period.  They also lost control of the neutral zone in the second, leading to a 2-0 Red Wings lead.  But the Jackets came back to tie things up, then take the lead, including a beautiful goal by Atkinson.

Both teams struggled to stay out to the box, which was obvious from the opening faceoff.  This was the fourth faceoff in two days on the opening draw. 

On a hockey rules' side, Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg was whistled for slashing.  He broke the stick of Brandon Dubinsky.  As mentioned in the off-season meetings, these plays should be whistled for slashing the vast majority of the time.  It is something the on-ice officials will be paying more attention to this year.

Another violation came at 13:07 in the second when Red Wing's center Daniel Cleary was sent to the box for playing the puck with his hand during a faceoff.  This is one of the brand new rules this season.

The wheel kinda fell of the wing, so to speak, in the third for Detroit as they put Columbus on the powerplay three times late in the game. 

The biggest thing I noticed was the inconsistancy of the Blue Jackets throughout the night.  For example, their first penalty kill was amazing.  Detroit didn't manage a shot on goal and Columbus appeared totally in control of the situation.  the second PK was sloppy and Detroit set the tone.  Perhaps it was opening night jitters or the new season without pre-season games or a full training camp, but the Jackets will need to gain some consistancy to advance.

Still, the team is certainly looking much better this season, holding their own against the likes of Nashville and Detriot, taking 3 of 4 possible points in the first two contests.

The Blue Jackets will travel to Phoenix on Wednesday to take on the Coyotes.


Jets Pick Up One Point In Shootout Loss

Bruins 2, Jets 1 (Shootout Loss)
The most telling statistic in the Jets' 2-1 shootout loss to the Bruins:  Winnipeg did not manage a shot on goal during the final powerplay of regulation (against Zdeno Chara) or at any point during the overtime.
"It's disappointing when you get those opportunities in the end there," Jets forward Evander Kane said. "Myself, I can't be making those bad passes and not generating anything. But that's something that we're going to have to get better at. We'll train up and move forward." 

The Jets, once again, started off promising, scoring the first goal of the game just 1:58 in. Assistant Captain Chris Thorburn took the Jets to an early lead off a rebound from Paul Postma's shot. But at 5:48, an Andrew Ladd pass was picked off, and Tyler Seguin found Ondrej Pavelec out of position making for an easy score. 

Though the team lost, they looked better than they did just two days before, matching the Bruins with 27 shots on goal. 

"Against a good team tonight, in a tough building to play, we did well," Thorburn said. "We did a lot of things good that we can take into [Tuesday's] game [against the Capitals], and there's also some stuff that we can clean up. But overall, we're not happy with the one point that we did get. But we'll take it, move on here, and hopefully get to .500 [Tuesday]." 
The Jets will play at Washington tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New NHL Rules for 2013

The Penguins took it to the Rangers in their matchup at Madison Square Garden Sunday beating the Blueshirts 6-3, but they also gave us rule watchers something to talk about

There are two new rules in the NHL this year.  Well, amendments to old rules really, but the point is that there are things that are no longer acceptable that once were.  One regards faceoff violations and the other one has to do with smothering the puck.

The League has also decided to step up enforcement on some existing rules.  One of those is slashing.  Michael Del Zotto of New York was penalized for slashing the hands of Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy in the second period for his aggressive hacks in the glove area.  In the past, this wouldn't have been a penalty, just a hockey play.  Now, this is a two-minute minor.  Click here for the video.  I'm not embedding it because, frankly, it isn't all that exciting.  Like I said, this is something that would not have been called in years past.

Brandon Sutter of the Pittsburgh Penguins was guilty of breaking one of the new rules for the 2013 season.  Here's the video.

Not terribly exacting stuff, but still.    Under a change to Rule 76.4, centers in the faceoff are no longer allowed to use their hand to bat the puck while trying to win a faceoff until a third player has touched the puck. It's charged as a minor penalty for "delay of game - faceoff violation."

Some time later, the Rangers were whistled for a different penalty tweek that happened since last season.

Under Rule 67.2, a player is permitted to catch the puck out of the air, but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for closing his hand on the puck. Brad Richards was called for delay of game for smothering the puck under the addition to the rule, which mandates a minor penalty anytime a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck.

The video:

These were the only two actual changes to the rule book.  Here is the direct language of the rules with the new words in italics:
Rule 67 - Handling Puck

67.2 Minor Penalty – Player

"A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice. If he catches it and skates with it, either to avoid a check or to gain a territorial advantage over his opponent, a minor penalty shall be assessed for "closing his hand on the puck."

"Any time a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from or prevent an opponent from playing the puck, a minor penalty shall be assessed for "closing his hand on the puck." When this is done in his own team's goal crease area, a penalty shot shall be assessed (67.4) or a goal awarded (67.5).

"A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who, while play is in progress, picks up the puck off the ice with his hand."

Rule 76 - Face-off

76.4 Procedure - Centers:

"Both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off. Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shall result in a minor penalty. This penalty shall be announced as a "Minor Penalty for Delay of Game - Face-off Violation." Once the face-off is deemed complete (and winner of the face-off is clear), hand passes shall be enforced as per Rule 79.


By the way, don't get thrown off by the rules specifically mentioning "Centers".  That doesn't automatically means that a defenseman or a winger stepping into to take the faceoff would be exempt.  While the language does single out centers here, it is not the first time (Rule 60.1 - High Sticking or Rule 76 - Faceoffs for example) and the rules have historically been enforced the same for whomever is there when the puck is dropped.  Center here just means the player taking the faceoff. 

I do wish they would remove the word "center" in these situations because, yeah, it muddies the water and makes the language ever-so-slightly unclear.  While I don't realistically see this as a problem, best to fix a leak in the dam now.

Beyond these new rules, other things were discussed back in August by players, the League, on-ice officials, and the like in a group meeting.  You can refer to the link for specific examples of each topic that was discussed, but I will sum up the eight things that were the main subject of conversation.

1) Interference (Rule 56)

Defenders should be allowed to hit or bump an attacking player immediately after they dumped the puck, but must release the attacker and pursue the puck or otherwise retreat after the contact.  The player falling because of the contact should not have a bearing.  A 1/2 second timeframe was discussed as a guide.

2) Face-off Interference (Rule 56)

Faceoff interference standards were said to be in a good place meaning that contact between players that was immediate and not continuing once the faceoff was complete was acceptable.

3) Holding (Rule 54)

This too was deemed to be appropriately and consistently called.  Essentially, a defending player cannot use their free hand to restrain an attacking player from getting body position.

4) Hooking (Rule 55)

Again, the group decided this was consistantly being called.  Players are going to be penalized for hooking when they reach and have no chance at making a play at the puck, but if the puck is obtainable, a hooking call is often not made if the oppossing player is immediately released. 

5) Slashing (Rule 61)

As discussed earlier, this is one the NHL has decided to increase their awareness and handling of the situation.  Previously, the official had to be certain that contact was made to a player's body and not a player's stick to penalize for slashing.  Now, if the slashing motions occur in the area of the players hands, a penalty can be called.
The act of hacking at the hands was increasingly becoming a method for defending players to use in attempts to disrupt the puck carrier.  For example, Philadelphia's Claude Giroux has a new pair of scars from double wrist surgery in the off-season.  If you ask him about them:

“Those are from (Pittsburgh's Sidney) Crosby,” he says half smiling, but with some tension in his voice. “Every time we'd line up against each other for a face-off during our (2012 playoff) series, instead of going for the puck when it was dropped, he'd hack me across the wrists. I ended up playing the series against (New) Jersey with one of them fractured and had to go for surgery on both of them after we were out of the playoffs.”
Just so there's no question, these two don't like each other.  The group did not specifically discuss this situation at length, but it is still noteworth as a prime example of what I am talking about.

Again, the NHL is cracking down on slashing near the hands.

6) Broken Stick Slashes (Rule 61)
It was discussed whether or not a slash that results in breaking a stick should be an automatic penalty, but the group felt it should not.  It should be penalized most of the time because if a stick was targetted, the risk was high it would be broken and leave a player defenseless; therefore it should be more often called than not, though there is room for judgement.

7) Embellishment (Rule 64)

The group felt the language of the rule was clear and good, but the on-ice officials should call more  "Diving or Embellishing" penalties, particularly when there is an accompanying penalty (more 2+2's).

Rule 64.2 – Minor Penalty – A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player who attemps to draw a penalty by his actions (“diving / embellishment”).

A specific example discussed was this play involving Kris Letang, again of the Pittsburgh Penguins:

The group decided that this was embellishment and the call was missed on the ice.  They also decided that a warning and/or fine should have been assessed to address this action.

8) Attainable Pass (Rule 81.5)

This rule applies to Linesmen waving off icing.  Let me sum it up then give you the nitty-gritty.  If a skater can play it and barely misses it and he is on the attacking side of the center line, icing is waved off. 

For more details, see below:

Linesmen were given the following guidelines to follow during a September 11, 2012 Officials' Training Camp:

81.5 – No Icing (Paragraph 6)

The Linesman shall have discretion to wave off apparent icing infractions on attempted passes if those passes are deemed receivable (attainable). In order for the Linesman to wash out the icing for this reason, the receiving player's stick must be on the attacking side of the center red line, the attempted pass must be within reach and the puck on the ice, the player must make a legitimate effort to play the puck, and he must be eligible to receive the pass (e.g. he cannot be in an off-side position and cannot be involved in a player change that would result in a too many men on the ice penalty if he were to play the puck).

Attainable Pass

Icing is called when:
• player turns the wrong way
• player has only one hand on the stick
• player refuses to touch or attempt to play the puck
• the puck is out of reach of the player's stick
• puck is in the air at the instant you are determining whether or not the pass is attainable
• when the boards (not the ice) causes the puck to bounce or skip over the player's stick
• player not over the center red line or not eligible to play the puck (line change, off-side)

Icing is waived off when:
• player touches the puck over the center red line
• player attempts to play it (within reach, two hands on the stick)
• when a saucer pass is used or the puck is passed through the air, the puck must be on the ice at the time you determine the pass is attainable
• the ice causes the pass to skip over his stick

Note: The rule is attainable pass, NOT attainable shot. Player must make a LEGITIMATE EFFORT to play the puck.

Also, it should be noted that the hybrid icing system (where icing could sometimes be called when the puck reached the goal line without being touched, like minor and international rules always do), is not being used.  And thank God because it would make a mockery of the icing system the NHL uses moreso than it already is. 

So, there's the new NHL Rules for this season.  As you can see, I'm not a fan of touchup icing and much prefer the no-touch application.