Can you believe how quick the season is cruising on by? Gosh, it feels like yesterday that this article series begun and here we are now – the fifth installment. Much like cheese and wine, the more it ages, the better it gets. This week’s edition of the journey has twists and turns but all comes back to home sweet home. Thus, in the words of the late announcer Johnny Gilbert and Rod Roddy, “come on down!”
Grinders, Shakers, & Movers
Hockey, much like other sports, encompasses numerous ups and downs. This season is definitely thus far is an example of that. The first 10 games of the season were anything but joyous in most fans’ eyes – mine included. Coming back home with a 3-5-2 record and just 8 points in the coffers is not how you would want to start the season. However, momentum did tick up bit towards the end of the stretch as they came back home. With the team back, it was good to see them again. Believe me, I missed just as much as others in Preds country. A four game home-stand may be the cure the doctor ordered to bring the team back into shape. It started last Saturday (11/05/16) a little bumpy with a 3-2 shootout loss against Carolina. After a long and intense workout thereafter, the team regained focus, gelled, and garnered back-to-back wins against Ottawa and St. Louis with a pair of 3-1 scores. Once down on their luck only a few games ago, the team has now obtained points in five straight games and can make it six in a row when the Ducks come waddling into town Saturday night. As many have anticipated, the team that looked top notch on paper is finally becoming one in reality.
Getting Rough With The Refs
Referees have one of the hardest jobs on the ice – keeping the game under control and enforcing penalties and infractions when necessary. Last week I took some time to discuss ones that are rarely called let alone enforced. This week’s review of penalties looks at ones that are commonly called during a game. Similar to the odd ones mentioned last week, these may be hard to understand at first but as you become more familiar with the game, they’re easy to spot. All penalties mentioned this go round carry two minutes in the box unless the referee decides otherwise. Let’s go to the board and call out the eight most common penalties likely to be seen during a game:
- Boarding – happens when an opposing team player violently checks another into the boards (the white block above the ice with the glass that wiggles sometimes) while the other can’t defend himself.
- Cross-Checking – assessed when a player who has their hands spread approximately shoulder-width apart on his stick and then knocks a player down with that part of the stick’s shaft between the hands. Think of using a rectangular baton to tackle another onto the ice.
- Delay Of Game – a penalty that occurs when a player intentionally stalls the pace of the game. This includes shooting a puck over the glass and out of play or excessive time taken between line changes while a game is in session or between whistles.
- Goalkeeper Interference – happens when a player tussles with a goalie intentionally. Have to protect the bro in between the pipes now.
- High Sticking – one of the more common penalties called when a player hits another player above their shoulders with their stick.
- Hooking – this slash and dash penalty occurs when a player uses his stick to restrict another player’s movement on the ice. Can be confused with tripping which will be explained in a moment.
- Roughing – a penalty that is assessed to players when they get into a tussle but don’t engage in an all-out brawl. A penalized player must strike another with his hand in order for this to land them a one-way ticket to the box.
- Tripping – often confused with hooking, this penalty is assessed to one that tries to cause another to fall down onto the ice. Tripping can occur with either using their body or stick.
“Despite the violent nature of ice hockey, it should be played by gentlemen. You should never attempt to injure an opponent or resort to unsportsmanlike behavior. With that, minor penalties are a part of hockey” as quoted from icehockey.isport.com. Next week, we conclude our discussion on penalties for now as we talk about the most severe infractions a player can get while on the ice.
Bold Moves, Buckets, & Ankle Blisters
Previously mentioned at the beginning of the article series, one of the things that I aim to do is to learn the sport of hockey inside and out. While
learning the concepts of hockey is one thing, doing it on the ice and in person is another. Hence, for the first time in 15 years, I laced up and roamed the ice during an open skate at the Ford Ice Center this past Sunday. Naturally, as soon as I got on the ice, I looked like I was booging to You Should Be Dancing by the Bee Gees with my legs, body, and arms flailing in all directions. It was comical to see and I wish you were there. Let’s just say for the remainder of my 40 minute workout on the ice, I was circling the frozen pond with buckets. Yes, buckets! The price I paid for bucketing around the ice was a small blister on my left ankle. Don’t worry; it’ll ride up with wear. But, gosh, was it fun!
Soon after plowing buckets on the ice, I made the executive decision to purchase my first pair of skates. Nothing fancy really. If you intend to buy a pair, get ones that are snug and cushy for your feet and ankles. The ones purchased will quickly come in handy as I am participating in my first session ever learning how to play the game and skate this coming Sunday. I am stocked and can’t wait to share the experience with y’all next week. Count on it!
Honorable Horn Blasts For The Home Team
With time is running a bit short this week so I’ll be brief on the honorable mentions since the horn needs a tune up. Honks go to Filip Forsberg for leading the team with 1 goal and 10 assists; Calle Jarnkrok for a pair in the net against the Blues; and James Neal doing a wheel and deal with a goal in the last four straight games. Way to go guys!
Final Thoughts Before Next Time
As we get closer to the holidays, friends and families will gather and take a moment to be grateful for what they have. Next week’s article will be one focused on the family and my continuing quest to grow stronger as a skater, player, educator, and member of the Nashville community. While #theride may just be traveling locally these next couple of weeks, #hockeylife can go anywhere you want it to.