Saturday, April 01, 2006

Wild 2 at Canucks 1

I watched the game on SportsNet with my eight year old daughter. For whatever reason for the first time she took interest in the game and had questions. Watching a game with a young non hockey fan leads to some interesting scenarios.

First up was the puck taking a crazy bounce off one of the Referees directly at the Canucks net where a startled Auld had to steer it to safety. Jim and John got into an exchange. John says that if the puck goes directly in off an official a goal is not awarded. That’s a new one. I’m not sure I believe John but he is indeed an ex-NHL goalie so I figure he’d be up on subtle rules like this. An eight year old daughter’s take was “how do you tell which one is the Ref?”

“Ah no worries. There are two of them. They wear the striped shirt with the red arm bands.”

“Why red arm bands?”

“So you can tell them from the linesmen who do not have arm bands.”

After some time of picking out Ref’s and Linesmen her thoughts turned to “what is their job?”

“Ah great question. The Refs get to call penalties. The Linesmen can too but they never do. The Ref blows the whistle when the puck goes out of the rink and he controls the game. He decides when a goal is scored and who scored it. The Linesman looks after offside, icing and they get to stop the players when they fight.” Good enough answer to create another session of officials watching. BTW we’re calling them Zebra’s by now.

“Dad one of those Zebras was waving his arms like this.” She makes the ok sign for an onside play at the blue line. Wow ok.

“It is the Linesmen’s job to make sure the puck doesn’t go over that blue line before any of our players do. The puck must precede the players into the offensive zone. The Linesman will signal like that to tell the players and fans that the puck went across the blue line legally.” We also cover the raised arm for offside.

“Oh so the puck is like royalty. It must be first in line and the players have to follow behind?”

“Yes sweetie but only when it crosses those blue lines.” And good enough for another session of game watching.

“Dad? I think that was offside but the Zebra did not blow the whistle.”

“Ah yes it was dear but there is a slight change in the rule called ‘tag up offside.’ It means that our players can go inside the blue line before the puck but as long as they do not touch the puck or the other team’s players the linesman can decide to wait and give the player a chance to go back outside the line and then come back in after the puck. We call that ‘touching up’ or ‘tagging up.’ Understand?”

“Why do they have off side anyway?”

“Ah errr ummm because it has always been that way? Actually, the offside gives an advantage to the defence. It creates the offence and defence zones. The blue line helps a team defend against getting goals scored. You see, if the defenders can get the puck just over that blue line then all our players have to all go out of the area and have to start again. The blue lines are very important to our game.”

Oh look the first period is over. Nothings happened – still 0 – 0. We’ved covered officials and the finer points of offside. So far so good.

Second period drags on an we are reduced to singing “Boring, Boring” like they would at a English soccer game. Then Chouinard dribbles one through Auld. Oh heck now we’re done. The way this is going I’m seeing 1 - Zip Wild as a real ending.

BUT NO! The Brothers come through! Sedin to Sedin to my other brother Carter(31) and we’re back on even terms.

The second period featured a lot of discussion about scoring goals. For example: “How much do the players get paid if they score a goal? Is it like $10?”

“Well no sweetie. It is much more than that but they do not get paid per goal. If you score lots of goals the team will want to pay you more. If you can not score goals the team will not want to pay you much.” Thinking of rich D-Men, I add “of course stopping goals is important too. If you stop lots of goals the team will want to pay you much too.”

“So the goalie gets paid a lot?”

“Exactly.”

We go a little deeper. “Some players do have rules where they get bonus money if they score lots of goals. But these bonuses are more like you get one bonus if you score 30 goals and another for 40 goals and even more for 50 goals.”

“How much bonus do you get for 50 goals?”

“Oh it depends on the team and the player. In some cases it could be millions of dollars.”

“Wow! Did any of our players get millions of dollars for scoring 50 goals?"

“No sweetie not for a very long time. We had two players Naslund and Bertuzzi who a couple years ago came close to getting bonuses for their goals scored. But they ended up with only 49 and 46 goals.”

“Why what happened?”

“That is a good question. We do not really know. Some people though there could be some selfish play as one tried to make sure he got to 50. Other thought that they stopped scoring as they tried to help the other get to 50. Still others think that the team was more focused on being in first place and that distracted them from their scoring.”

“So were we in first place?”

“Well, again, no sweetie. We came close but no 50 goals, no first place and we lost early in the playoffs too. Then we say well maybe next year.”

“Was next year good?”

“Nope. Not as good. Then we had a year off. And now this year we are not as good again. Each year the team is getting a little less ‘good.’”

Oh look second period is over. Two goals and incentive bonuses covered. Ah love these Wild Minny games. All over the hockey world look at the opportunities Jacques Lemaire is creating for parents to bond with their children.

Third period – half way through and shots are 2-2. “Dad I’m going to bed.”

“Good idea sweetie. This isn’t very exciting is it?”

A total of seven shots in the third. OT settles nothing. The SO is ends with Koivu being one in six to score. Even that was boring.

While the Nucks lost their Shoot Out the Ducks were winning one. Ducks and Stars featured 8 goals and a 2 – 0 shootout win. Dallas’ first lost of the season via the SO.

Since ‘the team meeting’ we have three of six points against Edmonton. Three of four against the Wild. This was the minimum required but OK still on track to get to 95 points.

Next up those same Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on the pond Sunday afternoon.

Ciao,


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1 comment:

  1. I may be wrong, but I thought it was the second time Dallas lost in a SO. Either way, it was a great game!

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