Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Five Minute Major

I did not see all or really much of the hockey game last night. I had important things to do.  I was playing a singles tennis match for most of the hockey game and had to blow a 40-love lead in the 10th and, what became, deciding game.  In order to blow the lead, I had to focus all of my energy on counting the victory, preparing mentally for the 11th game, so that I could lose the ongoing 10th game, and lose the set. First things first.  Not a happy camper at about 945 pm last night.

However, I did see one portion of the hockey game.  I saw most of the five minute major penalty. And that was enough. During that time the Kings scored three goals and essentially won the game during that span.

So, was that right?  Should one official's call determine who wins an entire game, and in this case, the Stanley Cup.

I did not see the offense until this morning. It was offensive.  The Devil's player slammed a King into the boards and he went down in a bleeding lump.  The rule in hockey for such egregious penalties is that the offending player is banned from the ice for five minutes. In five minute majors, unlike other penalties, even if the opponent scores during that time while a player up, the scoring team retains the player up advantage for all of the five minutes.  So, for five minutes the Kings had an advantage and scored three times during that span.

My general sense is that hockey needs to do more to ensure that players do not behave like thugs. For too long  hockey teams had what were called, "goons".  Players whose job it was to start a fight with a better player, getting both players to be penalized.  If a goon is penalized at the same time as a goal scorer is penalized then the goon did a good job.  The fights, I thought, took away from the excitement of the game and the strategy of starting a brawl for advantage seemed more like a pro wrestling gambit than something from a legitimate professional sport.

In a way, therefore, I am happy that the Devils lost the game because of thuggery.  This could be a message to any teams who employ goons that your season could be lost because of bad behavior.  However, what has given me pause this morning is that when I watched the you-tube recording this a.m. I saw that just seconds prior to the penalized hit, the Kings had boarded one of the Devils. Thing is, it was less of a crushing blow and/or the Devil player did not go down in a bloody lump.

I don't think the result of an offensive act should be a factor in the penalty for the offensive act.  If someone steals from me and I go broke is that more offensive than if someone steals from me and I had next to nothing in my wallet?  The act of stealing is the reprehensible act. It does not become more reprehensible because of the contents of my wallet.

I am delighted that the Devils lost. I do not like the Devils for a number of reasons related to the mania of sports fans.  And it is absolutely true that the Devils and their goalie needed to do a much better job killing off the penalty. They played weakly during that time and the goalie missed a really easy save for the third goal which just about settled the game.  But I wish the game had not been decided on one call made and another missed.

Of course the more important event of the night was my decision to hit a second serve softly when the score was ad in.  I tried to get the ball to the outside of the box and it went right down Broadway.  My opponent put me on the defensive. Eventually, as mentioned above, I lost 6-4.  Fortunately, the newspaper did not cover the game and I have a rematch scheduled next Tuesday.

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