Saturday, December 24, 2005

oh, canada

why isn't it cold inside hockey rinks? not that they're always the most comfortable temperature, but still, that's ice they're skating on and i'm all right in a long sleeved shirt. hockey makes sense in the winter, kind of like snow and jesus, so i watched an entire penguins game the other night. two words to describe the new nhl: fucking awesome. no icing, no scrums in the corner as if it was rugby on skates, movement, passing, space. all of this leads to more offense, which leads to more fans, which ends in better ratings. too bad they didn't do this before they stuck a skate blade in all their fan's backs by letting last season get cancelled.
also, i love that there's no ties in hockey anymore, even though i admit i'm still confused by the third number in the win-loss-? column. each shot of a shootout is quite possibly the most exciting 10 seconds in sports that doesn't involve maria sharapova searching for a ball to serve somewhere inside that thing she calls a tennis outfit. in soccer the goal is too big and the ball is too small. in some south american countries i hear they kill you if you miss penalty shots; it's that easy. but hockey is a completely different beast. a small goal and a large russian goalie that fills just about all of it evens the odds. if a hockey player misses a penalty shot or the goalie saves it maybe they show the highlight on sportscenter, maybe not. you're definitely not gonna get shot in the parking lot on the way to your car though.
the other great thing about hockey is penalty boxes. what a revolutionary concept. sometimes you feel like guys in the nba and the nfl just don't get it because really, what kind of lesson is someone making a symbolic hand gesture or throwing a little yellow flag in your general direction. hockey gets it right by actually making people sit in a little box and think about what they've done. two minutes for minor infractions barring a goal which "kills" the penalty, to five minutes in the box no matter who scores for major penalties. kind of like the difference between scolding your child and grounding them. much more effective and i get a kick out of seeing hulking, grown men who get paid millions of dollars lower their head and shuffle to the penalty box like my dog does when he shits in the house and i make him go outside and think about it for awhile.


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