Above the Glass
by Samantha on 02/06/12 at 09:40 PM ET
I must admit, I fell asleep during part of the Super Bowl yesterday, but I saw enough to know that I will probably never convert to being a football fan. Just as I was waking up from my catnap, the Patriots were allowing the Giants to score, and the Giants player who scored was purposefully trying not to, and in doing so he essentially fell down in the end zone. I thought maybe I was still asleep or it was an ad making fun of the game. But apparently there was a totally strategic reason for it, which I get. But once I woke up fully, it got me to thinking, what if goofy things like that or other football plays, rules and halftime entertainment happened in hockey?
Game attendance would plummet. Because if it took that long to move the puck down the ice, or game flow was interrupted that often, I figure one of two things would happen: 1) The snoring from the stands would be audible. Security would have to come get us up from our own version of a game day nap when the game was over. Or more likely, the complete opposite: 2) The frustration would trigger a fan mutiny, complete with catfights, repeated use of profanity, objects being thrown to the ice, and fans leaving in droves, much like they do near the very end of the third period, when it’s clear their team is going to lose the game.
If you let the opponent score or tell your own teammates not to score when they have the chance, mutiny would follow. Now mind, there are those occasions where a hockey team essentially does let the other one win by letting in a soft goal, turning over the puck or completely lapsing on defense, but in hockey no team ever lets the other one win on purpose. And under no circumstances would a player just sit down in the crease for lack of knowing what else to do. And if they did, I’d predict there would be the above insanity times 100. First, no self-respecting goalie would allow it. And as far as fans go, I can totally envision us mowing down security agents, climbing the glass, sneaking into the locker room and whatever else to ensure that the offending team knows how we really feel.
There would be a lot more unsportsmanlike calls for over-celebration of goals. I noticed that football players like to flaunt a touchdown, often all by themselves and not in a victory pile with their team. Now, hockey players like to celebrate a goal too. My personal favorite here in Portland are Brendan Leipsic’s completely airborne glass bangers, and Nic Petan, who gets excited even when he’s scoring in practice just for fun. And in hockey, the team all piles on the scorer, and they go to the bench to tap hands with the whole roster. But we have also seen a situation out here where Ty Rattie was dinged for unsportsmanlike conduct for “vociferously celebrating a goal in close proximity to a Tri-Cities player.” And who can forget all the fuss about Artem Anisimov and his now notorious sniper-esque celebration of a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning that was featured in HBO 24/7. Which tells me that if hockey players danced around and flaunted goals the way football players flaunt touchdowns, there’d be a whole lot more penalty minutes to go along with the points in a high scoring game.
Fans would have a lot less free time. With media time outs and commercials and halftime entertainment and what not, the Super Bowl ran for four hours yesterday. Not including Hockey Night in Canada After Hours, or games that go to shootout, the average hockey game is over in 2.5 hours, leaving plenty of time to go tailgate or blog or Tweet or rant or whatever else we do with our post-game and free time. I already have a challenge enough trying to carve out non-hockey time during the season (not that I want to, mind, but I’m just sayin’). If every hockey game lasted as long as the Super Bowl, I’d have to rethink a few things because I usually switch back and forth between two or three games on Center Ice and the NHL Network. So I would have no time for the essentials like sleep, food and water.
Intermission entertainment would be a lot more interesting and have better attendance. Most intermission entertainment in hockey is pretty tame, and sometimes downright goofy. Here in the junior leagues, it typically involves games with young elementary school aged players, chuck-a-pucks and trivia contests. We reserve the one finger salute for fellow fans, refs and hated opponents who dive and embellish and such. So I figure if somebody flipped all of us off during hockey intermissions, two things would happen: 1) It would surely result in more unsportsmanlike conduct calls; 2) It would increase the chance that we’d stay seated during intermission and watch the darn things instead of going out for snacks and beer and what not.
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About Above the Glass
Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.
I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.
Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass