Weekly Hate: The Six Worst Rules in Hockey

Let's get this part out of the way right off the bat: none of these complaints are new. They're not original; people have been complaining about this stuff for years. There, now I feel better and you can skip the histrionics of reading the first sentence, jumping to the bullet points to confirm your suspicion, and then firing off your brilliant armchair analysis in the comments section. It's a win/win for everybody.  Here's what I figure though; if we stop complaining about this stupid crap, then you know the league is going to take our silence as a tacit approval. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and...well... squeak-squeak, ya filthy animal.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the rules in hockey and why they're dumb:

Goaltender Interference: To clarify, the rule itself isn't stupid, it's just the way it's called that's stupid. I like the idea of not letting people crash into the goalie in order to score. But, why is there a goalie crease at all if you can't touch him anywhere on the ice? It's probably not a good idea to let people check the goalie when he's standing outside of the blue paint, but I'd rather see that 100 times than see a goal get called back because the most heavily-padded guy on the ice skated ten feet to make contact with Tomas Holmstrom's ass and fall down.

Hand Pass: If you're going to allow it in one zone, allow it in all zones. Or, allow it in no zones. I don't care one way or another as long as I don't have to hear Doc Emrick ever have to remind people again that it's only ok to do in one specific area of the ice.

High-Sticking Double-Minor: Listen, I'm a pretty barbaric guy. One time, I saw two kids fighting and started looking around for sticks and stuff I could throw to them to use as improvised weapons while humming this. As a result, I'm not allowed in the McDonald's Playplace anymore. Still, there's something inherently wrong-feeling about seeing Danny Cleary taking a stick blade to the chops and then getting disappointed when he's too manly to cry red tears from his chin. I get the concept that we want to make it REALLY clear that hitting guys in the face with your stick is a no-no, but basing the second penalty on whether a guy bleeds is like giving a murderer a second life-sentence because his victim peed himself after being shot.

Touch Icing: I love short-track speed skating because watching them lose an edge and crash into a wall of pillows looks like a ton of fun. I imagine that the only thing keeping them from giggling and squealing when it happens is knowing that they just wasted four years worth of training to have that happen. Keep the speed almost the same, but replace the big fluffy wall with hard plywood and it becomes less fun to watch than the Joe Theismann video. Oh cool, one time out of 20 a guy hustles enough to beat it out. I'm sure that's worth all the exploded legs and separated shoulders.

Delay-of-Game Puck Over Glass: In a surprise move, I love this rule. Remember last week when I complained about soccer? One of the biggest problems with that sport is all the stoppages in play to restart after some lazy pigeondick kicks it out of bounds. I love that there's a penalty for wasting our time by screwing up. In fact, if more elementary schools took that kind of tactic, maybe kids wouldn't be nearly intolerable these days. Still, they're only half-assing it by making it a defensive zone-only thing. They should make it a major if you do it in the offensive zone, just to protect players from their own coaches for five minutes.

Intent To Blow: Since I've already exhausted my supply of puerile and easy jokes, I'll skip right to the head of this issue (ok, sorry one more). The ref either blew the whistle or he didn't. It's not as though the players stop playing hockey in the half-second it takes the whistle to get from wherever the ref's hand is to wherever his head is. Why do we have video review if the play was over when the ref had it in his mind that the play was over? If we're going that route, then I want some electrodes hooked directly into the ref's brain to tell us precisely when he thinks the play is dead. If possible, I want that electrode hooked up to a red light and a loud buzzer located in a large nosepiece that the ref has to wear. If we're going to get silly with it, we might as well get an advertising opportunity out of it.


Honorable Mention: Not allowing teams to ice the puck on a penalty kill would make the game better too, but if you got this far, you probably could have guessed this one based on context clues. If something is not allowed in one part of the ice or under one circumstance, don't make it allowable under any circumstance. Honorable mention 2: The trapezoid. Because fuck geometry.

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