Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Into the Spirit

Happy Hockey Season, Folks!  It's been (almost exactly) a month since my last post over here.

It's a really good thing that a solid portion of the content over here to date is just me thinking aloud and/or posting data for my own edification, or I might worry about my pageviews.  That will be changing a bit with this fall, regular posts and less abstract rambling, but I'll save the off-the-wall flash for Caps Outsider.

In preparation for the oncoming storm known as the NHL season (KHL, Elitserien, and SM-Liiga are all well underway), I've been trying to clear out the "real life" elements of my life as much as possible.  Things like renewing/upgrading my USA Hockey status, joining a women's team for the fall/winter season, and restructuring my work hours so that I can make it to half the games in Hershey this season.

There was also a brief driving trip up to Halifax in the mix which ate up a significant portion of September.  While there, I managed to not only adopt a Q team (the Mooseheads, much to my Moncton(region)-dwelling-father's dismay), but also catch their season home opener against Acadie-Bathurst.

The gig with Capitals Outsider is going well, even if I have been contributing slightly less-often than I would have liked over the last month.  I'll be handling their minor league coverage, with an emphasis on the quirky view.  Primarily the Hershey Bears, but expect the occasional nod to the South Carolina Stingrays as well.

The gig with Puck 'N Hockey will be starting up again now that I'm not functionally dead on the internet.  I miss doing the Community Hockey Beat, and with work settling down I should be able to track and post a bit more of the "community" side of things, rather than simply "the Caps did X, Y, Z this month."

In addition, I'm going to be pulling together those nebulous posts on specific officiating issues that I mentioned in passing over the summer.  Proposed topics include:

  • When is a penalty not a penalty? - Rule variances in USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, NCAA & the IIHF
  • Rule Changes - Proposed & Executed
  • 3 vs. 4 man officiating crews (Pros, Cons, and of course - MONEY)
  • Top 10 questions I've been asked while working as a beer league scorekeeper.

If you have a question about officiating, feel free to drop a line in the comments of any of my posts and I'll be happy to pull together an explanation.

The only thing that I'm not likely to be launching into in the near future is Brendan Shanahan's suspensions - those are receiving plenty of attention on their own, and so far he's done a great job of explaining the reasoning involved behind his decisions (even if he's already inching from "pained" to "tormented" on the awkwardly-serious-expressions scale).  Or, well, I'm just going to make my comment here and then leave it to the bigger and flashier names.

Having heard Shanny speak on the subject of officiating and enforcement at CapsCon, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.  He's more than earned himself enough rope to hang himself, though I sincerely hope he uses the leeway for better purposes.  As someone who has spent significant portions of my life in a government town, I am 100% behind any legitimate effort toward transparency.

Like the 12 year old Pee-Wees who spent last season embracing the body-check down here South of the 49th, it's going to take time for those in the elite levels to reorient themselves to changing standards.  With (a lot of) luck, by the time we reach the All Star Game the flood of Shanahan videos will have slowed to a trickle.  Time will tell.

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