We are mere days way from a new NHL season and as we wind down the World Yawn of Hockey, things are about to kick off.
As you start thinking of joining that office hockey pool in order to impress a few of the bosses in the office, there are some more key terms you may come across and will win points for being able to use freely.
Paul Henderson – “Henderson scores for Canada” is one of the most iconic Canadian hockey moments of all-time. When Paul Henderson scored the winning goal for Canada against the USSR in the 1972 Summit Series, he instantly solidified his place in hockey history. Most people cannot name which NHL team he played for (Detroit then Toronto) but they know THAT goal. It’s so iconic that most of us are willing to forget the whole ‘born again Christian’ thing he’s been on about the past few years.
Home Ice Advantage – This is the advantage felt by a team by playing in their home arena. This is due to the fact that the home team is allowed to rig up booby traps for visitors such as hidden alligator pits in the dressing rooms, superglue in the muscle cream, Viagra in the water bottles etc. None of this is true, but wouldn’t that be fun? It actually just refers to the advantage from being on ones’ home turf i.e. the comfort, fan support etc.
East & West Conference – As in most sports, the league is divided into sections, this makes organizing and planning games easier. Most commonly, it’s done geographically, teams that are closer together are categorized together so that they play each other the most often, creating rivalries and minimizing overall travel time for teams. This is usually a great idea except for when a team who, geographically, in no way belongs in one conference gets designated to said conference i.e. Detroit being in the west for so long. This meant Buffalo, Toronto, New York etc barely saw any of their original 6 pal, despite being a short drive away. The other down side to this is that the Stanley Cup finals will always have 1 Eastern team and 1 Western team, so even if the two best teams in the league are in the same conference, they will only play in the conference finals, never play each other for the cup. (This also means no Toronto-Montreal cup finals….not that we’re close to THAT any decade soon).
Fourth Liner – Obviously this refers to someone who plays on the fourth line. Skaters each have a position based on their strengths and they are assigned linemates to form combinations of players in order to have the best players on the ice for the situation. Each line has a right-wing, a centreman and a left-wing and your first line is traditionally you’re best line, second line is second best etc. Some coaches only really play with 3 main lines, the fourth line doesn’t see a lot of ice-time and is generally comprised of your least skilled players. A fourth liner is someone who isn’t very useful or skilled and maybe should be playing in the minors or needs a lot of development.
Closing your hand on the Puck – This is when a player gets a penalty for closing his hand on the puck. Seriously, it’s pretty self-explanatory….yeesh.
Carlton the Bear – This is the mascot of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a large white polar bear in a Leafs jersey. His name is Carlton because the Leafs played the majority of their existence in Maple Leaf Gardens arena, whose address is 60 Carlton St. Hence, Carlton. Why is he a polar bear? Why the hell not, would you want a maple leaf as a mascot?? Something that can be blown over by a breeze? Screw that, I’ll take the bear, it beats Edmonton’s new lynx of death.
Center Ice – The mecca of the ice surface, where all comes together and all good things are worshiped. Center ice is represented by a bulls-eye style circle in the middle of the ice, it is where all initial face-offs take place, where all ceremonies happen and where the NHL rips you off for cable packages. Since the removal of the center ice line for the two-line rule (save that for another lesson), center ice is largely ceremonial, it’s where the puck is dropped to kick-off every game and every period. It is hockey’s hallowed ground, so much so that when they converted Maple Leafs Gardens into a grocery store, they still kept the center ice dot…it’s in aisle 25 right next to the basmati rice (I am not kidding).
Battle of the Blades – a TV show that is such a crime against humanity that mention of it should have you drawn and quartered at the above-mentioned center ice. This show just proves how ridiculous the CBC has become. This makes Survivor look like Masterpiece Theater ffs. God, I hate it so much. Like SO MUCH!