Sunday, November 30, 2008

The NHL Shoot Out

The Hockey News has a blog entry on the shoot out that nicely agrees with most of my thoughts on the NHL's shoot out. The shoot out was put in place after the Great Lock Out of 2005-2005. It was intended to be a way of ensuring that every game had a winner and a loser. There were two problems with this idea. The first was the assumption that the fans wanted a winner and a loser for every game. Many fans were quite happy to award a tie if the two teams both played well and deserved a tie. The second was the idea that shoot outs were a fair and exciting way of determining who won a close game. They are not fair. The odds of scoring in a one-on-goalie situation are about fifty-fifty. The goalie either guesses what the skater is going to do and stops the puck, or he does not. In many ways shoot outs are little more than a coin toss.

It is the exciting part that I want to type about today. The above-mentioned blog entry makes the point that fans love the shoot out. I hate to admit it, but that is true. And it is not just the NASCAR cross-over fans that love it, it is the life-long hockey fans who have have taken to it too. I realize that many fans still hate the shoot out. Some refuse to watch it. Others are waiting fot the day that Gary Bettman gets run over at a Zamboni crossing so that things can go back to the way that they were in the mythical glory days of hockey (which usually means when the speaker was ten years old). However, the reality is that the shoot out has proved to be popular amongst a wide swath of hockey fans. It is unlikely to go away, and people will miss it when it does. Even I have to admit that it is fun to watch.

I still dislike shoot outs. I would rather see regular season games that end in a tie after three periods be declared a tie. No five minute overtime. No shoot out. Play-off games should continue the way that the are with teams playing until someone scores the winning goal. However, if the shoot out does stay, I am not going to lose sleep over it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My New Home

It has been a busy couple of months, so I have let this blog fall by the wayside since August. In the last two months Joan and I bought a house and moved into it. It is a fairly large house in a nice neighbourhood in Greenbelt. It takes about fifteen minutes to walk to the centre of town, and about fifteen minutes in the other direction to walk to the elementary school. There is a bus stop about five minutes away where I can catch a bus to work, or to the local subway station. All in all the location is great. Greenbelt is one of the few places left in the US where it is possible to carry out everyday activities (like shopping and getting to work) without a car. It is amazing what a sense of freedom not needing a car gives one. The car is in the driveway for when I do need it, but knowing that I can just walk down to the store to pick up some milk and cigarettes is a very nice feeling. It makes Greenbelt (at least the part of Greenbelt that I live in) actually feel like a town instead of just a storage shed for people like so many suburbs do.

The down side to owning a house is that there is no landlord to ring up whenever something breaks. For the most part that is not a big deal. Most of the minor things that go wrong in a house are fairly easy to fix, but when something major happens it is nice to be able to off-load the problem onto someone else. Our new house needs a bit of work, but for the most part it is in fairly good shape, and nothing needs doing quickly. This means that we can do the repairs and upgrading on our schedule, which will probably take years.

And now, I need to walk down to the centre of town, get a haricut and some groceries, and then walk home and rake up the leaves.