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Don’t Tap Your Stick On The Ice. Ever.



Finally, FINALLY, I’m in a real, permanent home.  Or at least as close to permanent as possible without buying one.  My bags are (getting) unpacked, the intenet is fast, and watching a TV this big in a living room this small is like being at IMAX.  It’s amazing.  Oh, and as an aside, I got the NHL and NFL packages.  But that’s just as an aside.

A major side effect of playing sports for a living is travel.  As athletes, most people realize that the pro’s of the job so heavily outweigh the cons that it’s not even worth the breath to complain, but permanently living somewhere temporary does suck. 

After I moved out of the house in which I lived for nearly three years in college, I haven’t unpacked until today.  I lived in a small apartment with the Alaska Aces, then split my summer between Kelowna (BC) and New York with the family and GF, then New York for hockey, then Bridgeport, then Utah, then Bridgeport, then Utah, then Kelowna/New York, then Hershey, Reading, Boise, Kelowna/New York and most recently, my parents place in Arizona while Bri and I found this place.

I finally f**k**g unpacked.


I’ll keep it mostly hockey today, because lets be honest, that’s probably why you check this site.

Drop it, I'm open!

Drop it, I'm open!

I saw something disturbing in a rec league game the other night, and it reminded me of something that I’d seen as a kid, and needs to be stopped before it can spread.

The guy on the other team triple tapped his stick on the ice to call for a pass… again, from the other team.  You know, the minor hockey move where the other team has the puck, and kids would just blindly pass it to anything they thought was a teammate - shadows, sounds, smells, whatever – so you could tap your stick and get a pass from just about anybody on the ice.

But this was a 30 year old adult male of the species.  You should have seen how hilarious it was, the guy hunched over his stick, doing those quick rabbit taps.  I blushed I was so embarrassed for him.  Yes, the move is that pathetic that I blushed.

In other sports, I’m a major fan of some things that people consider unethical, but I’d call gamesmanship.  If you can steal signs in baseball, why wouldn’t you?  They’re the ones who “need” to agree on a pitch, but don’t want to say it out loud – If you can figure out a “tell” in poker, you use it.  You’re trying to win.  So if you know what pitch is coming because their signs involve holding up ACTUAL SIGNS, sit on that fastball. 

Similarly, football is the perfect sample of the American rat race in general – anything to get ahead.  If that means renting a blimp and dangling into a stadium to get cellphone videos of the Jets 4-3 defense the day before you play them, then I say good on ya.

But the stick tap?  Grow up.

{Tangent brackets – don’t even call for passes from your own team with the stick tap.  Call for the damn puck like an adult so he/she can at least hear your voice.}


Plus, a good coach could throw the flag AT the ref.

Plus, a good coach could throw the flag AT the ref.

Why can’t every sport institute football’s “challenge flag”?  It’s great that there’s some humanity involved in calling sporting matches.  That way refs can feel the momentum and energy, and adjust their calls accordingly.  But a missed call on a crucial play can unfairly penalize an undeserving team. 

It wouldn’t be used for calls like “hey, that was a foul” in basketball, but like “hey, that ball was actually fair” in baseball.  *flag*  or “hey, the puck hit their defenseman last before going over the glass, the draw should be inside.”  *flag* 

What’s so great about the challege flag, is that if you’re right, the game became more fair.  If you’re wrong, you lose your privileges, and we don’t have to put up with your petty grievences for the rest of the game, cause clearly, you’re frequently wrong.

Look how great its been for tennis.


Despite the fact I had a tough first week in Fantasy Hockey (in my defense, the guy I played had not just a killer week, but also a shutout from CRAIG ANDERSON, and a short-handed assist… there’s two free “W’s”), I’ve agreed to be a weekly fantasy hockey “expert” on XM radio.  I’ll run my latest interview on my blog as soon as I get it.


In other news, Glenn Beck narrowly edged out Gary Bettman for the person my readers would most like to punch.  I’ll be booking the flight to deliver that gift ASAP.


26 Responses to “Don’t Tap Your Stick On The Ice. Ever.”
  1. Vincenzo says:

    I swear I’ve seen NHLers do the stick tap before. But only in the scenario when it will probably work, like when the puck carrier JUST took the puck and knows he has a second and a half to move it or die. I know I’ve seen Park do it, and hey, that guy can do no wrong. He’s a Korean army knife, and besides hockey, he can unclog your sink, fix your computer and knows the trick to pull a dent out of your car.

    Anyway, yeah Beck gets a Beatdown. For America.

  2. jtbourne says:

    For sure Park does it. I’ve had teammates do it at high levels too, but it doesn’t make it okay. I can’t think of anything comparable in any other sport, where even at the highest level, some players will try this one, petty move. Men are separated into two categories: Tappers, and those with pride. I like Park too (and your post was hilarious), but he’s definitely a tapper.

  3. Vincenzo says:

    The closest I can think of is Soccer players making loud calls on the play to confuse the guy with the ball, like screaming Two High at the ball carrier, hoping he is too busy to actually look and might take your word for it, and make a bad centering play. I saw this during a game once but I can’t find it on youtube, Steven Gerrard, who is the Chris Drury of soccer, was following the attacker who was already fenced in, and he yelled “DROP IT” to the guy, who promptly left the ball right there and kept running in the (now) wrong direction. Same principle, slightly better application. So that raises the question, are vocal tricks okay, or is it a cheesy move alltogether?

  4. Blake says:

    I would have to agree with Vincenzo. Richard Park can do no wrong.

    I once saw him drop his mittens (I say mittens because, let’s be honest, the guy is 5-foot, short and a buck ninety soaking wet, he can probably barely fit into the gloves he has.) and it was quite honestly one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced at a hockey game. It forever earned him the nickname “The Ragin’ Asian.”

    Richard Park doesn’t do push ups. He pushes the world down.

  5. Officer Koharski says:

    Are you referring to when he fought that huge asshole Svitov? Jackets were losing at the Coliseum and the big Russian monster starts throwing shots at anybody that skates by. Who stood up to the Giant? Richard. Park. I remember the back of his head was dripping blood somehow, and he didn’t even wince at it. He was like, oh, sprung a leak, ah well. Scoreboard.

    I heard he drives an ice cream truck covered in Human Skulls. If hockey spirit were physical, Park is an eight foot two ton monster who can palm a medicine ball.

  6. Deirdre says:

    So as a Goalie I’m reading the title and saying “please don’t tell me there is something horrible that tapping does to the ice!” but no – you mean no tapping for a completely different reason.

    The goalie tap to signify penalty guy is about to be free is SO frickin’ useful :-D . Now if we could only get rec league guys to pay attention to it life would be grand. There’s nothing worse than watching your D go deep and not notice the breakaway they’ve just set up. Sigh.

  7. RW_15 says:

    NOOO!!!!! My men’s league secret weapon is revealed!!!! In a good men’s league (good used loosely) the move doesn’t work very much, but still worth trying. It really works in rat/open hockey. It works best when have a defenseman who just got the puck off the boards and has his back to the rest of the ice, better if there is a forechecker on him. Often in such case besides just tapping the stick you give a little,”Hey! Here we go!” or “right here!” and that can sometimes be enough make him think he’s making a D to D pass.

  8. ms.conduct says:

    Ahh, the Enemy Stick Tap. I don’t actually mind it, but you Canadians do seem to have different standards for sportsmanship in Hockey that I don’t always get.

    But as the goalie, you actually see the Enemy Stick Tap happening to your team from behind and my reaction is always to yell, “Don’t do it!!!!” I know it doesn’t help a damn thing but I’d feel like an asshole if I didn’t at least try. Like watching someone steal a kid’s toy and not saying, “Hey, a-hole. WTF?”

    Never heard anyone enjoying unpacking so much, but I get it. It’s great. Congrats!

  9. PVeltkamp says:

    Oh god you watched my rec game on the weekend.

    Guilty as charged. In my defense, ok you’re right there is no defending the stick tap, but it does work… sometimes…. every once in a while….., ok I think it has only ever worked once or twice. I don’t see this as being a faux pas as much you, I mean it is petty and as stated above it hardly ever works, but that one time when it does actually work it is worth the other 25-50 that it doesn’t.

    You really should try it some time.

  10. Neil says:

    For me, the stick tap only makes its appearance when I am really, really tired and can’t back-check despite know that the guy with the puck skating quickly towards our net is fully my guy. Maybe…just maybe… he’ll fall for the ol fake drop pass?? Yeah that was embarrassing just to type out, you’re right.

  11. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Totally agree with you on the challenge flag! Professional lacrosse instituted it last season – I think each team gets one challenge per half. Worked fabulously in the games I saw it used.

    The Twins could have really used a challenge flag last week when the blind-as-a-bat ump said the ball was foul when it was CLEARLY 10-12 inches on the fair side of the line and he was practically standing right on top of it! A call like that can completely change the course of a game – dampen the spirit of the players – destroy the energy of the fans…aggravating!

  12. In Net In Nashville says:

    I’ve got your cheesy move. When their defenceman misses his keep in and some of their guys are slow clearing the zone I’ll yell CLEAR. Even though I’ve never heard anyone on any team announce that it’s safe to bring the puck back, in, they will send it or bring it in far more often than you would think. Shameful yes, but it’s just one more way to help my guys.
    We won’t talk about the guy behind my net yelling at me to drop the puck back to him after a glove save. The lying dog!

  13. Firestorm says:

    Right next to the other-team stick-tap on the list of low-brow bush league plays? Remember A-Rod running the bases and yelling “Mine” on an infield fly against the Blue Jays?

    A-Rod would be a stick-tapper. But on a hockey rink, someone would make him pay.

  14. Will77 says:

    lol Thats pretty funny that the person in question is on here.

    Anyway, I’ve never done the sticktap, but I will (and probably at least once per two games) yell “Drop” when a guy crosses into the zone or yell “boards” to a defensemen going for a puck in his corner with our guy forechecking him and his back to me. Personally, I put it in the gamesmanship category. I fully expect to be enemy #1 for the rest of the game and to get at least one cheap shot afterwards, but I can think of numerous occasions where the “boards” call has caused the defenseman to fire the puck around and resulted in a scoring chance and many times a goal. And who knows how many times a “drop” has stopped a scoring chance. Bush league? Maybe a little. But I feel like if I can deal with the consequences (like a baseball player knowing he’s going to get drilled with a pitch for stealing signs), then its worth it

  15. Maria says:

    so this was on …. thought you’d probably appreciate this!

  16. jtbourne says:

    PVeltkamp, the following comment is meant in fun. Look, I made a computer smily-face :)

    So hold on – to you, tapping the ice to call for a pass, and displaying your do-anything, punch-a-baby-for-candy-ness, as well as your inability to physically GET the puck from a guy, TWENTY-FIVE TO THIRTY TIMES is worth the one time you get it? I think if that ever worked for me, I’d still be inclined to give it back and go “ahhhI’m sorry, that was pretty gay, wasn’t it? Here ya go.” (*Justin Bourne is not a homophobe)

  17. AiH says:

    The only acceptable place for a tap is on a beer keg. Write that down.

  18. nick says:

    How loosely are we using the term “expert”… you did get beat right?

  19. jtbourne says:

    I’d say between “loose” and “quite loose”. My fantasy stats: 1st year ever playing, 0 and 1 record. That kind of “expert”. Though, in my defense, that was merely the heavily weighted week one. I’m winning week two.

  20. jtbourne says:

    Ha. I’m glad you did so I don’t have to. Beer rules.

  21. Brent Romenesko says:

    Got to comment on the Soccer “drop” comment. So, the game doesn’t have an enforcer-type to go after the offender of the false-”drop”, but the refs may card (yellow) the guy. Maybe a bit wimpier than getting tossed into the boards, but still a slight remedy.

    BTW, I’ve never given a card for it, nor seen a card given out… but why further penalize the guy who probably doesn’t have many real friends anyway….

  22. PVeltkamp says:

    It’s not so much physical inability to get the puck as it trying to get ht epuck easier. If it doesn’t work, I don’t just give up on the play. But if you could have someone just give you the puck as opposed to having to go get it from him wouldn’t you rather the easy way.

    Also let’s clear one thing up, it’s not like I skate all over the ice tapping my stick anytime an opposing player has the puck. There is a time and a place for the tricky stick tap.

    Upon further thought, there are a few instances that I can recall where I totally agree with you about the stick tap. A good friend of mine used to do it in junior, chasing the guy behind the net. WHY?? intimidation? Anyway, I will partly agree with you about the stick tap, but I stand by my statement the stick tap can work, specifically when the guy is going over the blueline and might be inclined to do a drop pass.

    You really should try ti sometime.

  23. PVeltkamp says:

    and I really should spell check before I press the submit button

  24. WWPKD says:

    Yes, the guy tappin his stick for the drop on the opposite team looks like a d-bag regardless if it works or not, however this is still not an excuse for the guy making a bad pass to the other teams tape. Be aware, dont fall for stick tapping tom foolery and hopefully said d-bag will quit trying because of excessive failure.

  25. Frank says:

    Best way to deal with guys who tap their stick on the other team when you have the puck is to hit a slapshot pass at them aimed at their skates…and when they double over in pain from the puck on the foot say “sorry, I thought I was passing to one of my teammates”

  26. j says:

    the stick tap is a little douchey… but not as douchey as the guy who wears #69 in rec league.

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