Vohabulary -- The Lexicon of the NHL
(January 10, 2015; expanded Jan. 31, 2016; expanded June 29, 2016 to include more words based on players' names)
110 per cent – the extraordinary ability to give more of one’s efforts than is humanly possible, without divine intervention, chemical assistance, or a surge in adrenalin brought on by a crisis. Given the frequency this phenomenon is said to occur, one can safely rule out the intervention of a caring God or attentive gods, who have better things to do, and the salutary effect of crises, which, if they were to happen at the rate required to explain supposed elevated hormone levels, could no longer be considered crises but a commonplace of doing one’s job, making the increased production of adrenalin highly unlikely.
You can be 100 per cent certain the source of 110 per cent effort is drugs.
All-Star Game – an exhibition match played by superior athletes, with notable exceptions, who are voted on their teams by fans wanting to see the best in the sport perform together or wishing to make mischief in order to send a message to those responsible for the silly break in the schedule.
beaulieu – someone who has failed to do what other people promised.
carey – the linchpin in a machine which when taken out for repairs results in calls for the lynching of the operator when no suitable replacement is found.
coach – a person temporarily employed to fill out a team’s lineup and berate/cajole/mentor/provoke its players for the entertainment of the media, and who is then unreasonably expected to provide reasons for the team’s success or failure after each game, as if he had anything to do with its outcome. Impressionable observers of the sport argue a coach does have an impact, by putting together line combinations, but the switching around of players willy-nilly is merely intended to create the illusion of a master strategist at work, not to counter moves made by the opposing coach for the same reason.
commissioner -- the league's top official whose principal role is to maximize profits for the team owners he serves while minimizing the earnings of players whose existence he tolerates.
condon – a prophylactic that leaks.
department of player safety – an office of the National Hockey League that decides whether players who have committed an egregious foul warrant supplemental discipline, either in the form of a suspension or an annoying phone call.
desharnais – a prized trinket, beloved by some to the point of obsession
disenfrenchise – to separate a team from its linguistic roots and cultural heritage, ostensibly to improve its chances of winning.
eller (derived from French word, aller, to go) – to skate in circles without obvious purpose until one is created: regaining the puck the player has turned over
fanalytics – that branch of hockey research exhaustively conducted by amateurs to little effect.
finishing a check – the administering of brute force to an opponent for the purpose of injuring and rendering unconscious the player who, seconds earlier, went by the description of puck carrier. The hockey play, as it’s also known, is the diametric opposite of a poke check.
fighting – the swift administration of justice by digital means without benefit of counsel; the infliction of pain for the purpose of entertainment; the tactical deployment of human resources that otherwise serve little function.
gallag – to be subjected to physical and verbal abuse when showing up uninvited at a goaltender's doorstep with a great deal of enthusiasm; the violence perpetrated by the offended parties is condoned by arbiters of NHL justice as it is considered the right and proper response to an unpardonable breach of netiquette;
– the person who receives such attention is called a gallagher.
(added Nov. 23, 2016)
general manager – a team executive whose bipolar duties include hiring/firing coaches, signing/releasing players, enhancing/destroying team chemistry through trades, fulfilling/disappointing fan expectations, representing/misrepresenting team interests, and setting/resetting five-year plans.
goon – an athlete whose skills, such as they are, are plied in one sport, hockey, when better suited for another, UFC.
habitué (pronounced hab-bitch-away) – a resident of fan sites devoted to the Montreal Canadiens whose stock in trade is to use every opportunity to denigrate the team he purportedly loves. Subject to the occasional ban.
hit – to use physical force in order to cause another player to become separated from the puck (or regret having touched it).
(added Nov. 22, 2016)
hockey play – a tongue-in-cheek expression employed by dim-witted TV analysts to describe an elbow-to-the-face, a forearm-to-the-head or a palm-to-the-chin.
houle – one unit of misspent managerial energy.
icing – an act of desperation or a poorly executed pass; one relieves pressure, the other causes it.
jacques-strop – a system that paradoxically has the effect of dulling the offence of the team that employs it.
lowe – contrary to what one might think, that range of misspent managerial energy considered to be at the high end of inutility.
markov – a sage of few words, a general who doesn't bark orders.
matteau – an athlete whose level of achievement never rises above floor level.
measuring stick – a bromide brought out whenever a team is about to play a foe considered to be its superior; oddly, the tool is never referenced for measurements after the game is played, nor are there any known units upon which it is based, inches and centimetres being irrevelant to the point being made.
parity – a principle that promotes bunching teams together in the standings by handing out three points after a game finishes tied in regulation. The concept of artificially narrowing the gap between demonstrably unequal teams is no different from levelling the playing field between superstars and average players by allowing the latter to interfere with the former in ways the rule book suggests, rather than proscribes, not be done.
phaneuf -- a pylon outfitted with skates giving it limited mobility but inexplicable trade value
poke check — a genteel maneuver whereby one player employs his hockey stick in a non-threatening manner to knock loose the puck from a rival’s possession. It is at the other end of the entertainment spectrum from finishing a check, which concludes with someone writhing or lying still on the ice, and fans in a frenzy. The poke check, by its nature, precludes all sorts of dramatic possibilities from arising, such as retribution by a victim’s teammates, or, in the extreme, the unseemly death of the targeted player, which would open the door to a longer and more fascinating drama being played out in court, editorials, bars and chat rooms, but no so much at general managers meetings, which are taken up with more serious matters.
puck luck -- a series of unusual occurrences said to favour one team over another for a short duration but which evens out over the course of a season; the dubious explanation offered by a coach unwilling to acknowledge his own culpability in the disappointing outcomes of contests
(added Nov. 19, 2016)
referee – a visually impaired official of limited intellect and even less scruple employed by the National Hockey League to give the appearance of rules being applied and order maintained.
salary cap – a constraint on players’ greed and owners’ incompetence. The ceiling varies year to year according to a formula that’s a key component of the collective bargaining agreement, which divides league-wide revenues based on negotiations characterized by owners’ greed and players’ incompetence.
shootout – a low form of entertainment that replaces a team sport, hockey, with individual competition, shooter versus goalie, akin in principle to a punter facing a kick returner in overtime or two basketball players going one-on-one at the end of regulation play. Experts say hockey will one day be forced to introduce shootouts in the playoffs to maintain a logical consistency between the regular season and the post-season, the same as it currently does in the enforcement of rules.
subban – a wondrous creature whose black magic both delights and offends, causing its master great turmoil: Does he let it remain free to wander or put it back in the bottle to be bartered?
The Code – a set of rules too ridiculous to be written down, adhered to by the too gullible.
therrienitis – a painful inflammation of a fan’s sensibility, triggered by antipathy toward a certain style of coaching.
three-on-three – an orgy of excitement, five minutes at most, that takes place after a game ends tied in regulation, in which the number of skaters are reduced by 40 per cent, freeing up space for the execution of plays and the demonstration of skills not fully permitted when sweater-fillers are allowed on the ice; should the three-play result in a goal, the sudden-death experience is said to be not unlike the climax of another intense physical activity involving humans (but with far less attire).