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NHL: Learning Hockey

I am in no way a master sports shooter and will most likely never be, but growing up in a sports-centric family has certainly benefited me while on sports assignments. I rarely have trouble following sports and have a pretty solid knowledge and understanding of all that goes on. It helps that I enjoy them too.

However, hockey is not a sport I am at all familiar with and Columbus is one of the thirty cities that has an NHL team.

I've sat in the nosebleeds of one Lake Erie Monsters game and played street hockey with the neighbors, but that's about the extent of it.

Here is what I learned at my first solo game with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

(The Sharks defeated the Jackets 5-3.)

This is a face-off. After every stoppage, play begins again with a face-off and an opportunity to gain possession of the puck. They occur at designated face-off spots, and no other players can come within 15-feet of the two facing-off. (Above: Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48)).

Fighting is usually performed by "enforcers." Players can fight until another players knee hits the ground. I found the legality of this to be extremely shocking. (Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout (47) gets a punch in on San Jose Sharks center Micheal Haley (38)).

Players will body-check opponents with possession of the puck to try and take them out of play----so these guys will slam into the wall near you pretty often. The fans seem to love this. (Columbus Blue Jackets fan Tim Burris of New Albany pounds on the glass during a play near his seat).

Players need to keep the puck in their zone on offense and generally try to get it to center of the ice to score, but also seem to be in a threatening position when they have clear passing lanes. (Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson (7)).

Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert (11) attempts a goal against the San Jose Sharks.

However, players will come around from the back of the goal in attempt to score every so often. (Above: Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert (11).

This photo of William Karlsson (25) was taken near the end of the second period. There are three periods to a hockey game----not two.....totally thought there was only two...

I'm thinking about shooting up top for a period at my next game. I think it would be helpful to watch the game from a higher perspective----although you can't really beat being in a corner down by the glass.

Thanks for looking!

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