Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Blue Line's New Hockey Commercial: A Step-by-Step Review

The Blue Line hockey bar in the River Market area has carved out a nice little niche.  It's never terribly crowded but seemingly always patronized (from what I've seen), the food doesn't stray from the bar staples but still good, and they have a lot of different beers on tap.  As far as bars go around town, it's a quiet place to just wind down or watch a game.  Oh yeah, and the hockey stuff is cool, too.  But, that's the thing: I've never gotten the sense that anyone in the bar watches hockey, and I don't care.

No one needs to go to a bar for validation that the thing they like is popular with the other people there.  Sure, there are those Steeler Nation bars around the country where Steelers fans meet up or whatever, but the Blue Line doesn't attract just a hockey crowd.  It's great that the Blue Line is a hockey bar and shows hockey games, something a lot of places around town don't do (here is where I say "Thank you!" to Nick & Jakes for their patience and willingness to show hockey when asked), but it also functions as a gathering place for the locals.  So, that's the reason you shouldn't make off-the-cuff comments about obscure hockey players in the 1990s just to show your hockey knowledge prowess to the other true hockey fans at the Blue Line.  Chances are you won't get someone coming up to saying, "Oh dude, are you talking about Wayne McBean?!  Hell yeah!" (*bro and you high five).  Thus, the ambience of the bar might expose hockey to people who don't like it, but may not specifically attract hockey fans.  And that's fine.

Anyway, they have a new TV spot that's pretty amateur, so let's make fun of it.

Please CLICK THE LINK RIGHT HERE for the video.  It's not on YouTube or anything, so, sorry. (Apparently this has been out a while, but I just saw it, so whatever.)

* * *
0:01-0:10 – I'm not sure the Blue Line is "famous" for anything in particular, but the food is good, and there's nothing to joke about there.  I don't know what "Blue Line Brew" is, but they say it's locally crafted.  It kind of looks like Hamms.

0:11– "If you drink enough at the Blue Line, your reaction time will resemble that of Dan Cloutier."

0:12– That is either a beer league hockey jersey, or someone is making counterfeit Michigan State sweaters.

0:20 – I get the fake knocked out teeth, but, ugh, fake knocked out teeth.  This is like saying all baseball players chew tobacco, when they obviously all chew Big League Chew.

0:25– Oh, the big finale, the crescendo of the symphony of bar advertising.  This is what makes this commercial so delightfully local.  First, we see a guy in an orange shirt just chillin on the window.  Possibly checking his phone for hockey scores.  What happens next is akin to aggravated assault with numerous accessories to the crime.

Bro minding his own business is body checked by a helmeted villain, who proceeds to persistently dry hump the victim in such a perverse way that we can only assume it's sexually gratifying.  People stand up and cheer instead of help the victim.  This is not how society should work.

If we are to analyze this as a hockey scene being played out in real life, then we find even more issues.  One, bro in orange shouldn't be hanging out on the boards.  He should keep moving, and open himself up for a pass (a pass of what?).  Two, the offender clearly makes a run at his victim – twenty feet or so – which is clearly defined as Charging.

NHL Rule 42.1:
Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A “charge” may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice.
Despite this rule's vague wording, I'd say twenty feet constitutes "distance traveled."  This is not boarding, however, because the offender does not hit high, nor is orange bro necessarily defenseless since he isn't turned away from the play.

NHL Rule 41.1:
The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize the contact. However, in determining wheter such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered.
Thus, the initial call is Charging.

Three, this clearly develops into a double minor penalty, as orange bro is obstructed from the flow of play.  This is perhaps Holding more than Interference, since progress is stopped instead of impeded.

NHL Rule 54.1:
Holding – Any action by a player that retards the progress of an opposing player whether or not he is in possession of the puck.
Interference refers more to obstruction while in motion, and not while pinned against the boards.

Four, all the people in the bar cheer for this violence.  We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

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