A quick tip this morning to a fine article over at the New York Times, examining one of hockey's most peculiar tactics: the face wash. Rubbing your glove in an opponent's face is a time-honored means of goading them into taking a penalty or otherwise reacting foolishly, and when done by a seasoned master, it can turn the tide of a game.
I know when I started playing adult rec hockey we had a decent team made up of mostly young 20-somethings who were just full of enthusiasm, and we had a great time, but there was always one team made up of a bunch older guys that gave us fits. You'd battle along the boards for a puck, and one of them would place his hand on you just briefly enough to cause you to react, and that gave him the space he needed to swipe the puck and make a play.
Now, as I zoom through my late-30's, it's time for me to turn the tables and do the same to players younger, faster, and more energetic than myself. For those of you who've never had the pleasure of playing the game or having a child who plays, trust me when I say that there are few, if any, fouler things in the world then "The Stench", the vile fumes that emanate from a dank, sweaty hockey glove.