Hockey Geometry: Trapezoids

In high school math a trapezoid is a four-sided figure with one pair of parallel sides.  In hockey it’s a box behind the goalie’s net meant to keep Martin Brodeur from being more awesome than he already is.  The NHL implemented the rule after 2005, drawing lines outward from the net to the back wall of the rink.  The goalie is allowed to field the puck between these lines and ahead of the goal line, but not in the corners of the rink.

Stay away from those corners Brodeur! We'll have none of your shennanigans!

This rule has helped to keep goalies from becoming god-like beings able to impose their will on any part of the ice.  It has also helped to make math text books more interesting.

Olympic and international play do not use the trapezoid rule however (no doubt because they don’t care about educating the youth in mathematics), and so it’s ironic that the very thing that was meant to keep Brodeur limited is what ended up undoing him during the US’s upset of Canada last night.  Scrambling out of from in front of his little net, Brodeur gave opportunities to Rafalski and Kelser during the course of the game that lead to 2 of the US’s 5 goals.

Even in grammar school they teach you that 2 minus 5 is 3.  3, the number of goals Canada scored.  3=3.  Huh.  Sounds like a tie, or at least another opportunity for Sidney Crosby to win the game in a shoot out.  And any math teacher could tell you the favorable percentages of that equation.


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