Maybe there are some terms you hear commentators use and don’t quite know what they mean. Almost everyone who follows the game can figure out some of them; such as a "biscuit in the basket" is the term used for a goal, or possibly the "sin bin", which is another term for the penalty box. But if you are remotely new to ice hockey there might be a few that have you tilting your head like a puppy dog and a proverbial question mark in your mind. Here are a few. If I didn’t cover one you’ve always wondered about, feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to “BlondeSpeak” it for you.
Blade. No, they don’t mean the skate blade, it’s the flat section of a hockey stick that contacts the puck.
The Blocker. Nope, it’s not the guy who gets in the way, it’s the glove on the hand that the goalie uses to hold his stick, it has a flat pad on the front to block shots; hence, blocker.
Breakaway. Sorry to say, commentators aren’t talking about a song here, and if you know the song of which I speak, you need a heavy infusion of hard rock, I’m just saying. A breakaway is a scoring opportunity where the skater with the puck is behind the opposing defensemen and faces only the goaltender, he kind of ‘breaks away’ from the pack as it were.
Cherry Picking (or a Cherry Picker). No again, it’s not referring to a delightful summer pastime or a truck for fixing electrical and/or telephone lines. Basically, a cherry picker is a player who just hangs out, often close to the goal, waiting for a pass so he can have a breakaway. I would like to name a few cherry pickers here, but I’ll be nice.
Cross-checking. Technically, cross-checking is hitting an opponent with the stick while it is held in both hands and no part of the stick is touching the ice. Think of it as a swing and a hit (if you’ll permit me to slide a baseball term in here) by one player on another.
Dangler. Ah, I know what you all want this to mean. Clean up those filthy minds, people! A Dangler is a player who has exceptionally good stick handling skills and can easily fool opposing players.
Deke. Simply put, it’s faking out an opponent, to get around him or score on a goalie. There are shoulder dekes, stick dekes and head dekes.
Dipsy Doodle. A Dipsy Doodle is just a term for a fancy deke. (For Caps fans, you’ll recognize this term, Craig Laughlin loves to use it).
Drop Pass. Nope, not a pick up line in a bar that gets no results. In hockey, it’s a pass where a player simply leaves the puck behind him on the ice for a teammate to pick up. When done correctly, the puck stops moving and the pass's receiver catches up to it.
Icing. Ah, the wonderful icing term. I’m gonna save that one for its own BlondeSpeak post because it’s a little more detailed and tricky to explain. Trust me I tried, it’s gonna take more than a simple sentence or two to explain it.
Laying on the Lumber. Another term where you need to get your minds out of the gutter, people! It’s just another term for slashing.
Off Wing. When you hear a commentator saying a man was playing off wing, it means wing who is on the side opposite than he usually plays, or shoots from the "wrong side" for his position. For example, a left wing stationed on the right wing’s side or a right-handed shooter playing left wing.
The Point. Nope, not where surfers find the best wave or the place go to when you want to make out with your boyfriend. It’s the spot on the rink inside the blue line where the defensemen hang out.
Plus-Minus. Think of it like a grading system for players. Technically, it’s a hockey statistic that can apply to a player (or an offensive or defensive line) indicating whether they were on the ice when the opposing team scored (a minus) or on the ice when their own team scored (a plus). For example; if a goal is scored against your team, the defensemen on your team that were on the ice when it happened get a minus.
Saucer Pass. No, not the kind of saucer under a teacup. If you thought that, you may just be too ladylike for hockey. A saucer pass is just an airborne pass from one player to another.
Slew Foot. This one is a type of nasty act that should result in a penalty. It’s the action of sweeping or kicking out a player's skate or tripping them from behind, causing them to fall backwards. Any player who resorts to this should get a slew foot in the arse.
Soft Hands. Now, you all can guess what I wish this meant, but no, it doesn’t. When a player is described as having soft hands, they are saying he has the skills to keep the puck under control, moving it easily back and forth with his stick in a relaxed way.
Stack the Pads. When the goalie drops down and lays on one side with one leg on top of the other, in essence creating a wall to block the puck from going into the net, it’s called stacking the pads.
Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not intended to be technical explanations of hockey terms. I’m not an expert. Watch a hockey game and when you hear those terms listed above thrown out there, you’ll have just enough knowledge to understand what is going on so you can sit back and enjoy one of the greatest sports there is…Any questions?