Power play?

中国日报网 2014-12-12 12:30



Power play?Reader question:

Please explain “power play” in this passage:


U.S. politicians claim that China doesn’t keep its promises on trade, nuclear proliferation and human rights; China says the U.S. is using power plays to prevent it from developing into a rival superpower.

My comments:

Power play is a term in the game of ice hockey describing the situation where one team has one or more players on court than the opposition.

More players on court than the opposition?

That does not sound fair, does it?

Well, that’s the thing and let me explain. If you watch any NHL (National Hockey League, grouping pro teams from America and Canada) games on TV, you’ll understand that the game of ice hockey is one of the most brutal and violent games on earth. I mean it in a good sporting way, of course, but still it’s a tough man’s game. When players get into full swing with their skates and sticks, body contact is inevitable and, quite frankly, brutal.

And when players foul, they foul hard. Hence, accordingly, punishment for fouls can be equally harsh. And one of these unique punishments unseen in other sports is the penalty that leads to the situation of our discussion, the situation of power play.

When a player is deemed to commit a blatant foul, he is temporarily ejected from the game, for two minutes, to be exact. Hence, during these next two minutes, his team will be playing with one player fewer than the opposition, who will now try to make full use of this numerical advantage known as power play.

This situation is peculiar in that in hockey, unlike some other team sports, numerical advantages are overwhelming advantages. For instance in soccer, which fields 11 players, if one player is ejected from the game (and he won’t be able to return), his team, playing 10 against 11, may still be able to manage.

Not so in ice hockey, with five players on each side. If you play five on four, the advantage becomes huge.

So huge, in fact, that the penalized team will do nothing but stay close to their goal in defense. It sounds like total capitulation and it is so. They’ll give up offense all together to just pass these two minutes by before their fellow can rejoin the team.

So huge is the advantage, in fact, that even though the penalized team huddle round their goal, often times they still cannot prevent the opposition from scoring – scoring what are known as power-play goals.

Power-play goals, again, are goals scored during power play, where one team has another under total control.

Hence and therefore, if a person is accused of using power play on another, you can imagine their relationship is one that’s lopsided in terms of power and strength, such as the relationship between the boss and a subordinate in an office. In such situations, the dominate party is often wont to use brutal force to get his way instead of using, say, tact.

The dominant boss in the office is not unlike the bully in school, who doesn’t feel the need to be considerate toward a pupil from a lower class because he’s so much bigger in age, size and strength. Instead, the bully gets his way by literally throwing his weight around.

In this situation, he or she (a she is equally capable of it, too) is wont to be unreasonable with the subordinate, because, obviously they don’t have to.

In international affairs, the United States is kind of like the bully in school, in that it uses brawn or its military power to get its way with other countries.

That’s why the analyst says it uses power plays, measures that may not be wholly considerate or reasonable, in order to contain upcoming countries such as China.

All right?

Alright. Here are more media examples to help us further drive the point of “power play” home:

1. Phoenix has one of the best power plays in the NHL, and given enough opportunities, the Coyotes rode that man-advantage to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena.

Right winger Shane Doan tipped in a shot from defenseman Keith Yandle at 8:49 of the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie on the Coyotes' third power play of the third period.

“We were given some opportunities and we found a way to score a goal,” said Doan, whose goal was the 350th of his career.

“Our power play has been one of the strengths of our team this year, and it came through for us.”

The Coyotes (32-25-11) ranked sixth in the NHL in scoring with the man-advantage entering the game and third in the league at home with a conversion rate of about 23 percent. They were 1-for-7 on Saturday, but the one was all they needed.

- Coyotes use power play to produce win, Reuters, March 16, 2014.

2. If this were somebody else — practically anybody else — this would all make you scratch your head a little bit.

The sheer gall of it all — of a rookie coach who had, to be kind, an up-and-down rookie season demanding a prominent role in a franchise’s decision making — is almost comical.

Almost hard to believe.

But this isn’t somebody else. This is Jason Kidd.

And if this appalling power play shocks Mikhail Prokhorov and his Russian ownership cabinet, then shame on them.

Because even if it seems bold and brazen even by Kidd’s remarkably passive-aggressive standards, it’s simply a standard move from his time-honored (and dog-eared) playbook.

Goodness, Kidd’s been doing this since his freshman year at Cal, when he led a mutiny that wound up costing Lou Campanelli his job with 10 games left in the season.

And never were his Machiavellian methods more on display then the evening of Dec. 5, 2007, when, unhappy with the Nets’ unwillingness to trade him or extend his contract, he conducted a one-man job action, calling in sick and missing a game against the Knicks at the Meadowlands when the only thing wrong with him was a sour attitude.

Kidd was a genius player, and none of his clubhouse-lawyering and coach-killing will ever change that. But his off-court conniving is every bit as much a part of who he is, who he always has been, as his on-court brilliance. The Nets, of all teams, knew that as well as anybody, and hired him anyway last summer.

And then, in case anyone forgot, he chased a reluctant Lawrence Frank for weeks to be his top aide, demanded that the Nets make him the top-paid assistant in the league…then exiled him about 15 minutes into the season.

- Appalling power play a fitting way for Kidd to exit Brooklyn, NYPost.com, June 28, 2014.

3. “Learn to read upside down.” It was one of the first pieces of advice I got when I began working at a major film studio, and it proved one of the best. The tip came from a slightly more seasoned friend and employee who was, like me, young and vaguely ambitious about a career in the industry. “That’s how you get all the information,” he explained, “when you’re bringing the executives their coffee or handing them mail.” And information is power. I learned that skill then, learned to quickly scan contracts and memos in the moment it takes to pass something across a busy person’s desk, quietly studying the way the business really worked. But while two decades later, the preferred method of obtaining information about what goes on behind closed doors in the entertainment world is an old-fashioned computer hack, it’s been fascinating the past several days to learn – long after my brief time in the movie business – that the personality dramas of it are still so much the same. And that information remains the most powerful weapon in Hollywood.

There’s much about the recent Sony hack that’s been truly upsetting and scary, especially for the multitude of lower level employees whose personal information has been compromised. But it has also been a rare peek behind the curtain of the dream factory, with new revelations every day about salary disparities, celebrity aliases and the not too pretty way that movies get made. It’s a world in which in which power plays are all in a day’s work and the phrases “The masturbatory call is a wank I have no time for” and “This will just spin even further out in Crazyland” are regular interoffice communications. That sounds about right.

In the early nineties, I was a low-level grunt in the promotions department at a studio’s New York office, where much of my job entailed dealing with the normal, unglamorous world of merchandise vendors. I rarely got even a glimpse of the likes of Julia or Denzel or any of the stars who’d occasionally have to come by the nearby publicity department. But because we were so much smaller than our sprawling Hollywood mothership, I did get to witness, sometimes up close, the often magnificent insanity of film brass.

- The Sony hack shows movie studios are still insane, by Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon.com, December 10, 2014.





About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.



Brick and mortar

Capturing the imagination

Stirring the pot

Foxhole mentality

Learning it the hard way

Big hat, no cattle


(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:刘明)




















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