Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Three cheers for Dumb Leg!

So, if you read my blog, you know a couple of things:

  1. I haven't had a real "victory" on the ice in a while. You know... a good skate where I left the rink doing a happy dance. It's all been sort of nervous survival for the last month or more.
  2. I've had a bitch of a time learning to stop.
Well, today the hockey gods rewarded me with:
  1. A randomly scheduled early evening public skate session at Willowbrook. They almost never have a mid-week public skate other than at lunchtime, so this was a rare occurrence.
  2. Nearly empty ice. Maybe 15-20 people in the whole rink.
  3. The rink attendant who looks like Brandon Rogers. (Hey, I skate better with eye candy.)
  5. Victory... happy dance... texting Coach Stalin... woohoos from Coach Stalin... good mood for at least a few days!
I went to this skate with the intention of learning to stop on my dumb (left) leg if it took me the whole two hours to do it. Until today, I couldn't even put my left skate down to try and stop without the whole thing going haywire.

But today, I stayed patient, gave myself all the time I needed to work up to it, and little by little, I was able to shave the ice up with my left blade. The trick was be in a fairly deep knee bend. More than I have to do when I stop on my smart leg. I still have trouble making full blade contact with the ice because my leg doesn't want to turn that far inward. But if I focus on making contact with the heel of my blade first, it works out about right.

I need to spend some time standing around working on the leg rotation like I did a while back with my smart leg.

Anyway, enough of the mechanics of it, but it suffices to say that I am SO relieved. I really thought I was retarded and would never learn to stop. Of course, this isn't a full on hockey stop, but it's the beginning of it. And being able to stop properly provides me with some much needed agility, both in terms of skating out, but also looking ahead to playing goal. It's a BIG DEAL and I'm so excited. And I'm excited to be genuinely excited about hockey for the first time in a long while. Mostly it's been drudgery or Red Level Panic in the recent weeks.

So, it's good. I'm still not real confident stopping when I'm going fast and I have to concentrate really hard when I do it, but that will come. Doing lightning would still be a pretty clumsy affair but, again, it will come. It's good. :)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Go Vote for the Wild

Normally I don't really care about these little logo contests and stuff, other than in sort of a passing way. But gosh darnit, I really want to beat the Pens in the first round of the Center Ice Logo contest on Icethetics.

Go here and vote for the Wild

And I wouldn't ask if I didn't think the Wild logo was genuinely superior (less busy and fussy than the Pens). And I know the Pens are going to get a ton of bandwagon/popularity votes, which irritates the snot out of me.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Game 1

I was telling one of the other players last night that while I was feeling just fine last night, by 5 p.m. today, the soreness was all gonna hit. And boy do I know my body. I got up from my work chair a few moments ago and suddenly felt everything. Where I fell on my ass going over the boards, where I fell on my hand (wrist! again! fuck!) when I crashed into some big dude on the red team (of course, he didn't fall... chivalry is so dead), and my abs are sore in every direction. My wrist really hurts and that bothers me most of all because I've done this before and it takes a good 6 weeks to stop hurting.

I'm not going into a ton of detail because I honestly spent a good 6 hours after the game with every moment of the game swirling in my head, and I've finally pushed all that aside so I'm going to let sleeping dogs lie.

But it was fun. A LOT more fun than practicing, doing swizzles, etc. But it's a big effort in swallowing your pride because there's nothing pretty about a brand new hockey player. There's so much new information you're taking in that it really kind of becomes a blur and you just hope to absorb some of it for next time so you can do slightly better. There's just lots of falling, being lost, trying to help your team in some small way (but really, until you know somewhat what you're doing, the team/score/etc. is secondary to trying to learn the game).

The thing that really stood out to me was how freaking nice everyone was. Even the players on the other team were telling me where I needed to position myself if I was out of place. My centerman for the last 4 periods (yeah, it was a long ice session so we played 3 stop-time periods and 2 more 10 minute run-time periods) was so incredibly kind and supportive and watchful of us (my other wing has only been playing a couple of months longer than me), I feel I really owe him a debt of gratitude. I wouldn't have been so patient, especially if I were as good a player as he is. So, thank you thank you thank you, Dan!

Coach Stalin said I looked like I was afraid of the puck and afraid of the net and that I wasn't skating fast enough. All of which were true. Not really afraid, but I felt like for my first time out, if I could just break up the plays of the better players, I'd be doing well. And as far as the skating, I honestly spent half my time on the ice trying to figure out which end I was in because the goalies switched teams and all my visualization had me shooting on the guy who is now our goalie. So, that messed me all the hell up. Plus, switching ends between periods is a mindfuck. Especially when you've been playing for 2.5 hours. Sheesh. So, when you don't know where you are, and don't know where you're going, it's hard to want to go quickly in any direction. Especially when you suck at stopping. :)

But I know that stuff will come. The worst thing is climbing over the boards. I know that will get better, too, but I really hate doing it. I need to reframe it and find some love for it or it's going to have me wound all the hell up before every game.

Anyway, all in all it was good and I went with the flow as well as I could.

I can tell you this with great certainty. I'd still rather be a goalie. In a big way. I mean, it's fun to skate out, but I'll be honest... my heart of hearts isn't in it. I mean, I want to do well and learn and have fun, but it's not where I keep my fuzzy slippers. My fuzzy slippers are in the crease and I don't want to lose my focus in that regard.


Hey look! It's 1:30 AM and I'm awake!

So much for hockey wearing me out and the subsequent beer putting me in a sleepy hockey coma.

I'm so terribly tired, but when I close my eyes, I'm rehashing swirling bits of hockey game at 90 mental miles an hour and I can't fucking shut it off. Gonna have a bowl of cereal and put the tv on a boring channel and hope for sleep, even if it's on the couch.

I'll go into more about the game tomorrow. Too tired to do it justice tonight. I will say, it was a helluva lot more fun than the practicing I've been doing for the last 6 months.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Not hockey, but I'm awake and bored

Yes, my middle name (before I got married and dropped it like a bad habit) was a combination of two of my parents' students names.

Today, but it was just a tear or two over a really sweet card a friend who is moving out of country gave us.

No. I avoid writing by hand like the plague.


Just the furry one and the 37 year old one

Probably not because neither of us would ever approach the other.

No. Never. Pfft.


Not even off a step ladder.

I love granola with raisin. MMMMmmmm....

Not if I can help it.

In some ways, yes. In other ways, no.

Rocky Road

I'm stealing Tami's answer... whether or not they laugh at my jokes, or more to the point, how readily they laugh/smile.

Um, red. There is no pink in my world.


Ron Hextall (had to work some hockey in there)

Eh, do whatever the hell you want.

Uh, flesh toned?

Tiramisu, unless you count the Bailey's on the rocks I'm currently drinking to try and put myself to sleep

Myself typing.

Silver.... sparkly but still slightly disappointing on paper.

Hockey rink/arena (away from the dressing rooms), limes, baking bread, lemon tree flowers

Coach Stalin

Sweet fancy moses, YES!!! She's my sister from another mother...

Hockey, and football a distant second

Red baybee. Until the roots grow out. Then it's grey and dark blonde. Blech.




I guess happy endings.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop

periwinkle nightgown

Winter, bitches. Winter.

Hugs, by a long shot

Um. Am I supposed to make a list? I'm gonna be weird and say Flan!

I hate questions like this. What am I? A fucking mind-reader?

See #37

The Hammer

The one I have but don't use since I have a laptop is just black with a lovely ergonomic wrist rest.

Austin Powers

skates swishing on ice

Would have been insulted at even the comparison in my youth, I was such a huge Beatles fan, but I'm more of a Stones girl since I went to their concert a couple of years ago.


I can be pretty funny. Is that a talent? I can skate the perimeter of a face-off circle for a REALLY long time working on crossovers without getting dizzy.

Lubbock, TX

See #37

I have a real problem with this stopping at 47. Come on!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Life is good

Except for how my lower back went out with a distinct POP while I was washing the dog this morning, leaving me in pain and laid up on the couch most of the day (except when I went to get a pedicure, but they have those massagey chairs, so that counts as therapy).

So, of course, this happens one day away from my big debut as a hockey player. It's actually not that painful, but it's tender and, for lack of a better word, weak. I'm hoping a good night's sleep and continuing to take it easy during the day tomorrow will have me in shape for the game tomorrow night.

What's good about it is that I'm so concerned about babying my back, I'm not worried about the actual hockey any more. And it will force me to bend at the knees rather than at my back!

But I did watch Bon Cop, Bad Cop during my convalescence today. Pretty entertaining, especially the portrayal of the hockey commissioner. Worth the rental.


Friday, July 25, 2008

The Insomnia that Never Sleeps!

Honestly, I just lay awake in bed with every single worry about the game on Sunday swirling in my head. I have to be deliriously sleepy to fall asleep. Of course, this makes me incredibly tired during the day and as soon as I'm done with work, I pass out on the couch and then wake up for dinner. And here I am at 2:46 a.m. Fudge.

But at least I've gotten all my shows watched. Priorities, you know.

And I'm trying to read this book called "The Hammer" about Dave Schultz, but it's all about how he regrets being an enforcer in the NHL. Come on, Dave! It's not as badly written as I expected it to be, but the content is a bit disappointing. I mean, I know enforcers have the shittiest job on the ice, but this is kinda like how that Roe vs. Wade lady is now saying she things abortion should be illegal. Come on! You're ruining it for the rest of us, eh? So I get irritated with it before I get sleepy enough to fall asleep.

Went to the Galleria to skate tonight. It was good mentally but I'm not going back there until school is back in session. It was literally just overrun with kids. And I really wanted to work on stopping, but doing that on a sheet that's jam packed with rental-skaters is just asking for trouble and frustration. So I only skated for 30 minutes and then just bailed. It just wasn't worth the hassle.

Gonna do yoga tomorrow come hell or high water. My knees were hurting a bit on the ice and I clearly have some stuff that needs stretching out.

You ever feel like you really just need to get sloppy drunk? That's how I'm feeling this week. Like a bender is imminent. But other than some beer after the game Sunday, I'm not sure when I'm gonna pull that off. Oh! I have kaluha! A kaluha and cream (okay, 1% milk) will put me to sleep, right? If not, it will at least be delicious. Good night!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Post Camp Video

From some Minny TV station

Interviews with Cal Clutterbuck, Colton Gillies, and Little Jimmy Shepperd


  • Cal always throws me off me with his off-ice demeanor. He's such a mean little bastard on the ice that when he's all smiley and friendly, it freaks me out a little bit. Of course, being drawn to strong contrasts like I am, that just makes me like him all the more.
  • I so hope Gillies makes the team this year. I know he won't have a huge season if he does, but I'm looking forward to watching him develop and put the "mean streak" I'm always hearing about into action.
  • Shep has kinda lost his "boy" face. The Wild's hottie quotient is suddenly quite a bit higher in my estimation.


Captain, Revisit

Wow, did I ever miss the boat in my original musing on the contenders for the captaincy in Houston this season. Andrew Ferraro brought to light this article on d-man Brandon Rogers, who just signed a 3 year deal with the Wild, today and the comments from (my favorite) Aeros assistant coach Troy Ward definitely give me the sense that Brandon is likely a good bet for one of those spots.

"He had a calming influence on our team," said Troy Ward, the Aeros' assistant coach and assistant general manager. "He improved offensively with his numbers and he defended very well. He played a lot of minutes for us. He gave us good offense and defense and brought a lot of leadership to the team."

"What separates him from other hockey players is he has a humanistic side. He has a work ethic and passion and people skills and that radiates positive things for everybody. He's humanistic at a high level and unfortunately you don't see that in a lot of players."
Sounds like captain stuff right there, doncha think? Honestly, I didn't pay a lot of attention to Brandon during the season, but when I went back after the season and looked at his stats, I realized he was doing a lot more back there than I was giving him credit for. He's like the Nick Schultz of the Aeros, I guess. Just quietly doing his job extremely well and being a leader. Word. Good job locking that one up, Wardo!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You have been registered for...

"You have been registered for Adult Novice League. If you have any questions, please contact the Aerodrome."

Hoo-boy. Breathe.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Attention Whore

I've had a few blogs through the years as various obsessions have wafted through my life and I've always set up a Sitemeter account for them to see what kind of traffic my blog gets and where it's coming from. It's a bit self-indulgent but then so is the presumption that my daily trivialities are worth the bits and bytes they're taking up here on the interwebz. I'm all about self-indulgence, babes.

Anyway, I always find it interesting to see where traffic is coming from, and if it's coming from web searches, what people were searching for. The one I got today ("ESPYS sucked!") amused me enough that I decided to add a little section to my layout (bottom of the right-side column) where I can add the more interesting searches that people have used to get here.

Beyond that I'd like to say thanks for stopping by to anyone who does and bothers to read and doesn't laugh at me behind my back. I'm sensitive, okay? Particularly the surprising Finnish contingent. Päivää, y'all! Say hey to Mikko for me, will ya? And tell Backs to fix his shootout problem.


Sore in strange places

I feel like the weekend, from Friday on, was a frenzy of activity, mostly related to being on the ice... and not just being on the ice, but challenging myself on the ice. I can't say I look back on it with total fondness, to be quite honest. I know it will get better, but I had a hard time falling asleep last night with the weekend running through my head. Mostly the stuff I did that I'm not exactly cheering about. Which is a lot of it. I'm way too hard on myself, but I've always kinda been the sort that, if I can't get up to speed pretty quickly and do something fairly well, then it's not worth the bother. I'm going against a lot of my personal grain in this endeavor (and even moreso with skating out).

Anyway, I obviously didn't have all my kvetching out of my system. Forgive me. I overprocess when my confidence is low. The blog takes the brunt of it (though Mr. Conduct would argue that point).

But to the subject at hand, I woke up with plenty of soreness in strange places today. I fell twice yesterday, but with all my gear on, so I shouldn't be hurting from that. Yet I really don't feel like I did anything that should have made me so sore. Maybe I underestimated what I did yesterday. Or maybe I underestimated the falls. Usually my pride is so wounded, the actual pain of the fall doesn't come to me until much later.

Seriously, if there was a way to just keep one beer in my system all the time or maybe a dash of Xanax on board, I'd let all this angst go and just be the happiest person. Alas, responsible adulthood requires sobriety most of the time. Damn.

Oh, but speaking of beer, this being beer league hockey, there is much beer and bawdy discussion in the parking lot after the game. I didn't have any because I was tired and hungry and still had to drive 25 miles home at 11:30 p.m. but I did try a sip of Amanda The Goalie's Carlsberg Pilsner (meh... too beery for my taste, but pretty easy to drink) and Scott The Canadian Goalie's Dos Equis (with lime, terrific! Where's this shit been all my life? You could almost taste the chips and queso. That's definitely my new mexican food staple. Thanks, eh!)

I suppose if the weekend results in nothing more than sore muscles and a new beer to love, I really don't have much to complain about. :)


Doing better; ESPYS

Okay, so I still sucked at the skating clinic, though it was all revolving around the fact that I suck at stopping on my right leg and can't stop at all on my left. Ugh. Other than that, it was fine. Didn't feel like I got a ton out of it, other than just kinda having to get over myself a little bit, but that's probably worth it.

Or maybe I'm just too tired to care right now.

After I got home and scrubbed the accumulated stink off my person, I tuned into the ESPYS. I have to say, Justin Timberlake and Will Ferrell & Co. made it pretty entertaining, but as a hockey fan, it made me want to shoot the TV. Come on, how do you NOT give Rick Nash the best play? Or Red Wings the best team? They dominated all season!

And I'll give you one guesses as to who from this list won best NHL player (at least they had a category):

Best NHL Player
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
--->Sidney "The only name I recognize, so he must be good" Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins<---

One guesses!

Ugh. ESPN sucks. Hosers.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Meltdown at the Icecapades

Okay, I saved the meltdown until I got to the privacy of my home (and my bewildered husband), and there were no icecapades unless you count the balletic flip I did when some kid blind-sided me.

Stick and puck #2 this morning was not quite the joyous, sweaty fun of stick and puck #1. What I'm learning is that "stick and puck" is universal code for "drop-in hockey" so if you're really there to just work on drills and you're the ONLY one there working on drills, then you feel like a newbie schmuck for causing 20 people to play half ice hockey while you literally just move back and forth and back and forth learning to control the puck.

If one of the hockey coaches hadn't been there to make them do half ice, I really would have been screwed and angry. As it was, I did actually get some good practice moving the puck (which is a lot harder to do correctly than it looks), but it's tearfully boring work and pretty lonely. But Coach said she had to do the same thing herself a few times and also felt like a schmuck, so I guess this is just a rite of passage of learning to play hockey as an adult.

We have the power skating clinic this evening and apparently we're wearing full gear, which I think is stupid, but I guess it's not up to me. Just seems like learning techniques for the first time would be easier if you're not loaded down, at least with the upper body gear. But whatever. I'm trying to work up a happy face but am not quite feeling it. These are growing pains, my friends... necessary but painful.


Friday, July 18, 2008

First Stick and Puck

i. am. exhausted.

Honestly, I haven't been this tired since I walked 26.2 miles in 7.5 hours last October. And let me tell you, this was a helluva a lot more fun. And no blisters!

I was so nervous all morning. Just beside myself with nerves. I couldn't tell you why, other than just fear of the unknown. But I cranked up my hockey tunes on the drive out to the rink and was feeling far less nerve-wracked by the time I got there.

We were the only women, so we had our own locker room, which was nice. And I was there early enough to put my gear on wrong (twice) and not have to rush to fix it. :)

Anyway, we hit the ice and the guys took up about 2/3 of the rink with a pick-up game and we hung to the other end and worked on puck handling (which I suck desperately at at the moment) and passing (which I was decent enough at that I actually really surprised Coach Stalin).

She was also very complimentary of my stronger, more confident skating in my gear. But seriously, if this $400 exoskeleton doesn't make me confident, nothing ever will. I honestly feel like I could play goal in this stuff. It's fucking HOT, but it's protective!

Anyway, I had to take two rest breaks in the hour-long stick and puck session. I was absolutely dripping with sweat (literally within 5 minutes, I had sweat dripping out of my helmet off my face). I wrung a stream of sweat out of my ponytail when we finished. Woof. Next time I'll take a much larger bottle of water with a bit of Gatorade powder mixed in.

As fun as it was, I can't even tell you how happy I was to see the Zamboni door open. :)

Then we took a nice long break. Coach got back in her normal clothes and I stripped the upper body pads and helmet, which was a massive relief. Food didn't sound good (typical for me after I've been exerting myself), so I just sucked down a bottle of Gatorade while Coach ate a little lunch. Then we got back on the ice for the last 45 minutes or so of the public skate so I could work just on skating in my gear. It actually wasn't too bad, even with my huge pants and shin guards. Though we worked on crossovers a bit and I was very nearly in tears, I was so frustrated. But it got better by the end.

And then, mercifully, they kicked us off the ice again and I was able to get back into flip flops and comfy pants. Yay!

So, that's how the day went. What was really interesting to me is how the skating aspect of things just vanished when I was having to concentrate on moving the puck around. There were moments where I forgot I was on skates, which was kind of surreal, but really pretty pleasant. I've spent so much time focusing on the skating, it was really nice to let that go and focus on something else entirely.

Looks like we're going to hit another stick and puck on Sunday morning, and then the skating clinic is before the game Sunday night. Which is a little awkward because I just don't see how I can possibly do all three things when today's activities so thoroughly exhausted me, but I think they're going to be at least in partial gear (bottoms) for the clinic.

Kinda embarrassing to admit that I just don't have the stamina to actually play the game, but I just don't see how I can do it and have any brain left for the game. I'd rather play my first game a little fresher in the head and body.

Oh well, it will get sorted out. Meanwhile, the damn laundry needs to finish because I'm desperate to go to bed!!!


Thursday, July 17, 2008


My gear finally arrived yesterday. Not in time to go to stick and puck, so I went to spinning (and half-assed it worse than I ever have... did the speed work but none of the hill work... I was a bit underhydrated and I got a headache pretty early on and knew I'd be going home to try on my gear, so I figured if I could just get a decent cardio workout, that was good enough).

Anyway, come home to a giant box of gear left by Brown Santa. It's a little alarming when the box made me grunt to pick it up, considering everything in it is stuff I'll be wearing all at once. Doh!

I tried everything on and was pretty surprised to find that everything fit, and fit pretty nicely. I especially like the shoulder pads, which are made for women, so there's space for my boobs (even if said space is higher than where my actual boobs are... a new sports bra is in order, I guess... or plastic surgery), and the pants are really nice. Loads of padding but very comfortable and easy to move in. The hip padding especially makes me happy. It's like having an exoskeleton!

The only thing I really didn't like wearing was the elbow pads. I don't like having something strapped to my arms like that. But I don't really know how they could be any better. I'm sure the first time I land on an elbow, I'll be grateful for them.

My favorite part is that my CSKA (Russian) Ms. Conduct jersey fits over my gear, so I can use it as a practice jersey!

Overall, I'm happy with my set-up. My stick is coming today and I think we're going to try and go to the stick and puck at Space City Ice tomorrow and then maybe the one on Saturday at SLICE.

Then I'm thinking I'll JUST do the clinic on Sunday and watch the game after, and then maybe start playing the following Sunday. *ack!*


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DR plays hardball

So, it's been high drama in Wildville today as Russo informed us that Stephan Veilleux was put on waivers today. You could almost hear the collective *thunk* of jaws hitting the floor, as just yesterday, we were hearing that his contract negotiations were going fine.

But there are several factors at play:

  1. Prospect camp just finished, so the front office has a better sense of who they have waiting in the wings. Hello, Cal Clutterbuck!
  2. Steph fired his agent and opted to negotiate this contract himself. I suppose he thought the earnest way Risebrough dealt with Rolston would carry over to him. Not so much, champ.
  3. Steph is asking for too much and the Wild are making no bones about the fact that this move is to prove that to him. They're wagering he won't get picked off waivers and he'll have to come back to the table with his hat in his hands. This is the part that I find to be a) very crafty on Riser's part but also b) humiliating on Steph's part. But really, he brought it on himself by overvaluing his services, and I think if they were anywhere close, the Wild wouldn't make this move.
  4. My personal theory is that he will clear waivers because the GMs of the league are going to look at this situation and see it as an opportunity to get some semblance of control over the market after the frenzy of free agency ratcheted up salaries even for 3/4 line checkers like SV (see Aaron Voros' $3 Mil, 3 year deal in NY). So they're purposely not even going to consider SV for their teams and basically back Riser up by not picking him up. Hey, it's not collusion if they all make the decision individually.
So there's that. We'll see how it plays out. Someone would have to claim him by 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Personally, I like the energy SV brings, but he is entirely replaceable. However, I don't like the optics of this... it's hard for fans to see a player who consistently played with guts and heart basically take it up the ass from management. But he had a hand in the matter. There's a reason guys use agents and why the NHLPA expressed concern over his handling this on his own.

And apparently he was informed prior to being placed on waivers that this was coming. I guess he either thought he'd call their bluff or he really believes he'll be picked up. He's willing to gamble, either way, so I don't feel too sorry for him.



Being a Wild fan AND an Aeros fan, I have to say, I really prefer a year-long captaincy that most teams (including the Aeros) have vs. the rotating captaincy that the Wild have. If only to avoid the repeated threads of "Who should be the captain this month?" and the inevitable answer of "Backstrom!" to which 5 people pull out the rule book about how goalies can't be captains and blah blah blah.

But anyway... now that we have the main guys on the team signed and securely back in the fold, I've begun to wonder about who the Aeros captain might be this year. It was Reitz last season, and he's now moved on to Minnesota. The alternates were Kelly and Payer and they're gone. Ward filled in when Kelly went up to Minny, and now he's gone, too.

The thing is, you can tell who is a leader on the ice, but not so much in the locker room.

If I had to guess, I'd say Stoner. He certainly leads by example on the ice, he's been with the team for a while, good team guy, good character guy (it seems).

I'd love to see Clutterbuck get an A. And if he gets called up to Minny and sticks, it's not a big deal to pass the torch to someone else. I'd say I'm not sure it's appropriate for someone with an agitating style like his to be in that role, but he wore the A back in juniors and I think he was even more off the hook back then, so there's at least a precedent for it.

Plus, there's something kind of satisfying about having a guy who opposing teams and fans thinks is a colossal asshole, and yet our team has seen it fit to say, "We like him. He represents us. FU." Hah! Maybe we should just put FU on his chest. Heh.

Not sure about the second A. Might go to one of the new guys. Locke? Lundy? Guess it depends on how the chemistry is shaping up in training camp. Maybe Hamilton or Irmen? Schultz? Remains to be seen, I guess.

Have I mentioned how awesome Marty Turco is? Watching game 2 of the Anaheim series and I don't know how Giggy isn't down there crying under his mask at his miserable inferiority.

My gear comes tomorrow. My new stick comes on Thursday. Hopefully it will get here before I go to spinning tomorrow night. I finally did the yoga I was going to do Sunday tonight. Lazy bitch... meh.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Aeros Roster Shaping up for 08-09 Season

A flush of RFA signings came through today and the new roster is looking good (minus my reservations about Kolanos).

Here's how it's looking with guys who for sure have contracts:

Cal Clutterbuck (R)
Corey Locke (C)
Jesse Schultz(R)
Krys Kolanos (C)
Ryan Hamilton (L)
Petr Kalus (R)
Morten Madsen (C)
Peter Olvecky (L)
Danny Irmen (R)
Bryan Lundbohm (C)
Matt Kassian (L) (I'm just going to assume he'll be in the AHL this season)

Clayton Stoner
Tomas Mojzis
Brandon Rogers
Maxim Noreau
Paul Albers
John Scott

Nolan Schaefer
Barry Brust
Dimples (Anton Khudobin)

So, assuming we roll with only 2 goalies on the roster due to a trade or Khudobin going down to the ECHL or something... that's 19 players. With a 23 man limit, that's 4 spots left for pure minor-league contracts from the Aeros.

Two guys I'd definitely want back are Marco Rosa (C) and Jon Awe (D). But Rosa is a center and we seem to be pretty well set for centers unless we intend to carry an extra or play someone on the wing. Awe just has a wicked slapper and is a big fella who can hit hard. Plus, he's a southern boy, and I can't help but cheer for a southern-raised hockey player!

Troy Riddle also filled in nicely when we called him up from the E and might get a shot. I really expected Adrian Foster to have gotten a serious look. He was a first round draft pick of the Devils several years ago and just got blasted by injuries, but he had some real bright moments last season and played nearly every game, so he certainly isn't finished. But I've heard nothing about him, so I'm assuming they're not retaining his services.

Edited to add Jesse Schultz, who I forgot when I put this together originally. I knew I was forgetting someone.

Edited again to update for Stoner's signing.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Kassian's Camp Wrap-Up

Posted on today, this little blurb made me laugh.


Ed note: By way of a very unscientific poll, conducted primarily with Matt Kassian, who had help from others.

Fastest skater: Colton Gillies

Hardest worker: Ryan Hamilton

Hardest shot: Justin Falk, Max Noreau

Sickest hands: Benoit Pouliot

Best stickhandler: Benoit Pouliot

Most agile: Benoit Pouliot, James Sheppard or Colton Gillies. "They're all pretty close."

Best passer: Morten Madsen

Future leader: James Sheppard

Best hockey sense: Tyler Cuma

Best one-on-one: James Sheppard, Beniot Pouliot

Funniest: "Funniest looking is Colton Gillies [who happened to be walking by]. Funniest is possibly Paul Albers or Cal Clutterbuck."

Strongest: "I'd rank myself high there."

Gillies: "You can't pump your own tires."

Kassian: "I'm pumping my own tires. I get to pick myself. Matt Kassian."


This, that, the other

Got my new stick ordered from Ice Warehouse. Returned the other stick to the pro shop. Though that was a bit of an ordeal because the only person working was a kid who didn't know how to process a credit card return. Poor guy was calling everyone, looking through the procedure manual, etc. He was frazzled but persistent and finally found someone who answered their phone AND knew how to talk him through it.

Of course, it's a hike to get out there, so I wasn't leaving until he'd literally tried everything. But he got it done and gave it a little fist pump to celebrate (all the young guys working there are hockey players). Good kid. :)


There's a great show on the NHL Network each day called Hockey Academy. Goes through little lessons on skating, puck handling, stuff like that. It's geared toward kids, but in skating years, I guess I'm about 5 years old, so it's all good. In fact, most of it is way too advanced for me. But it's good to watch. I've set up a season pass for it now that I'll be skating out. They don't do much goalie stuff so I didn't watch it regularly before.


Game 1 of the Dallas/Anaheim series is on NHL Network tonight. I didn't get to see much of that series, so I'm catching up and also trying to watch the play


If you've ever wondered how to tell the difference between a Fangirl and a Puckbunny, this should help. It's an old post but I just found it today and enjoyed the discussion. My favorite quote is by SportSquee's Margee. She perfectly sums up my perspective with her usual aplomb.

"fangirls love everything about the game and puck bunnies just like one thing. Fangirls aren't just wooed by a pretty face. Fangirls are invested in a way that men can't understand. The personality of the player, the style of game, the leadership, it all plays into who one is a fangirl for. Fangirls love the game first, and tend to love the player who loves it in the way that she does. Fangirls pick and choose who they adore. A puckbunny will take anyone in a sweater. To the fangirl, a cute dude is just another variable that enhances being a fan, like loving the jersey of a particular team. It's just icing on the cake."
Bringing this up is apropos of nothing really. Just hockey talk.


I think that's it. Turco is awesome.


"So, tell us about... hockey!"

Oh dear. I ran across this video and it's just painful. Welcome to hockey in Houston.

Though I will give Erik credit for keeping a straight face.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stick Swap

Had some time to research Eric a bit (the stick, not Lindros) and it seems there's a configuration with a similar blade, more flex, and better lie, which is really more on target with what I wanted. That would make it absolutely perfect. So, I'll call in the morning and see if the pro shop can order me one and let me swap them out or just return this one and order the one I want. Ice Warehouse has a good price and reasonable shipping.

What did I do to myself yesterday? My hip joints are SO sore! Gonna assume this means I was doing something right. I usually take soreness in new places as a sign of progress.

So, my mission for this week includes watching some of my recorded Aeros games and keeping an eye on what the wings are doing. Since the games on NHL Network are not "my" teams, I'm having trouble keeping tack of who's playing what position. And I also need to work on stopping on my left, which means lots of time spent standing around on my right foot with my left foot stuck out sideways in front of me.

My gear gets here on Wednesday, but knowing UPS, probably not until early evening, so the stick and puck in Clear Lake that night isn't an option. I'll have to coordinate with Coach to find another one that works. Seems like there are quite a few to choose from in the summer. Without the high school teams playing and practicing, ice time seems a little easier to come by.

Meanwhile, tonight's agenda is yoga to try and work out this soreness.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Skate & New Stick!

Had my first skate with Coach Stalin since I decided to skate out. We did our usual stuff, added on some hard core crossover work, including finally turning left! Also worked on lightning and she gave me tips on cheating because I'm not nearly fast enough and I can't stop on my left side.

Also worked on doing turns with a small radius (to help with not being able to stop on my left). It was a bit of a clusterfuck on my part but I don't feel too discouraged. Everybunny starts somewhere, eh?

Finally, we skated through some game-time positioning, which was pretty fun. My inability to think under pressure is going to be my Achilles heel.

And before we left, we spent a good bit of time in the pro shop picking out a stick for me. Ended up selecting a Nike/Bauer Vapor XII with the Lindros blade. It's got burnt orange and it's fairly pretty, though it also felt good, so I'm happy.

Say Hi to Eric:


Friday, July 11, 2008

Fresh Meat Friday!

Well, the Wild are certainly making a statement about how things are gonna go next year in Houston. Within the span of a week, they've signed/traded for 3 big time scorers from around the AHL. This is really exciting stuff.

First was Jesse Schultz (Nick's cousin) from the Calder Cup Champion Chicago Wolves. Then today, they traded away d-man Shawn Belle for Hamilton center Corey Locke. I think that's a win-win for everyone. Belle will get out of this system in which he just doesn't fit, and we get offensive firepower. And they signed center Krys Kolanos, a former Phoenix Coyote (I expect a report, Hip!), who played with the much maligned Kris Chucko in Quad Cities last season. He had noggin issues a few years ago, but played quite well for QC last year.

I'm very happy with these moves. Would be nice to have a chance offensively and not just have to pray for the D and goalies to keep goals against down to 0 or 1. But speaking of D... we're now a bit thin on that front. I'll hope for more news in the coming weeks on that front.

ETA: So, it's since been unearthed that while Schultz and Locke are character guys, Kolanos is apparently a bit of a jerk. This is coming from fans in several of the cities he's played for, so it's not just one loud mouthed fan's smear campaign. Word is he gives about 15% on the ice and won't play both ends, he's dismissive of fans, and a poor teammate. I can't fathom why he'd choose to come here unless it was the only offer on the table. Constantine is gonna crucify a guy like that. Could be a bumpy ride for Krys, and I'm not too excited anymore about his signing. I don't care how many goals you score, you never earn the right to be a jerk.



So, I go in for a massage over lunch, and Cheryl looks at me funny and tells me I'm crooked. Definitely feels a lot better now that she's uncrookeded me. Hopefully I can sit through yet another symphony tonight (this time it's the music of Pink Floyd plus a laser light show... Don't ask. I don't choose to do this stuff) without squirming to get comfortable the whole time.

Did I mention I ordered my gear? And ACK!?


*deep breath*

I just ordered my hockey gear. As Bill the Cat would say, "ACK!"


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Um. Hi there.

So, it was a little weird for my self-indulgent little blog to get called out by one of the hockey writers at the New York (freaking) Times. I do appreciate it, but now I feel I should probably do more than whine about my aches and pains and freak out over my missing xanax bottle.

Since we're hitting the symphony tonight (sounds fancy but they're playing music from popular video games, so really it's a big dorkfest that I'm not all that excited about, but DH supports my dorking out about hockey, so I'll support his dorking out about the soundtrack to Civilization 4), I'm not getting a workout in. I think this week is pretty much a wash on that front. Not even a mid-week skate. It's going to be brutal on the ice Saturday.

I have, however, been getting my hockey fix and that is surely keeping my head above water right now. The Wild are hosting their week-long prospect development camp, so all my favorite Houston boys, plus the recent draft picks (including the mysterious Eero Elo), plus some invitees, are busting their humps down at the X.

And of course, since this is providing fresh meat for us hockey hounds to chew on, we're chowing down big time. Thankfully the Wild organization is providing great articles and videos and interviews of these guys for us, and Russo is covering the goings on, though not with the rabid fervor that I would prefer. ;)

Go here for all the good stuff. And Russo's blog yesterday has some nice stuff as well. There was a scrimmage this evening, so I'm looking forward to hearing about that.

I have to say, I'm SO impressed with these young guys the Wild have picked up in the last three years. For Tyler Cuma to be so focused and poised and well-spoken at his age... it just blows my mind. And James Shepperd and Colton Gillies seem to be similarly good guys. Down to earth and hard working. Guys that are so easy to cheer for.

Also, while I'm not as big a fan of Benoit Pouliot (aka Benny, Ben, Pouly, Pouls, Princess...), he's looking really good, both in a *wolf whistle* way with his shaved head and looking a bit more filled out and bulked up, which is great from a hockey perspective.

And be sure and listen to the interview with upcoming Aeros enforcer, Matt Kassian. I think I may have my new favorite Aero in that fella. What's not to love?

Finally, the Clutterbuck article is pretty decent and you can't help but want the guy to make the big club this year. You can tell he's gonna do whatever it takes, but if you've been watching the Aeros (or probably any team he's been on), this isn't surprising. He's always 110%.

Okay, off to the symphony/nerdfest.

UPDATE: OH. MY. GOD. That was a bizarre. People were Fist Pumping Excited to hear the Houston Symphony play the theme music for games like Halo, WOW, etc. But watching a guy play Sweet Emotion on Guitar Hero with the symphony backing him, that was pretty cool. But still... the biggest collection of gamer geeks I've EVER seen. And I get uncomfortable just going to Electronics Boutique.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Applesauce anyone?

Man, I love the minors. The Ducks announced that their new AHL team in Iowa will be the:


The big question is how to get a big jar of applesauce into the games against these guys. I'm hitting up my ticket rep to see if he'll smuggle it in to the Toyota Center for me. Wish me luck.

Also, this is "Pig Team #2" in the AHL, as we already had the Ice Hogs. What the hell? 29 teams and we gotta have two piggy ones, and in the same division? Lovely.


Had Coach and Mr. Stalin over for hotdish last night. After dinner, we sat at my dining table (which conveniently has two end pieces and a leaf insert that serves as a neutral zone) with salt and pepper shakers for defensemen, and a cordless phone, a glass, and a diet Mountain Dew can for forwards. She walked me through some basic positioning and decision making, and I'm feeling a bit more informed and a bit less anxious.

I still haven't ordered my gear but I've got my list all set. Just need to get final approval from the CFO. I'll try out gloves and sticks at the pro shop when we go skating Saturday.

Supposed to hit spinning tonight. I'm debating it though. My back is feeling better today and I really don't want to aggravate it. I'm thinking I will do yoga instead. Would probably be good for my mental health, too.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mascot, anyone? and other stuff

I subscribe to the NHL and AHL job listings because I'm sure that some day some team will need my services and I will jump on that shit like you wouldn't believe. :) Anyway, they're almost all related to sales (no thanks) but occasionally there's an interesting one. Today, the San Antonio Rampage are looking for a Mascot... who will apparently report to someone called the Manager of Mascot Development. Check it out. If this isn't the most overthought job description for the silliest job, I don't know what is. I mean, seriously. Manager of Mascot Development?? Someone out there has this on their resume.


So, I went to Hockey Monkey and picked out all of my gear except gloves and a stick. A whopping $418. *choke!* I am in full freak out mode about skating out. Been on the verge of a panic attack (and of course, I can't find my xanax anywhere) for two days now. Not sure what I need to do to wrap my head around this and be excited. The ONLY time I feel something other than anxiety about it is when I think about how much it will improve my skating and how much faster that will get me between the pipes.

But I think I'm just having an anxious time right now anyway and that's coloring my usual enthusiasm. Been a while since I dug myself into a little panic hole. Haven't missed the feeling, but I guess I was due for it.

My back is bothering me again, though a little bit differently. It kept me up last night though, and of course, sleep deprivation on top of anxiety isn't helping me any.

Ugh. I'm a mess. Just ignore me.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Skate

Yep! Amazingly, my back was pretty darn fine today. Kinda being careful with it still, but I definitely felt fine to skate today. I only got an hour in but it was darn near empty so I got to work on everything in relative peace, which was heavenly.

It was my first skate since deciding to skate out, so I had to totally reframe the game in my head. I'm forever stopping in the crease and looking out at the ice, imagining plays developing in front of me and people shooting at me. That's where I've been playing the game in my head for six months!

Today, I stood at center ice and the blue line and looked at the goal and tried to imagine shooting at the net. Hell, I'm just trying to figure out how to skate AND move the stick/puck with my hands. Needless to say, I've got DH's old ball hockey stick and a racquet ball that I'm shoving around the hardwoods. I'm pretty sure I'm better cut out to be a defenseman as I've always had more of a defensive mentality in sports, but seeing as how I can't skate backwards worth a damn...

Anyway, there was a very sweet family of Minnesotans at the rink. Dad had on these seriously old school hockey skates. Like, I swear to god, these were skates that Rocket Richard would have worn. But I had on my Wild Gaborik t-shirt (you know, because I like to invite comparisons between my skating and Gabby's because I'm a glutton for punishment) so they asked if I was from Minnesota. I told them that, no I'm just a huge Wild fan, but I have learned a lot from the Minnesotans I've met, including how to make hotdish. He asked if I was going to make lutefisk next and I said, no, I have boundaries and that's on the other side.

It was kinda funny. This was the blondest, most wholesome, sweetest family I think I've ever seen. Is that what it's like in Minnesota? I guess I'll see when we go up for some games this winter (which Mr. Conduct is on board with and we're going to start planning when the schedule comes out next week). I can't wait to go up there!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Augh! Stupid back!

Why is it that every time I'm feeling really strong and good and am making strides and looking forward, my body says, "HA HA!" and gets all jacked up on me?

My upper back was aching a bit after skating Thurday, but nothing that I couldn't deal with, though it was still feeling achy Friday morning. Well, after a VERY jarring boat ride on a choppy lake yesterday, I was in tears when I woke up this morning from the pain in my neck/back as stiffness settled in overnight.

I think the tears were more about the frustration of inevitable delays in my progress (I don't see myself skating for the next few days unless some miraculous happens, and even a week off the ice sets me back pretty dramatically) rather than the pain. But I'm doing up the Tylenol and resting as much as I can and DH is being very nice and taking care of stuff around the house for me and feeling sorry for me (which, for an attention whore such as myself, is the best medicine).

I've got game 4 of the Wild/Anaheim playoff series from 2007 queued up and a comfortable spot to lay down, so that's my plan for the rest of the afternoon.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Change in Plans & Brusty's Back!

Apparently, under all our noses, my favorite crazy goalie got a 2 year, 2-way, million dollar deal with Minnesota this week. So, my poor man's Turco, Barry Brust will be back in an Aeros uniform next season with a proper NHL contract.

I really couldn't be more delighted. He made the last season for me with his ballsy, exciting style of goaltending. He and Schaef were an amazing tandem and I would have given anything for them to stick together, but that's just not how it works usually. Particularly when we have a solid #2 prospect in Khudobin who is ready to hit the AHL. So, I'm really curious how this is going to play out. I think you're doing Dobin a huge disservice keeping him in the ECHL. He needs to move up. Everybody else in the system is also under contracts. Now we have 3 minor league goalies. Hmmm... whazzup there?

But whatever's up, I'm just so happy I don't have to see Barry in some other stanky team's uniform. And hopefully he'll get new pads over the summer and he can NOT look like a homeless bum goalie this season. Though honestly, it worked for him, so I can't complain. Congrats, Barry!


In other news, out on the lake today with Coach Stalin, one of the folks who joined us was one of the goalies who plays in her league. So, you know I'm all over that. Had to pick his brain and see what he thought about the path I'm on here.

We talked about it for quite a bit, the three of us hockey-obsessed freaks, and while he felt like the goalie goal is obtainable eventually, he agreed that I do need to be a very strong skater, especially backwards (augh) and he was adamant that skating out (as a forward, most likely) is essential to being able to understand and anticipate the plays. The conclusion we came to ultimately is that it would be greatly preferable for me to start playing sooner than later in order to speed my skating development up and give me a good feel for the game.

I've been avoiding this because I really didn't want to spend $400 on player gear to then turn around and spend $2000 on goalie gear. Nor did I want to spend a ton of energy learning a position I don't care to play long term. BUT I know they're right and it will still be wicked fun, so I figure I'll do it.

I think their new season just started and I need some time to refocus and work on puck handling and things like that that I've never given much thought, so I'm guessing I'll join up for the next session in September. And now the process of collecting gear begins. I'm scared but excited and need to wrap my brain around this. I pretty much only study what goalies are doing and don't really pay much attention to what the skaters are doing in terms of play formation and whatnot. I'll be watching a bunch of NHL re-runs so I can shift my focus a bit and maybe learn something watching the skaters more closely.



Thursday, July 3, 2008


Yep. Took the day off from work and thought maybe I'd get lucky and the rink would be empty. WRONG. I pull up and there are TWO school buses out front. Sweet Jeezus.

I couldn't do a whole lot. It was pure obstacle course out there. So I worked on crossovers quite a bit, the usual swizzle nonsense, a smidge of stopping at the end after they cut the ice and all the kids hadn't returned. No backwards, which is what I really need to be working on. Hopefully I can hit that hard on Sunday.

Never the less, it actually was a good strong skate. It was a bit more of a workout due to the literal non-stop dodging of children. My upper back is talking to me and man, my legs are SORE between spinning last night (and not stretching properly) and then skating today. Legs are feeling strong though. Feels great.

Sun and fun and beer tomorrow. Yay America!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 2

Well, really nothing on the Wild front today in terms of free agent signings, other than big offers and misses. But I'd prefer that to overpaying so we'll see what else they get done.

The big news for me was that my favorite love him/hate him player, Sean Avery, was signed to Dallas, which is absolutely a perfect fit. I was already excited by my newfound affection for the Stars but now I'm over the moon. Boy are they gonna be fun to watch! Loads of personality on that team from stem to stern.

Even more exciting is if Clutterbuck comes up and goes toe to toe with Avery. *gasp* I can't even breathe thinking about it. The two best agitators I've ever seen on the same sheet. Sweet Jeezus. I may spontaneously combust. The ice may melt. It might be the Apocalypse (and THEN won't those hockey haters feel silly for not seeing it coming!)

Meanwhile, in all the excitement, I didn't workout Monday or Tuesday. *hangs head in shame* BUT, I went to spinning tonight and busted my butt to make up for it. If legs could throw up, mine would have. They feel like lead now. Time for a shower and bed, yo.

I'm taking tomorrow off and going skating at Willowbrook at lunchtime. Yay!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy F'ing Canada Day

As predicted... Fridge is gone and I'm totes sad about it. Like tears sad. What a girl I am. So embarrassing but whatever. I must be PMSing.

Congrats to HipCheck for her Yotes picking him up. Honestly, you're gonna LOVE him if Gretz uses him properly. He really can play hockey. He's such a cool cat. Not much of a fighter anymore (though he will protect the stars) but still tough as nails and funny and lively and just a swell guy. He's the kind of spirit Minnesota needed to keep, IMO. You've won the lottery as far as I'm concerned.

But nooooo, we trade away a totally charming, leaderiffic prospect in Ryan Jones (who I was so excited to watch this year and apparently has spent the whole summer in St. Paul working out at the X) and a second rounder (which would have been a bust anyway) for a d-man from Nashville whose name I haven't quite learned yet. Zidlicky. Had to look it up. All I'm saying is this guy better knock my socks off. I'm very unhappy to lose Jonesy (though in all honesty, if I were only a Wild fan, I'd be pretty pleased).

More later, I'm sure.

UPDATE: While I was making a sandwich and fighting back tears, Aaron Voros signed a deal with the Rangers. My day is redeemed a bit. I'm delighted he's going to a team a watch a good bit. Though we'll see if he actually makes the big club. If they're thinking he's an Avery replacement, they're SORELY mistaken. But whatever. I'm smiling again.


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