Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'd die to find out

Man, I wish I could have seen tonight's Wild game against Philly. How goddamn smart is Clutterbuck? People can talk about how agitators don't belong in the game but if there was ever an agitator who makes the case FOR agitators, it's Clutter.

Of course, most guys just aren't as smart about it. They run around willy nilly. Not my guy, baby. He's laser-guided and heat-seeking... BOOOM, bitches! Game changer.

Played my Memorial City drop-in tonight. Didn't take good care of myself today because I was so busy. Only ate one meal and that was at 5:30 in the evening. Didn't drink enough water. Just generally wasn't prepared to play, and now I feel ooky.

Goalies, do you ever have a game occasionally where you get on the ice and it's like you haven't skated in 10 years? I felt so off balance tonight. Took me a good 30 minutes to stop feeling like a Weeble Wobble. But like a Weeble, I didn't fall down. I also didn't stop a lot of pucks either.

5-hole was baaaaaad tonight. Stick on the ice, bitch. And I must have put at least 3 goals in the net off myself. Just ugly and lacking physical self-awareness in a bad way.

But the other end was a cone, so at least I was more fun than no goalie at all. AND I stayed cool like Fonzie, so I was proud of that after my meltdown last time.

Oddly enough, I sent 3 pucks out of the rink off my blocker. I don't think I've ever sent ONE out and it was 3 tonight.

I tried to do a big poke check on the cute little kid who plays with us. He got a breakaway and the puck was floating down ahead of him a bit, so I skated out, but he deked around my slow ass and MISSED THE EMPTY NET. But he managed to retrieve it before I could get back and put it in. Oh well. At least I tried the big poke check.

I think the mental hurdle tonight of getting past the frustration of getting scored on a bunch is a victory, even if the score wasn't. I'm too tired and thirsty to really give a crap right now.

Anyway, it was fun-ish. At the very least, it was a decent workout. Or at least sweat-out.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Slippery Sunday

As usual, can't sleep, though there's really nothing about my game tonight that should keep me up, so I'll probably crash pretty soon. I'll keep this brief.

The most exciting thing happening at the rink was that Jessica was playing goal at the other end. I really admire when players are willing to try out playing goal. She was good, kind of a Hasek "just get something in front of it" style and it was effective.

In fact... she beat me. AUGH. I know. But let's face it, the girl is just straight up athletic and I'm straight up not, so I'm okay with that. I knew this wouldn't come naturally to me at all and it hasn't, but it's still just stupid fun.

I think the final was 4-5, but I played one of my better games and felt like I was in the zone a lot of the time. Felt really good. Most of the shots that got past me were just good shots. I let one in 5-hole that was soft as kittens. And one where I was double screened. I should have just gone down. I would have gotten it.

A couple from Mikey were such fast shots, I'm not even sure how or where they went in on me. Vroom!

I was inspired by another goalie over the weekend and got my glove involved more for blocking. Tipped one of (I think) Mikey's shots over the net when he tried to pick my glove corner. It was kinda sweet.

I just sorta felt like a real goalie tonight. I don't have many nights like that, so that felt good. Plus, it was fun getting Jessica dressed, watching her play, and cheering for her great saves. And she had a blast. I don't think she's ready to go full time but I think she appreciates the position's thrills more now. It's always fun to watch the position reveal itself to someone else. It's a beautiful thing.

I've had two songs stuck in my head all weekend, and you know the surefire way to unload a stuck song is to inflict them on someone else.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Goalie Lesson #1: Dealing with a screen

I was thinking last night, I've learned an awful lot in my 9 months as a goalie. I know several of my readers are goalies or goalie freaks, so I thought I'd do a series of goalie and hockey lessons so you, too, can benefit from my learnings.

The first lesson is on how to deal with someone screening you in goal.

There are two kinds of screens: Friendly and Enemy.

Friendly Screens
Sometimes your own defenseman (or even forward if things are really crazy) can screen you. This is annoying, but you know they mean well, so don't treat them like an enemy screen.

Just start yelling "SCREEEEEEN!!! SCREEEEEEEN!!!" at their backs while they stay exactly where they are until the play moves or you get scored on.*

Enemy Screens
These are a whole other animal and when the opponent is screening you, it's your chance as an insane goalie to get your crazy on. The key to dealing with this kind of screen is to make the motherf**ker pay a price for invading your space.

Be forewarned though: Skaters don't understand that in your puck-dented brain, your "bubble of authority" extends a foot or two out of the blue paint.

So they're thinking, "Hey, I'm not in the paint! Why are you hitting me?"

And you're thinking, "GETTHEF**KOUTTAMYWAY!"... but the reason you're thinking that is because your keen goalie mind has instantly sorted out the geometry of the situation, and you know instinctively that the puck is far enough away that being in the paint puts you too deep to cut down the angle properly.

Along with that knowledge is the feeling in the pit of your belly that this is a threatening situation, and when a human is threatened, they have a fight or flight response. I'm gonna wager most people who play hockey will go for the fight response pretty much every time, and that means -- Punkass is about to get a beating.

Timmmaaaaay is having none of Dandenault's screen.
Look where he is in relation to his crease.
That's right, motherf**ker. That's our space, too.

Now, my first time dealing with a screen, I gave the guy a little shove in the back with my glove, but it was clear he was growing roots and every nanosecond that ticked by, my fight response was getting more Nuclear.

And so, without even thinking, I put my goalie stick between his legs and gave the twig and berries a tap. Just enough to make him feel as threatened as I felt; not a full blown nutting spree. Now, before I go on and tell you how immensely effective this is, especially if the ref doesn't see it, I will tell you that you will get in trouble from the guys on your team (and on the other team... and your goalie coach... and pretty much everyone) for doing this.

Guys are really fond of their junk. Like, insanely fond. So while this Nuclear approach to dealing with a screen works... oh man, does it work..., as with most nuclear tactics, there are consequences that probably just aren't worth the hassle.

A slightly less nuclear but still very satisfying approach is just to start shoving them in the back as hard as you can. Glove, blocker, stick, whatever you've got. Beat them like they're trying to rob you because that IS what they're trying to do.

You'll still get shit for this. They'll whine that they weren't in the paint and therefore they're allowed to be there, but don't back down. Just because the rules of hockey allow them to be there doesn't mean you have to roll out the red carpet and give them a shoulder massage while they're there.

Of course, the trick here is to also:
  • Maintain visual contact with the puck
  • Stay square to the puck
  • Keep your stick on the ice
  • Pay attention to where Punkass's teammates are
  • Stay low, mobile, and ready to react if the puck is shot
So, that's an awful lot to do but it is, of course, the primary job. Moonlighting as an attack goalie can't interfere with your responsibility to the puck. But frankly, if one does get past you, at least you got to hit someone a whole bunch. Win!!**

*This doesn't apply to me, of course, because my defensemen are friggin' awesome and I'm almost never screened by them. Seriously. They rock so hard and save my bacon so often...

**For the sense of humor-challenged, I'm kidding of course. The real, sane-person way to deal with an enemy screen is to poke them in the back of the knees with your stick blade until they buckle***.

***Okay, still kidding. You should actually just jab your stick blade at the back of their skates, because this ensures your stick stays on the ice****.

****Look, if you want real goaltending advice, just ask Coach Jules. "Be a man, motherf**ker!"


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick Hits: Deep thoughts on Goaltending, Clutterbuck

I found this fascinating blog devoted to Kari Lehtonen. He's a goalie not much on my radar, but hey, you never know when goalie love is going to stick to you like superglue, so I dig it.

Anyway, a post yesterday about the mental process of goaltending kinda stuck out to me as interesting even out of the Lehtonen context:

However if we speak about goalies it’s impossible for them to remove all the negative statements from their mind since their game duty is to generate negative messages for opposing team. Once Kari confessed to the media that he enjoyed making a guest arena silenced with his game (can’t find exact quote). That’s a difficult emotional task – being outward-negative to stay inward-positive . Perhaps, this ambivalence makes goalies more self-centered, more complicated and different from other players, but that is the part of their game.
I think that just blew my mind (not difficult). Fellow goalies, does this ring a bell?


Puck Daddy has a whole post on this shootout goal by Nazem Kadri. I don't see what the big deal is. The old deke and tuck. Guy's probably been doing that since he was 9. More amazing is that Curry bit on the deke, but hey, you can't win 'em all.


Bold Prediction: Matt Beaudoin will play some regular season NHL games this year for Dallas.


Great Clutterbuck article by Russo today. Though have you ever read a bad Clutterbuck article? Kid's a great story and a great quote. He's a beat writer's dream come true, but of course, Russo rocks it extra hard because that's just what he does.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hockey, Bitches!

Ahhhhh.... I just watched professional hockey players play hockey. They skated, they fought, they scored, they saved, they blocked shots... I spent the full 2.5 hours with an ear to ear grin. I just love hockey.

And I forgot how fucking awesome a good penalty kill is. Oh sweet Jesus.

What is weird is watching a game where neither team is the home team. Kings v. Isles in Kansas City. Mostly lukewarm cheers, and not really the most educated crowd as there was a near total lack of appreciation for penalty kills or a good clear or those little things that hockey fans appreciate.

But it really didn't matter. The score didn't matter. Who won fights didn't matter. Even the goalies didn't much matter (Quick vs. Lawson). I was excited to see Lawson as Bourne said he's a good puck mover, though I didn't see a bunch of that tonight, except for one puck that he cleared down the center of the ice. He's a feisty goalie though, and did plenty of hacking and whacking to defend his turf, so that, of course, thrilled me to no end.

Anyway, the Kings won and this guy Sutton on the Islanders is such a meathead and Simmonds is a beast.

Okay, that's all. I'm sleepy. Go hockey. :)


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Old School MFing Football

Now THAT'S what a football game should be like, apart from my team losing.

  1. If you are an old school football fan and you haven't been to a Chiefs game, especially against a rival, you just haven't lived.
  2. These people are actually there to watch football. And they watch football. Unlike Texans games where the only time the crowd has any life is when the cheerleaders are doing their 2 minute warning dance. Otherwise, they're busy buying beer, getting up to pee, dicking around with their cell phones, etc etc. I saw two people pulling out their cell phones today and I was married to one of them.
  3. When the Chiefs do something bad, Chiefs fans get MAD. They boo and grouse and holler at the dunderhead who screwed up. They still care. Texans fans, for the most part, quit caring a couple of seasons ago and as yet, the team has given them no reason to begin caring again.
  4. Even the halftime show honoring the 50th anniversary of the start of the team was old school. They were just one marching band and twirler shy of a total reversion to 1967.
  5. Loud? Yeah. Bitches know how to bring the noise, literally. Banging on the seats (which are hollow, so thunderous when everybody gets to banging on them), clapping, yelling, you name it. Beautiful. And it's not piped in like at the Texans.
  6. Stadium? Outdoors. Every damn bit of it. And yeah, we got sunburned and it was hot (and will be cold in a few weeks), but it felt authentic. Not the sterile Reliant box.
Anyway, you get my point. Do yourself a favor and get up to KC for a game. I remember now why I ever loved football. This is what it's all about.


Friday, September 18, 2009

I know it's just pre-season but....


Thas right, bitches. He'll knock you into next week AND school your goalie! Awesome.

Here's his post game interview. Photos from the game.

Um, but sorry we broke your Chimera, BJs.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

What what?! It's a Cucko feature article, bitches!

I'm nothing if not consistently themed here at Ms.Conduct, and of course, one of my most favoritest AHLers to harangue is Kris Chucko.

I'm sure he's a good kid, visits cancer children, brings cookies to his elderly neighbors, calls his mama and whatnot, but he was born to be my whipping boy and that's just how life goes sometimes. Really, it's a privilege.

Anyway, Chucko, unfortunately, has been improving. He was much better last year coming off a 07-08 season where he was 100% "really? first round? Wow. Nice going, Flamers." And now, apparently, he's still trying to get in the NHL. *shakes head*

If anyone can appreciate uphill battles, god knows it's me, baby, so I guess I admire his tenacity in the face of stone cold suckiness. Good on him for working on his weakness and making some waves.

But honestly, even if he's skating around with a Stanley Cup in his hands someday, he'll always be a big goober to me. I'll always envision him following Reitzy around the ice trying to start a fight and Reitzy looking at him like, "You've GOT to be out of your mind, Chucko" and blowing him off.

And then there's this gem. John Scott doing what so many have done before...


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The sun did in fact come out

Okay. Feeling better today, thanks to kind words from Scotty and getting the packing/dog kenneling/etc stress off my plate and some sleep and some food in me.

I've got this thing where, when I get murdered in a game, I feel like I don't deserve to eat or something. I just completely lose my appetite. But I'm finally chowing on some grub and feel better for it.

I didn't want to leave the blog on some a sopping miserable note, and as usual, a few funny things have come to mind in the light of day.

First, in the midst of the gang bang I got from the dark team last night, one of their shooters comes in on a breakaway and tries the old "toss the glove as a distraction" trick.

He got so busy with the glove tossing that his shot went wide, but it was funny just on its own and even MORE funny because I was getting completely blitzed and he probably just could have shot normally and gotten the goal. The more I think about it today, the more it makes me laugh.

And he was so proud of himself for even trying it. Hilarious.

Also, apart from the few saves I made, I did one cool thing that I learned from Brusty's camp earlier this summer. The shooter was to the right of my net and looking for a pass to center and I'm hugging the post. Suddenly it occurs to me: Put your damn stick out there and cut off his pass!

So I did and it worked. He had to come around the other side of the net and try something else. He even complimented me on that move after the game.

I love playing with adults. Most of them have a pretty good perspective on what it's like to learn to play as an adult, whereas kids don't really get it. It's just like "why do you suck so bad, gurl?" from them.

Anyway, I was grateful to a couple of the guys who just got that it's a tough position and everybody has bad nights and I was having one helluva bad one, but they still had a sense of humor about it and had fun playing anyway.

Weird shot of the night: Shot from the lower half the circle, I drop to defect it with my left pad, and it shoots down the inside of my pad all the way to my skate. Weird right?

Heard this song this morning and it fits my mood today as I glide into a better state of mind and a break from the ice.


Three down. Goalie down.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming after last night's terrifically cocky outing:

Tonight was a nightmare come true. From top to bottom. I was bad. I got absolutely no help, which just made me worse and worse. Deeper and deeper in my crease. I might as well have not even been there in the second half.

It was like I was playing on the moon compared to last night. Jesus H...

I can't even bring myself to try and be funny about it.

Worse even, I got bitchy about it. Now granted, they did come in offside once and score on me, but that was just something for me to focus my frustration on. I was frustrated with myself and just couldn't find a way to cope with it in the moment. Like a goddamn 5 year old. I was not a cool goalie tonight.

Chalk it up as a lesson in mental discipline. Or at least how NOT to do it.

And when I went down, they went top shelf. When I stayed up, they kept it on the ice. My timing was atrocious, I was getting burned back door to start and then I started cheating to cover the pass (I know, I know), so they'd keep it and pick a corner since I was off angle and too deep almost all the time.

In fact, I might have been just as well served to leave the ice entirely and stand behind the net there and take my shirt off and jump up and down. At least that might have made them miss the net.

Can't tell you how many times I looked up and there were 4 darks in a semi-circle in front of me and no white sweaters. Ahh, the joys of drop-in defense. But that doesn't matter. I gotta get out there and make them work harder for their goals.

Also, my left quad and hip were throbbing almost from the start. Hopefully the time I'm about to have off will help get that better, whatever is going on there. The thought of a massage right now brings tears to my eyes at how marvelous it would be. And yet I don't have time before I fly out tomorrow.

Okay. I'm gonna go cry myself to sleep and say some prayers of apology for sullying the good name of goaltending, women's hockey, RBK, Hackva, Memorial City Ice Rink, Korea, the Aeros, etc.

Sing it, Annie!!!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Two down, one to go

*deep breath* So, what I really want to do is tell you how I motherfuckin' crushed that drop-in and what a badass I am for it, but I'll get in trouble with the Humility Police and probably ensure a terrible game tomorrow night.

So, I'll just write it up like any other night in goal:

  1. Not a single poke check. But really only one opportunity and I still got my stick on it. The exceedingly good guy wasn't there and without him, everyone else was much more manageable. Amazing how one really good person on lower level team can make a world of difference in the flow of the game. It was more C/C- tonight. No pity shots. Ahhh... treated me like a real goalie! Heaven.
  2. First goal was so bad, I'm pretending it happened to someone else. Some really shit goalie. But I woke up FAST after that. It was just like, "Ugh, no, not again. Hustle yo' ass, bitch!" And bitch did hustle her ass.
  3. This group luuuuuuuuvs the slapshot. All warmup is is slapshot after slapshot. It's funny really and I don't mind because I can stop those pretty easily. But most of these hit my stick and man, my hand and wrist are sore now.
  4. One guy after the game said he could see me improving each time out. Damn straight. This was a full 180 from last time I played with this bunch. The extra playing time is really helping my conditioning and focus and preparation.
  5. I felt sharp sharp sharp and had strong legs the whole game. Legs are definitely a little tired and sore, but more like they usually are after one night of playing and not two.
  6. Endurox tasted yucky to me tonight. No clue why. Had to force myself to choke it down before I left the rink. Hope it helps. I'm sure it will. My hip flexors are still really bugging me though.
  7. I was so on fire tonight. And nobody jinxed it by saying anything about it. Just the usual "good save" when I robbed someone and made them cry like babies.
  8. The game was probably something close to a tie. The other goalie, who only let in 2 last time, wasn't feeling well and got lit up pretty hard at the end, where as I... well, I got better. :)
  9. Had one goal where I was so unbelievably off angle, I still can't even comprehend it. And another where I was waaaay too deep. One 5 hole where I didn't have my stick on the ice and just watched it come all the way in and heard it hit the back of the net. Total Khudobin type of goal. Dammit. And one wrap-around where I just didn't move my ass over fast enough.
  10. Anyway, regardless of the goals, I'm super happy with that game, especially with that bunch. It was fun and I had some sick saves. You know it's a good night in goal when you're driving home and what's replaying in your head isn't all your mistakes but rather the "awwwdammitIhadthatandshestoppedme!" reaction of the guys I stopped. I live for that.
Sweet buttered biscuit-lovin' Jesus, it's fun to play hockey, and I still contend that it's more fun to be a goalie than anything else. Crushing dreams and whatnot. Oh fuck yeah. I love it.

They invited me out for next week but I won't be here. Hopefully I'll get to go back soon though. I love that ice. So easy to shuffle and slide. Aeros should be pretty happy with it when camp starts up in a few days (!)


A stirring little anthem of wellness


Poke Poke Poke

Okay, I decided I need to declare my objective for tonight's drop-in right here, right now so that if my balls shrink and I don't do it, I have to be accountable for my wussitude.

This group I'm playing tonight, they like to skate in close and get me swimming as they deke and dangle and generally be irritating. I started to realize by the end of the game last time, that I really needed to be getting my poke check on with them.

Now, I tend to not go for risky moves that could put me down and out, but if I don't start practicing it, I'll never learn it, so tonight's the night.

I'm declaring myself Queen of the Poke Check and if I get scored on a ton... well, I probably would have gotten scored on a ton anyway, because this group is a little out of my league skill-wise.

Have stick, will poke.


One down, two to go

Lucky for me, it was a pretty easy night in goal at novice. Not a huge turnout and two of my forwards were drunk, so there were only two lines for each team and that means tired skaters, which means less hard work for the goalies.

The teams were fairly even and I was never without work to do for long. We lost 6-2 (Amanda was in the other net), and a couple of them were real stinkers. The real pisser was one where the top of my pad was tight to the post and the pad was flipped out properly, but at a bit of an angle and there was a gap I didn't know about. Jessica was able to poke it in. Man, that was dumb.

But I had quite a few good stops, especially on some breakaways, where I just shut them down cold. I don't think I got burned on my angles even once, which is a first in a long time. Confidence! I feel like I'm getting some swagger back. I just have to hold on to it for the full 60 minutes.

It was 2-3 going into the third and I was feeling good. But then I let one in that just went right over my pad glove side and I got irritated that I didn't nab it and that just threw me off and I let in the next two shots, though one was a screen.

When it got 6-2, ref says, "Hey, they're getting in your head. Settle down." And I did and was fine the rest of the game. Thanks for that, Dave.

Guzzled my Endurox right after, which actually tasted pretty good. Kind of a creamy orange flavor, so not bad at all and I feel really good right now. Maybe a little too good because I'm WIIIIDE awake and it's ten to 2. Doh.

All in all, one of the better outings I've had at novice for quite some time, but the speed and skill level were a bit lower than usual, it felt to me, so that probably had something to do with it. Mitch is a punk for just showing up for beer after and not skating. Just saying, homes!

Cool thing is that Jessica's aunt was there shooting the game and she's going to provide pics on a CD for us, so maybe I'll finally have some quality shots of me in goal. I'm excited about that because I'm so ridiculously cute in my gear now that it all matches. ;)

Nothing to do with anything, I just have this song stuck in my head tonight:


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quick Hits

I've always wanted to write a novel but just never had the spark of an idea I needed to set me on my way. I may or may not have felt that spark as I was lying in bed tonight trying to fall asleep. Not a euphemism...

So, here I am, 3 pages into my novel, no clue what the plot is going to be, but will be forging ahead anyway in fits and starts with time I don't have for it.

Anyway, as I was doing some research, I ran across this article from a 1962 issue of Sports Illustrated and thought it was quite amusing. Not only for the content but the writing is just so charming. Good on SI for dragging some old classics into a modern medium.


It's been a quiet weekend and I'm finally hunkering down and getting my pre-season look at the Aeros written for PHN and Wild Nation, though I think I'll try to let this first week of Wild training camp get done before I finalize them, just to see if that answers some questions I have. And then we should get an Aeros training camp list quickly thereafter.

Then, two weeks from now, we'll have seen our first pre-season game. Which means absolutely nothing, but at least it will be live, in-person pro hockey. I don't really care who plays or what the game looks like. I just want the fix. Then I'll worry about what and whom I'm looking at.


Finished watching the entire two seasons of Sports Night over the last couple of weeks. Fantastic show. I don't think I could have appreciated it before as much as I do now. Granted, the show isn't about sports, but a lot of the obsession with the job that drives some of the characters IS related to a love of sports that I think you have to share to appreciate why it lights their fire like it does.

But now I'm back to working my way through the Trailer Park Boys and can I just say, there is nothing better to watch after playing hockey. I don't know what it is, other than it's just so raw and funny and ridiculous, but also warm in its own warped way, it's great filler for any rough edges I'm feeling after a game. So, ya know, there's a pro tip from me to you other goalies out there.

Speaking of pro tips, I was quizzing a goalie (who's definitely been there) about how to survive this 3 in 3 I've got coming up and he suggested Endurox as a recovery drink, which I remember a fellow marathon friend being a fan, too. I always went for PowerBar recovery shakes, which I can't seem to find any more.

So $33 later, I'm the proud owner of a meathead-sized tub of Endurox powder. And it's orange flavor. I hate fake orange flavor, but I went to 3 stores and only REI had any at all and only had that flavor so... orange it is.

Wondering if the benefits of the drink would be negated too terribly by the addition of vodka.


Hey, raise your hand if you were out drinking with Clutter Wednesday night! Yeah... Twitter is awesome. Hope everyone enjoyed their last gasp of summer vacay because it's on now, boys. Go get 'em.


I blessedly got out of having to go to the Texans/Jets game tomorrow, though I was kinda looking forward to annoying Bourne, a Jets fan, with my tweeting about it. Alas, I will just be shuttling Mr.C and his friend, also a Jets fan, to and from the game. And in between, I can get some work done while watching the Texans lose from the comfort of my sofa.


This post needs pictures. Here's a song I like for reasons I can't figure out, but it seems appropriate for a 3:30 a.m. blog post:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Praying to the Gods of Groins and Quadriceps

So, the great thing about being a goalie in Houston is that there are so few of us and especially few of us who have the kind of schedule flexibility I have. So even though I suck, the demand is there for live targets. And the patience is there for goalies who are, um, still learning.

Which is how I've managed to line up a 3-in-3 for myself on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Oh boy. Don't tell my legs.

I can't wait though. I'll really just have to buck up and take good care of myself. Otherwise, I'll end up sick by Thursday. It's just how my body works. Overdo it, get sick. You can almost set your watch to it. What a specimen of athleticism I am!

The good/bad thing is that I don't play again for nearly 2 weeks, so that should sufficiently leave the itch scratched for a while. And by the end, I should be fired up to get back at it when I get back home.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday night drop-in

Wow, was that fun! Most fun I've had in goal in a long time. Of course, it's always fun with a new group because they don't know the many ways in which I suck, so I'm just gonna enjoy this feeling of hopefulness that I haven't felt in a while.

They asked me to be one of their permanent goalies IF I can be there regularly, which of course, I can. I've been looking for a mid-week game for a while and this is a great level for me. Not novice, so nobody's worried about me seeing enough shots... they just play as predictable defense as they can at their skill level, which makes it so much easier for me to read the play. Not so fast and good that I'm getting discouraged but challenging enough that I'm working my ass off and seeing a variety of shots.

Definitely easier than the Monday night bunch, and should help with Sundays, too, as far as slowing those games down.

And I swear to god that rink at Memorial City is bigger. Man, it's the hottest motherfucking rink in the city, maybe the world (still kinda feeling like I might barf, I got so dehydrated) but it just feels good to play there. Decent ice, lots of space. Nice place.

As far as my game, they don't keep score and frankly, neither do I. I just try and stop as many as I can and learn from the ones I don't.

I played with my new gear mod for the first time and it worked great. Instead of wearing the volleyball knee pads, I cut the pad part out and sewed them into the tights I wear under my pads and pants. No tight thing around my knees and no banging my knees on the ice! Fabulous!

I did start feeling pretty shitty in the last 20 minutes and stuff was getting past me that shouldn't, but I rallied at the very end and made some nice stops.

Even had a sweet little glove save. I dropped into the fly and the puck hit my stick and rebounded back to the shooter who lifted it up this time, but it was a little bit of a floater so I could see it better and I just nabbed it. Maybe all this catch I've been playing with Mr.C and my new glove is helping a little?

Had a few dumb ones go in on me, a few I stopped but have no idea how, one that hit my shaft so hard it knocked my stick out of my hand (but the puck went into the corner so yay). They were definitely shooting 5-hole a bunch because I let a couple in early, but I started shutting those down. Stick on the ice, dumbass.

I love learning the shooters. That's a really fun part of goal for me. Some guys, you can see them looking for that hole that they think I don't know about. Like under my arm. I must have caught 3 in my armpit tonight. 2 from the same guy. Reading a shooter who thinks he's being clever and stopping his shot is up there in the top 5 great feelings ever. Stuff like that is why goalies love the position. You just can't get that feeling any other way.

Anyway, no sour looks after and a few compliments and some appreciation for coming out, so that was nice. And then I get in the car and... well, y'all know how I have my "goalie empowering" songs right? It's dorky but I'm a dork, so it all works out... Anyway, three of them in a row came on as soon as I started the car, including that awesome new one by Muse. Perfect ending to a great night of tending goal.

So, here's the thing... I've had 3 hockey player sightings today.

  • Ryan Miller's less attractive Hispanic twin brother served me my lunch today at El Rey Taqueria. Tempura shrimp torta. OMG, so good.
  • The other goalie tonight looked like the love child of Cory Schneider and Chris Osgood. That's a compliment. When we talked before the game, I thought I detected a French accent and I thought, "Oh shit. A ringer from Quebec!" Had some nice saves but wasn't Brodeur, thankfully. Probably wasn't really even a French accent.
  • And finally, saving the best for last, one of my defensemen in the second half was a dead ringer for Clayton Stoner. It was, frankly, distracting. Good defenseman, too, which made him all the more attractive because good defense = love in my book.
Anyway, lots of fun.

Oh crap, I'm so tired. To bed with me and another jug of water.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beautiful Disaster: Goalies getting called out

I read this column by Colby Cosh of the National Post, who I presume is not a regular hockey writer, pretty much telling the goalies of the NHL that their mask paint SUCKS.

My excitement rose with each word. Giddy that someone is finally saying what I've been thinking: Mask design... really beautiful, simple mask design... is lost.

I can't say I'm in total agreement with his perspective, but I appreciate that he takes a firm stand against all these overwrought paint jobs littering the pro ranks.

And I do mean litter, because that's what I think most masks look like. Too much going on, too much detail that's meaningless unless you've got a megazoom lens.

Here's the bottom line, my beautiful masked men: Pick a theme. ONE THEME. Not one theme for each side, top, and back plate. One theme for the WHOLE MASK.

I know, I know. You can only get a new paint job every year (poor babies) so you have to fit it all in.

No, you don't! I promise! Here's what you do: In your Blackberry or iPhone or whatever 3G heat you're packing, start a little list of ideas. And then when it's time to design your new mask, PICK ONE IDEA. Not 3, not 5. ONE. And go to your Miska, Bishop, or whoever your painter is and say, "This. This is my idea." and let him go be an artist.

See how easy that was?

Now, what I don't agree with is that they all suck out there. I've mentioned before that I luuuuuv Ryan Miller's abstract, Asian-inspired buffalo mask. Magnificent!

Of course, I think Brusty's fighter pilot mask is pretty fly, too, if you'll forgive the brutal pun.

Nabby's creepy creature mask is pretty straightforward, too. And frankly, scary for being surrounded by a sissy color like teal.

Of course, you can go too far with simplicity, as Luongo did this past season. It looks like he rubbed some dirt on it and then put some Canucks stickers on. Just awful.

Though I did actually like his Johnny Canuck mask prior to this one. Would like it a little less detailed and more crisp but at least it's one theme.

And of course, Brodeur's mask is a classic (and this is me refusing to acknowledge his jinxed new paint job... guy doesn't get injured for 45 years with his old paint job and his arm explodes the year he changes the paint job... sorry, but that's a sign, homes).

Sweet buttered Christ, this photo sends me right over the edge.
There was a time not long ago where this photo couldn't be sold in Texas.

Now, this isn't to say that some of the art on these isn't really incredible. Ricky DiPietro's patriotic mask is exploding with crisp detail, and amazing to look at up close, but from a distance? Static.

And I'm especially not fond of that airbrushed look. Do you really want to look like you've been tagged by a gang. It's not 1985 anymore. Ah shit, some of you weren't even born in '85. Take off...

For what it's worth, my mask is solid black, and I have no idea what I'd get painted on it if my goaltending were worthy of a custom paint job, but you can bet I'd labor over it for ages since I'd only get one shot.

I do have Legace's signature on the back plate, and if there is any place where I'll throw goalies a bone, it's the back plate. Put your potatoes and Care Bears (yeah, MacIntyre, I still can't stand your mask, I don't care how sentimental it is or how much of an asshole that makes me) on the back plate. Make the back plate your catch-all spot if you must acknowledge your favorite charity, your wife, your kids, your grandma, your dog, your god, whatever.

So there's my rant. I know you'll all go right back to your snarling monsters and mascots and homages to musicians, athletes, or America that nobody but you and those on the ice with you can begin to appreciate because it's all too jumbled and tiny, but you're throwing away a platinum opportunity to be a hero to those of us who appreciate a really fine, classic paint job.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Genius and Geeked

If you think I'm not doing this for the Wild or Aeros at some point, you're out of your mind. I have absolutely no time for it, but some things are worth making the time for.

Toronto Blue Jays as Miis

And on that note, we went to the Houston Museum of Natural History today to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. It was a good exhibit, even though it's not really my bag.

But what was awesome was one of the guides, who was telling a group of us some interesting things about the exhibit. This guy was SO GEEKED about this exhibit. Like, beside himself with excitement. And he works there every day, so it's not like he was just seeing it. He's just that geeked about this stuff.

And I kinda quit feeling guilty for not being that geeked about HIS thing because I'm easily that geeked about MY thing. But I appreciated that he's geeked about something. I like people for whom there's something out there that lights their fire no matter what. Passion is a beautiful thing.

He's got his warriors and I have mine. :)

Photo by Fred Trask


Friday, September 4, 2009

Confessions of a fantasy draft addict

When the nerds sit down to design a computer, a laptop no less, why does it seem like a good idea to make the whole thing glossy black and the click buttons chromey silver? They should have called my new laptop the Fingerprint. It's less than 24 hours in my possession and it looks like I store it in a bucket of fried chicken.

But that's okay because I'm more about substance than style (lie), and it's working just peachy. So nice not to have to lumber through all the crap software they put on my work laptop or get warnings from IT for having certain software installed. And porn! Oh the PORN! (Oh, what, like you don't?)

But I'm going to need the little fella because I'm now signed up for 4 friggin' fantasy hockey leagues. I swore to myself: only 2 leagues and NO 20-team leagues. But that email comes: Hey, wanna join? AUGH. Yes! YES I do.

Why? Because I love to draft. I love the possibility, the "ohmygodpleasedon'ttakemyguy" anticipation of my pick coming up, the satisfaction of feeling like I "stole" someone, and that glow at the end when I've picked a darn fine team, tempered by the sinking feeling that I've now jinxed 18 guys to crappy seasons (I REALLY fucked the Stars last season). I'll be issuing my apologies to my players before the season starts.

Anyway, I'm now in 4 leagues and 2 of them are 20-team leagues. There's the two keeper leagues, one on Yahoo and one on ESPN, both 12 teamers and pretty fun managers.

Then there's the Wild Message Board league, which I didn't like much last year and didn't plan to do again, but like I said, the invite came and I couldn't say no. Will probably just auto-draft and maintain that one but not really worry about it much.

And the fourth and final is the league Bourne is starting up. I tried to resist. I didn't fire an email to Justin when he put the call out. But somehow I ended up saying, "Yes." Must be the universe wanting me to do it, right? Should be a fun one though, so I'm excited about it.

But that's all. I'm already starting to feel a little *urgh* in my tummy at how busy I'm going to be this season. Writing for PHN, T3I, IGM, Wild Nation, and this blog. Four FH teams. 80 Aeros games to watch (40 in person). 82 Wild games to watch. My own games to play. Oh yeah, and my JOB, which I just started a ginormous project that I'm a month behind on.


I need an intern. I can't offer college credit but I do keep Dos Equis in the fridge and I do grow my own limes. I know I never got that good an offer when I was in college, so don't pass this up.


  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP