Friday, July 31, 2009

A little check-in on the off-ice training front (and back)

I wish I could always feel like I do after a big sugar-and-caffeine-laden mocha. I'm ready to write a book or run a marathon or something. Instead, I'll just write a rambling blog.

Had a great workout yesterday. Actually got almost as much done as I wanted to. The only thing I didn't do was stretch after, and boy did I regret that when I woke up at 1:30 with my knee stiff and burning. Crap. Lesson learned (again... I'm so fucking hard-headed).

Beyonce... JHMFC, look at those legs. You're welcome, boys. If this isn't inspiration to work those squats, I dunno what is.

I've added some new stuff to my workout that I'm really feeling in my hips and quads and butt, which is awesome.

  • Those goalie squats like I posted about the other day, except I'm adding 18 lbs of weights, right now just for the last set, but I'll work up to all 3 sets and more weight.
  • Then single leg squats, like this, except without the weights. I'll work up to that. My weak leg really really hates these. Mommy!
  • And then wide-stance squats. They're a lot harder than they look. Like this but, for now, without the weights. Er, and not quite so deep or I'd be rockin' it like the Life Alert lady. Ouch.
  • Also using a resistance band to work the adductors, though I'm not sure I'm hitting the right note there. That's the only one that didn't feel so effective. Anybody got any killer groin isolating moves for me? And for most of you, I don't mean that in a "make a sexy-time" way. Wahwahwoo. Is a'very nice.
  • Haven't added much new stuff ab-wise. Just upping the reps. Though I can finally do floor sit-ups with my knees up at 90 degrees. Couldn't even do one of those a couple of months ago.
  • Adding in some bicep and shoulder work. I figure I won't let my glove hand 'drag' so much if my arms are stronger. Take a moment to marvel at my genius for figuring that out after 7 months of playing goal.



Haven't gotten back to running, though I probably could have this week, but I realized I have absolutely no business running in my current pair of shoes. They're the ones I wore for about half my training and the marathon I walked two years ago, and they've been my primary sneakers ever since. The tread is worn off completely on the ball of the foot and I'm sure the cushioning is shot.

So, I ordered some new ones yesterday. Got lucky and found a pair of last year's model (one version up from the ones I'm wearing now--NB 1061) for around $60 shipped. New model would have cost $120. Yay for that. Anyway, I'm dreading getting back to running, so for the first time ever, I'm hoping shipping is snail-like. I kinda hope they don't get here until October when it starts to cool down. (Update: Well, damn. Dear Ms.Conduct: The following New Balance merchandise has shipped via United Parcel Service (UPS).)

Anyway, if you made it this far, kudos. I know it's boring reading about somebody else's training but it helps me be a little more accountable to put it out there. Though I'm sure I lost everyone with a penis up there at Beyonce's thighs. Can't say I blame you.

Happy weekend, folks.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Quick Hits on an Over-caffeinated, Self-absorbed Monday

  • I think I'm the only person I know who loves Mondays. All the stress of stopping pucks is behind me for a few days (though by Wednesday, I'm always ready to go again), which puts me in as light-hearted a mood as I get all week. I have an Egg McMuffin for breakfast. I don't have any recurring meetings on the calendar. It's all good.
  • August is a plague upon the calendar. Hottest, most hockeyless month of the year. Worthless POS month. The only thing good about August is a few of the people born this month.
Brusty, one of my fave August behbehs - Photo by Fred Trask
  • PHN wants me (and all its writers) to write a column about something hockey-related in August to fill the void. I find myself dry on ideas. I may be a raging attention whore, but I know that in the end, nobody really cares about my opinion on no-touch icing or how the All-Star game should go or whatever "controversial" subject I could muster. *I* don't even care what my opinion is on those things. Nor do I care about anyone else's, except maybe a coach or player's. I'm hip to the fact that I'm just a doofus with a blog.
  • I've stayed out of the Jerry Meins firing debacle this weekend, not because I don't have an opinion or several, but because I can't support my opinions with anything other than hearsay. "That's never stopped you before!" Yeah, that's true. But my Aeros press pass is among my prized possessions. I'd like to get one this season, too. Clarifying: Which is to say that because I have a responsibility to cover the team with a measure of objectivity, I'm not willing to go off half-cocked on something I have absolutely zero information on.
  • Got an email from Coach Dan saying I played great last night. I didn't, but he's nice for saying it. Definitely helps my sagging spirits.
  • I hated McDonald's iced mochas when I first tried them, but darn if I'm not kinda hooked. My Monday morning Egg McMuffin meal just doubled in price. Damn.
  • Tony Robbins Moment: If there's something out there that you feel compelled to try, but put it off or avoided it due to fear of embarrassment, please stop it. Life is too short. Go follow your dreams.
  • I wonder how the orange creamsicle flavor would work with tiger's blood in a snow cone... I think it has the potential to be the best snow cone flavor combo EVER. (Update: DELICIOUS!)
  • Got screened a bunch last night and a) didn't let any goals in due to the screen and b) didn't nut anyone. I did give one guy a little shove on his ass with the blade of my stick, but I stayed focused and didn't go apeshit on him. Good job. Though that reminds me of something I was just reading in my goaltending book:
    "If you are going to use your stick to intimidate a player, remember that you don't want it off the ice for too long. A quick, short slash to the ankle area will send the appropriate message without costing your team. You want your opponent to realize that you have the ability to hurt her, and to give you more room to work."
    And it gets better:
    "Sometimes a goaltender will be screened because of the pileup of players that forced her deep in the crease. One way to escape this potentially dangerous situation is to dislodge the net by lifting the crossbar with your shoulders; another is to fall back into one of the posts as though shoved. Of course you can be called for delay of game, so you need to call upon your best acting ability."
    Hey, if you're not cheating, you're not trying.
  • You're not alone: #isitoctoberyet


Sunday, July 26, 2009


11 goals tonight in 4 stop-time, 20 minute periods.

One I put in with my skate trying to reach back to get it... the kind that trickles 1" over the line while crushing your soul and making you look like a jackass. A multi-functional goal, if you will. Excellent!

Two were from the new guy. One was short side when I should have been tight to the post, but the angle he was at, I was worried about leaving too much net on the other side, so I was out from the post a bit.

The other new guy got two as well, both really irritating. One came at me hard on the ice and popped up into the top of the net blocker side. I didn't even see it go in, it happened so fast. I asked the ref how it went in and he said, "He shot it and it went in." *grrr* I had some words for him once he was out of ear shot. They weren't clean or nice.

Mikey got a couple. Dan got one the exact same way Mikey did. FU, butterfly slide, for being so freaking hard to learn. Two-pad stack might have worked there though. That or a poke check, which I'm also too uncoordinated to do properly. Fuck.

Anyway, there were 11 of those little bastards. I didn't feel like I played that badly, but that's just too many goals. I have to do better. I was losing my focus by the end, for sure. It was a long-ass game.

Did a few good things, though. On one shot, Mikey was coming down the boards blocker side and had some help with him coming down the middle. He looked at the other player like he was going to pass but took the shot on me, and the whole time (all 2 seconds it took for this to play out) I was thinking, "Bullshit, Mikey, you're totally gonna shoot." And he did. HA! Stopped it.

Also had some nice blocker saves... some wobbly floaters and tips that I batted out for my d to clear. Good stuff.

Got my head sat on sideways by my defenseman on one stop. That was a first, and it's going to be a bit sore, I can tell. Got Advil on board now.

Everyone was playing hard and it was definitely more C-minus than Novice tonight. Mr. C came to see me play goal for the first time ever (I've always been too worried he'd psych me out being there, but it was fine). He said it was way faster and rougher than he remembered it. It was also a helluva lot of fun. Except for losing. That part sucks because my team played SO hard and I would have loved to pull out a win. Luckily, Scott TFCG was in goal at the other end and gave me some gifts so it wasn't a blowout. 9 goals down there.

The ice was shitty. People were falling left and right. It was a mess, but I don't think anybody was hurt too badly. And my gear was jacked up for some reason. I had to almost completely undress when I got on the ice and discovered one of my skates was way too loose. And then my pads weren't rotating right, like they were too tight, though they were strapped the same way I always do. I think my thigh board straps were too tight, so I'll loosen those up and see if it's better next week.

All in all, not too up or too down about this game. Well, maybe a little more down than up. Feeling like a little Tom Petty:

Tried to sleep and am SO tired, but between the headache and replaying all the goals against in my head (and feeling crummy about most of them), it wasn't working. So I'm up. And my hands stink. Blech.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My new occupation

Doing this over and over and over and over. Oh yeah, baby. (For some reason the link to the site isn't working right now... not sure what's up.)

Give me a month and I'll be cracking coconuts between my thighs.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Clutter on NHL10 Cover?

And you thought my Cal for Calder campaign was wacky. Check this out:

Oh, that's hawt!

(BTW, whoever made this, drop me a note and I'll give you credit. I just plucked it out of a signature on the Wild message board.)


Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh, hello Dream Job!

I'm sure others are more qualified, and probably harder workers, better writers, etc. etc. But damn. This would be an amazing job to have.


Other floaty thoughts from last night

Drill that was very useful: In the fly at the top of my crease with Scott shooting high and trying to get those with my glove or blocker or head or whatever. I think I'm more used to reading the release from my feet, so I'm not as practiced with it when I'm down, and I've gotten beat a few times in that situation lately.

Injury report: My knee hurt during hockey but didn't hurt when I got home or this morning when I woke up! Hopefully I'm on the mend there.

Sanitarium report: I'm still losing my ever-loving mind when I'm screened. I dunno what it is, man, but someone darkens my doorstep and my Threat Level goes from Yellow to Motherfucking Atomic in an instant. It's pathological. And it's not like I'm thinking about it when it happens. It's this instinct to make them pay in really painful ways that washes over me. I dunno. It just freaks me out a little bit.

Okay, now I'm really done with last night.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

But other girls ain't havin' any fun

So, Oklahoma! happens to be one of my favorite musicals. In fact, I really don't like musicals much so it's one of the only ones I like. This song especially just warms my heart. It's got nothing to do with hockey tonight... I'm just being self-indulgent. I cain't say no.

Anyway, practice tonight was good. Cheated my way through the warm-up skating drills, which I feel is my right since I wear twice as heavy gear as anyone else.

Then Scott TFCG took me and the other goalie through some hybrid drill stuff like I mentioned a few posts ago about watching Barry teach at goalie camp. It's still awkward as hell but there's hope. I'll work on that Saturday morning when I need a break from the brats darling children.

Then we did some other drills. We discovered that I forget about my glove hand completely at times. I'm so busy with my legs and stick and blocker, there's no brain left for the glove. It's sad, but we'll work on it.

Drills from the skaters weren't too endless or boring, so that was good. Scrimmage was only 20 minutes and I only let one goal in that in went over my shoulder blocker side. Some new guy. He's pretty good. Gonna have to make sure he works a little harder for his goals going forward.

Fortunately Scotty and Jessica didn't score on me, even though I could see them scheming out there and Scotty was trying to set her up. Ha. I felt a "take that, bitches!" welling up in me on one of those stops but kept it in. Such discipline!

Anyway, it was fun, especially for a practice. And Scotty says the boys in the room are commenting on my improvement, which is awfully nice to hear. Coach Dan even said as much to me before the scrimmage, so that was appreciated. Just gotta keep working, baby. Ya still pretty much suck!

First night of the new season tonight and lots of new faces, including a new girl. It's fun watching new people coming out like I did only 1 year ago (but it seems like another lifetime in which I played out... have I mentioned how much I prefer playing goal?)

Okay. This headache is eating my brain. Sleep.


When it rains, it pours

So, I exit town for a few days and my team explodes. I still don't even know the names of the new Aeros and if you think I'm learning to spell Dubie's name, you've underestimated my laziness. Surely I have an editor somewhere who will do that for me.

And speaking of which, WTF? If they don't trade Harding, clearly(?) it's Dubie and Brusty in Houston and Dimples goes... elsewhere. Man, talk about a kid who's getting screwed, or at least has to be feeling that way.

I know he was a sometimes-stud in the playoffs, but he's still got holes in his game that scare the bejeezus out of me. And given that there's been a rather significant drop in offense for the Aeros, the goaltending needs to be outta sight for the Aeros to have a steady season while all the new kids learn KC's system.

Sounds like, from the comments I'm seeing at T3I, there's a lot of dissatisfaction among fans. But I don't think it's going to be THAT bad. Many of the leaders on the team are back, though losing Love is a toughie in that regard. A lot can be overcome with heart and great chemistry and a lot of positive mojo from the Sunshine Club. ;)

I don't know what's going to happen... with ANYTHING. But I know, sometime in early October, I will see live, pro hockey again. Brusty with a big poke check. Stoner with a big hit. Some rookies and maybe Falker getting their first goals. And all this summertime angst will be a thing of the past and life will be whole again for seven or eight months.


That said, I can attest to the fact that everything is up to date in Kansas City. Who knew? Drove all over the city and it's very pretty and clean. Like Canada sort of, without the hockey addiction, which is a shame really. The Royals aren't really worth all the Royals shirts I saw.

Though speaking of the Royals, we went to Saturday's game and Mr.C nabbed one of the t-shirt tosses. Get this: No ads on the shirt. Just a white shirt with Royals across the front. When have you EVER gotten a free shirt that didn't have ads on it?

The one thing they do do wrong in KC is their grass addiction. Not like weed, but literally, expanses of lawn. Everywhere. I'm telling you, if you're in mower sales or repair and you're not in KC, you're in the wrong goddamn place. I've never seen so much perfectly manicured grass in my life. Of course, this means it takes twice as long to get anywhere because of the fields of grass separating everything. Very inefficient.

Anyway, nice place but glad to be home with internet that's already paid for. I have 441 items in my Google Reader at the moment, and had over 100 emails to sort through, not including work email.

Okay, off to eat some cereal and try and get my head wrapped around the notion that I'm blessed to get to play hockey tonight, even if it's a practice and even if I'm so tired, I'm hard pressed to care where the puck goes.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't let the door hitcha--Haha!--No really, best of luck

So, things are getting a little... hot under the collar... in Aeros Nation. Last season, Jesse Schultz, Corey Locke, and Krys Kolanos were all signed by July 11. Tom Lynn was definitely making a statement when he bolted out of the gate last season.

There hasn't been so much as a whisper other than the two defense signings this season. It's been Chicago making the big statement in the west, while many of the best AHL free agents head East. Who can blame them really? The travel is easier, the crowds are bigger.

Nevertheless, and I hate to be petty (no I don't), but I hope you boys who remain in the Aeros fold will be sure and send plenty of pictures and texts to these guys reminding them of how awesome Houston winters are... something to look at while they scrape ice off their windshields. Pictures of girls in tanktops, your feet in flip-flops, your skinny chicken legs in shorts (you can send those to me, too), expanses of green Wildcat Golf Course... I'm just saying.


Also, the NHL schedule came out today. I know this because of the blue feathers sticking out of my computer from my Twitter feed exploding.

I haven't had time to look at the Wild schedule yet and probably won't for a while as I'm going walkabout for a few days. But hopefully there's a legit opportunity to get up to Minnesota and finally see a game at the X.

At the very least, assuming there's no conflict with the Aeros pre-season schedule, it looks like Dallas will be playing their AHL babies in Austin for their last pre-season game. Would love to drive up and check that out, if only to see the new barn and lay eyes on Marty Turco. Sweet goalie mercy.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Kiss me through the phone

I heard that craptastic song on the way home from hockey tonight and didn't change the station. I figured that's a pretty good sign I'm in a good mood after my game, in spite of letting in a few more goals than I would have liked.

I think I let in 5 or 6. They didn't keep up the score properly in the third period and I have one of those "short memories" that was especially short tonight because one of my objectives for the evening was to stay even-keeled emotionally. Which means, a goal goes in, I think for about 5 seconds about what went wrong, and then I get up and forget it happened.

But like I really forget, though I do try to remember the gist of the post-goal analysis so I can take away what went wrong and think about it later.

I know on a couple of them, I didn't read the trajectory of the puck very well and it went high on me, and I dropped in the fly.

And on another couple of them, I drop in the fly and it whizzes just past my toe and in, which tells me I was a shade deep and, on one of them, just a bit off angle. I turned around to look at the puck in the net and the net wasn't where I thought it was.

That's actually pretty unusual for me because one of the few things I have a pretty good knack for is knowing where my net is. But I chalk that one up to experience.

Another, I overplayed the shooter's deke as I dropped and slid to the right, and showed too much net on my left.

Really, I chalk 'em all up to just skill and experience tonight. Which is a success in my book because none of them were caused by me being lazy or unfocused or low energy. I felt really even across all three periods and could have played another period before my performance would have started to drop.

I had an AWESOME breakaway stop on Jessica though. I was so patient and just stayed with her. Very proud of that one. One of those where once I'm alone again in my crease, I'm all "FUCK YEAH!" to myself. But now I know to give myself the, "Good job, but you still have to stop the rest of the pucks" lecture after patting myself on the back. I am learning to talk to myself more constructively during games.

Anyway, I felt really good tonight. Just really comfortable and focused. Right in the groove where I strive to be when I'm in goal. No panicking but still appropriate urgency and hustle. I did fuck up one situation where red dumped the puck in and I had to go out and stop it, but my player got there at the same time I did and I ended up whacking it right to the stick of an opponent. Oops.

Just a nasty case of tunnel vision and not knowing who was surrounding me. Fortunately no goal came of it. My D played amazing tonight, especially right around the crease and especially Mitch, who has a groin pull and gimped around the ice rather painfully all night. He didn't have his wheels but he played his heart out and I love him for it.

My knee talked to me allllll night. I'm really not looking forward to practice next week because I'm up and down so much doing drills, it really causes that pain to flare up. But I'm kinda looking forward to a practice where I'm just seeing lots of grown-up shots. I miss that from going to stick and pucks during the week. I don't really get that on Saturdays.

Can't tell you the last time I actually had a real shot hit me. I miss it so much. These shots on the ice or these 1 mph skate-ins where it takes 3 days for the shooter to make a move are like foreplay. All well and good, but I'm not wearing 40 lbs of gear to stop 10 mph shots. For shit's sake, someone lay some goddamn rubber on me like you fuckin' mean it! Let's get it on!

Oh, what the hell -- let's stick with a theme...


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ooo, I got your crazy

Every time I hear this song, I think I'm gonna sit down and do a Goalie Parody. You know, "Whack my glove again, and I'ma fuck you up" or "Screen that shot again, and I'ma fuck you up"

I'm pretty sure it's a recipe for awesome.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

3 a.m., then 7 a.m.

Woke up before my alarm this morning, so I've got some time to kill before I head to the 4:45 a.m. stick and puck and FINALLY put skate to ice for the first time in almost two weeks. Not sure who will be there since Scott TFCG (as a refresher, that's The Fucking Canadian Goalie) and his family are up in Alberta rolling with their Canadian homies. I'm jealous. Bet it's not 104 outside there, eh?

But I mainly want to work on stuff by myself, maybe see a few shots. I don't feel a huge obligation to be a target for anyone at this particular stick and puck because I'm not paying less than anyone else, so I should get to do whatever I need to do. I'm selfish and I like it, bitches.

The bum knee is feeling better in tiny measures. It's not waking me up when I turn over in bed anymore, so that's a nice thing. I bought a Cho-pat strap to wear and see if it helps. Kinda doubt it but it's worth a shot.

Anyway, thought I'd give a little round up of cool shit:

Justin Bourne, aka Big Tunafish, has new digs at his blog and even offered up some video in honor of the occasion. You know how someone will remind you of someone else but you can't figure out who? I'm having that problem after seeing that video. It will come to me at some really inappropriate time today.

One of my very favorite times of the off-season is Wild Development Camp week. All the adorable behbehs roll into St. Paul and get run ragged by Constantine, get coaching on stuff like nutrition, strength training, power skating, and dealing with the media, and generally just run around being adorable.

There's always lots of video and "blogging" and whatnot and the boys are so much sillier and funnier when they're younger. I guess guys get bored and jaded by cameras in their faces after a while and they learn all the cliches and how willing the media are to accept them. Anyway, it's just sweet and you want to pinch their cheeks and give them $10 to buy some candy.

And it's even more the case this year with Colton Gillies as sort of the elder statesman and spokesmodel of the bunch. Kid is straight up goofy and completely unaffected. I adore him, and while the shredded wheat side of me very much wants him to stay in the NHL and not experience the disappointment of getting cut from training camp after already having spent a year with the big club... the frosted side of me really wants him in Houston so I can have him for myself. (Update: I'm mean, seriously! Read this!)

Here's Colt and the boys learning to cook. Apparently freshly drafted goalie Darcy Keumper tried to burn the building down. Can't take goalies anyplace nice.


My girl over at Getting Pucks Deep did her own hot goalie countdown. She even managed to make Flower look hot. I guess flash enough muscles at me and the giant chicklets aren't such an issue.

You can watch it at her site or watch it here and also see the effervescent Wrap Around Curl's disagreement with the ranking. These are important things we debate, people. Screw the economy and world issues. Hot goalie rankings are the new McLaughlin Group.


Okay, back from stick and puck. There were 6 kids there and several adults. I stopped almost all of the adult shots and almost none of the kid shots. I fucking hate these little kids.

My time in net for them didn't last long. I let them all put a puck in on me 5-hole and then I retreated to the dark end of the ice to work on my own shit.

Can't say I worked hard particularly, but I did make some progress in terms of sort of thinking through why certain things aren't working for me. Like, even just recovering from the butterfly. Nobody ever told me that if I lean forward when I'm getting up and just recover to my stance, it's a lot easier. Maybe I shouldn't have needed to be told that, but being a naturally less athletic person, yes, some things do need to be spelled out in crayon for me.

I tried to slide in the butterfly. I can't do it any better than the first day I got out on the ice after I got my leg pads. I might as well be in sand. What's silly is that I can actually get a pretty good slide in just a knee-shuffle kinda move because my weight is distributed evenly. Somehow I can't seem to get my weight even (this was something I learned watching Brusty's camp) and push off and actually get somewhere.

And I worked on the hybrid/tight to the post save. Even though the rink people were too lazy to put the other net out so I was tight to the air next to the dark spot on the ice where the post sits... but still, I have a better feel for it, so that's good.

I also worked on moving the puck some more. Still suck at that. And I worked on backwards skating quite a lot, which I'm getting MUCH better at.

Most of all, I reassured myself that I can still skate after 2 weeks off the ice. And that it's still fun. As long as those kids aren't shooting on me.

Oh, but I had a Ms.Conduct Moment of OHSHIT Panic. One of the parents out there... I'm standing in the net taking a few shots and I look up at his face and I swear on my Nonnie's grave, it was Benoit Pouliot.

If my skull and mask were see-thru, you'd have seen my gears go into overdrive at that moment. Like, "Oh fuck, he's here to take my head off for all the mean things I've said about him. But, that's stupid. He's in Canada or St. Paul but certainly isn't in Houston paying for stick and puck at the mall rink at 5 a.m. on a Saturday with a little kid. But shit, that sure looks like him. And he's got some crazy European looking sweater on (and it looks appropriate, so I know I'm on target with my notion he should be playing in Europe), but so does the kid he's with, so, no, this can't be him."

And then he shot the puck. Right into my blocker. And again, blocker. And again, blocker. At which point, I decided it wasn't him because Ben would be shooting it right into my belly. :)

Goddamn, I love my blocker side. Even got my glove on a couple, so I think the catch I've been playing with Mr.C is helping. But I love my blocker side. I should take it out for ice cream later.

Anyway, enough of this. I've been promised french toast with fresh strawberries at my favorite breakfast place, Buffalo Grill. Go ahead and be jealous. It's the tastiest breakfast EVER.

Next up: Game tomorrow night. And hopefully redemption for the big bag of suck I left out there two weeks prior.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Hockeyless Sunday

Feels weird to have a Monday without the usual post-game analysis from Sunday night. I did enjoy a Sunday without butterflies in my tummy and constant monitoring/massaging of my mental state and worrying about what to eat for dinner so I won't barf it up.

I used to wonder if goalies started off crazy or became crazy as a hazard of the job. I think it's both. You just become a different kind of crazy.

I was pretty good about working out this week. Something was sore pretty much all the time. My knee still feels like shit but I accidentally did a little experiment. On Friday and Saturday, I used my Stretch-a-flex (don't laugh, it's awesome once you get used to it... I hear that even Jukka Ropponen had Nik Backstrom using it during summer training) to really give my groins, quads, hamstrings a big stretch.

For the first time in a while, I didn't wake up at 4 a.m. with my knee throbbing either night (I also started wearing a knee brace to bed... I flop around a lot in the summer trying to stay cool and thought maybe I was hurting it in the process).

But yesterday, I gave my legs a break and just did some Wii boxing and tennis and then played catch with Mr. C, so I didn't stretch. I wore the knee brace to bed but, yet again, I woke up at 4 a.m. with my knee aching.

So, I guess I'm Ms. Stretchy for the foreseeable future.

I also realized that one of the things I'd quit doing since My Coaching Staff ramped up my training was yoga. I know that when I do yoga regularly, my knees crunch less and I'm more limber, so I need to fit that back in a couple of times a week.

The thought I'm left with now is, do I seriously have to work out 2 hours a day to be a beer league goalie?

I think the answer is: When you don't start until you're 33, yes.


In other news:

I'm still watching other teams sign guys for their AHL clubs. The Wolves/Thrash organization is scaring me the most thus far. If they can get their chemistry better, they're going to be a real pain in the ass this season. Especially if the Aeros don't sign a few ringers pronto. I know there's management transition to deal with but seriously... let's go get a few free agents, please.

I wasn't too sure about The Zombie Kopitar but this video endears me. I love his dad.

But I still wanna be Sarah Spain when I grow up. Dammit. She's fucking fabulous.

It's supposed to rain today. If you haven't been in Houston for the last month, you can't properly appreciate the pleasure that will bring the city. But trust me, it's a shit load of pleasure.


Friday, July 3, 2009

The fates smiled

Sometimes the hockey gods throw me a bone. Last night at goalie camp, the net right in front of me was where they were working on the very save that I didn't make on the first goal against last Sunday. Maybe if I'd stopped that one, the floodgates wouldn't have opened and I would have had a decent game.

Basically a close-in shot from beside the post where you do sort of a hybrid, one-knee kinda thing. It's one of my least favorite save positions because I feel really unstable and "holey" and awkward. It's just something I need to commit to working on.

And now that I've watched Brusty re-show it to all 15 goalies about 5 times each, surely I have a foundation for nailing that move at some point. "Stop. Then drop." Got it.

So, add that to the list of moves I need to play around with at the 5 a.m. stick and puck next Saturday. I'm excited to get back on the ice and see what I can do with what I've learned watching the camp, but that's over a week away. *sigh* Stupid kids with their stupid summers off screwing up my stick and pucks...

Ended up taking a rest day yesterday. Apparently I'm being assigned to Yard Duty today, so it may be a "practical" workout today. We'll see.

Highs for the weekend are 100+, BTW. This heat wave can end ANY time now. Hoping to drag Mr. C out to play some catch, but maybe we'll do that in the evening or something when it's only 95 degrees. There's a snowcone place in the Heights that I'm determined to try over the weekend. They make their own syrups and everything apparently. Sounds like the perfect weekend for it.

Happy 4th tomorrow! Be safe out there. Don't blow yourselves up. Stay cool. Wear sunscreen, ya pasty hockey bitches.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Goalie camp; Havlat gone Wild

So, I've had a little surprise bit of fun and learning this week on the goaltending front. I've been heading out to SLICE to watch a goalie camp going on there each night this week and luckily, the main instructor is quite loud so I've been able to pick up some good stuff and, delightfully, not actually have to do the sweaty work. (Don't worry, my time will come.)

And work it is... these kids are working their tails off and seem to be pretty coachable. Unlike some people who are of an age where being told what to do just pisses them off. *looks around innocently* I'm happy to sit in the stands, enjoy the frosty air, and take a lot of mental notes. Plus, even the littlest of the kids out there would make me look like an idiot. I spend enough time doing that already.

I'm picking up some good stuff though. Things I hadn't really thought about because I'm still so in a place where even the basics of the position are really challenging. Like stick position when dealing with passes out from the corners to the front of the net.

Tuesday, I had to laugh because one of the things the instructor pointed out was to not "admire" your rebounds into the corners. I'm SO guilty of that. Like, I'm still so amazed when I actually get in front of a puck that unless the next danger is really on top of me, I do tend to just watch it go and not follow it and get re-set.

Amazing the number of little details are involved in playing goal well. I'm so busy with the low-hanging fruit still, I can't even absorb some of it in a useful way.

Here's the thing about goaltending. People who don't know the position think that getting hit with the puck is the sickest, craziest, hardest part of the job. I'm here to tell ya, for me, it's the LEAST hard part of the job. In fact, it's my favorite part of it! Means I made the save if it's hitting me that hard. Pain goes away. Goals don't. The worst pain is the crick in your neck as you watch the puck go in your net.

The hard part, at least physically, is the movement. There's so much leg and core strength you have to have (and I don't have yet) that is critical to movement in the crease. And I think one of the best things I'm coming away from this camp with is big time motivation to build that strength. In fact, I'd say that is my #1 training priority, above all else.

Which is awesome because when I look at how much I need to learn, it overwhelms me to the point where I end up doing nothing at all. Kinda like when you're $100k in debt... what's another grand? So, gaining some clarity around my training priorities has been a tremendous benefit.

As a result, I've ramped up my off-ice work and hope to get it even more focused over the next couple of weeks as I figure out the best ways to kick my own ass. Which also means I'm not sleeping well because I'm so sore all the time. But it's a good sore (except for my stupid motherfucking knee that feels like it's on fire when I wake up in the morning).

Found an amazing collection of strength training exercises here, grouped by sport (including hockey!) or by muscle group.

Anyway, one more night of goalie camp tonight, but before that... more squats, lunges, and abs!

Did I mention Brusty's one of the instructors? What a sight for sore eyes. And hey, it's totally not stalking if you're invited!


Free Agency opened up yesterday. Were you aware of this? Apparently it's kind of a big deal. :)

Anyway, Gaborik is now a Ranger, which will be fun to watch. Marty Havlat was dissed (and is tres bitter about it) by Chicago, so he signed with the Wild last night. That'll show 'em, Marty! It's one gimpy sniper for another, but I already like Havlat better than I ever liked Gaby. Nothing aloof about a guy who tweets his displeasure at the way his former team treated him. Bring it, bitches! Can't wait to play Chicago next season...

And maybe, being a fellow Czech, he'll be a good example for Cracksquirrel. Oh, who am I kidding?

I'm also pretty excited about the Wild signing Greg Zanon from Nashville. Apparently he's a shot blocking FREAK, which is totally the way to my goalie-lovin' heart. And we didn't have to give up Ryan Jones to get him! Go Fletch go!

Hopefully some moves to benefit glorious hockey team Houston Aeros will come in the next few days. I see that the Ottawa organization has already started picking up some free agent help for the farm, so I'm getting antsy on that front. Shocker, I know.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Agency Live Bloggery

I'll be throwing in my two cents on the Wild-centric Live Blog happening at Nick's place through the day. Come check it out.


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