Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Boy did I wake up on the wrong side of 2010 this morning.

Not only did both my teams lose their games in rather crappy fashion last night, but I fell asleep before midnight. My god, someone just stick me in a nursing home.

New Years Day always leaves me with a sense of uneasiness. Everybody's so gung ho to change this or that, set goals, meet goals, rah-rah-motherfuckin-rah. It's just not my bag. Chill out, bitches. It's just a date on the calendar.

I quit making resolutions years ago. If something is important enough to me, I don't need a new year to start it, and if it's not important enough to me, I'll bail on it anyway. Life is tough enough, why start a new year disappointed in myself?

But then I kinda feel like an asshole saying, "I have no goals for 2010" because all these Type A types want you to think you're wasting your life if you don't have goals and aren't striving for them.

But my goals never change. My goal is to have a life I can look back on and go, "Yeah, that was pretty fun. I did alright there." Currently, I'm on track. So back off with your day planners and self-help books, overachievers! I've got this thing covered.

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I'm super crabby at the Aeros. I don't normally take it personally when they suck. In fact, it's usually a little better for me because it gives me more to write about.

But I feel like taking it personally today. And I feel like completely unloading on them, but I won't because I'm not sure it's fair. In fact, I know what I want to say is quite UNfair and petty, so this is me.... showing restraint.

Was it the officiating last night? I mean, they scored a bunch. And Anton had some unreal saves, but .... I dunno. I feel like calling 'em all a bunch of hacks. HACKS! Straighten up!

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I'm not gonna bother recapping the year. It was all about being a goalie, and I covered that on my goalieversary a few weeks ago.

Well, being a goalie and ... other *ahem* adventures that are best left right where they lie, like the proverbial sleeping dog. Yeah, even my falling-asleep-before-midnight ass can find its way onto Santa's naughty list. Not so much as a lump of coal in my stocking this year, but it was worth it. Yada yada yada....

Ahhhh, what a fun, weird year of hockey adventures (and nearly 100% neglect of everything else). Don't think I'll see another one quite like it.

Cheers, 2009, you won't be easily forgotten and I'm okay with that.


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Wait, I take it back. I DO have a goal this year. To rock the poke check. Bitches.

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What didn't suck in last night's game...

I don't even need to write anything, do I?

Love the new pads with the darks. Looking good...

Looking grrrrr...

Thanks to Chris Jerina for the awesome shots. The rest of the set from last night's trouncing by the Wolves can be found here.

Chris is going to all three games in this road trip, so expect more of this. In fact, expect ridiculous tons of this if Brusty gets in a game, which Anton certainly made a case for last night.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quick Hits: I Call Shenanigans, De'funk, Eyes, NYE, Jaws

So, I've already gotten one "are you okay?" email regarding Dubie's Canadian Team ousting in the Spengler Cup, which means we're about to have too many goalies in Houston, and that means... well... commence heartache.

I've had that old classic "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Love Goalies" in my head since Andrew reported the news about Spengler. Every time I type that I think of Stifler and, naturally, Stifler's Mom. Ha. It's just kinda torture. Your guy is always the hero or the goat and the competition, especially this year, is just unreal. It's frustrating.

It's not like loving a skater who can be up and down and it's okay because there are other guys to pick up the slack for a while. Results are so direct, right in the vein, when you're talking goalies. But also so dependent on the team, yet when it comes down to stats, there's no "but the defense sucked" asterisk, is there?

Oh well. Always room for one more at MCH4HG. Fuck.

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On to happier stuff:

I opened my gear bag from last night at around 5 p.m. today and it smelled like... a bag of fresh laundry.

I'm not kidding. Washing my gear on that Sanitize cycle is the best thing that ever happened in the history of shit happening. Seriously.

Which takes the sting out of the fact that I'm sending my old w/d away with Salvation Army tomorrow and won't get my new one until Jan 12. Given that I'll be playing hockey at least 3, maybe 4 times before the new one arrives, this will be interesting. I've already hit up Coach Stalin for her w/d if I get desperate.

But man, now I know how worth it the wait is. A fresh smelling hockey bag whenever I want it? Oh HELL yeah!

The only sucky thing is that I found a rip in the outer shell of my goalie pants. I can stitch it up, though it's kinda weird. It looks like it was burned, too. Hmm... Sabotage. Am I playing the Senators this weekend?

More difficult will be fixing up the seam rip in the shin pads on my left leg pad. Not a huge problem yet, but I'll need to get it fixed at some point. At least it's not charred.

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I've been doing my eye exercises tonight and boy do I have a headache from it. The strain on my eye muscles is unreal. This isn't going to be easy. But it's kinda fun finding creative ways to do the exercises, because I have to look at two things and try to converge them (like by crossing my eyes). So, it's tail lights on the cars in front of me at stop lights, the clock and AHL logo while watching the (abysmal) Aeros game tonight... good stuff.

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New Year's Eve tomorrow. No plans, though I'd really enjoy just getting sloppy drunk and not giving a shit about stuff for a few hours. Doesn't that sound grand? But we tend to stay in on nights when the drunks are out.

I gamble enough when I'm driving around at midnight or 1 after hockey games during the week. I seriously need a direct line to the Houston police, because I see so much drunk driving on my way home from hockey. Luckily I've usually still got the adrenaline pumping and I'm ready for 'em. Would love to report them though. Assholes.

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Watching Caps/Sharks and saw for the first time the shark gesture the fans make there. Can't believe I've never seen that, but that's kinda cute.

And while he does have 3 5 goals against, I'm impressed with Neuvirth. He's fast and agile. Good stuff. He had one save that was just a beautiful sliding fly pad save where if he hadn't popped his knee up a few inches as he went across, it would have gone in. Very nice, astute save.

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Imma go eat a cookie now. So there.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My shitty glove hand has a name: Exotropia

I've got a ton of real work to do today, so I'll just do a brain dump from my eye doc appointment.

First of all, she was awesome and I'll never see another eye doc as long as I live in Houston. The other guy I was going to was such a hack... Thanks for the recommendation, Fred!

Second of all, any time you have your eye doctor saying, "Yeah, that's REALLY off" you know you're in for it.

Turns out I have Exotropia, which means my eyes point outward rather than pulling inward to focus on the same thing at once. This means that basically I only see with one eye at a time, particularly at a distance. I can converge images a bit better at near distances.

Also, my right eye is much more dominant, and what the brain does, instead of giving me double vision, is basically just shut out the image I'm getting from my left eye.

So, think about that: Someone's shooting on me from the right circle but to my far (glove/left) side, I start off tracking it with my dominant right eye, and then somehow have to shift my vision to the left eye in the fraction of a second that it takes for the puck to travel to my net.

Yeahhhh, not exactly a recipe for a save, right? Any wonder a great glove save takes my breath away. It seems like magic to me!

On top of that, there's a secondary condition of my eyes not seeing at the same height. So one is pointing low and wide and one is pointing high and wide.

She said that the brain naturally prefers binocular vision, so it will try its hardest to merge the images, but for me, the eye muscles are pulling so hard in basically opposite directions, that any disruption to my visual attachment to the puck sends me all walleyed again.

It occurred to me on the way home that even the bars on my (certified) cage are enough to cause that to happen, so quick movements in close around my net are just a jumble of visual confusion. Throw in defensemen and opponents and sticks and it's chaos trying to sort out where the puck is and its trajectory.

And perhaps this explains my violent reaction to screens. Somewhere in my physiology, I KNOW that this person in my field of view is making my job nearly impossible. And they. must. pay. I may see about getting a doctors note allowing me to nut screeners without reproach. ;)

I told her that I felt like I could see better blocker side than glove side and she said that made total sense since my strong eye is already sort of wanting to turn blocker side anyway, so my vision is good that way. But crossing all of that over, and my non-dominant eye pointing glove side, is always going to be a struggle tracking the puck to that side.

What's next?

Well, she said my exotropia is so severe that she's not sure vision therapy will fix it. I've adapted so much in my normal life that untraining that and training something new will be very difficult.

She did, however, give me some exercises to do to try and get my eye muscles behaving at least a little better. So I'll be working on those diligently (they give me an eyestrain headache a little bit, but I can deal with that if it helps in the long run) and hope they help out at least a bit.

Bottom line in my mind is that while this may be a limiting factor in some saves, there are certainly workarounds. Playing with good positioning--angle and depth and lateral movement--I can be a decent blocking goalie. Making good decisions with my stick, covering holes, staying square... all those things will stop a lot of pucks.

Having my glove out and forward, maybe not in the right place, but just OUT somewhere when I can see a shot is coming glove side, may be as good as it gets for me for that kind of save, until I learn to read the puck off the stick better and just get a feel for where the puck is going to go in relation to my glove.

Tracking a puck bouncing around in my crease is also hard, but still something that if I can stay mobile and stay square, I can deal with that.

So really, while I'm kinda jealous of all those goalies out there with normal binocular vision, I'm pretty happy to know what's going on and have a plan in place. I otherwise have terrific uncorrected vision for my age and healthy eyes, so I'm very thankful for that. So I let a few pucks in... it's not life or death and hey, it makes a skater happy, right?

Ahhh, okay, I can't even pretend that I like happy skaters. Suck it, skaters!

But still, it's all about perspective, right?

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Okay, worky time. Drop-in tonight, though my knee is finally starting to feel better, which kinda makes me wish I didn't have drop-in tonight so it could heal up for another few days. Oh well. Maybe there at least won't be an audience tonight. Last week, they'd just finished a public skate and the mall was open late for last minute shoppers, so we had quite a crowd watching us!

The only time it bothered me a little was when someone started banging on the glass behind my net. That was a first, and kind of a cool "pro moment" if you'll grant me that indulgence. But I recall thinking, "Wow, that is pretty distracting!"

So, you Aeros fans down behind the opposing net... bang away!

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quick Hits: Concession, Sanitization, Monovision

I'll be a good sport and concede the Super Bowl to my buddy Kevin. I spent all day watching his stupid score run up while mine sat immobile because my team didn't show up today.

I mean, to a man, they all underachieved. So, hey, sometimes it's just not your day. Pretty sure I was lucky to even get as far as I got. Head to head competition is like that sometimes, though rarely does it go quite so much in my favor.

On the plus side, I did get an EPIC nap this afternoon. Wouldn't be surprised if I whimpered and kicked my hands and feet like Major does when he's really getting his nap on. Chasing goalies? Ha.

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I also ordered up a new washer and dryer this afternoon. I used my mom's washer over Christmas and the "Sanitize" feature completely killed the funk in my chest protector, pants, and jock. And since Mr.C is forever belly-aching about my gear stinking up the garage and our current set is quite old and doesn't do all that good a job anymore, we got in on a good deal at Best Buy and got a new set.

Pretty excited about that, my friends. And I haaaate doing laundry, but I do a shit ton of it playing as much as I do. Waiting for a dryer that folds everything for me.

Total aside: OMG, this guy Keller on the Jets has the nicest ass I've seen since Aaron Voros. If I were home alone, I'd rewind and pause. If I gave a shit about football, I'd be a Jets fan now.

I feel old getting excited about a new washer. Does it make it cooler that I'm excited about it for hockey purposes?

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Speaking of old, I've got an eye doc appt out in Sugar Land on Tuesday morning. I'm kind of excited about it because this doc is supposed to be really good and I've definitely got eye issues.

They don't affect me much in normal life, but seeing the puck is kinda important and it does affect that. I found out how bad it was last year before I started playing, but the conversation went something like this with my old doc:

Me: "Soooo, my eyes are pretty messed up."
Doc: Noncommittal shrug and head bob

Me: "Well, the thing is that I'm a hockey player and I'm about to take up being a goalie, so.... you know... seeing the puck flying at me is important."
Doc: Sympathetic look

Me: *staring a hole through doc waiting for some kind of useful response*
Doc: "Here's some anti-Obama propaganda about how the Democrats are going to ruin the world. This is very serious business."

Me: "Uh huh" *mentally firing him*
Doc: "Okay, see you next year. Say hi to Mr. C!"

FAAAAAAAACK. You asshole!

Anyway, I'm sure I'll have plenty to report on Tuesday, as new doc is supposed to be much better and specializes in issues with vision for, um, athletes. Cuz, you know, I pretend to be one of those.

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No hockey for me tonight still. And Aeros game tomorrow. Back at it on Tuesday with the college boy drop-in. Can't wait! (No really! I ended up having a lot of fun last week! Bitches think they can skate in close and pop one around me? Ha. POKE!)

Though speaking of hockey boys, I ran across this article on CHRIS HOLT! getting sent back down to Elmira (after tearing it up in Bingo during his AHL call-up). Here's coach Don Nachbaur:

"They've all got to play. I can't keep three guys here. It just won't work that way. It doesn't mean (Holt is) going to be down there for a long time. We know he's played real well, but we want to keep our goaltenders sharp, and inactivity, they build up rust. And with three guys, I surely can't divvy that ice time up and be fair about it.

"Chris is a young guy, and he's played really well. We know that. And we'll see where the future takes us. But I don't expect him to be down long."
Hmmmm, sounds familiar. Welcome back to Ms.Conduct's Home for Homeless Goalies, Chris. We'll say it for you: "Really? Chiodo? Over me? REALLY?" We know. We understand. There there... *huuuuuuuu.... uuuuuuuuuuu..... uuuuuuuuuug*

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AHHHHH CRAP! I lost to Bourne in hockey, too! Shit. Now I gotta pay up.

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I didn't come here lookin' for trouble...

Am I supposed to SLEEP after that Aeros game? Pfffft. If I sleep, I might forget some of it. Actually, to be honest, I'm not sure I saw most of it. Anything not happening around Brusty's net might as well have been happening on the moon.

I mean, yay for the goals to get them within one, but goals schmoals. I can't say I've ever wallowed in one player's performance more than I did tonight. If I could fill a bathtub with it and soak in it, I would. What does the knob on that faucet look like? Hah, never mind.

Read my official (yeah, so official) report of the game at T3I, but it's special enough that I had to spread the love over here, too.

I'm physically tired just from watching the game tonight. Living and dying with every shot, every stinking breakaway (thanks a bunch, boys), every glorious save.

The effort now comes in not getting my hopes too high that Dubie will sign a deal while he's over in Europe, or get lost in the Alps and join a clan of Samsquanches, or miss his flight back and decide it's not worth the trouble to rebook. *sigh*

Anyway, it was fun to watch from down in the corner of the ice by Barry's net for the final two periods. My feeling is, who knows how many chances I'll get to see him this season and the overall flow of the game was so horrendous, I'm not missing anything by being at a weird angle to watch most of it.

I couldn't even tell you how the goals for the Aeros were scored. And really, I was in the middle of trying to tweet the AeroDynamic of the game (to humor John) when Anton was scored on the first time. And then was tweeting that goal when he was scored on the second time, but I saw that red light and my very first thought was, "Barry, put your shit on!" And I look at the bench and he's hopping up and putting his shit on. Hooray for KC's itchy trigger finger!!!

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Meanwhile, the gals in Florida with the Blades are "Lusty for Brusty." I get the impression there may be t-shirts. Pretty sure I need one of those. Do they come in size Cougar? Along with a place to hide it from Mr.C, who probably wouldn't appreciate that motto emblazoned across my chest.

Of course, I have a bit of a territorial instinct kicking in here, too. But I'll keep that to myself. (John is shocked again at my restraint.)

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It's a big BIG fantasy sports week for me. First of all, I'm in the Super Bowl of my Fantasy Football league. It's me against Kevin in PA, who has a pretty damn good team and the record to prove it. He's also a fantasy stud, so probably has some tricks up his sleeve, but I've gotten this far being completely clueless so maybe the luck will continue.

The thing is, my QB is Peyton Manning and since the Colts are clearly just coasting to the finish since they're undefeated, do I risk that they don't play him much or do I play his brother instead? Urgh. For now, I'm sticking with Peyton, but I will recheck that before I make a final decision tomorrow.

I also picked up a new K and RB off of free agency. We'll see how they fit into the team chemistry tomorrow.

I won second place last season and I feel like that's probably where I'm heading this year again, but we'll see. That's why they play the game, right?

The other decision I had to make was to play Joshua Cribbs or Kevin Walter at WR. Mr.C's suggestion was that Cribbs isn't going to have much opportunity to run anything back because Janikowski can boot it into the next county if he wants to (and why would you risk letting Cribbs have the ball if you can prevent it?) Crap, I hope that was a good call.

Kevin Walter, I could really use some big time production out of you, hot stuff.

But almost as big as the super bowl is going up against Bourne in his blog's fantasy hockey league this week. We've got a side bet going involving our blogs, and there's been some quality trash talking.

And tonight we are tied 5 to 5. *biting nails* Not a ton of games tomorrow, but enough to spread the "difference making" around a bit. So if you need me tomorrow, I'll be gluuuuuued to my live StatsTracker windows trying to win the Super Bowl and beat Bourney. Awesome!

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Friday, December 25, 2009

You'll shoot your eye out, kid

I'm up at 3:30 Christmas morning, stuffing stockings and enjoying a few moments of quiet here in my parents' house before the hustle and bustle starts. I went to bed feeling grateful to be here with my family, mom and dad pampering me and Mr.C and the dog, and regaling my aunt and uncle with my shenanigans from the previous year.

I realize most of my hockey darlings don't get this luxury due to compressed schedules and the season's relentless grind, but I hope they're having a good holiday. Though I'd guess since they're playing tomorrow, there's a bit of work to do today. The show must go on.

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We used to be one of those families with obscene piles of gifts and wrapping paper strewn everywhere, but we cut back last year and decided to just do stocking stuffer-type things for each other. I adhered to the rule this year, but as I look around me, there are wrapped gifts under the tree and the stockings are overflowing to the point where they can't even hang on the mantle.

So I'm afraid I've failed at gifting, relatively speaking, again. I'll have to console myself in the knowledge that I followed the rules. We did, however, get potato guns for all the guys, so that should be pretty entertaining if they work. I'm not talking shooting whole potatoes. Just potato pellets. We'll see how that goes.

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I have to tell you about this dream I had that woke me up and kept me up. I may daydream about my hockey boys a lot but when it comes to real dreaming, on the rare occasion they show up in one, it's always very pedestrian or just plain weird.

It's a little disappointing that my subconscious is determined to be so bland, but what can you do?

Anyway, I had this dream that I was in school and, apparently, a meth head. But I was still a goalie and there was a hockey game I was going to play in to win some meth. I was nervous about it, though, because if the cops found out what we were playing for, obviously we'd get in big trouble.

So, for some reason, I couldn't play the second period, and one of my goalies was kind enough to fill in for me because he's a swell guy like that. But of course that makes me REALLY nervous because if the cops find out about the meth thing, especially WHILE he's in net, he'll be the one to get in trouble instead of me. And he doesn't even KNOW about the meth thing. It's a bad, bad feeling to think I'm doing him wrong. (Well, not DOING him wrong, but... anyway...)

And yet, it's for meth, which is apparently addictive enough, even in the dreams of someone who's never been addicted to anything but hockey and Dr. Pepper, to sell out my favorite goalie. Say no to drugs, kids!

Fortunately, his period ends and I go back in and my team loses. I end up being relieved about the loss because now I don't have to worry about getting caught with the meth and my goalie won't get in trouble for being associated with the game.

Not sure what my subconscious is trying to tell me with that one and I don't think I want to know. Probably something about not going to bed on such a full stomach and a bunch of wine. Urgh.

Anyway, there's your bizarre Christmas story for the day. Except it's not a Christmas story. Meh.

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I'll wax poetic more around New Years, but I just want to say thank you guys for reading. I'm so grateful for the amazing, funny, generous, kind people I've met through hockey and this blog. I hope your holidays -- and all days -- are full of blessings and good fortune and sickkkkkkkk saves.


Merry Christmas from Ms.Conduct

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shot Blockers

Okay, I lied (you knew I was lying right?)

I had to share one of Justin Bourne's latest articles with you, this one on shot blockers.

He's right that guys whose bread and butter is blocking shots are a different breed. From my perspective, they're fascinating, because as much as I was drawn to a job that has pucks hurtling into my body, you couldn't pay me to stand in front of hard shots in player gear.

Goalie gear, heck yeah. I'm padded within an inch of my life. Player gear? No thank you.

One of my all time favorite shot blockers is Paul Albers, who played for the Aeros for a couple of years. I think there was some frustration on his part about not being allowed to play more of an offensive-defenseman role, but oh.my.god. was that guy fearless in front of his own net. If I had a dollar for every time I said, "Ouch!" watching him play, I could take us both to a fancy dinner.

I understand the Wild's Greg Zanon is cut from the same cloth, but these guys don't translate on TV. I hear raves from people who get to watch the Wild in person, but I've rarely noticed him. That's got to account partly for why these guys are under-appreciated.

But I can tell you, the goalies know exactly who they are. There's nothing that will endear a player to me more than watching them put their body between me and the puck while still allowing me to see the puck. It's a beautiful, black-and-blue art and those guys are my heroes.

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Christmas and Roli and Fatso and Sawchuk

Confession time: I don't much like Christmas. I'm a terrible gift giver because I don't ever shop "for fun," which means that unlike people who tend to be good gift givers, I never have a chance to run across something that's just perfect for so-and-so. Another way in which I'm such a dude.

Which means I have to come up with ideas out of thin air. And I suck at ideas. I'm great at executing other people's ideas, and occasionally I have a flash of brilliance that keeps people thinking I might have a few good ideas in me, but it's all smoke and mirrors.

Also, I'm just straight up really, really self-absorbed. So if you're not into what I'm into, then I have no idea what you like. My family members are all getting Clutterbuck jerseys and tequila this year. It's the thought that counts, right?

Mr. C and I decided our gift is a mutual one this year: our new TV. And that's peachy. I might still order myself a Dubielewicz Team Canada sweater just for being a good girl. I mean, who doesn't want one of those?

Anyway, I finished my shopping at the liquor store this morning and we'll head to my parents for Baby Jesus Day and then it will blessedly be over and I can get back to being self-absorbed in a more guilt-free way. I love my family and don't see them enough, but still, my favorite part of Christmas is the drive home, car full of loot, a fresh year at my doorstep when I get home. It's a good feeling.

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I play again tonight for the first time in over a week. At least I think I do. Nobody's told me not to show up, but I missed last week due to my dead car, so who the hell knows what's going on. Anyway, I've missed it. Mr. C asked if I wanted him to come with me and I felt bad, but I really kinda want to go alone. It's my last chance at having some time to myself for a few days and I feel like I need to savor it.

Looking at the calendar, I notice there's an Aeros game on Monday. Seriously hoping my Monday drop-in doesn't want me to come out because I will absolutely have to turn her down, but it will hurt to do so.

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A couple of unreal goalie events last night.

First was Dee-wayne Roloson's Stick and Chimp Saves.



The level of compete to get back and even make the first save, much less follow it up with that dangling monkey crossbar save just blows my mind. And the guy is 97 years old.

Talk to me about Roloson for a second... how underappreciated is he for what he brings at his age?

Here's the thing about me and loving goalies: I love for my team to win, but I watch a LOT of hockey, so I appreciate some entertainment value. (Logical question here is, "Why the fuck are you a Wild fan, now?" Yeah, I know. Sometimes your team chooses you rather than the reverse.)

So, if I have a choice of an extremely technical, positional, calm, steady goalie or a Turco/Thomas/Roloson who maybe has a crap game here and there and maybe doesn't play the prettiest kind of goal... well, there's really no question for me. Put some offense up front and just beat me senseless with insane goaltending.

Which is why, even though he is truly an exceptional goalie, Backstrom has never lit my fire. He's so good but so uninspiring to me.

I suppose I have the best of both words, right? MY team has the really steady boring goalie. I'm watching them anyway, so I don't need him to be that entertaining for me to dig it.

But if I'm gonna watch Bruins, Islanders, or Stars where I don't really have any skin in the game, gimme the goalie who tackles players, swings like a monkey, or sometimes skates so far out of his net, you think he's joining the rush (don't you want to see Turco do that sometime? Just take it to the net? Richards centering Neal and Turco? Oh hell yeah.)

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The other biggie is, of course, Marty Brodeur surpassing Sawchuk's shutout record. Say what you want about the defenses he's played behind and blah blah blah, but this guy is just a sexy beast of a goalie and there will never be another one like him.

What fascinates me about Brodeur is that I can't fucking figure out what he's doing out there. He just stops pucks. All my training has been butterfly this and that but he's just doing something else out there. There's a reason you never hear someone is a "Brodeur-style goalie."

But enough is said of Brodeur, so I would encourage you to learn more about Sawchuk if you are learning about the game and its history still. He was a reclusive guy, so there's not a ton out there about him, but his life's story is sad and amazing. Stu Hackel at the New York Times wrote a great piece on him when Brodeur tied the record earlier this month and it's a great Sawchuk primer.

Included in the Times article is a review (and recommendation) for a book I reviewed here last year after it came out. And it continues to be one of my top TWO reads of all the hockey books I've read, along with The Game by Ken Dryden (who is smarter than you).

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems
by Randall Maggs is just a beautiful book. I have a number of hockey books, almost all of which I'm happy to loan to anybody who is interested, but this one is staying with me. Go get your own.

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Unless I need to unburden myself of tonight's drop-in, this is probably it for a few days. Have a safe and happy and healthy holiday. Enjoy some time off and too much food and too much drink (but please don't drive) and too much family and more blessings than you can shake a stick at.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick Hits: CBT, Squee, Knee, Ass, Regret, Vitamins, Boobs, Almond

First of all, Andrew noticed tonight that old friend Benoit Pouliot scored in his first game with Hamilton today. We couldn't tell what happened as both Alex Salak and Chrissy Beckford-Tseu had minutes for the Amerks. If he'd scored on CBT, my reaction is, "Yeah? And?"

But Salak is a good goalie, and it turns out that's who he scored on. BUT Salak left the game after that due to a bunged up shoulder (rub some dirt on it, kid), and CBT took over and sieved it up.

Apparently the crowd booed him simply for being put in the game, before play even started. I knew Amerks fans hated the guy, but wow. And coach Benoit Groulx threw him under the bus a bit after the game. Check out the article at Let's Go Amerks.

So I read this and I think "WHY THE FUCK IS CBT IN THE AHL AND BARRY ISN'T?" Well, he is at the moment but Dubielewicz will be back and then... ugh, I can't even... never mind. Changing the subject. But you get my point.

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Speaking of which.... #33.... in an Aeros sweater today.

That is all.

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My knee hurts. And rest isn't making it better. This concerns me. But it's a weird hurt and I can't figure out the source to try and make it better.

But speaking of body parts, I noticed when I was hopping in the shower today that playing goal has given me a spectacular ass. I mean, yeah, it's a little extra padded, but damn. And I'm totally not saying that in a bragging way. I'm just saying... like... wow. Hi there, ass! Where'd you come from?

I'd totally embed the "Baby Got Back" video right here, but I fucking hate that song. And yet, it's entirely appropriate.

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I'm probably gonna regret that last bit in the morning when I'm rested. I do that fairly often. Type stuff at 3 a.m. and I ALWAYS think, "Okay, how am I gonna feel about having said that in the morning?" and I ALWAYS think, "Ahhh, you're just keepin' it real, Ms.C. That's what this is about!" And then the next day, I think, "Oh please let someone comment positively and get me off the hook for this awkwardness."

So feel free to tell me I do in fact have a nice ass or that goalies do in fact have better than average asses. Sadly I've seen too few, other than my own.

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So, every day I take a B-12 vitamin, Omega 3 whatever vitamin, and a multi-vitamin. And every morning it's like nibbling at a candy store, because they make all these vitamins now in chewy or gummy form.

My B-12s are sort of like gummy beans. My Omega 3 whatevers are like sour patch kids (except more sweet than sour, but sugar-coated and gummy). And my multi-vitamin is like a Tootsie Roll.

Every time I take my vitamins, I feel like I'm getting over on adulthood. Like, "You can make me responsible enough to finally start taking vitamins regularly but you can't make me take grown-up ones!"

It's the same feeling I get when I leave my house at 9 at night to go play hockey. Everybody else is going to bed, winding down, and I'm getting pelted with rubber. Oh my god, that's the best feeling.

Update: Fellow goalie Nick says to throw some glucosamine into the mix for my janky knee. But look what it does to my pretty candy store of vitamins:

Okay, fine. But it better help if it's going to look so vitaminy. Hmph.

-----------------------

Ohhh, but you know what's not a good feeling? So I replaced the elastic on the back of my chest protector because it had lost its elasticity and I made it pretty snug because it makes me crazy when my chest protection would catch on my pants and puff out and obstruct my view downward.

So, the snug elastic fixed that and it's really comfortable now. EXCEPT.... when I get hit in the boob. I guess the looseness before would create an air pocket that would dull the hit when I took one right to the chest.

Now I have no air pocket and it's just straight transference from the puck to my chest padding, to my "chest padding." Talk about stinging. It goes away after a minute and I can ignore it if I need to deal with puck business, but I appreciate a good clearing after a shot like that so I can wince in peace for a bit.

Not sure what I can do about it besides wince and whine, because not having all that padding lumping up sure has helped my downward vision.

Oh well. I asked to be hit with pucks. Guess a few boob stingers won't kill me. I'm gonna get serious on that armored bra idea though.

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Watch this space for my next PHN piece. I haven't been real happy with them lately because the Aeros have been so blaaaaaand and hard to write about, but Constantine was great on a couple of subjects I asked him about.

A guy I'm really liking is Cody Almond and KC is possibly even higher on him than I am (and certainly more qualified to say so). Wild fans are gonna love it.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

A holiday curbstomping (updated with killer photos)

So, the Wild were tres sad tonight. Shoulda put money on the Sens like Mr.C suggested because even with Mike Brodeur making his NHL debut in goal, they just weren't gonna win that game. Too much distraction between the fire and the flu and the man-short situation.

Even if the new gear was feeling okay, the whole shebang was just Too Much.

BUT, I really don't give a shit because O. M. G. Brusty's game was so bad ass I almost don't have words for it. And yet... I will give it my best shot because the performance deserves it.

Brusty with his "bring it, bitches" face on. That's right. *chomp*
Photo by Bethani Shilladay

The Blades won 5-1, scoring 11 seconds into the game, so you know, a little goal support always puts the wind at your back.

However, the wind at your front is... wait for it... 43 shots on goal. Baby, that's a whole lotta rubber.

And what's more, that's a whole lotta shots for Wheeling to be taking and NOT scoring, so they were clearly getting frustrated. They were running Barry, crowding the crease, generally being dicks around the net.

But the math is simple: Antagonize Barry = Get Your Ass Kicked. It's not even math. It's a law of nature.

One guy literally got his ass kicked when I guess B2 got fed up and just knocked him on his butt during a penalty kill. Okay, maaaaybe not great timing :) but they killed off the 5 on 3 and then the remaining 5 on 4.

And even though they let so many shots through, props to the Blades for an outstanding PK tonight. They went 1 and 6, and the one goal allowed was on a 5 on 3. Not a bad goal at all.

Here are some beeeeeeautiful shots from the game courtesy of the lovely, generous, and talented Bethani Shilladay. Muchas gracias to Fred Trask for editing them. Click to embiggen and see all the glorious detail:

This is one of those moments where I'm screeching,
"BITCHES, DON'T RUN MY GOALIE!!!"
Seriously. Don't run my goalie. He'll cut you.
Below, I cropped it tighter so you can see Brusty better.
Not sure where the puck is. Maybe in his glove.

But Kinley is getting a mask full of stink-eye from Barry anyway.


You can see the puck right in the tip of his glove.

I'm guessing the puck is in his glove, given the amount of snow
in the air right in front of the glove. And because he's awesome like that.

One of my favorite things: Playing the puck.

Every time I look at this one, I think, "OMG, GIT IT, BRUSTY!"
even though I know he totally got it.

All photos by Bethani Shilladay

Anyway, it was a fun game and the radio PBP guy was pretty funny on Brusty. Well, funny and at times frustrating as he flirted with jinxy-talk in the stuff he said. Like at the end of the second period, saying, "The first star of this game may be the man in the big pads." Um, dude. Whole period left. Stop that!

But the one that made me laugh was, "Brust has done a lot of rolling around tonight, but when he does, it's quality rolling around!"

Ha! I think that was after this big rolling poke check which Beth also managed to snag a great series of shots of. As you can see, it was some quality rolling around. I needed a cigarette and a nap after watching that save.


All photos by Bethani Shilladay

I have no idea where the puck is in any of those shots, but needless to say, it was not in the net. Unreal.

Ahhh, shame there's no highlight package because it was a gooder for sure. I'd have given him the first star because goal scoring was spread around but I'm pretty sure he made all 42 saves through his own sheer BAMFitude. But what do I know?

Now. Come home. :D

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

... must come down

Oh boy am I in a rip-roaring pisser of a mood tonight. I got some of it out of my system through a little art therapy over at T3I and a little Dos Equis is taking the edge off, but I still feel like all the air's been sucked out of the room at the news that Brusty's going back to Florida Thursday.

Okay, I lied. It's like, a LOT of Dos Equis, so I'm drunk blogging while I watch John Tortorella being all defensive in his post-game presser on On the Fly. Awesome. The edge is pretty well fucking gone. I'm still sad about Brusty leaving though, but I'm not on the verge of crying anymore. Kevin Weekes is so hot.

Prolly should have had more for dinner. HA! Yeah.

Anyway, speaking of dinner, we're sitting at El Rey freaking Taqueria on Washington Ave. before the game and this dude with an ear piece comes in. You know the kind with the curly pigtail (the earpiece, not the guy). So I go, "Oh, he looks like secret service!" And my dinnermates are all, "Pfft. No."

Well, guess who fucking walks in the door! Barbara Bush! And behind her? George Bush! I guess they like the Cuban food, eh? It was quite a thing. If you've been to this El Rey (or maybe any El Rey), you get how completely surreal it is to be sitting 10 feet away from a former president there. Very cool.

God it sucks when your own defenseman puts a puck past you.

Bettman's head is SO WAY TOO BIG for his body. He should have more cheeseburgers and even it out.

Cheeseburger sounds tasty. Maybe a bigger head would make me look skinny.

HEY! My friend David got my car working! She's still a little grumpy to start but at least I know it can be done. Something is wrong with the fuel system. Not sure what. Need to call mechanic in the morning.

Ohhhh, my bottle is empty. One more XX left in the fridge. YEAHHHH..... Sign me up. Aren't you having fun reading this?

So I have this rule about not drinking alone, but I have permission from my gal in goalietutde, Nicky, to count chatting with someone as not drinking alone. Oh look, now I'm chatting with her! Sweet! Virtual drinkin' buddy. Win!

Okay, that was a lot of beer in not a lot of time. Tomorrow is going to be a hateful thing, but at least I don't feel like kicking the dog anymore. Phew. Yay for good bad influences. ;)

Good morning, y'all!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What goes up....

So I get in my car tonight to head to hockey, after spending most of the day debating whether to go due to my grumpy knee and finally deciding I'm a wuss if I don't go, and the damn car won't start. Well, it will start but if I don't have my foot on the gas, it dies.

That suuuuucks. I'm stranded. But at least I'm stranded at home and not in the parking lot of Memorial City Mall at midnight with a bunch of guys I don't know.

I felt bad missing the drop-in, particularly since all I could do to let them know was call the rink and tell one of the guys who works there to pass the message along. Fortunately, they're familiar with me since I'm there every week and I'm the only girl. Hopefully they had enough goalies to muddle through.

That said, my knee is delighted to not get pounded and torqued for 2 hours, and I got to watch a heck of an Aeros game, the first of four this week. And a nice interview with Brusty in the second intermission.

Are you ready for how obnoxious my T3I in-game tweeting is going to be when he plays? OMG, it's gonna be so off the chain. Just unfollow and re-follow later because you're gonna freaking hate me. I'm gonna hate myself. It's going to be AWESOME.

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Speaking of awesome, I'm not even a Leafs fan, but I want this shirt like nobody's business. I love truculence, I love Burkie, I even love all those self-loathing Leafs fans.

Because misery + time = comedy, they are far and away the funniest collective of fans on planet Earth. God forbid if they ever get some success. Will they get obnoxious like Habs fans or smug like Red Sox fans? I hope they'll just spend most of the time waiting for the other shoe to drop and stay funny and desperate. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, which I realize is a pretty low ceiling.

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My Pretty Jaeger up with the Brahmas (who is right now a flu bug or pulled groin away from being your back-up goalie in Houston) earned CHL Goalie of the Week honors this week. He's been en fuego.

Great to see him back at the top of his game. And it seems the Brahmas in general have stabilized their roster and are playing well in front of him finally.

I don't get to watch Brett play unless there's a free night of CHL TV, but there are a few photogs in the CHL ranks who really knock it out of the park. Here are some great shots from Les Stockton, who shoots the Tulsa Oilers, of a save where Jaegs is battling hard to clear the puck out and does so successfully. Les captures the action really well.

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I sometimes have bad taste in music. Goodniiiiight, my lovelies.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some forgotten thank yous and a near goalie fight

Okay, first of all, Come on ref, let 'em go! Hey lookie... it's CHRIS HOLT! Please Hammer, don't hurt him!



Awesome. Thank to Fred for sending that.

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Second, thanks everyone for the goalie-versary grats and well-wishes. I realized today, I failed to thank folks who have helped me along the way. And lord knows I've gotten a lot of it.

  • Mainly Scotty for coaching me and putting up with my stubborn uncoachability and Allen Iverson-esque work ethic in practice.
  • Coach Stalin for pushing me on to the ice in the first place and teaching me to skate.
  • Mr.C for letting me run with this dream and not being intimidated by how important (and expensive) it has become.
  • Coach Dan, Kuny, and everyone at Novice for putting up with my unbelievably shitty nights and the steep learning curve and still being so supportive.
  • All my goalie friends (I have so many now! What a sexy fraternity!) who give advice, commiseration, support, and reality checks so generously, sincerely, and honestly.
  • And you guys who read me day in and day out even though I'm such a neurotic mess I can hardly stand myself sometimes.
Okay, enough of that sappy stuff.

I sucked tonight. I knew I would. I shot my energy wad in all the Brusty-coming-home excitement. Slept through the entire second period of Thrashers/Rangers when I sat down to watch MOOOOOOOSE kick some butt, and woke up about 5 minutes before I needed to leave (with nothing packed).

Then I get in the car about 10 minutes after I would have liked to be in the car and remember... I need gas. Fuck.

So I get half a tank and drive about 75 MPH to Sugar Land. Luckily, I'm in Houston, so going 15 over the speed limit is called "going with the flow of traffic."

Got there with 30 minutes to get ready, which is fine, but not my usual extra time to stretch. Same thing Sunday night, too. Basically paid lip service to stretching both nights and have actually felt fine. Even had a BIG toe save tonight that normally I wouldn't have gotten that leg extended far enough out for. Hurt at the time but feels fine now. Sweet sweet save, that one. Everyone was shocked by it because that's normally one I'd let in... one of those "6'2" in my head" save attempts I mentioned a few posts ago. Ha.

So, I had some good saves, but got beat on rebounds a bunch for some reason, even though I feel like I'm getting better at staying square to the puck when I've got a scrum in front of me. I dunno. It was fun and a good workout. Lasted nearly 1:30 even though we're only supposed to have an hour. I think we could have played for 2 hours but eventually we didn't have enough skaters.

I was okay with that. Pretty tired by the end. Stayed busy all night.

My opponent in goal was the guy I love to watch. Double up Tim Thomas' "attack goalie" style and subtract any butterfly technique and you're approaching this guy's style. OMF is he ever fun to watch. Just a whirling dervish in the crease. Frankly, I'd be a little afraid to get anywhere near him if I were a skater. It's a frenzy!

But man, from the other end, I'm just laughing and my jaw is on the ice at what I'm seeing. I don't play against anybody else who is remotely like that. Lots of fun.

Okay. I've seen On The Fly 3 times while writing this. (Weekes is so good at commenting on highlights, but gets sooo awkward when he has to look into the camera.) I think that's my cue to get my ass to bed.

More goal tomorrow night, assuming my ever-stiffening knee decides to let me. Nards. Sucks being old.

It doesn't really relate, but I've got at thing for songs with a really catchy, upbeat tune, and kinda dark, messed up lyrics. This is one of my favorites right now.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Ahhh, what a good day

Don't miss my Goalie-versary post below, but then I'm not the only one having an anniversary of sorts.

My pal Justin Bourne is also taking a look back at his truly crazy year, since a puck to the jaw on his birthday spelled the end of his career as a hockey player and the beginning of his career as a writer.

And while Bourney cranks out great reads daily, this one is off the charts. If you read me and don't read him you're missing out. Though really, I shouldn't share him with you because then you'll figure out I'm not really that funny or knowledgeable.

Hmm. Never mind. Don't click the link. Bourne who?

Kidding. Click it.

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I used to love going to SLICE to skate. Something about playing on the ice where the players (okay, goalies) who inspired me to play in the first place practice each day just puts a little extra jump in my skates.

But with Brusty gone and really nobody else on the Aeros who moooooves me, SLICE has been rather an ordinary rink the last few months.

But, bitches, BRUSTY IS BACK. And with that, SLICE is exciting again. I can't wait to go play tonight with lots and lots of inspiration in my feet (because that's where goalie inspiration lives... did you know that? It's true.)

FMD, I'm so happy. And now Aeros games can't come fast and furious enough for me. It's a great week for that with 3 home games!

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Oh, and just to make sure I'm truly obnoxious in my glee today, the Wild finally got Cal's blog going. Good stuff. And they reward his effort by making him do an autograph signing at WAL-MART. Wal-Mart. Ye gods.

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A Year in Goal

I've now been a goalie 365 days.

I used to qualify it. I'm a bad goalie. I'm a new goalie. I'm trying to be a goalie. I'm a "goalie."

But no. I'm a goalie. Period.

I have my ups and downs. I have nights where my defensemen are better goalies than me. Where my net seems 9 feet wide and 6 feet tall. Where every shooter is #99 and the opposing goalie is Martin Brodeur.

I have nights where I amaze myself. I amaze others. I go home floating 3 feet off the ground, my bag isn't heavy, my gear doesn't stink, and it's just me and my chocolate milk and my bliss.

Those amazing nights are far less common than the down nights. FAR less. And I used to feel like that made me less of a goalie. Like the quality of my play can take away my goalieness somehow.

But what I realized tonight is that when you're committed to the position, it's as much about how you bounce back from those 12 goal nights. It's about how, knowing you STUNK in your last game, you put the pads on again, and you go out with a smile on your face and you try to do better the next time. And maybe you won't! Maybe you'll stink again. But you keep going anyway because you know it is in there somewhere.

That's what makes you a goalie.

It has only taken me 365 days to learn this, but I'd say it's a great day for an epiphany, this anniversary of becoming a goalie.

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My excitement at playing goal the first time was so... exquisite. I remember the feelings vividly. I was nervous but really in a perfect head space, understanding that it wasn't going to be easy and I probably would suck, but I was finally doing what I'd been dreaming of and preparing for the whole year.

Here's my blog about that first game, where I sound like I'm some kind of crazy, tripping hippy whose found enlightenment. I guess that's not that far off. It was a beautiful experience. I look back on that game now and it was probably my happiest game since I started.

I guess that sounds kinda sad, like it's all been a let down from there, but that's not really the case. It's just that expectations grow and I haven't always (or maybe ever) kept up with my own expectations. But for that one night, there really were no expectations, no pressure, just do the best you can. Plus, they took it really REALLY easy on me, so I felt successful and that just validated my feeling that I wasn't being silly chasing this nutty dream.

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A couple of weeks later, though, Scott and I went to a stick and puck at SLICE, and I was quickly introduced to reality. That first game was the bunny slope. This stick and puck was a black diamond run.

Here's the post from that one.

It was brutal. And probably one of my worst experiences in goal. And also maybe one of the most necessary.

And so, that's how my career in goal began. Started on cloud 9, got knocked off into a pit of vipers, and ever since, I've had one foot on cloud 9 and one in the viper pit.

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And because the universe obviously likes to bring things full circle, I actually had one of my very best nights in goal tonight. I faltered a bit in the third period (which lasted 30 minutes rather than 20) and added 3 goals to the one I allowed in the first period.

But we still won and the consensus seemed to be that my team was impressed. Even the ref went out of his way to tell me how well I played.

From my perspective, yeah, the shots I let in were actually quite good shots, and one was just kinda fluky. Hit my stick and bounced high and kinda wildly behind me and dropped right over the line. It was one of those where, if I'd ever learned to juggle, I would have gotten a glove on it.

Anyway, plenty of other good saves and we won, and as is my usual measure of a good game for me: I feel like I did more to contribute to the win than not. In other words, we didn't win in spite of me like we have so many times in the past, when it was my amazing defense saving my bacon and the offense running it up at the other end.

Though they did lots of that tonight, too. We even had some new folks on D and they were fantastic. The new chick who came from roller is very smart with the puck and has great hockey sense even though she's not super skilled at handling the puck yet, she puts it in a safe place almost every time and always had her stick in the passing lanes effectively, which is not easy to do consistently.

My defense played full bore and that gave me a lot of confidence, and it was much easier to read the plays when they play like that. And they really busted their humps, too, as they were short a man the whole third period and rotating just 3 D, I think. All the green team forechecked and harassed and were generally just a pain in the ass to play against all night.

And they did a great job going to the net and putting the puck on goal to make sure we got the win, even though I let a few in at the end.

I feel great, but really, I have to put this one on the shelf before tomorrow night because it's a whole new ballgame. Ain't no rest for the wicked, bitches...

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Blades may drive me bananas....

But their fans are the coolest. My girl over at SwampHockey had a great view of the penalty shot on Brusty in Saturday's teddy bear debacle and shot some footage.

Naturally, he crushed it in classic Brusty form. JHC, IFLTG.



I'd missed it because I was pulling up the game on my olllld slooooooow laptop with a bigger screen. I thought, "Oh, nothing interesting will happen for the 3 minutes this takes." Ha. I'm delighted she videoed it though so I could see it in better detail than B2 gives and, well, over and over. Heh.

I can't do moves like that in Novice league or I'll send somebody into the boards and give 'em a broken arm or a concussion or something. Tuesday, though... all bets are off. Though odds are, I'll poke check it into my own net or something. Still. Bad ass, right? No? Hmph.

Gotta get ready to go play. Wish I had time for a nap. Alas, I'll pop a B-12, some cough syrup, and some Advil and hope for the best. My equivalent of "rub some dirt on it." Hasta Luongo!

P.S. Because you're cool but not too cool for a little old school pop culture: The Tiki Doll episodes of the Brady Bunch.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oh just bite me

Everblades.

This bullshit of allowing 20+ shots in the first period is ... bullshit. Where's that 26-shot second period urgency when the game starts? Lazy hacks. Bite me.

My first intermission tweet:

Of course, even one goal against was too many because of the 47 (yeah, FORTY SEVEN) shots opposing goalie Ryan Munce saw, he stopped every. last. one.

It was really a tremendous performance by Munce and normally I'd be delighted to see a goalie play so well. But frankly, I have no use for hero goalies in this situation. So it was just annoying.

And it was teddy bear toss night. They ended up tossing the bears late in the second on a shot off the post that looked like a sure goal (one of about 10 shots that looked like sure goals). It's always a bit awkward to not score on TBT night.

Props to the Blades fans though. They brought the bear love big time. I'm not sure I've seen so many at a toss, which was nice because the the Aeros cleaned their bears up so fast Friday night, we didn't really get to appreciate the spectacle of all those bears on the ice. It was quite a scene though in Florida.

UPDATE: Here's SwampHockey's first-hand account of the game, including a bunch of Brusty pics. Hi Brusty!!! Though I look at him and all I can think is, "Wrong mfing sweater!" Augh. I hate this so much.

Canucks.
Your Kessler and your Burrows and your Sedinbots. You can all bite me, too. No real reason. I just sports hate you.



Aeros.
Khudobin kinda called out the Aeros offense for putting so much pressure on him to be nearly perfect in order to get wins. I appreciate the feeling, but I'm not sure about actually saying it on the record. Then again, he always brings a refreshing candor, so I shouldn't give him shit for it, should I?

Still... Schaef and Brusty did that for a full season two years ago. And all you could get out of them was appreciation for the defensive play of the team and for each other. I'm just saying.

So many Aeros fans point to last season as sort of the "good times" they wish they could go back to. Not me. I fell in love with hockey... DEEPLY in love... with the team the year before. If I could go back, I'd go there. But I can't, so... bite me.
But I'll end on a good note. My devotion isn't a total jinx. Jaeger's really found his game up in Dallas and had excellent games last night and tonight. Here's a great shot of him getting his #2 star Friday night after a 35-save OT win.

Bit of a slow starter, that one, but it's good to see him doing well. So, just for consistency's sake, no need for Jaegs to bite me. Heh.

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Back in the nets for me tomorrow. It's the last game in December for Novice, which means my last 3-in-3 this year.

Unfortunately, my left knee has been sort of swollen and stiff, but not hurting, after my Tuesday games. Not sure what's going on there but it's still stiff today. I think I need to stretch my quads better AFTER I play.

Apparently we're getting an extra hour of ice on Tuesday. We already have an hour and a half, by the end of which I'm just praying for the Zamboni guy to open the gate and shoo us off. Add an hour? Mercy. Bring an ambulance.

OH! And Monday is my one year anniversary of playing goal! I'll have a special look back at a year I describe as "one foot on cloud 9, one foot in the viper pit." Because I'm melodramatic like that.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quick Hits: Open up and say, VESAAAAA VESAAAAA VESAAAAAA

Watching Bruins/Leafs.

Vesa Toskala gets so much crap for being a shitty goalie that every save he makes feels really dramatic and exciting and incredible. I find it pretty fun to watch him for that reason. (BTW, if you're not following his fake Twitter account, you should. It's pretty damn funny.)

How are pro goalies scored on 5-hole so often? I mean, I understand how *I* get scored on that way so often. I'm slow, I lift my stick when I butterfly, I'm slow...

I ask this because Tosky just let one in from the blue line that was so soft it was almost like he got out of the way on purpose. It would keep me up at night if I let that shot in.

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Watching the Bruins reminds me of how unlikable the Habs are. Not that I'm a Bruins fan, or even a Boston-anything fan. But even when they're good, the Bruins have sort of an underdog vibe that I find vastly more appealing than the arrogant ole-ole-ole-ole (haugh-haugh-haugh) vibe of the Canadiens.

Bourney writes about sports hate today, and being a dark-hearted person full of inexplicable anger, I really enjoyed it. Nothing like a little unjustifiable seething hatred to really feel free of the shackles of responsible adulthood.

I ranted about Cory Schneider in the comments because I'm just sick to death of hearing about the guy, but OMF, I could do a whole series of posts on players and teams I sports hate, including the Habs. Hell, there are AEROS I sports hate. Okay, just one.

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To my beloveds who are mired in the lower minors... take heart. At least you're not having to make a Christmas album like they are in Elmira. Wonder if my guy Chris Holt escaped that endeavor. CHRIS HOLT!

Okay, it's pretty charming, if I'm being honest, and if someone puts that stuff up on YouTube, I'd listen. You can say a lot of things about hockey guys, but my god, are they ever game for doing goofy shit if it helps promote the game.

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You'd think I lick locker room floors for how much I've been sick lately. I feel fine other than this fucking sore throat that won't go away. Got me a Z-Pack now though, thanks to another doc visit this morning, in hopes that it will knock out the remainder of this illness.

Fingers crossed this round works. Otherwise, I'm just gonna have 'em rip the ol' tonsils right out.

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Still watching Leafs/Bruins and frankly, it looks to me like Toronto is completely asleep at the wheel defensively. The Aeros play better defense. Can't clear the zone, can't clear pucks from around the net, can't clean up rebounds.

I see zero truculence here. No wonder Gus's heart gets excessively atwitter. Mine would, too, if I had to try and play goal behind these yahoos.

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Okay, that's enough. I'm feeling a little angry tonight, so I'll leave you with my favorite angry goalie making a skater run scared. That's right, bitches. Score your goal and clear the fuck out.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ego Massage

You were screened, baby. Nobody could have stopped that. That puck had eyes. And have I told you the way your hair sticks out of the holes in the top of your mask is so charming?

*inappropriately long hug*

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Yeahhhh, my Brusty had one of those "bug" nights (you know, sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug). Three goals on 11 shots in the first period of the Blades game, though one was a stinky breakaway and one was a PP goal. He had several highlight reel saves, but the unfortunate reality of goaltending is that great saves are fleeting and ephemeral. Goals... those go down in black and white.

That's why I said "fuck it" to being humble and stoic when I make a good save. It's going to dissipate like so much water vapor with the next goal I allow. I'm gonna enjoy it while it's still a little bit tangible.

Cameron put Rebound in for the second and third periods, so he got to be the hero goalie and get the win after the rest of the Blades decided to start playing, tied it up, and then won in OT.

BTW, the other goalie was fellow displaced goalie, Miika Wiikman, who also qualifies for Ms.Conduct's Home for Homeless Goalies.

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Wild game was on Versus tonight. Of course, I have DirecTV. So I kinda feel like this, minus the face paint:


They won, though. And they beat the Avs, so that's like winning twice. Sorry Nick.

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Had fun at drop-in last night, even though I got torched mercilessly in the first half. Teams were way out of balance and the white team just got breakaway after breakaway on me.

Only two goalies, so it was 40 straight minutes of that. Must have gotten 20 breakaways in that time. Just completely unfettered. I was finally waving my glove, like, "Come on. Why not? Bring it!" as they broke free in the neutral zone over and over. Ugh.

But, it was still fun. And normally I hate switching teams midway, but I couldn't get out of that net fast enough. Didn't have any trouble remembering which team was the enemy because they kinda felt like that even when they were MY team...

In general, I didn't play all that well, but I was just happy not to barf, I was working so hard in the first half. Unlike Brusty, I'm pretty well used to being the bug at these Tuesday drop-ins.

Definitely squeezed a good bit of water out of my snappy ShamOMG sweatband at the end, but not a single drop fell down my face for the 1:30 we were out there playing non-stop. That = WIN in my book.

Oh! Today I finally mailed off the sweat bands to those of you who requested them. I've got a few more if someone else wants one. Don't be shy, sweaty goalies! These things ROCK.

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Watching intermission feature during Kings game on the the Ice Crew's calendar shoot, and Heidi is interviewing the girls. She asks one, "Have you done any modeling before?" "Yes, but not professionally."

Um. So, you did that recreational modeling? Is that what the pretty people are doing while I'm writing about hockey?

Always enlightening.

Speaking of Heidi, I watched this video when I first started in goal and very distinctly remember thinking, "Goddamnit. She's better than me."

I watch it now and cannot believe I thought that. So, hey, that's improvement, right? I do still go, "HA!" when I make a save just like she does. I save the "that's right, bitches" for the really good saves.



Could they not find a goalie-cut jersey for the girl? Kings practice sweater or something?

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Forgot to mention, in my never ending quest for my gear to not smell like ass, I finally broke down and bought a steam cleaner. This one here, because it had really good reviews.

I've read that it's a surefire way to get into even the fingers of your glove and blocker and steam the shit out of the funk-enabling bacteria and kill it dead. I'm hoping it will even work on my stinky chest protector. And then maybe Mr.C won't have to make gagging noises when he goes into the garage while my gear is airing out.

I will, of course, report back on the success of this product for funk eradication.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The one where I blog to avoid housework

Boy, you can really tell when Mr.C is out of town for a long time. I get severe diarrhea of the blog.

Stuff on my mind, because you need to know:

My throat is still sore. I otherwise feel pretty good and the coughing fits are getting less severe and frequent, but the throat nags. Kinda wonder if the antibiotics didn't quite lick the strep. I took my last pill this morning, so we'll see how it goes from here.

I understand that having tonsils removed as an adult is quite painful, but dang if I'm not about ready for that.

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Mark Dekanich was awarded Goalie of the Week for the ECHL... during his "get your act together" assignment to Cincinnati in which he allowed only 1 goal in 2 games. And then was promptly sent home, possibly with a "CURED" stamp on his forehead.

I have to look at that through my fingers. It's too awkward to stare right at. Yeesh.

Reminds me of when we flipped our car up north of High Level, Alberta and totaled the rental car. Blessedly, our insurance covered the whole monstrous bill, so we didn't really mind when they sent us a "cleaning fee" bill for $50, even though clearly there was nothing to clean.

And then one day we get a letter of apology saying they billed us the cleaning fee in error and to disregard it.

Not sure why it reminds me of that. Something to do with being in a crappy situation, then being rescued from it, and then having some absurd twist at the end.

I wore my Edmonton Eskimos sweatshirt that I got on that trip to hockey last night. It's huge on me because I had to be able to fit it over my arm in a sling after the wreck, but I love it. It's like a Canadian Detector. They never fail to comment. Way too warm for it though. Snow one day, sweaty the next. Houston winter.

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Last night of my 3 in 3 tonight. I really need to make a drinking buddy in that crowd because by the end of that grind, I want a little mind eraser. Kinda hard being the only girl though... Not interested in mixing ANY signals with this bunch.

I've come to realize that my Tuesday is like Friday for most people. Right now, I feel this sense of "relief is on the way." I love playing goal but it is draining 3 days in a row, especially as tightly wound as I get about it, and especially as hard as Tuesdays can be.

So to have my "tour of duty" behind me for the week.... to not have to do a load of stinky hockey laundry every day... to eat a real dinner instead of a late lunch, praying it will last until midnight... to not have to fight the sleepies all day long after being up until 2 or 3 letting the adrenaline wear off... to get to wallow in my Center Ice subscription from start to finish in the evening. Ahhhh. It's heaven.

But of course, I wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much if I could do that every night, so the contrast is good and welcome.

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Finally, I tweeted this earlier today, but I adore Katebits. She's got the kind of fan heart that I had before I had to "temper" it in order to write about the team with some objectivity. (Swear to god, this IS the tempered version.) You don't even have to be a Sabres fan to appreciate the place she's coming from. We've all been there.

One day your team can get you pregnant just by casting a glance in your general direction and the next day you want to kick 'em all in the jewels with pointy boots. Ahhh, the roller coaster of fanhood. Only she's way funnier about it.

Also, you might need to know that "Crunchy" is Ryan Miller. I've never found an adequate explanation as to why that is, but ultimately it's worked for me to just embrace it anyway.

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Okay, I'm out of material. Cannot put off tidying up the house any longer. Then again, I wouldn't mind a nap. :D

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Quick Hits: Let's go, Princess!

I'm watching On the Fly and just about choked to death watching the following commercial. Normally I have absolutely no issue with these beefcake commercials, but this one is over the top even for me. Like even the beefcakes are way too beefy, and possibly too cakey as well. Watch to the end because that's where the best part is:



Wasn't that awesome? You're welcome.

But I think I'll stick with my Iso 7X guy. (I actually kinda want that Iso Arms thing... imagine how strong I could get my stick arm with that thing?)

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Played hockey on the worst ice EVER tonight. We played for nearly an hour and a half and there was STILL a glossy spot near the far net (where I started) when we finished playing. There was half an inch of water around that net when we started.

It was disgusting, and frankly, it scared me to play in that much water because it made butterflying and sliding very unpredictable. Also made the puck unpredictable, but it did save a goal once because the puck was just slogging through it and the shooter couldn't get the shot off. Thank you, puddle!

So, that situation really threw me off to start tonight. I know that's kinda wussy of me, but I just wasn't up for pulling a groin in that slop and played the first 20 minutes a lot more tense and restricted than I would on real ice. After that, it was more of a wet slush and felt safer to move around in.

Seriously though, I haven't seen ice that bad since I used to skate at the Galleria and if you've set blade to Galleria ice, you understand how much I'm not kidding. Terrible.

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I had hoped that hard shot to the head a few weeks ago wouldn't "stick" mentally, but it did. I had a shooter wind up on me tonight and I flinched like he was unloading a shotgun on me. I got a piece of glove on it as I threw my glove and blocker in front of my head trying to get anything BUT mask on it... but I think all I did was tip it to the crossbar, where it clanked and went in.

Kind of ashamed of that. If there's one thing I've always prided myself on, it's that I take shots, no matter how hard, without fear. Hopefully that's the last time that will happen.

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TWO glove saves tonight. That's right, bitches. Whip enough of those fuckers past me glove side and eventually I'm gonna start finding them. I don't think I let anything in glove side in the last 30 minutes, as I blocked quite a few with my glove, too.

And then I got beat blocker side. Ha! Go figure.

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How's this for not fair? Start off with the dark team shooting on me. One guy lights me the hell up, like he had a hat trick 10 minutes into the game. I know. Horrible, but he was showing everything, and I was still in my weird head space about the sloppy ice and just wasn't staying with him.

Then, the dude goes and changes to a white sweater and lights me up on the other end after we switch nets! What the hell, man? Pfft.

Oh well. The teams were a little off balance, so it was the right thing to do. Both us goalies got schooled by the dark team, so the white needed that firepower, but damn, this guy must have gotten 6 on me tonight. Nice guy though and he got my glove going out of sheer necessity and repetition. Would be nice if that would hold over through tomorrow night.

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Pretty sore and tired legs already tonight. Can definitely tell I've been off the ice for a couple of weeks. Those butt muscles I use when I'm getting up off the ice are hurting. Tomorrow is going to be rough. Time for drugs and chamomile tea and hopefully some good sleep. Took a nap after work in an effort to steal sleep wherever I can during these playing days. Man, that nap was aces. Though I did fail to set my FH rosters as a result. Oops.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Ms.Conduct is here for you, goalies

Carolina placed Michael Leighton on waivers today, adopting with some permanence Manny Legace as Cam Ward's backup once he returns from his leg-slicing (criiiiinge) injury on Wednesday.

Assuming he doesn't get picked up (name an NHL team that needs him), add him to a growing list of goaltenders who are being shoved down the depth charts in their organizations. Valiquette was the most recent at the NHL level before him.

And every time that happens in the NHL, an AHL goalie gets the shaft, and then an ECHL goalie gets the shaft. The lower you go in the hierarchy of leagues, the more painful it gets for a player... all the way to not having a job at all.

This is great for fans of lower minor leagues, who only stand to benefit from the "underemployed" goalies being thrust into their welcoming arms. Roster moves at that level seem to always be "best player moving up" rather than "upgraded player coming down." So, from that perspective, there's a tiny part of me that's happy for those fans.

Naturally, however, the other 95% of me just feels goddamn awful for these goalies who are being shuttled down to leagues that are below the level where they've proven they can be successful. They're suffering not only the professional disappointment and usually a less-than-stellar travel schedule, but also being away from home for weeks on end, never really knowing when they'll get back, living in a hotel, fitting in with a new team, and a bevy of other inconveniences.

Chris Holt is one of those goalies. He lost the numbers game in the Senators organization, but Pascal Leclaire's broken face was a lucky break for Holt, who finally got the call up to Binghamton from Elmira and has had 2 shutouts in 3 games up with Bingo. But eventually Leclaire's face will become one with itself again and Holt will likely head back up the road to Elmira

Michael Sharp, the Baby Sens beat writer, asked Holt about his experience in the ECHL.

"Elmira was a great experience. There's a lot more work down there for a goaltender in that league, you know, all across the board. All the goalies have a lot more -- there's a lot more high quality scoring chances there. And so, when I come up here, and have a team that plays as sound defensively as our team, it makes for a little bit of an easy transition. It feels like a little bit of an easier game than it does down there."

And as I've blogged about here, I've seen the same thing with Brusty in Florida. Hell, I see it in my own games... the less organized the hockey, the harder it is to play goal. And the lower level hockey you having playing in front of you, the less organized it is.

In the end, all you can really do about it is take what's thrown at you and try to have fun anyway and play hard in hopes that someone above you in the pecking order will have a fall from grace--or a high ankle sprain--and you'll take their job.

But sometimes you just can't be all "stiff upper lip" and you need to let it out. Sometimes you need to just sit down with someone and say, "Ahhhh nuts. This fucking sucks."

So, because I'm sympathetic to the cause and have a bottomless well of goalie love to give, I'm forming a support organization for all the displaced goalies out there in the professional ranks.

Ms.Conduct's Home for Homeless Goalies offers:

  • Ego massages ("You were screened, baby. Nobody could have stopped that. That puck had eyes. And have I told you the way your hair sticks out of the holes in the top of your mask is so charming? Those pads look better on you than on [rival].")
  • Chocolate chip cookies during group sessions
  • Jello shots during "group sessions"
  • Warm, enthusiastic hugs that last slightly longer than your wife or girlfriend feels is really appropriate
  • Laundry service (meaning, I point you to the washer and dryer and buy detergent and dryer sheets in bulk)
For difficult cases, we'll even get the old player helmet and stick out and give you all the helmet nuzzles and pad taps you could ever hope for.

Privacy and respect for your superstitions and charming quirks are a top priority. Fly your freak flag. We're all goalies here. We understand. Unless you're really weird, and then, well... you're on your own. (Looking at you, Pogge.)

We'll get through this together, boys.

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