Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goalie Porn and when a win keeps you up at night...

First of all, I want to point you guys to a new blog that started yesterday (but in the making for a LONG time) that is 100% pictures of goalies doing sexy things, like being incredibly bendy or doing that water bottle thing or smiling or making glove saves or whatever.

It's all goalie porn, all the time and it's been a long time coming. Check it out at http://GoingFive-Hole.blogspot.com. They also have a Twitter you can follow.

Fuck me, I'm pretty jazzed about that. Gonna need some fresh batteries...

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Women's league was kinda weird last night. The game was moved up an hour but the other goalie didn't get the message (I didn't either, actually, I just happened to see it on the League's Facebook page), so we played the first period with a shooter tutor in the other net and got up 5-1 early.

She was in net by the second period (thank god, or I was gonna have to play for their team for a period and I wasn't entirely comfortable with that).

Anyway, we won 9-4 (though I think of it as more like 4-3). I made a lot of stops and it seems like all but one goal against was on a breakaway or in an odd-man situation where the shooter basically had time and space to have their way with me.

The fourth was a case of the teams being in such similar jersey colors (Teal vs. Green) that in my peripheral vision, I thought the person by my net was on my team (green), so I didn't load for a big push when a teal player passed the puck across my crease and whaddaya know, she was teal. Fuck. Of course, in retrospect, I should have loaded to push across regardless.

Anyway, what was weird about this game was that my team was really happy with my play. My captain even gave me one of the two little "goodies" she gives to the players of the game, one defensive and one offensive.

And yet, I spent all night tossing and turning, literally dreaming of the goals against and trying to stop them in my sleep and jerking myself awake (not as fun as it sounds).

I think the color confusion goal bugs me quite a bit. And then their captain scored on me on clean breakaways twice in EXACTLY the same way. Fuck. This gal may be the reason I finally learn to throw a two pad stack because I'm determined to shut that shit down.

I feel like a damn fool when I let a goal in ON the ice on a relatively slow (but very dekey, patient) play... TWICE. I need to channel my inner Brusty and just go balls out on her now that she thinks she knows what I'll do.

Gah, I'm all tense just thinking about it again.

I just need to...

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ozzie and Drop-in Tilt-a-Whirl

Chris Osgood isn't one of my favorite goalies, but 400 wins in the NHL is a tremendous accomplishment. My friend Justin, who has taught me SO much about watching goalies but still has more goalie knowledge in his pinkie finger than I ever will, has a great post on Osgood today.

Even though I'll admit to being lumped into the masses of underappreciators when it comes to Ozzie, I obviously relate to having that one goalie who embodies the position and was the catalyst for what is sure to be a lifelong passion. Ozzie is Justin's Brusty (minus the lusty part), so I enjoyed his tribute to him on multiple levels and thought it was worth passing along.

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Drop-in was a circus last night. First half behind the white team was a nightmare. I think I made 3 stops the whole 30 minutes. It was breakaways and odd man rushes from the outset, which undermined my mental toughness a bit. Not to mention, one of the dark players really got under my skin in warm-ups by beating me on every shot he took. And he was the one doing most of the cherry picking. Grr.

The goalie switch couldn't come fast enough for me. And it turns out I was justified in my irritation because it was like an entirely different game at the other end. I had great defense and, in turn, I played really well. The white team, as hapless as they were defensively, sure knew how to hold the zone, so I stayed pretty busy and played better for it (though my knee is paying today, dammit!)

Had some sick saves in the second half. My best was on a breakaway, the kid tried to cut across from my blocker side to my glove side. He got the shot off right over my pad, but I had my glove there and trapped the puck in my glove and then pinned it against the side of my outstretched leg pad. Snazzy.

And one of my defensemen told me I need to put Stickum in my glove after I bobbled the puck like 3 times on a save. Doh! It was classic and stick figure worthy, but I'm too lazy. Finally pinned the damn thing against my chest and we had a laugh. I'm so hopeless glove-side, it's non-stop comedy.

Anyway, women's league tonight. I'm a little bit walking wounded today, but it's mostly just turning my head sharply and walking up stairs that hurts. Maybe that will save me from getting drunk after the game tonight if we win. Then again, there's an elevator up to the bar....

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Back to business...

Hope all you crazy kids had a good Christmas, or at least a good few days off if you don't roll Christian-style.

Mine was good. Very low key since we stayed home. Not a drop of hockey to play, which means I was stuck with the dreaded REAL WORKOUTS. You know how I hate that. But it's okay. Had to balance out the apple pie...

Got back in the swing of things today with the Aeros game, which you can read about here because I covered for Andrew, who was in Green Bay freezing his keister off at the Packers game.

Nice to get an early goal and a win in the skills competition.

Hackett's getting better in all areas except playing the puck. I know I'm spoiled in that regard, but he's just rough at it. The issue isn't technical skill; it's reading the ice and decision making.

Too many hesitant plays where he seems to want to defer to the skaters rather than just quarterbacking that bitch, launching it up the ice, and letting the chips fall where they may.

I know it will get better and I suspect it's something that only gets better with experience but, man, it's tough to watch. I stand by my rule of, just let the D get it if puck movement isn't in your wheelhouse as a goalie. Not every goalie has to be a third defenseman to be successful.

Anyway, check out my hack ass giving advice. Ha! Speaking of, my hack ass has got games Monday and Tuesday. Looking forward to hitting the ice again. Then only ONE game the week after. :( And then it's off to Boston/Vermont/(beyond?) the following Thursday-Tuesday, so another week without playing.

Which means more real workouts. Suckkkkk. But I'm moving to "phase 2" of my goalie training this week, so that should be fun. After I get back from my trip, I'm starting yoga for a few weeks. Got a deal for 10 hour-long yoga sessions for $30 total. What a steal. I'm looking forward to a change of pace and it looks like I'll have company from a good friend. Everything's better with Sheala. Well, everything I've tried, anyway. ;)

And luckily, goaltending has taught me the humility to not give much of a fuck when I make an ass out of myself. I've always done yoga at home with just me and the TV watching. Going public is a little daunting, but hey, we all start somewhere. If embarrassment hasn't killed me yet, it won't ever.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Last Dance

I wrote this yesterday but got busy on the post below about applying graphics to my goalie mask, and I failed to publish this one... 

I'm still buzzing today after an awesome game at novice league last night. As I mentioned earlier this week, it was my last game for a while in that league. I've had my ups and downs there, but I'd really grown fond of my team the last couple of seasons and had a moment early in the game were I got a little choked up realizing it was my last time with this particular group.

But I put that aside and turned that sentimentality into hustle and played probably my best game ever. The game ended up 6-2, I think. Not sure on the 6. They failed to put a 2nd period goal on the board (yes, there WAS a goal in the 2nd because I remember audibly cheering for it, which I don't usually do, and then felt a little bad for, but they were up 2-1 at that point and I was feeling a little desperate). And then the rest of the goals came late in the third so I'm not sure how many they ended up getting.

Anyway, the two goals against were screens. First one was my d-man moving right through my field of vision as the puck was shot. It was flying past me before I even knew it was shot.

Second one was about 5 people in my way. I went down to try and stop low shots but it went in over my shoulder (maybe? I dunno. It went in, regardless.)

The red team did a great job putting traffic in front of me and a couple of times going down when I *thought* they were about to shoot paid off with some sneaky pad/toe saves. Phew!

My defense was freaking AWESOME, too, bailing me out a few times when I lost the puck down in front of my pads (this is happening to me too much lately, BTW... I think I have a glove on it, but it's just sitting there. Eep!)

And a couple of my guys are just beasts at blocking passing lanes. Honestly, I love the self-sacrifice of shot blockers, but putting the kibosh on passes in front of my crease is superhero shit in my book. Capes for everybody!

I was worried we weren't going to get the scoring we needed to pull off the win, but they pulled it out at the end and started racking 'em up late in the third. It was awesome to not have to sweat the last few minutes. I was so proud of the boys (and gal!)

That was the hardest I've worked in a long time, too. I really thought I was gonna barf late in the third. This is why I play on an empty stomach! I was busting it and so in the zone and seeing the puck so well that I think if people had started shooting bullets at me, I could have tracked them.

It felt just like that shutout game I had in women's league a while back. Just perfect energy (both mental and physical), perfect focus, great vision (which is saying something for me) and a great team in front of me keeping shots to the outside and breaking up dangerous plays.

The fact that I've had two games like that recently really have me feeling positive about how my game is improving. I know shit games are still gonna come and I have a tremendous amount to work on, but these "knock it outta the park" nights really diminish the influence a bad game has on my confidence.

I'm sure drop-in tonight will put me back in my place, but it's fun to feel like Queen of the Crease for a while.

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First run at applying vinyl graphics

Ages ago, we had a post on InGoal Mag about companies starting to experiment with using vinyl applications to "paint" goalie masks. I was pretty excited about that possibility because I've never been sold on shelling out $500 for the paint job of my dreams.

But it wasn't really a mainstream thing. Just a couple of sign-making companies in Quebec dabbling in it. Not the sort of thing you can just click "Buy" and have shipped to your door.

Then a couple of weeks ago, IGM again reported on Head Strong Grafx, who finally has come out with vinyl graphics on a turnkey basis. They have about 20 designs and you can pick your color, or for an upcharge, you can get metallic or other finishes.

But really, I was left with a LOT of questions about what I was going to get from them. In fact, it took me a while to even figure out that the application didn't cover the whole mask. I'm a little slow.

Anyway, I figured for $25, it was worth a shot, so I ordered a set of flames in white to go on my solid black Hackva.

It took them about a week to get here and what I got was 3 smaller flame graphics and 2 large ones cut out from a larger sheet. The graphic is sandwiched between a tacky translucent backing and a stiffer, non-sticky blue backing.

The instructions for application are on their web site, but here's my much more detailed take, with some of my own experiences thrown in. 

What you need:
Bowl of soapy water
Soft cloth to apply soapy water
Sharp Exacto knife
Credit card, driver's license, etc. for squeegeeing the graphic smooth

  1. Take your cage off and then clean your mask with Windex or something similar. If you need to touch up paint or anything, I'd do it at this point.
  2. Place the graphics on the mask and see where you might want to put them. Keep in mind that it's exponentially easier to put the graphics on a flat surface or where there's only one curve. When the same piece of the graphic has to curve two ways, like on the side of your chin, where it's curving forward and down, it's very difficult to avoid wrinkles. More on that later.
  3. Peel BLUE backing layer away so that the graphic is stuck to the translucent layer. (Aside: I've spent 35 years using bandaids, so when I saw a flap where the translucent layer overlaps itself, I assumed that's where I'm supposed to peel. I WAS WRONG. DON'T DO THAT. Ruined one of the big flame graphics doing that.)
  4. Wipe a thin layer of the soapy water on the area of the mask you want to apply the first section of graphics. If you apply too much water and the graphic is sliding around too much, just wipe it off and start over with a lighter layer. You want the tackiness of the graphic to come through enough to stay in place while you squeegee the bubbles out.
  5. Place the graphic on the mask and smooth it down with your fingers. As mentioned above, if it's not generally staying in place, it's too wet. Press as much down with your fingers as you can before doing to the squeegee.
  6. Use the credit card squeegee to press the graphic down. Really rub it on there. Here's my suggestion for wrinkles you can't fix: Just leave them, and after you take the backing off, you can cut the wrinkle with the xacto knife to flatten it and just overlap the excess. You really can't see it. What I recommend against is smooshing the vinyl or trying stretch it. It just doesn't work and will look like crap.
  7. Now, their instructions say to let them dry before you pull the backing off. I didn't do that, but you probably should. I was too impatient to see it if would work, but I'm here to tell you it does. So once you've applied all the graphics and let them dry, you can peel the backing off carefully. I found that peeling back sharply (but slowly) rather than pulling UP on the paper works better. The flame design (and several others) have lots of pointy edges, so just be sure as you're pulling the paper off that those stay down.
  8. Trim the excess from around vent holes and edges of the mask with the exacto knife.

Here are pics. You can click to embiggen them. 

Getting started: 5 decal segments, clean mask, soapy water

One of the small graphics with the blue backing peeled off, sticky side exposed.
First graphic added

All graphics applied
  
Had a hard time getting the chin portion of the graphic to lay down flat and ended up smooshing and tearing it. So I had to patch it with some extra flame bits. Looks fine from a distance but not real swift up close. This is where a simple slice with the exacto would have been the smart thing to do.


Final look with paint chips touched up, excess trimmed, and cage back on.
I'm pretty happy with the final look. I had to improvise after I screwed up one of the big flame graphics, and went asymmetrical, but I like how it turned out. And I like that when I get tired of it or it gets dinged up, I can peel it off and do something else. I figure I'll change it up a couple times a year just for shits and giggles. 

There's a 15% discount on right now for InGoal Magazine subscribers through Christmas, so I may pick up another one on the cheap for next time. Also, they'll customize letters or numbers for you. I'm thinking I need "LFB" for my back plate, yeah? Haha... ;)

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kassian dream, Subbing, Shaft saves, Mall hockey, S&M

There needs to be a word for those little dreams you have between snoozes on your alarm clock. You know what I'm talking about? I guess you remember them more because you wake up so quickly after them. They need a name.

I had a funny one this morning. In fact, I woke up laughing, which is the second best way to wake up, IMO.

I dreamed that I was in goal and Matt Kassian was shooting on me and I was stopping EVERYTHING he put on me. He just could. not. score.

So he started getting frustrated, not in a mean way, but really determined. Trying to pick the corners, fake me, freeze me, anything. Shot after shot.

Finally, I just stopped him by my net after a glove save and gave him a big hug and we laughed about it.

How nice is that dream? I'm an awesome goalie, I'm hugging a big foxy hockey player, and I'm laughing. I'm not sure it gets any better.

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Had a fun surprise last night of subbing for a group at Memorial City. Finally an ice time that doesn't have me up until 2 a.m.! Just a quick hour of hockey, but it was mid-afternoon before I knew about it so I wasn't as prepared as I'd normally be.

Like, I wouldn't have stayed out drinking until 1 the night before. I would have been hydrating during the day. I would have eaten more. On and on. So I actually got really light-headed with about 10 minutes left. So much that I went down on my knees just to make sure that if I did pull a Pavelec, I wouldn't have far to fall.

God, that would have been embarrassing. In a mall filled with holiday shoppers, with a new bunch of skaters, etc. Lordy.

Fortunately, I felt better after about 5 minutes of just praying they kept the puck away from me so I could gather myself (and they did, thankfully).

It's funny how different groups that play together a lot develop a style of play. At my Monday drop-in, there's quite a bit of work behind the nets and passing low in the slot, back door attempts, etc.

At this one (which has a very drop-in vibe, even though there's a ref) pretty much everybody just shoots the puck. Most of the passing seems to be done above the hash marks. So I got burned a few times cheating on the pass. I ALWAYS made the save when I just took the shooter and challenged them.

Not sure if it's always like that but that'll be my approach next time. I wasn't real happy with my game, but I never am when I play with a new group for the first time. Takes me a game or two to figure out the tendencies of the group.

I had a good time though, in spite of not feeling super duper. Nice group of folks.
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I've noticed that one save that seems to really frustrate shooters is with the shaft of my stick. It's such a small, narrow thing, it must really irk them when I flash the wood. ;)

Honestly, I'm not sure whether to attribute those saves (and I make them fairly regularly... more than glove saves, sadly) to dumb luck or some fantastical 6th sense. I'm telling my ego it's just a gift I have. But I'm pretty sure it's just dumb luck. Whatever. I'll take it.

Only problem is it nearly knocks the stick out of my hand sometimes, if it's a hard shot. The tape around the top of my paddle where I hold it has really helped with that though.

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It's always funny playing at Memorial City Mall during the holidays because at one end of the rink is the main entrance to the mall, with some activities, like a rock climbing wall, and some other stuff. Hell, I think Santa might even be back there.

They have tables and chairs set up right by the glass for people to have a seat and snack, so you get some glass bangers along with just amused onlookers.

 Last night someone was taking pictures. I kept seeing the flash behind me, and all I could think was that if this slow ass rec league is interesting enough for you to take pictures of it, you REALLY need to get to an Aeros game. The Aeros need to be advertising the shit out of that place.

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Stopped a hard shot with my bicep last night. Like, just stopped it cold. We're all looking around for the puck and it's just laying on my arm. O hai!

Anyway, not much of a bruise yet, but damn if those bicep shots don't hurt for days after. So much padding... so many bruises... It's amazing.

Pucks are just 6 oz. of pure sadism. And I like it.

In fact, is goaltending just one big sado-masochistic act? I mean, don't you feel like you've "really played" when you've collected a few ouchie spots? And isn't that a great feeling? Maybe you don't quite get off on it, but ... maybe you do a little? ;)

Maybe I just need to get laid. That's probably it.

Happy Thursday!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Badger Attack! and Brusty article (updated w/ PDF)

Awww, I love women's league. The gals are awesome and, while I'd love to say that my team is the awesomest, I think any of the teams would be a blast to play on.

But my team probably is the awesomest. At least at the bar after a win.

That free pitcher of beer was a drop in the bucket compared to the parade of pitchers and car bombs that came after it last night. God bless 'em. What fun.

The car bomb appears to be the "shot" of choice in this crew. I'm not sure why, other than it's supposed to taste like chocolate. If you haven't had one, it's half a bottle of Guinness, and a shot glass with Bailey's and Jameson's. You can drop the shot in or just pour (our method, so you don't break a tooth on the shot glass).

Mostly just tasted like funky Baileys to me, but this was after a few Shiners, so I really didn't care what it tasted like.

Of course, you indulge in this nonsense and then have to sit around for a while to get your land legs back. No big deal. Lots of laughs.

As for the game, as usual, you just never know what to expect. Turns out my team is REALLY good at holding the zone, so I maybe stopped 10 pucks all night. MAYBE. I let two in. One was a backdoor feed that I shoulda dived for but, as usual, didn't react fast enough.

The other was a breakaway and I guess I bit on a fake shot low and she popped it over my blocker shoulder. Dammit. Even when I know what she's going to do, she beats me at it.

But we won 3-2. I literally did not see a single shot the entire second period. My hair had dry spots still, which NEVER happens. It was a very easy night for me. I definitely did not earn all that booze.

The orange team (Harvard Crimson -- don't try to make sense of the jersey colors) didn't have a couple of their best girls but they're gonna be scary from a breakaway perspective this season. I'll get good practice at that.

Ahhh, so much fun. I fucking love hockey.

And speaking of which, don't miss this fantastic feature piece on Brusty that ran in the Bingo paper today. (They're sending me a PDF of the actual layout in the paper later today, because I guess they did something special around it. E-mail me if you want me to forward it to you.) Being the awesome people they are there at the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, they gave me permission to post the PDF here so everyone can see it! Thanks guys!

I don't really know what else to say about my goalie that I haven't said a million times already. So, I made up a new word: BAMFtastic. Brusty is BAMFtastic.

I considered GILFtastic but decided that might be awkward and inappropriate. So let's all pretend I didn't say that and I can avoid embarrassing myself. *ahem* I may still be a little drunk.


Oh, and speaking of potential drunken embarrassments, I've got my ticket to Boston for early January! Have fucking amazing seats for the Boston - Minnesota game on the 6th. Like, I 100% guarantee I'll end up on the Wild broadcast, these seats are so good.

I'm going with some guy I don't know, though, so I hope to god that Kiss Cam doesn't find us.

Then it's a short drive over to Vermont for a few days, and hopefully the stars will align and Brusty will have a start that weekend in Bingo, and I'll trek over to see him play if the roads allow it. Regardless, I'm killing so many birds with this stone, it's not even funny.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I has a team

I corrected my post yesterday after a flurry of emails came out from the Women's League folks that filled me in on what's actually going on with the league. The bad news is, there's only 3 teams again. The good news is, there's 3 full-time goalies, so we each got our very own team!

Now, I know I've had a team in Novice League all this time but players switch sides if needed and it's more of a collaborative, keep it even, kinda thing. But in Women's League, your team is your team and things are more structured.

So, this is really my first time being the goalie for a team like that and I'm really excited about it. I don't mind playing for a different team every week, but I was always envious of the skaters having that team bond and stability. As such, I'm super proud to say that I'm a Badger. :)


Or maybe I should dredge up this classic. I think the snake is a breakaway, right?



Ahhh, good times.

To celebrate having my very own team AND my 2 year goalieversary tomorrow, I'm bringing cookies for the girls tonight.

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My girl Hammer posted this gem today of some of her Amerks doing a calendar or something in all their young beefcakery. God, I feel dirty, but look at 'em... all muscles and hockey gear...

Anyway, I know I've ranted about this before but I don't understand why teams don't make it standard issue to do a beefcake calendar every year for charity.

Not only will every straight woman in the building buy one (plus some for friends), people who were fans of guys because they used to be on their team will want them, too. Like, if Bingo did one? Yeah, I'd be shoving bitches out of the way to be first in line.

I'm not saying they need to be full on, greased up soft-core porn (though I wouldn't say no to that). Even what the Aeros did last season, with funny photos of the guys in their gear doing stuff you'd never do in your gear, like washing dishes or auto maintenance with a goalie stick, was fantastic. (It's still April 2010, right?)

Shit, just put 'em in suits walking down the hall with post-game shower-wet hair...

Um..

What was I... oh yeah...

And don't give me any objectification objections. They know they look good and they worked hard to get that way. Even the milkbag lookin' guys are bound to have nice legs. Make it work. Plus, if a team is willing the dress them in those ridiculous, clownish jerseys in the name of "charity," I don't see where this is any worse.

When I win the lotto and buy myself a hockey team, we're doing this. Consider yourselves notified.

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Speaking of hot boys, though Carey doesn't do much for me personally, Drew just sent me this and it's just epic.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Fly, little birdie...

Two days shy of my two-year goalieversary, the email I knew would come eventually finally came:

"Someone wants to try goal. How would you feel about stepping away from novice league for a season?"

My answer wasn't exactly an emphatic YES!, but it was definitely Yes, with 100% willingness to sub when needed. And it might only be for one season, after which, I'll likely be glad to take the spot back if nobody else wants to try it. But really, I hope she loves it and wants to keep playing.

I've been wishy washy on novice league for a while. Playing on Saturday nights hasn't been good for me for a variety of reasons, but mainly I just like having Saturdays off. Plus with the Aeros season on and lots of Saturday games, I have to miss fairly often, which I always feel guilty about. So a big part of me is happy for the break.

But Willowbrook's Novice League is where it all began for me. The horrors of skating out for a season... my first game in goal... this crew has suffered through all my growing pains as a goalie. It has rarely been smooth or pretty as I've learned to be a good sport (most of the time, now, anyway) and learned the position.

And I really do like the bunch of guys I've been playing with there lately, so I know my replacement is in good hands. They've been very good to me, have a great attitude (just work hard and have fun but don't take it too seriously) and I know they'll do the same for her.

So, apart from subbing, it's Monday drop-ins and Tuesday women's league for a while, unless something else crops up. Which is fine, because it looks like WL has 4 teams this season, which I hope means I'll be playing double headers on Tuesdays. I'm not exactly sure how that works yet since I only played one season and they only had 3 teams.

The internet lied to me on this. Only 3 teams BUT I get my very own team (except when I have to sub for another team). This is pretty cool. :D

Anyway, in spite of the nostalgic streak, I'm happy with how things are going. I've got plans I'm working on but, if you can believe it, I'm actually keeping a few things to myself. I hope I can stay the course and that the year brings good things between the pipes as a result. #AirofMystery

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Quick Hits: Fantasy, Ugly Jerseys, Vinyl Mask Art, Poodlecize

My fantasy team really did have a fantasy day today. I had 7 skaters active (no goalies). 9 goals, 5 assists, +12. Whatever I fed them for breakfast, they're eating every day now. Just sorry Corey Perry had to blow up against MY team, but whatever.

Between my +8.5 and the guy behind me with -6, I've finally got a bit of distance there and made a nice gain on the guy in the #1 spot. I'm coming for you, Kevin, and not in a good way.

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Got Friday's Binghamton game from AHL Live to watch tonight while I did some stitching and repairs on my goalie gear. Fun game and they weren't kidding about some big saves and some loud chanting. Lots of moving the puck behind the net. The team is clearly getting better at responding to that and taking advantage of it. THAT is fun to watch.

The Sens won again today in Rochester, but not quite as stalwart a defensive effort and it took 5 goals + 2 shootout markers to get the win. But hey, a W's a W.

Aeros stunk it up though. Expected a let-down after such a wild game Friday and some tough travel, so NBD.

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Some fuss about the Everblades hideous Christmas jerseys, including getting on the front page of Yahoo! Sports as a Puck Daddy feature.

A non-hockey friend even tweeted it to me, and the fact that she even knew it was off the hook sorta set me off. Ugly jerseys have always been a bit of a burr under my saddle.

I don't understand why teams would want to do that to their players. I know it gets media attention but it just seems disrespectful. To have to roll out and face a team you know is going, "Fuck man, you look like a Florida tourist shop barfed all over you." and have to grind it out. I dunno. Just seems like a bad idea. And just to make my point, the Blades lost.

I'd want my players to look good and feel good, wouldn't you?

Reminds me of when I shaved the dog at the beginning of the summer. He's just a dog but he knew he looked stupid and he was giving us stink eye for days over it. So you really think you're gonna get your best from guys you've dressed up like clowns?

And the SOCKS! My god, the socks....

*sigh*

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I bought this vinyl mask "paint." $25 for a totally new look for my mask. Worth a shot, right? I'll be sure and offer up a full review here, assuming I win the battle and am able to take my cage off. Hopefully it won't be like last time and require a drill and much frustration.

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Um. You can't un-see stuff like this. Especially at 2:45. Oh my.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

I told you so, Binghamton

I almost tweeted it today, but I held back. Sometimes the hockey gods teach you to just STFU and not make silly predictions. And sometimes I actually listen.

But what I wanted to say was that I had a really good feeling about both the Aeros game and Brusty's game against Albany tonight. Used to, when I had a good feeling, I was usually wrong. More and more, my intuition is getting righter. Maybe Andrew's freakish knack for predictions is rubbing off on me.

I was driving to the rink tonight and looked at the clock. It was about 6:07 and I realized Bingo was playing and I was thinking how much I wanted them to win. Like a big butt whippin' kinda win, you know? So I concentrated all my powers of concentration and sent some big time, big game mojo right to the crease there in the Broome County Arena. (Unfortunately, I'm not even remotely kidding about this. I don't even remember about half a mile of my drive on Allen Parkway, I was in the zone, man...)

I'm happy to report, it arrived safely and not only did the B-Sens win, B-money got his 3rd shutout of the season. I keep saying I'm going to buy a game archive to watch. I think I've found my game. Apparently some big saves and the crowd chanting his name, "BAR-RY! BAR-RY!" several times. Must. See.

One of the fantasies I have as a goalie is for my name to be chanted by an adoring crowd. (Attention whore, much?) The first time I heard that was at a Rangers game, and hearing the crowd chant, "HEN-RIK! HEN-RIK!" over and over made the hair stand up on my neck.

But I'm 99.9% sure that's never going to happen for me because there's never more than about 3 people watching my games, and also, I suck. But when it happens to a goalie I care so much about, it's almost as good. Vicarious chant fuzzies -- I'll take 'em!

I'm just so proud of him. After a really shitty year--year and a half, even--it's just so gratifying to see the stars aligning to give him loads of playing time and for him to be making the most of it and for the fans to be appreciating what they've got there.

Have I mentioned, darlings, that AHL All Star Voting has begun? Have I mentioned that if you love me, you'll get your butt over there and vote for Brusty as your most favoritest Eastern Conference goalie? GO. DO IT. NOW. PRETTY PLEASE.

And the Aeros game was pretty awesome, too. You can read about that at T3I. :)

Also, dig this tweet from Brett Cecil. OMG. I'm ordering my Blue Jays Cecil shirt right now, bitches. I'm in love.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Quick Hits: 'Come on, man!' Edition

So I was sitting there watching Sabres v. Sharks because Miller's in goal for my fantasy team last night (man, is that guy good. Just clean, focused, sharp. Show-off.) And they show this Degree antiperspirant commercial featuring Ryan Miller that talks about how the deodorant kicks into gear when you really need it like when you're being the best goalie in the world.

I had to laugh because a) Crunchy doesn't give a flying fuck if he stinks when he's playing. He's wearing stinky gear, surrounded by stinky men, in a building that smells like Zamboni exhaust, stale beer, and cold, musty concrete. (If only they made hockey arena-scented candles...)

And b) he's sweating so much that unless you're smearing that stuff all over him and suffocating his pores, ain't nothing stopping the Sweat Machine that is a goalie. Maybe Crunchy sweats less than a regular person because he's 7 feet tall and weighs 137 lbs, but still...

Come on, man!

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The other day I heard an interview with some DJ asking the lead singer of the Constellations what their song "Felicia" is about.

What the hell do you think it's about?



Come on, man! 


Of course, the singer isn't gonna say, "Well, it's an ode to fellatio... dumbass" so he says some BS about "Felicia" being a combination of various girls he's known. Good for you, buddy. Come on...

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My girl Ally posted this video on Facebook and since I wanna be just like Justin Bourne, I'm gonna throw it up here cuz we know people love animals on hockey blogs.



I was telling Jerina that it reminded me of me in goal. I occasionally get chest-puffed out, jersey-poppin, arms-spread excited when I accomplish even the most obvious and simple things in goal. Hey, when you're a flightless bird, some things aren't as obvious and simple as they look... so just... shut up and let us enjoy our victories.

Not really a "come on, man" to that... sorry for going off-theme.

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I could not do what I do as far as hockey writing, particularly the goalie stuff, without Google Alerts. I get an email every day for each alert I have set up, so I get all the articles about goalies I'm keeping tabs on. Brusty, Tordjman, Khudobin, Jaeger, etc.

I also have one set for Darcy Kuemper so I can keep up with his final season in Juniors with Red Deer. His Google Alert email is becoming one of my favorites for its wonderful predictability.

Pretty much every day, it's an article from some beat writer somewhere in the WHL bemoaning their team's loss to the Red Deer Rebels because Darcy Kuemper made a shit-load of saves. 

I've been excited about Wild prospects, but I've never been THIS excited about one. Like, I saw a woman wearing his Aeros sweater from last year at a game recently and kinda went, "Awww, I want that!"

Mostly, I'm terrified that the Wild are going to use him as trade bait.

Come on, man! Mama needs a special goalie.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Drop-in,baseball, travel, etc.

Oh man... I wish I could always feel like I do after a great time in goal. Or after one strong drink. Or BOTH.

Nah. That's just being greedy.

Anyway, drop-in was a blast tonight. Had some nice stops and some crap goals but honestly, you see enough breakaways and 3 on 1 or 4 on 1 and it's like, whatever, I'm gonna do something goofy here and see what happens (goal, pretty much every time).

Had to yell at the white team a bit WHILE I was playing for the dark team. I would look up the ice and see 2 white players waiting to cherry pick while their goalie was just getting HAMMERED and struggling. Pissed me off.

So I got after 'em a couple of times to stop cherry picking and help their goalie. I know it's drop in but the ones cherry picking are ones who are still learning to play and aren't above learning the defensive end of things.

That was before the goalie switch and they played better for me, lucky for them because I was hell bent when I took over their net. I love this drop-in though. Everybody battles hard (at one end or the other) but still has fun and keeps a sense of humor.

Had one surprise shot that I went straight down on my knees for and it sent a jolt all the way up my back. I'm Adviling and heating padding tonight in hopes that it won't get worse, but it's definitely tender in my lower back.

Luckily, I don't play again for a full week since there's no women's league tomorrow or novice Saturday.

Since it's a light week, I stayed after and played some 3 on 3 with the boys once the other goalie left the ice. I'll be raring to go by next Monday. Meanwhile, I have to do ... real workouts. :( BOOOO. I hate working out. But I'm excited to start my new training program. Should be a good workout.

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I wrote some stuff about baseball. I feel vulnerable. I need a hug.

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Doing some trip planning today. Flying up to Boston in early January, going to the Bruins/Wild game, then heading to Vermont to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends and meet her beautiful twin babies.

I'm anti-kid but hers are just sublimely cute and I'm excited to spend a few days in her new world.

Then in February, I'm making a quick trip to Minnesota to basically spend all of a Saturday at the Xcel watching the Aeros and then the Wild. FINALLY after all this time, a game (2!) at the X. Seems long overdue, no?

Looking forward to both, but it's gonna be colder than a witch's tit and I'm NOT looking forward to that. Burr. Speaking of which, it was so cold at SLICE tonight, I had to take my blocker off about 10 minutes into the game and put the tip of my middle finger in my mouth to warm it up enough to get feeling back. It was crazy cold in there. I'll take it over super hot though. Definitely play better when I'm not having heat stroke.

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Just saw the preview of 24/7, the HBO series about the Pens and Caps and the Winter Classic. I'm not sure what HBO costs, but we're getting it.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brain Dump: Hip wiggles, Panthers, Hiller and more

My poor blog has been all boring game recaps and Brusty-gushing for a long time now. I figured out it's because I toss my random thoughts on Twitter and don't really ever do anything else with them. I'm not sure they're even worth expanding on, but when you're bored with your own blog, you know you gotta do something. Hopefully I'll be doing brain dumps like this a little more often. 

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I know I generally only let my cougar purr loose for goalies, but I gotta say, one really sexy skater thing is a tall defenseman skating backwards. I was just watching Brent Burns skating backward into the zone. Man, I dunno what it is. That hip wiggle? Whatever it is... it's hot.

I run across the occasional rec d-man who is a pretty enough skater to inspire a tingle. Always a special, but distracting, treat to get to see the those long legs and swiveling hips coming at me on the ice. Mmm.

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Is Zetterberg cute? I can't tell. I feel like if he'd shave, I'd know. He's so furry.

Speaking of which, HOORAY DECEMBER!!! All my hockey boys are pretty again....

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Hiller is a really weird looking goalie to me. It looks like he keeps his knees pressed together all the time. Maybe it's just the shape of his pads? Gotta be an illusion.

But somehow he can get in such a ridiculously low stance. I think I've seen Rask do this, too. It's almost like they're half-way down in the middle of dropping into a butterfly, but they HOLD that position, with the pads maybe a foot off the ground at the highest point in the middle.

Some kinda crazy sharp skates combined with really bendy ankles? That's all I can figure. The strength to pull off the physics of that kinda boggles my mind. I get that low, my cowlings are wiping me out and hello groin pull.

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I'm watching the Panthers only because Vokoun is one of my fantasy goalies. Well, fantasy TEAM goalies. Haha. Big difference. They look like an AHL team. I was so disappointed with the Wild tonight until I started watching the Panthers, and now I see what a team who really doesn't give a shit looks like.

I think they're trying to get moved. That's all I can figure. I haven't seen hockey this bad at the NHL level in a long time. So inept.

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TSN.ca came out with their AHL player rankings. Dex, Irving, and Brusty were the only goalies in the top 50. Not sure how that ranks as fantasy news unless there's AHL Fantasy Hockey somewhere. But nice to see he's continuing to get positive press.

Not a single Houston player in the top 50, BTW. Ballzzzzz.

Gotta say though, Dex was fuckin' unbelievable in Houston last week. Not so great on the shootout, but when it mattered in regulation and OT, he was the best AHL goalie I've seen all season. I think shootouts are in his head a little though. His body language changed.

Khudobin's almost the reverse. He's like a puffer fish in the shootout. You can see him sticking his chest out, he gets more and more amped and confident with every save. I don't know anybody I'd rather watch in a shootout (beside the obvious). It's a lot of fun.

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Got some good advice on my post earlier today. Apparently a lot of NHL goalies are using the "toes just at the top of the paint" as the depth rule of thumb. Any higher and you're opening up too much space behind you. Lower and you're showing too much net.

So, I'll experiment with that for a while and see if I can get some comfort. At the very least, it probably means I get to shove people more often.

But when, if ever, DO you move back off the top of the crease, assuming the puck carrier is coming from somewhere between the faceoff dots? Or do you just hold your ground?

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John Madden has no lips. He's like a Muppet.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chewing on some positional thoughts....

Here's a goalie thing I've been thinking about for a few days and something I'm finally piecing together as a reason I get burned sometimes:

You know how when the puck is beside or behind your net and you're on the post, but then it gets passed either up the boards or even somewhere in the slot?

The reaction you SHOULD have is to make the appropriate depth change as you square up to the puck's new position, which usually means at least being at the top of the crease.

The reaction *I* have is to just square up with the puck, but I'm almost always still at least halfway deep in my crease. I'm thinking about why that is so that I can change my reaction.

I think the reason I do that is because when there are lots of bodies around me, I get nervous about back-door plays, so I want to stay deep and basically not have a 3 feet of empty space behind me for opponents to  fire a rebound if it goes off deeper to the sides.

Here's a picture of my nightmare scenario and the reason my mind tethers me to the net. Obviously, I leave a LOT of open net in the B position, so anybody who can lift the puck and has some aim to their shot probably has a goal there, but if it's on the ice, I'm stopping it AND the rebound as the amount of lateral movement required to get over and stop that rebound is minimal. Whereas in the A position, I'm in a great position to block the shot, but am pretty much helpless on the rebound. Kinda have to hope you swallow it there.


So, I know I need to get it more instinctive to push out higher when play moves from out behind my net, which means getting over the fear in the image above. I mean, if you're playing the odds, I think you're still better with A, but it's hard to convince myself of that in the heat of the moment.

Lord knows I've done plenty of "push off the post to the top of the crease" drills, but when it's a drill with a set movement pattern ("start here, go here, shot"), maybe I'm developing a movement skill, but I'm not learning to react to a specific situation where there's variable risks involved.

In other words, if I've got one person shooting on me in a drill, there's no risk in coming way out of the crease. But when I can see a couple of opposing jerseys out of the corner of my eye and maybe my defense isn't all that stellar.... oooo baby am I cheating back and playing deep.

Maybe there's a happy medium? I'm not sure.

Thoughts from my goalie peeps? Compliments on my stick figure prowess?

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Red takes the victory

And green, gosh darn, we lost. And it was a weird-ass game, too. The other team only had 6 players, while my team had all but one (so almost a full bench).

You'd look at that + the offensive prowess of the green team and go, "Okay, easy win."

And I probably did do that a little.

But the other team had all their best players, so it was like playing the top line (both front and back) all night. Break away after break away and really strong defensive play even when our top girls turned it on. I let in 3 in the first period and we just never recovered.

Normally I'd go through the goals but honestly, it's not worth re-living. The good thing is, I think I'm walking away from it with a decent perspective (aka not shouldering all the blame like I usually do). There are things I could have done better, there are things my team could have done better, and that's okay.

I did have one slick save where their best player exited the penalty box right as the puck was drifting past the door. So she's suddenly on a breakaway and I just stayed with her, slid across, and got the tip of my glove on her shot to send it to the corner. It would have been a good goal, and that makes it an even better save.

The championship game is fun though. Music at the stops (though speakers seem to be an afterthought at this rink), player introductions, photos and trophy presentation, MVP award, etc. And while usually just the winning team sticks around for beer after, both teams did tonight, and it was fun to just shoot the shit and, for me, have a couple of chilled glasses of liquid perspective. :)

Monday night drop-in is still my favorite ice time, but I <3 this league. It's just a completely different animal from playing with guys. You really can't even compare it, but it's good. It's a breath of fresh estrogen air.

Anyway, as usual, I'm looking forward to letting the Aeros play the real hockey on Thursday and Friday while I sit in my ivory tower and judge them smugly.

Friday is "Hug the Goalie Day" on Facebook. Don't forget to hug your favorite goalie. 

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Down with the sickness

I spent most of the day lolling around in bed as the beginning of some unfortunate illness has begun to sweep over me. Fever, sore throat, tired as hell.

It really ramped up in the afternoon and I was not feeling like strapping 40 lbs of gear on and getting peppered for an hour+ at 9:15 tonight. But I'm glad I did. It was a fun game and I played well most of the time.

Something about not feeling good, you just relax and play a simple game without any pressure. Almost always ends up in a good game. I was counting on that phenomenon for sure.

I even played the puck twice. One actually worked out really well. The other, no goal, but only because the shooter missed the completely vacated net.

Got a whopper of a bruise-lump on my inner thigh. I just don't know how the puck finds a way through all that padding to leave a mark like this. But I stopped it so it was all good.

One of the really good guys wasn't there, so that spared me some of my usual goals against by that guy just being a beast. I was getting tired the last 10 minutes or so though, and let a couple of dumb ones in. NBD. I was happy with my game overall.

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I was pretty disappointed to get in my car and see the 0-3 score in the Minnesota v Calgary game though. I'm watching the game now and honestly, it's not such a bad showing. Just a few bad minutes but still lots of quality chances for the Wild. If this game weren't on top of all the other bad games, I wouldn't think much of it. Kipper was absolutely phenomenal, too. Also nice to see Havlat looking more like a hockey player than like a Pouliot.

That said, I'm so impressed with how quietly effective Jose Theodore has been. It's a relief to just say, "Okay, we can give any game to our back-up and he'll do as well as (or lately, better than) our starter." Wild are luckier than they deserve in that respect. Or maybe Theo is unluckier than he deserves. Ha.

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Tomorrow night is the women's league championship. Looking forward to the game. Kinda hoping I still feel a little bit crummy, but not awful. I'm playing for the green team. They can usually put the points up pretty well, so if I can just keep the puck out of the net, I feel good about our chances.

Either way, I have no complaints about my first season of women's league. It's been unique, fun, and an interesting new challenge. I was worried when I started that it was going to make me worse with the slower and lower level of play, but I actually think this league has improved my ability to stay focused (or re-focus quickly) because the play is so erratic and unpredictable.

Anyway, just gonna keep doing what I've been doing there. In spite of being the championship, nothing really changes. $2000 saves, puck focus, stick on the ice, battle hard, free beer if we're lucky. ;)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Camp Brusty launch and this week's games

Before I get to my games, I'm excited to finally announce the kick-off of Camp Brusty! I've mentioned it before but I'm doing the local organizing/promotion end of things for THE goalie camp here next summer coached by Sean Murray of Pro Formance Goalie School in Vancouver and Brusty (who also coaches for them in the summer).

Here's the link: PFGS Houston

There aren't many things I'd take on the task of promoting, but there's a genuine need for goalie coaching here in Houston. Lots of goalies, very few people who are both willing, able, and qualified to work with them. I've been incredibly lucky to have Scott as much as I have. I'm not sure how others do it. So this is a great chance for goalies to get an intensive week of high-quality work without having to leave town for it.

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Hockey is done for the week. On to another great "key" -- turkey. :) Got my parents in town and enough food to feed an army. Plus 2 extra dogs, which is making things sort of a circus and why I'm up at 5 a.m. throwing Major out so I don't have to listen to him whine.

Drop-in was so-so on Monday. Waves of good saves, waves of letting everything in. Almost every fast regular was there except Crosby, so I saw a ton of shots. There's this one dude I call Big Bird because he's super tall and has really cute shaggy hair, and I dunno how he's not bored out there. If he's playing at more than 30%, I'd be shocked.

I feel kinda bad because he made me look stupid twice, scoring on breakaways and the third time, he was about to do it again and I was so fed up, I just hooked him by the shins as he glided past me after faking me into going down (EVERY FUCKING TIME... I hate myself for biting on that). He didn't go down and I hope I mostly got shin pad, but I still feel badly for it.

At least the puck didn't go in that time. Doesn't exactly deincentivize my bad behavior. :\

Then women's league last night was ... OK. My parents were here watching me play for the first time (they'd been to a practice last year, but I was still REALLY raw then), and that was actually okay. Not the distraction I was worried it would be.

I allowed two goals but didn't see many shots and went long stretches without seeing any and then would get a flurry. First one was through a screen and deflected, but I got a solid piece of it. Somehow that makes it so much more annoying to me that it went in.

Second was an odd man rush I played about 2 feet too deep and beat me glove side (naturally). They've got this Canadian gal and she's really good. Accurate shot, if not crazy fast. It was a tricky one because of the 2 on 1 but she beat me clean and if I had any kind of glove, I would have gotten it. If I'd  been out of the blue paint, I wouldn't have needed the glove at all.

I'm just bummed because I really like that team and wanted to see them advance. But then, I like both teams, so I guess it doesn't matter. The championship next week should be interesting. Not sure who I'll play for but it should be spirited.

All that said, I did have some stops I'm pretty proud of. Hard to focus on those sometimes in a loss, but I'm okay with the way I played. I just hate losing.

Only two ice times next week. Monday and Tuesday, since novice is off for Thanksgiving. Happy for the break. Should be pretty hungry for the ice by Monday.

Happy (American) Thanksgiving, everybody! Enjoy your turkey and pecan pie coma... I know I will. :)

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hextall-riffic & Feeling Good

My theory of Limited Luck is holding up. All my teams lost tonight and I played really well (until I didn't -- more on that later).

But at least Brusty kept it interesting, making 40 saves and salvaging an OT point for the painfully inconsistent Baby Sens. Not only did he kick ass in goal, he gave the Wolfpack's Tim Kennedy some serious business for running one of the Sens into the boards behind his net.

Check out how delicious this is. When do goalies EVER stick up for teammates like this any more? Luckily only 2 min roughing penalty for it. Guess the refs felt it was a legit response. Good on 'em.



And I'm told the fans chanted his name after. Chanted his freaking name, y'all! FMD, that's awesome, and frankly, as it should be. I may have to shell out my $4 for the archive of this one.

My favorite quote from the night from the coach:

"It's a shame that he had to, that he was the one who had to realize something needed to be done," Kleinendorst said. "But it doesn't surprise me. I think he would have chased the guy down to the far blue line if he had to, but that's a good thing."
First time I watched it, I wondered how long he was going to end up chasing him. Wouldn't you love to be in Kennedy's head when he's spun around and face to face with GIANT ANGRY GOALIE? New breezers, please.

Beauty.

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So, we tied 4-4 tonight and 3 of my 4 goals came in the third period. One of them, I'm okay with. I made the first stop and lost sight of it. Next thing I know, it's in the net. I don't even know what happened but I don't know what I should have done differently. I needed my defense to talk to me there. I thought I had it, for all I knew.

But I had two that went 5-hole on me, which is pretty unusual. But in both cases, they were shooting from 3-4 feet in front of me and I was trying to be patient because they were moving and I didn't want to go down too early and give them deke options (sometimes I forget it's novice league).

So, those were frustratingly soft. I guess I was lifting my stick. I need to put lead weights on my stick so it's too heavy to lift. Ha.

The last one is one I have tended to have problems with lately and I think I've figured it out. When I've got a shooter coming down the ice on my glove side and they carry the puck on their left, I'm not squaring to the puck. I'm drifting to the shooter's body and they're knocking it in just inside the far post every time. Those feel bad because they're easy easy stops if I'm where I should be.

However, I did have some awesome stops and my pads were my best friends tonight.

This doesn't happen to me much but I'm pretty sure the best kind of save is where the shooter is so convinced he scored, he actually starts to skate away. And then turns around and goes "AWW!" when he realizes the puck is still in play.

The coach on the other team (I call him Brent Burns because he looks like him and he makes everything look so easy, being so tall and rangey and handsy) picked up a rebound and thought he had himself an easy tap-in. But I somehow got my leg out in just the nick of time and kicked it out. He's already headed up ice and realizes, "No whistle?" Hahaha.

That was badass. I mean, I know I didn't beat anybody up or need the ref to restrain me (or, um, protect me? Haha... ;) and nobody chanted my name, but I did get some nice kudos from both teams after. Still felt pretty fuckin' good after those lousy outings last week.

Aeros at home tomorrow. Some other joker can stop the pucks for a day. :)

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fun night but I need a nap

No wonder I'm playing so shitty. I've got this theory that everything can't possibly all go right at the same time and that there's only so much good luck to go around. And last night, the Wild won, the Aeros won, and Brusty got a shutout.

So the only logical explanation for my sieviness lately is that all those jokers are stealing my good luck. :)

It's okay though. Brusty can have all of it he wants and, the Wild and Aeros, I'll throw them the occasional bone just to keep from having to watch losing hockey all season.

I'm still recovering from information overload this morning. Between following two games I wasn't at, watching the Aeros, writing my story for the Chronicle (filled in for Andrew) between periods, praying my (and the Aeros) lead sticks and the Wolves don't come back, and then Yeo lobbing his "that game sucked" bomb at us post-game when I thought it was a pretty awesome game (WTF do I know?), it was a lot to parse.

I couldn't tell if Yeo was annoyed or amused at my dismay that he was screwing up my story. I'm just standing there with my recorder in his face with my mouth hanging open. "You just ruined all my questions by not liking that game!" Haha. Whatever though, it was a fun night and I didn't get to sleep until 3 a.m. Fuckin' exhausted at that.

Also, not that you need minute by minute updates on Operation Boob Lift, but the consult went well. Only it's costing more than I expected. Like, by a lot. Like, you could buy a decent used car. You could buy a decent NEW car for all the stuff we talked about doing (tummy tuck with lipo, etc).

I'd love to do it all, but man, even just the lift part of it seems like a selfish use of money. I dunno. Add that to my information overload yesterday, too. #msconductproblems

I actually have the night off tonight. Four of the last 5 nights, I've gotten home after 11:30. I love it all but I'm definitely due for some "kickin' around the house" time.

Gonna try and do my full hour of physical therapy today, too. Been trying to build back up to it a bit since my knee is bothering me so much. Hopefully I can get the knee happier and then I can start doing the awesome Rapid Response Goalie Training program I picked up the other day. Want to be doing it by January.

But that means getting off my ass. When what I really want is lunch and a nap.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Darn. Still a Sieve.

Lost 4-1 tonight. I could blame a very short-handed bench, but they actually were amazing and kept the puck away from me more than I had any right to expect.

I can't even blame the Bingo jersey, as it was safely tucked away in the dryer after being washed today.

I can only blame me. I don't FEEL unfocused but I clearly am. I'm not seeing the puck well and you don't let this many pucks in over 2 days if you're focused. I should be pressing for a shutout every game at women's league, so 4 goals is very disappointing. None were kitten-soft goals, but none were crazy good shots or anything. I should have had all of them.

My focus has been really good the last few weeks. Battling hard, doing things the right way. Maybe I'm a little burned out. It's hard for me to muster the necessary intensity for extended periods, as it's just not my nature. But those periods get longer and longer, so that's good.

Seems like stepping away from the game a bit recharges my batteries and gets me going again. With the holidays coming up, I'll get some breaks but not much really.

Though perhaps some "elective surgery" would provide the needed break. I'm getting a boob lift consultation tomorrow. Raise the titties! We'll see though. I think it may be too expensive to justify, but I'm interested to hear what she has to say at least. The fun bags are always fun, but frankly, I'm a boob girl and unless I switch teams, mine are all I have to entertain me. Gravity can go suck it for what it's done to them. *poor darlings*

Wonder if this doc has ever had to tell anybody how soon after surgery they can get slammed in the boobs with pucks.... :)

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drop-in Kills Bingo Sweater

I never really quite understood what it meant for a goalie to be "fighting the puck" until tonight. Now I get it. I fought the puck. And the puck won.

Nights like this, it's like I've handed out a "Free Goal with Every Shot!" coupon to everybody at the drop-in and they all cashed in. Hey, I made them happy, right? Never mind that I like 'em better when they're miserable.

I dunno what it was. I just couldn't find my angles, I couldn't track the puck into me, I couldn't do anything but get lit up. One after the other they just went in the net. I guarantee I let in twice as many as I stopped. Can you have a negative save percentage? I suck at math but I think I might have had one tonight.

I'd feel worse about it but I played so well last week, I kinda feel like there's a little leeway there.

But you goalies know how it is after a bad game, right? All the skaters, and even the other goalie, are kinda looking at you sideways, like, "Eww, you poor thing." It's some mix of pity and disdain.

Whatever. These things don't get to me quite like they used to. I'm both glad I have tomorrow's game to redeem myself (to myself) but worried about it, too. The team I'm facing, I see a lot of breakaways and I played breakaways tonight like I was blindfolded.

May just need to get some music in my head to try and shut off the chatter and doubt and just react. I can feel the overthinking already starting as I run through my mental list of all the things I have to do right. Challenge. Be patient. $2000 saves. Puck focus. Battle hard. Stick on the ice. Hands out in front. Move your feet. Bahhhhh. Shut up, brain!

But that's all the way to tomorrow, so I'll worry about it then. :)

This was the swan song for the Bingo sweater though. I told myself when I packed my bag, the Bingo sweater gets one last chance. I still have yet to play a decent game in it. I stink EVERY time I wear it. Getting pretty tired of that, even though it's a great conversation piece.

Random Skater: "Binghamton Senators? You from up there?"
Me: "No, but my favorite goalie plays for them this year."
RS: "Who's that?"
Me: "Barry Brust"
Drop-in organizer, who gets to hear this conversation every time it happens because we change next to each other: "SHE LUUUUUUVS BARRY BRUST...."
Me: *blushing* :) "It's true."
RS: *eye roll*

Maybe THAT'S the problem with the Bingo sweater... They get my brain off in Brustyland and I kinda don't really give a shit what the puck is doing. Lalalala....

Either way, it's back to the Aeros sweaters this winter (these AHL pracky sweaters are too hot and heavy to wear in the summer). Bingo will be reserved for recreational purposes, like curling up inside it when I'm cold or actually going a game in Bingo in January, where I'll likely also be cold. :)

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday night letter to the Wild boys

Dear Wild,

I don't get to see you as much as I used to. I've been busy keeping tabs on your little brother, playing my own games, and mentally fondling goalies all around North America. These things keep me busy.

Also, you haven't been very good for a while. Like, more than a year. So, you haven't exactly given me cause to miss you.

But occasionally I find a night like tonight where the Aeros aren't playing, I don't have a game, I don't have any other plans, I have sole control of the TV, and you're playing.

What's more, one of the kids is making his NHL debut and for me, those games are like watching a mother bird push its baby out of the nest for the first time. Fly, Scando, fly!

So tonight, it's you, me, a team with fucking PALM TREES on their sleeves, and maybe some pizza. And we're gonna do this thing. We're gonna get the W because you just can't give me another season like you gave me last year. You're better than that and you know it.

Cam Barker, I'd share my pizza with you because, god willing, you'll be in a suit for this game. But I don't like you, so you can make your own damn pizza.

Let's do this thing. Here's my side of the deal: I will draw an awesome picture of boobies for you if you will get me the win tonight. Really nice ones, too.

Deal? Deal.

Love (kinda),

Ms.C

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Purple victory and sportsmanship

Man, I love me some victory beer after women's league but, damn, I had too much last night. That's what happens when a good looking Canadian goalie is pouring. I can't say no to any part of that.

Needless to say, my purple gals got the win. I let in 2 goals, one of which I was completely screened on and if I can't see the puck leave the stick, because of my vision issues, it's pretty much just luck if I get a piece of it. The other was a breakaway and I played it wrong, so that was a little annoying. I really need to get more patient in 1-0 situations.

Regardless, I was happy to win. Didn't have to work too hard in the first two periods but finally saw a flurry in the third but made some good saves to avoid the tie. Got my glove ripped off trying to cover the puck at one point. This ref is usually pretty snappy with the whistle because he's a goalie himself, and gave me a total freebie last week, so I don't mind that he didn't blow when I thought he should have. But I'm happy to have all my fingers today.

Of course, then I find out the team wouldn't have exactly minded losing because now they're stuck playing Thanksgiving week in the playoffs. :) Ah well, I was playing for pride and beer and got both.

Nothing too spectacular from the game. Best part is after a win, when I can relax and shoot the shit with the cult of hockey. I'm one of those "keeps to self" goalies before games. I'll pipe in a little but I need to keep it low key. All bets are off after though. Especially when my beer glass stays full.

Feeling a little rough today though. Sunglasses, greasy food, that sorta thing. Feels good. ;)

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I was expounding on the virtues, complete with hand gestures, of hockey player ass to my friend at lunch today. You can talk about babies or sunsets or mountains or whatever all you want but pretty much a hockey player's ass is probably the most perfect thing in the world.

I'm not saying they're all the same, but they're all great and the one you can see in front of you is the best one at any given moment.

She's charged me with making a post of hockey butt pictures so she can fully appreciate what I'm talking about. That's a project I can sink my teeth into.

Here's a preview (click to see full size). Wow.

Marlies warming up pre-game.  on Twitpic

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Loved this interview with Tim Thomas. On top of having to learn pretty much everything about playing hockey and goal from scratch, one of the most surprising challenges was learning sportsmanship.

You take for granted that, hey, I'm an adult. Surely I can behave in a way that others deem appropriate. Well, not the case for me. Between the difficulties of the position, the pressure to learn and perform (and my lack of talent, athleticism, and skill), plus just being an emotional player on top of everything else, I earned a little bit of a reputation as a bitch.

I'm not proud of it but I accept that learning to be a good sport was (and still is) just part of the overall learning curve for me. And people can either see the growth and "get it" or they don't. Whatever.

I'm so much more relaxed in goal now and if someone puts a good one past me, I tell them. And if the other goalie makes a great save, I give them stick taps. It's all good. I still give some lip when I stone guys who beat me fairly regularly. I know they can take it. And I still get excited about sexy glove saves. You don't have to play with me for very long to understand why. They're rare as unicorns. I deserve to be excited about them.

I still get rattled from time to time, but I play a MUCH less emotional game now and it feels a lot better.

Anyway, back to Timmy, it was just nice to read that even a guy whose been playing as long as he has, he's had to modify his behavior and reactions a little bit.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Drop-in success and Girlfight

Drop-in was just straight up rad last night. I had a few little flurries of suckage, but I saw a LOT of rubber and breakaways and odd-man rushes, so I don't feel bad about those.

They're worth looking at though. Early in the game, I wasn't being patient enough and I wasn't moving my feet enough and, the one that most annoyed me (but also got me going) was one where, if I'd just battled and flopped instead of hoping I could reach a toe out on a back door shot, I woulda had it.

I went down a beat or two before the shot on one. It was a guy who I've never seen snipe before, but he sniped me good. I gave him props for that. I gave him the daylight but it was also a great shot, especially for someone barely out of novice.

But then I found my rhythm and got in a groove the rest of the game. The only other bad spot was a couple of shots where they were coming down the wall glove side shooting the puck just inside the far post. My angle was just plain off, but I corrected it after those two goals. Weird how that happens though. I need to remember my power point that Scotty made me about where to be when the puck is above/outside or below/inside the faceoff dot. I think that was the key there.

I honestly don't remember more than bits and pieces about the game. I was just in there, doing it and feeling good. It was a blast and even the really good players were like, "Damn you're on fire tonight!" Had one glove save that was super sexy... one of those where you drop into the fly and then have to reach way down the length of your pad to snag it. Oooooo foxyyyyy.

And another where Crosby was on a breakaway and I challenged him big time and slid into a b-fly as he was moving across to try and put it around me, but some how I got a piece of it with the tip of my glove and he was long gone.

I'm proud of the way I've been challenging lately. It feels great and ballsy. But eventually they're going to wise up. Right now they're used to me shrinking back into my crease, so now when they look up and I'm way above my crease, they kinda don't know what to do about it and just shoot and there I am. Unless they beat me 5-hole or something, they've got nothing. But they'll figure me out eventually, which is why I need to work on being smarter about it.

Big Nick put one in my melon again last night. I guess I was due for it. Luckily it hit pretty high on my mask and just deflected up. It's still startling though, so I kinda yelped and everyone was asking if I was okay. Told 'em I was just trying to make Nick feel bad. Haha. He apologized a couple of times and I told him the same thing. But really, the way you see pros dropping like flies from concussions lately, I'm feeling paranoid about my noggin.

He also hit me in the arm, just above the bend in my elbow. Now THAT hurt. I was stinging for 5 minutes after and it's a big purple lump today. Not complaining though. It was a laser and I stopped it and that's all that matters to me.
-----------------------------
I've been back doing my PT since last week. I'm doing at least some part of it every day, even if it's just the "at home" part and not the full hour-long sequence that I would do if I were going to the PT office. And some days, all I fit in is the hamstring stretch and that alone makes a huge difference in the way my legs and hips feel when I play.

And now I'm reading that Maria Mountain, hockey trainer/goddess, is coming out with a goaltender workout that's 2 days a week only (or 3/4 if you want), that I can do to supplement my PT work. Very excited about that. She has another one that's much more intensive and pretty much a daily commitment. Sorry. Just not how I roll. But 2x a week? Heck yeah. I can do that.
--------------------------------

Women's league comes to a head tonight. The top two teams are basically tied and play against each other tonight to see who goes into the playoffs with the #1 spot. I'm playing for purple and I'm looking for a shutout. A real one. I want these girls to finish the regular season on top. I'm even having my lucky burrito for linner and saved my favorite undershirt to wear while I play. My serious gray shirt. Not my frivolous pink shirt. BOOM. $2000 saves and battle hard. 

Why am I only just now learning of this song? Crap. This is awesome.


Brooke Valentine - Girlfight
Uploaded by EMI_Music. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Jaeger interview & goalie porn for the guys!

First off, I wanted to pimp what I thought was a pretty interesting interview for InGoalMag with my boy Brett Jaeger, who's over in the UK playing for Coventry in the EIHL.

We had a long chat last week (Skype is awesome) and it was interesting to learn about that league as it doesn't get much attention over here.

I think it's good to hear from players who are not necessarily NHL prospects and may bump around the minor leagues their whole careers, but do pretty well at it. He's a real student of the position and works really hard to hone his craft. It's just interesting to hear what all goes into it.

Anyway, I thought it turned out pretty good, if a bit long. But there was a little something in every question that I thought people might find interesting, so I didn't want to cut much.
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Also, since I'm normally spazzing over hot goalies, I figured I'd throw something out there for the boys.

Other than being quite fond of boobies, I'm a fan of the penis and wouldn't play for the other team, but damn... as someone with a goalie fetish, these pics from The Fourth Period pressed my buttons pretty good.

Enjoy, fellas.

I, uh... I gotta go take care of something... *ahem*

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pimping Maalivahti

If you enjoy the rantings of an amateur goalie (like you mostly find here), please to read my girl Maalivahti (Finnish for "goalie" because she's crazy for the Finns) and her awesome blog. She had me giggling today with this:

After randomly musing [on Twitter] about the way Lundqvist reportedly has his skates cut, I got this IM from [a friend]: "You understand that reading your tweets is like walking directly into the chasm of the Goalie Brain, right?" Hmmm. He's right. So be it.

It's honestly how my brain works. It's kind of like this: work thought - work thought - work thought - check twitter - work thought - work thought - OMG holy crap I just figured out something I was doing wrong on the ice!!! - work thought - work thought - Rask - Rask - Lundqvist - VarLAmov - work thought - Lehtonen - Rask - Kiprusoff - Rask - work thought.... etc.

It's ok though, because on Twitter I've found a little cadre of people whose brains all work the same way. Mostly. Just substitute "Brust" for "Rask" in one person's case. Actually, substitute "Brust" for all of them. (hee hee hee).
I don't Brusty know who Brusty she's talking Brusty about there Brusty.

Anyway, I can count on one hand the number of blogs I stop everything I'm doing and read every word of when I find a new post, but hers is one of them.

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Back to novice tonight after missing the last 3 weeks. A game, thankfully. Don't feel like being bossed around today.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BangBangBang: A brain dump

  • I wrote some stuff about Aeros winger/Wild prospect Carson McMillan here, because my jaw dropped when I saw that he's tied for the Aeros scoring lead. WTF is that about? I think that's awesome for him, but possibly very foreboding for the Aeros. 
  • I also wrote some stuff about the Aeros for PHN. I'm told it's going live at 3 a.m. Thursday, so click the Pro Hockey News link at the top of the page tomorrow for that. (I would have thought that was THIS morning, but apparently it's actually 3 a.m. Friday morning?)
  • I'm not a Devils fan but man I feel bad for that team. I'm so grossed out by hot shot dicks who are willing to sink their team in the name of cashing in. What an absolutely ridiculous situation for that team to be in. I was thinking about it driving home from hockey last night and my stomach literally turned. What a jerk.
  • Of course, that stomach turning could have been my lousy women's league performance. The scheduled goalie couldn't make it so I filled in. Team played great, but I didn't see many shots and 2 of their 3 good chances got past me. Though the one I did stop was a seriously gnarly blocker save. Only lost 2-1 but even a 2 goal game can feel bad after.
  • Though I did feel better today when I realized their best player probably put 4 decent shots on me and I stopped them all. Coulda been worse.
  • Interviewing my boy Jaeger tomorrow for InGoal Mag (via chat, so I'm not sure how that will go), but he's just blowing up the EIHL right now and has everybody in a frenzy over this crazy back door glove save he made Sunday. I need to put some questions together as I have a whole bunch rattling around my head, but I'll forget them as soon as we start talking. I'm the world's worst interview choker. 
  • Luongo. Is. Overrated.
  • I hope Marty Brodeur doesn't hang on too long. I know the team is bad so maybe this isn't on him, but he hasn't looked good lately. I wonder if his heart's still in it. He's reached so many goals, set so many records, and now his team is a mess. It's gotta be hard to get up for that every night. Maybe if they changed their name to the New Jersey Sisters-in-law....
  • Or the New Jersey Bacon Cheeseburgers...
  • Kidding. I don't even think he's fat. Which is why "Marty is fat" jokes are so funny to me. I love you, Marty, you know it. I only tease the ones I love.
  • It's COLD here! Like 50s cold! Fuck me, I love this weather. Even better, it's cold and gray and rainy today. I just want to bundle up and watch hockey and bake stuff and wear fuzzy socks.
  • My boobs hurt. It sucks being a girl.

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