So, I had this realization Thursday that has had my head spinning for a couple of days: The Aeros defense sucks.
For the most part, anyway. And I mean that relatively. We've been spoiled with outstanding, mind-blowing, beautiful, hard-working, gutsy defense the prior two seasons. But I've just come to realize... the Aeros are no longer that team that will sell their souls to keep the puck out of the net. And this is the reason I don't care that much about them. Heart-wise. And worse, it hurts Brusty, so that pushes me into full-on dislike.
You wanna know how bad it is? (How bad is it?)
I go to bed tonight at 10:30. I warn Mr. C, "If I go to bed this early, I'll be up by 1:30." I just can't sleep through the night. My perfect world is 5 hours of sleep at night and then a solid nap during the day.
Anyway, I wake up at 2 (so I was wrong, but not really), but the REASON I woke up is a little freaky.
I jerked awake, yelling at a puck going into my net, because I was dreaming that I was Brusty and I was playing goal for the Aeros. In my sleep, I was trying to make a save on a shot coming back door but couldn't reach it. You know how your dog growls and barks and kicks its feet in its sleep? How cute that is? Not so cute when it's a people doing it. Trust me.
Now, I've played goal in my sleep before, and that's plenty weird enough. But then to do it as another goalie... super weird. Man, I was so good looking though. And tall. And... And...
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah. So, the newsflash is that somehow being a hottie doesn't make getting scored on any easier. I definitely woke up with a distinct, "Augh, goddammit my defense suuuucks" feeling.
For a team that was billed to be driven by Defense! and Character! I'm sure not seeing that dominance on D (how much do we really miss Luke Strand? I'm thinking lots and lots). And character clearly isn't enough to make up for lack of talent.
I'm not calling anyone out. Yet. I'm just saying.
Every time I think about my trip to Minnesota this summer for hockey camp, I get a little more excited. I have visions of Pretty Woman-style* goalie gear shopping sprees in my spare time. Me, wearing a tiara, lolling around in a pile of leg pads, drinking champagne, and laughing at skaters. Ohhhmygod, it's gonna be great.
Gonna need a shopping buddy who knows goalie gear and the shops there. But it's Minnesota, so if they really are the state of hockey, I'll be able to round someone up, right? Suuuure.
*No kissing on the lips.
Am I weird for being excited about putting new windshield wipers on my and Mr.C's cars tomorrow? Also get to change out some tail lights, which is fun, too.
I hope I get to use my socket wrenches. I'm such a whore for my socket wrench set. If you crazy kids ever have some nuts you need tightened, give Ms. Conduct a call. ;)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
So, I had this realization Thursday that has had my head spinning for a couple of days: The Aeros defense sucks.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Players come and go, and it's something you just have to accept as a fan. But one heartbreak I and all the other Wild fans who love him won't have to endure is wondering whether Cal Clutterbuck will be back.
The Wild did the right thing and signed him for another 3 years... BEFORE the summer and before any silly speculation could start. Lock. That. Down. Good job, Fletch. And congratulations, Cal! *sniff* Our little wrecking-ball baby is all grown up and one-way contracted!
Russo is tweeting that it's 3 yrs at 1.4 mil per, which is higher than I would have expected. That's Steve Ott money, baby!
Here's the article on Wild.com. What a pleasure it must be for the Wild PR folks to actually break something before Russo. Heh.
I had the pleasure of doing a quick interview with Dallas Stars goalie coach Mike Valley last night. Man, I suck at interviewing, but it was still fun to get to chat with him, and he's incredibly nice. Solid of him to take the time and hopefully folks enjoy what he had to say.
Here's a link to it over at In Goal Magazine.
Aeros tonight. Pretty happy about that since I figure Brusty's starting and that's always a good and special thing.
I cherish every game I go to. It may suck and the Aeros may lose and KC may be grumpy and it all passes without much fanfare, but I feel so lucky to get to do what I do that not a game goes by where I don't appreciate it.
But as the end of the season looms, that awareness becomes even more heightened. I find myself wanting to get there a little earlier, stay a little later, soak it all in, put it in my pocket so I can pull it out in the summer when The Longing strikes me.
So, commence hard-core soaking tonight. And I don't mean that in a dirty way. Other than ... well... if Brusty's in goal... um... anyway... never mind.
Just got this in my Google Alerts. If you love me, you'll win it for me. Awww, baby Brusty... I'm not much of a "stuff" collector, but one of these days I'm gonna get me a Brusty bobblehead. I like the idea of him saying Yes to anything I ask. ;)
I bought new shoes at DSW yesterday and there was a guy there trying on sparkly heels. Drag queen in his spare time, I guess. Nothing like a man with a perfect hot pink pedicure strutting flawlessly in 4" sequined stiletto sandals to make me feel whatever the female version of emasculated is. De-feminized? I dunno. He rocked it. But my boobs are real, so take that.
Another of my all time favorite songs:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Awww, how I love Monday drop-in. Played really well tonight. Some big saves and I made them work for their goals. Only a couple that really pissed me off, both right between my feet. My aversion to the vertical-horizontal pad position burns me again. Bah. It just feels so unstable, but it would have saved those.
Probably one of my better games in terms of save % though. Stopped a lot more than I didn't.
Have I mentioned I love my new sharpening? Scott, not waiting a month. Just do it. You'll love it. If my shitty-skating ass can make the change and take advantage of it this quickly, I know you can.
Of course, the other guy had a friggin' shut out through 2/3s of the ice time. He was just on fire. And made one highlight reel save at the end that even he couldn't believe. We were both kinda "Wow" at ourselves afterward, which was fun.
What wasn't fun was being pulled over as soon as I got on 59 to head home because I had a tail light out. Not a brake light. A tail light. Seriously dude? You pull me off the freeway into a deserted parking lot at 11 at night for that? Please find something better to do. Anyway, make that Sugar Land parking lots-3, Ms.Conduct-0.
The only crime I committed tonight in my car is the smell of my gear. Time to give the ol' gloves a good defunking and wash the rest of the stuff on Sanitize with my smelliest detergent. Ahhhh. I'm so excited for that, I'm tempted to do it right now. :D My hands seriously stink right now.
Jaeger got CHL goalie of the week for the second week in a row. Good grief. You're making the rest of us look lazy, dude. Simmer down. I guess the fans love him, too. At least one fan does, to the tune of $700 this ugly (IMO) jersey. Blech.
Vancouver's pretty. One of those places I think I wouldn't want to go because I'd be so sad to leave. Not that our freeways and bayous aren't really... swell... but you know...
Though I do have an invite for some coaching there this summer. Ha. Yeah. I think I'm only gonna get away with one week away from home for playing on the ice. Plus, his camp does off-ice training. Pfft. Nahhhh, sounds like work. Let's skate a bunch and drink beer after. Lemme know when you have THAT camp, my friend.
So. Ice dancing is a "sport" huh? Oooookay.
Some nights the song is obvious. Tonight it was not, but this feels right, other than the tone of the video being about 180 degrees from the tone of the song. You're trying too hard, Chairlift.
Monday, February 22, 2010
What a weekend! Some truly awful hockey. Some truly amazing hockey.
Aeros: Effing awful weekend redeemed by stellar play from--who else?--Brusty (and an Aeros team that finally managed to provide some goal support) in Sunday's game. Everybody finally got it together under the same roof at the same time Sunday, which hadn't otherwise happened all weekend. They were a hot mess Friday and Saturday.
USA USA USA: Okay, call me a traitor but I didn't really care who won that game yesterday. I adore Canada. I know the words to O Canada by heart. I love that sieve Brodeur. Canada gave me hockey, so Canada is tops in my book and always will be. But I admit, I was pretty jacked for the Americans to end up winning it. By the end, I wanted them to win. Mainly because Ryan Getzlaf is a shit. But then Patty Kane is a megadouche, so whatever. It's all a wash.
Ryan Miller was both amazing and lucky. Brodeur was neither. But I still love him. Buck up, Fatso. You're still the cat's pajamas.
Finland: You think they're regretting promising the starter spot to Kipper? Backstrom is better. And any guy who isn't willing to EARN his starting job doesn't belong on an Olympic team, IMO. When you're putting together the Finnish All-Star Game, then sure, make him the starter. But you play your best guy at the Olympics and I think that guy is Nik Backstrom.
Brahmas: They finally ended their win streak with a 1-0 loss in Wichita yesterday. Palmer was in goal though (stopped 39 of 40... Jesus!) so Jaeger's streak could still continue. Yeah yeah, first star again.
Novice: We had a practice last night and Scotty came out to work with Jess and me. Poor Scotty. All proud Canadian surrounded by a bunch of loud-mouthed, hockey-lovin' Americans. He was bitter but didn't take it out on us, apart from requiring push-ups for any goals we let in during one of his drills. Bahhh...
It was good though, as it always is when Scotty comes out. I'm 95% comfortable on my new sharpening (3/4) on my strong side, but I still can hardly shuffle on the right. I wasn't great at it before but now I can only go a few inches. It will come. The thing is, EVERYTHING else apart from shuffling is easier and crisper now. One of the best decisions I've ever made as a goalie was to get that deeper hollow. There. I said it. Of course, keep in mind, I don't make a ton of great decisions as a goalie so the bar was low. :)
Anyway, we did a few drills. One horseshoe drill that probably didn't feel like much to the skaters, but was a lot of work for the goalies. Endless stream of breakaways. I finally just had to leave my net and go get my Gatorade off the other net. I was feeling ookie.
Then we scrimmaged for 40 minutes. I think we must have been on the ice for a good 1:40 or so. Phew. I got a little foggy headed and didn't play the scrimmage very well, but I did have one huge flurry of stops just before the final buzzer. Coach Dan was in the box (because Scott was "officiating" and wanted to call a penalty--ha!) so we were short handed.
Anyway, it was one of those little top of the crease scrambles where you just get low and be big and pray. Probably made 3 pad saves before I finally got a glove on it. OMG my hips were hating me from all that pinball flapping I was doing. It was the highlight of my night though, so it was nice to end on a good note. Got me a nice forearm bruise, too, from one of Scotty's drill shots. Sweeet. :)
Even better is that I'm playing SLICE tonight, so I'm happy about that. But not too happy. I figured out that I'd been trying to hang on to that amped up feeling I get when I'm really excited to play, because I kinda thought that was how I was supposed to feel. But apparently that's just not a productive state of mind for me. So yesterday, when I got that feeling during the day, I just talked myself back down and stayed even keeled about it.
It think that helps a lot. But we'll see tonight, because I am pretty excited to play tonight, but I have to just let that go and get my Zen on. So far so good.
One of my all time favorite songs:
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I'm moping around today like I've had a tiff with my boyfriend. Normally I don't let Aeros losses get to me. I keep my reporter hat nice and snug, try to look at things with relative fairness (I won't bother calling it objectivity... we all know better).
But this one, for whatever reason, is going down like a sand margarita.
I went to pick up breakfast this morning and every song on the radio reminded me of my team. Shake It Out, The Underdog, Back Against the Wall.
You know how it is when you're "in love" and wearing your heart on your sleeve and feeling embarrassingly vulnerable about it? That's me today. I hate it.
And I don't feel like I love this team particularly. Brusty, sure. And maybe that's why I'm so pissed. He's keeping them in it and gets nothing to show for it.
But I dunno. It feels like more. I'm just so disappointed.
I failed to give props where they were due though last night. Brandon Buck is playing like he doesn't wanna go back to Florida. And JM Daoust is playing his ass off like always. He reminds me of Clutterbuck in that way... no matter how crummy the team around him is, he just plays his game, plays his balls off. Love that guy.
I find myself missing certain guys lately. Marco Rosa is one. I see his name constantly in Manitoba news. Such a fierce protector of the puck. I loved him for that.
Okay, enough of this. Time to get my Saturday on.
When cleaning up dog shit in the yard seems favorable to thinking about your hockey team, you know the season isn't going well. Eeeesh. This feels bad.
Oh hey, but The Scruffy One won again last night. He and the Brahmas are on a crazy 7 game win streak right now and he's becoming incorrigible. :) But if I were the league-leading goalie, I'd be incorrigible, too. Hell, I'm incorrigible now and I suck.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
First: Interviews with Marty Brodeur should never end. Read me the phone book, Marty. He's even cute with braces.
Second: Big internet/Twitter flap the last few days with a few goobers suggesting that women's hockey should be banned from the Olympics until it's more competitive.
Well, I'm really not going to entertain the many ways that's just ridiculous because it's... so ridiculous. How the hell do you develop a serious national women's program if there's no Olympics to strive for?
However, above the stupidity is just apathy, which at least isn't insulting and I won't try to make someone interested in what doesn't interest them. But personally, watching the non-US, non-Canadian women's hockey games has absolutely MADE this Olympics for me.
I should add that I'm not one of those women's libbers who defends the WNBA. I don't follow the USA or Canadian women's hockey teams. In fact, coming into the Olys, I thought, "Women's? Whatever. Don't care. Bring on the international all-star men's teams!!"
But I find my tune changed. First, I'm amazed by how NOT in the mix some countries are. Including pretty much all those countries that are pretty good on the men's side (apart from US/Canada). I'm surprised that they're not more competitive with US/CAN.
Russia, for instance. Why aren't they better? And even if the whole team isn't that good, they can't find one really good goalie? I just don't get it.
On the flip side, I got teary-eyed not once but TWICE during the China/Finland game two nights ago. Finland should be better. China should NOT be this good. I mean, really, how low on the athletic heirarchy must hockey be in China? Pretty low, I'm thinking, even though they love their athletes.
Of course, all these things being surprising to me is maybe just a reflection of my ignorance of women's hockey, but I'm having a lot of fun getting educated.
It touches me for a couple of reasons:
- It's pure hockey. There's no NHL million dollar contracts, no endorsement deals, no adoring fans waiting back home. Not to say the men don't have a lot of pride and work invested in the Olympics, but there's more to their hockey careers than the Olympics. It's not ALL riding on it. For these gals, this is it. Maybe World Championships each year but the Olympics are... the Olympics! This is it.
- It's relatable to me. Most of the female goalies are around my height, so their style of play is a great example to watch. It's sometimes tough to relate your own game as a 5'7" goalie to someone who is 6'+, as most pro goalies are.
I'm wondering how I can get a Chinese women's hockey t-shirt. Is that weird? I really want one. I love these girls!
But that's the Olympics, right? You find a story that touches you and you cheer for these people in their moment of glory. So, I love it. I love it enough for all you folks who just can't get into it. :)
Third: I hate interviewing, you know? As a means of explaining why I struggle with it, I wrote to a friend pretty much every thought I was having while doing an interview after the game Sunday. It was pretty funny, if I may say so, and I wish I could post it here, but it's just... too much.
I'll just tell you, it ended with , "Lick, lick, lick...." :) Trust me though, you're missing a gem.
I sometimes wish I could start a blog of all the stuff I want to say but can't because I'd offend or frighten too many people. But then how would you know to read it? So I don't.
Fourth: I kinda want to throw up every time the puck hits the outside of the net. Even when I'm just watching a game. It's such a visceral and sickening feeling. Like the ground dropping out from under you. Goalies know what I'm talking about. Fuck me, that's an awful feeling. So silent and deceptive.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Loved the post-bronze-medal-run interview with Bode Miller today:
"You need to know you enjoyed it. I mean, it's the Olympics. So, I closed my eyes as I went across the line, I kinda shut everything off for a second and went back through and gave myself a thumbs up, so I was psyched at that point. And it's obviously great to get a medal out of it, too, but at that point you have to be honest with yourself whether you performed well or didn't, and I was psyched with it."That struck a chord with me, and is pretty much how I operate, which means there's often a disconnect in the way my team perceives my play and how I perceive it.
Coach Stalin was telling me the other day how some of my teammates she plays with on another night were talking about how well I played a few weeks ago, and I just don't see it. I had a couple of good saves late in the game and we won, but a couple of goals early that were so soft, you could stuff 'em in a pillowcase and sleep on 'em.
So, I guess if it's good enough for Bodie, it's good enough for me. Stop worrying about what anybody else thinks, progress the way I need to progress, and be honest with myself about my performance.
So, my gut reaction when I saw this cage set-up was:
"Oh my god! HAHAHAHA!"
What is UP with that? Beyond the aesthetics, it doesn't even look safe. I know women don't tend to have the slapshot that will break bars on your cage, but... well... I dunno. It's like she ran through a chicken coop on her way to the rink and just kept the chicken wire wrapped around her helmet. Ugh.
It's interesting anyway. Hutch tweeted for more information on it, so hopefully we'll learn more. But really. Honey. Mercy.
Deciding whether to play the Tuesday drop-in tomorrow night. I said I'd play it when I don't get invited to Monday's drop-in, and I'd really like a little more time on this new sharpening to get used to it.
Worst case, we have too many goalies and it sucks and I have an opportunity to say something to the rink guys about how fucking stupid it is to not have a cap on how many goalies can participate.
The good news is that my knee is feeling pretty good today, so getting some rest for it has helped and alleviates my worry that there's something more significant going on that rest won't fix.
Honestly, I'm feeling kinda jacked about this new sharpening. I think it's the start of improving some things in my game, once I get past the terror of tripping over myself due to too much bite. :)
Men's Olympic hockey starts tomorrow. I'm pretty jacked for that and don't even really care what country is playing which at this point. I just need my insatiable thirst for hockey quenched. I had to stop myself several times from dialing up the NHL Network tonight to watch OTF.
This video makes me laugh from beginning to end... Is there anything funnier than a nerdy looking white guy rapping so earnestly? OMG. I think I have a new front runner for Best At-Bat Song.
Bitch. Is. Thirstayyyy.
Monday, February 15, 2010
My green team won 5-4 last night, but more because my team played unbelievable defense.
First goal, I was screened but probably should have gone down. Went right between my feet. Second, I just got burned top shelf. Got my glove up but missed it. Third, I got beat short side from a shot in close. I should have poke checked. The fourth, it was a straight shot that I was too deep for and kinda overplayed a slide and it went in just inside the far post.
But I had some pretty sweet saves. My favorite was a blocker save I made as I was sliding over. Really nice and a sure goal otherwise. Wasn't a great game but not even close to my worst either.
Lots of new faces tonight, too, which made it more fun. Very novice but just enough movement to keep it interesting, though I really didn't see a ton of shots and Jessica did and played really really well. My team was even dropping to block shots, which is just awesome and fills me with <3.
A question I need to run by my mental training coach is why it is that when I really don't want to be there, like I don't feel good or just don't feel like playing, why I play so much better. I was feeling like shit not having eaten enough at dinner and was shaking from hunger. Took a long time for the Luna bar I scarfed before I left the house to kick in.
But it frustrates me a little that good play comes from such a negative place for me. When I'm excited to play and eager at the start, those are my worst games. What's up with that??
Further, this was my first time to skate on my newly sharpened skates. I went from 1" to 3/4" hollow and boy was that a surprise when I skated to my net and tried to stop for the first time. Ha!
I got used to it for the most part by the end of the game, but I need to get out and work on t-pushes so I can get across faster. I am definitely more agile, it's easier to recover, movements are more crisp. It's going to be great in the long run, but it's a hell of an adjustment!
Pretty good V-day yesterday. Nice breakfast at Buffalo Grille with Mr.C and my favorite french toast with strawberries. Best bacon EVER at the Buff. Nommmmm.
Then we ran a few errands and I got a new laptop bag for my netbook so I don't have to carry my big ol' ugly black bag to games. It's cute and only $10 because dudes who shop at CompUSA (why are you back???) don't necessarily dig "cute." Nerds.
And then I got to cover the Aeros for the Chronicle, which is always fun to put that j-school degree to work and make the parents happy. Plus, an excuse to interview Brusty. :) Normally, I don't like to bother dragging players out of the room because my PHN stuff is so high level, player quotes on individual games aren't usually too relevant until playoff time. But for the Chron, it's good and he gave some important color for my story.
They originally rewrote my lead but I notice my version is back now. Not sure why, but I'm glad. I figure, I don't get the chance very often (nor should I, because Andrew is The Man), so I figured I'd throw a fun lead against the wall and see if it stuck.
Anyway, tough loss to a Chicago team that is just on fire right now. Not sure what's up with the boys but they're not playing with a whole lot of fire. Not bringing 60 minutes of hard compete. Just not typical, but I hope they get it together.
We have 3 goalies again. *sigh* Anton's hip is better, according to Russo, so he was sent down today. As much as I'm enjoying the Olympics, the Olympic break can just kiss my ass.
But speaking of Olys, I watched 2 periods of USA v China women's hockey. What I love about hockey in the Olys is that you really get to appreciate the underdog. Like in individual or really quick sports, the cameras just focus on the leaders and everyone else is an also-ran. But in hockey, you get to see the underdog goalie a LOT because they're just getting shelled.
And typically being the underdog goalie myself, I dig that. It's inspiring. So, I'm really going to enjoy these early rounds, I think.
Errr, I guess I better go buy a paper, huh? :)
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Forgive me while I wax poetic for a bit.
There are two images that stick out in my mind tonight:
The first is Daoust scoring the OT winner for the Aeros tonight and Brusty leaping, fists pumping, from his crease and galloping down the ice to celebrate with his teammates. SHUTOUT. Fuck yeah.
The second is waiting in the hallway to interview after the game and watching him racing to the locker room after accepting his #1 star honors--sweaty hair going every which way and grinning ear-to-ear. And no beard. Holy geez...
What a privilege it is to get to be right there to see my favorite goalie, the one who inspired ME to become a goalie, reap the rewards of a helluva lot of hard work and patience, particularly over the last few months of being shuttled back and forth between the AHL and ECHL. Amazing.
It was a great night for my other goalie, too. Jaeger allowed only 1 goal on 31 shots tonight for the Texas Brahmas, after pitching a shutout last night. One goal in 59 shots? Damn. DAMN! He's just burning it up. That's great. Though check out the penalties from this game. Good grief!
Plus there's this. And this.
Dear hockey photogs of the world,
Chicks effin' LOVE the water bottle shot. Be a hero and get at least one of these a game, will ya?
Dear hot goalies of the world,So there ya go. I've said my prayers for the night. :)
If you could just lift that lid up and squirt that water on your face a bit, while making sure the cameraman in the corner has a nice view of you, that'd be most helpful.
This is the song I had in my head all through the Aeros game tonight, but it didn't feel right for the T3I story, so I'll use it here:
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I'm still processing last night's game. I think in general "clusterfuck" is the best descriptor.
Here's the thing: being a goalie makes watching your favorite goalie both harder and easier in some respects.
You know, for instance, that some nights, it's just not your night. It just happens, no matter how good you are, no matter how bad you want it, no matter how much it means to you. It's just something you understand once you spend a little time in net.
You also know what it does to you mentally when it's very clear early on that your team isn't ready to go. And the Aeros were completely scatterbrained from the first puck drop. If you're not in just the perfect state of arousal (really? we can't come up with another way to express this, mental training coaches?), it's going to get in your head a little. You tighten up, second guess, get annoyed... I'm not saying that's what happened because I'm not in anybody's head but my own, but it DOES happen.
The sucky thing is you also know how it feels to be out there getting lit up. It. Feels. Awful. You're talking to yourself, trying to settle down and get your head right and let go of those goals. But it's hard, and doubly hard when your teammates are spinning their wheels.
So, that was tough to watch. I watched the first two periods from the corner, but felt like I needed to do something to change the luck. I dunno. Hard to figure things like that out. 4 goals in the first two periods, 3 in the third after I went up, so maybe it would have been worse if I hadn't been down there 2/3rds of the game. :)
I suppose it's pretty narcissistic to think something I do can change a game I'm not playing in, but... well.... I have a blog, an alter ego, and 300 followers on Twitter... I'd say Narcissistic is probably my middle name, yeah?
Oh well. It is what it is. Onward. *hugs* Tonight will be better.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I don't really have much to say, but I get antsy when I've had a single post up too long. Especially when the subject is in LOLcatspeak. That's cute for like a day. We're going on 3 now.
Buncha quick hits:
My dog, who is 8 years old, got groomed... like proper groomed by the kind of people who know how to make poodles look like topiaries... for the very first time yesterday and he's such a priss now!
I'm not sure if he just SEEMS prissy because he looks so neat and trim or because he knows how good he looks and he really is being a priss. He's such a "rugged" looking dog normally.... it's jarring when a dog has a better manicure than his owner.
Super excited about this weekend in sports. Excited about the Wild because Cody Almond is up and eager to see how he fares. Love to see all my pimping backed up with the big club. The kid is the whole package IMO.
Also, of course, the Olympics start. To be honest, I don't much care about anything but hockey. No figure skaters have done any kneecapping lately, so ... meh.... Mostly when I see all those talented skaters twirling around out there, I just wish more girls would play hockey. At least there'd be fewer divots in the ice. *grumble*
However, Russo is covering some of the winter events apart from hockey, and as I've often said, it's just such a thrill to watch someone who is the best in his league doing his job and loving it. This blog post tonight from Vancouver was about 18 different things, completely jacked up on coffee, and an awesome read. It proves to me that there's nothing Russo could write about that I wouldn't read. He's just good.
Finally, the Aeros have 3 in 3 at home this weekend and it looks like they're going to keep Khudobin up in Minnesota for the weekend, which means Brusty gets a start or two. And that means I'm happy for a few more days. And then Mean Mr. Mill will make bitter bunny bitter again. (There's gotta be a children's book in this right? I could do it all in jaggedy stick figures. It would be awesome. Maybe I'll do a short version as a blog post sometime.)
I have plans to interview the goalie coach of the Dallas Stars system next week. Great timing huh? I'm excited to talk to him. Usually when I interview, I have trouble coming up with questions.
I'm a terrible interviewer because a) if I'm genuinely interested in learning about someone, I don't want surface stuff. I want to really know what makes them tick, but it's hard to get there without building some trust, and that requires coming in through the front door, conversationally speaking.
And b) if I'm not genuinely interested in learning about someone, I have a hard time faking otherwise.
But in this case, I may have too many. My focus will be on the AHL level but gosh, you just can't ignore what's going on with Turco and Lehtonen and Auld.... a little goalie threesome up there in Big D.
STOP RAINING! NOW!
My new cat eye cage still hasn't shown up. You'd think ordering something from freaking Canada is like ordering it from Iran or something for how long it takes to get here. Come on, customs people, it's just a cage. Get on it!
Awesome segment on ABC 13 tonight about Jeff Crawford, the Aeros practice goalie who nearly had to step in and play when Brusty got sliced last week. (May I just interject that I've watched that injury happen like 3 times in the last 24 hours and it still sends shivers up my spine every time. *shudder* The injury happens so fast, you don't eve know it's happened... it's when he goes to get up that my heart drops to my stomach every single time I see it.) Good job by the PR guys for getting a cool story out there.
Hopefully there's video soon, but if not, I'll record it off of TV and share it at T3I.
I'm finally convinced that I'm being ridiculous skating on a 1" hollow (hush, stop laughing). So I'm going to start ramping the hollow up.
Honestly, tough, I'm not a very patient ramper-upper, so I may not even bother with 1/8th increments and just go right to 3/4 for the first sharpening. Holler at me if that's insanity, but if it's just a matter of being awkward for a few sessions... well, I already am, so no biggie.
But the more I thought about the following comment from Mike McKenna over at IGM, the more I started thinking about how the very things I'm having trouble with revolve around using my edges. I hardly have edges with my current sharpening!
I'm excited to try it and see what it does for me ... or to me... Hah. Hopefully I can get it done by Sunday and get to try it out in practice.
Q: Isn’t the 1/4” – 3/8” hollow in the skates pretty aggressive for a goalie? I thought most goalies used at least 1/2? hollow to make it easier to glide side-to-side? – Steve
A: Not really. Almost every pro goalie is around 1/2” or under. By gliding side-to-side I presume you mean shuffling. Today’s goalies never shuffle more than a foot or two at a time and it’s very controlled. T-pushes and power-pushes (movements while down in the butterfly) require sharp edges if you want to have any kind of explosiveness. I’ve been sharpening my skates like this for nearly eight years, so it’s not that new of a concept. Unfortunately many pro shops don’t understand the needs of modern goaltenders and their ‘goalie cut’ (or standardized goalie hollow) is often 1” or higher. Scary.
I asked one of my pro goalie pals what his hollow is and he doesn't even know. Amazing. I sometimes wonder how some of these guys would survive without an equipment manager to take care of them. Must be like herding cats. Really buff cats with great asses, though, so it's not like I'm tossing any pity their way.
Aaaaand with that hockey player ass reference, I think I've done my job here for the evening.
Apropos of my day:
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Oh my lord, it's been a long day. Up at 6, dog to kennel, drive to Austin, workworkwork, dinner with coworkers, hockey game (well, the final 2 periods) in Cedar Park.
Very happy to be in bed at this fine hotel with my pointy boots OFF my aching feet enjoying some free popcorn and wifi that doesn't block every site I'm addicted to except Google Reader. Ahhh....
All the other stuff is boring, so I'll tell ya about the game. Stars v. Griffins. You'd think it would be Stars all the way, but it was exactly the opposite.
Remember, Aeros fans, back when the boys would whiff on EVERY SHOT, or hit a post, or shoot just wide, or fall down, or break a stick, or or or... do anything BUT put a shot in the net? That was the Stars tonight.
Though after coming home and finding out their all-star defenseman, Ivan Vishnevsky was traded to Atlanta for Kari Lehtonen, I wonder if the room wasn't a little rattled tonight.
Even my boy Climie seemed... off. Not his usual quiet, confident, ZenMaster self.
Felt awful for Larsson in the other net. He had a shutout going with around 3 minutes left and the Stars put the puck on him and he shut down his 5-hole but it trickled through and into the net. DOH. Though I admit, it was amusing to watch him watch the replay and then shake his head. There there, Danny.
I was only there for the final 2 periods, and really, if I'm getting there 40 mins after puck drop, can't you cut me a break on the $10 parking, Cedar Park Center? What a rip off. There's ACRES of empty land around that place. You pay $7 in downtown Houston and it's a shorter walk into the arena. Pfft.
I sat by the Griffins scratch, Paul Crosty, but didn't want to bother him. Seemed nice enough though, when a group sat RIGHT next to him and started chatting with him for the entire rest of the game. Hmm.
As far as the barn, which I've been in before, but only in the rarefied air of the press box (where I have to stand to see the near boards... bad box for short people), this time I was in the "crowd"... 3000 something. A couple of things:
Dear Stars Fan behind me,
It's a puck. Not a ball. If you're gonna razz the goalie, please PLEASE at least get that rather critical fact straight.
Dear Stars Fans on the glass in front of me,
Calling Daniel "Danielle" was decent. Keep it up. Make the other goalie cry. But if you sit a little higher so your voice carries over the glass, you'll do better.
Also, you could cheer FOR your team occasionally with that big mouth of yours.
Yours in bad attitudes,
Their ice is shitty. Very wet to start the periods. Even though the place was freeeezing cold. I'm spoiled by the toasty Toyota Center.
It's also smaller than I remember. Feels more like an ECHL game, to be honest. As Mickey Mouse as Aeros games can be sometimes, it still feels more like a "big time" situation because of the Toyota Center.
However, I paid $9 and could have sat pretty much anywhere but the suites, which, BTW, were almost all occupied even though the bowl was less than half full. Now THAT was strange. I think the only people ever in the suites (at least opposite the press box) at the TC are the scratched Aeros. Definitely indicates local business support though, right?
Anyway, that's enough randomness. Time to set a wake-up call and try to sleep. Or more likely lay here and play Bejeweled Blitz for an hour and think about how fucking tired I'm gonna be driving home tomorrow. Right on.
Just about everything from Led Zeppelin says "Let's have sex in my car" to me. No clue why.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Wow, lots of nail-biting hockey tonight.
Brusty was back in goal for the Aeros and I'll be honest, I spent the first two periods watching from behind my fingers and cringing audibly when he had to ... well... do anything other than just stand there. I can only imagine it all hurt.
I know when I'm injured and playing, there's a point where you figure out which pain is "okay" and isn't making things worse, and you start to settle down and kind of numb that pain out. He looked more relaxed in the third, so hopefully that's sort of what happened. Either that or really good drugs. Or the beard gives him Goaltending Superpowers in addition to Hotness Superpowers. Nom nom nom....
Anyway, the boys were down 2-1 for a while, but my boy Almond Joy (who also had an assist on Kalus' goal to get the Aeros on the board) tied it up and then Zingoni put the Aeros ahead. Honestly, McCollum is still pretty green and hasn't come on like some of the other rookies in the league, so I wasn't surprised the Aeros put some numbers up.
But given how tired and depleted this Aeros roster is, here at the end of a dense patch in the schedule, I was impressed and surprised that they kept the shots against Barry pretty damn reasonable at 22.
Brusty took home the second star, with Zingoni getting the first for the GWG. Works for me. Come home!
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Khudobin got his first NHL start and looked absolutely like he belonged there. It was an outstanding performance against a Flyers team completely okay with putting the puck on the net as often as possible.
The Wild let him see 39 shots and he stopped all but one, which tied a Wild SEASON record for most shots. And Russo had a cool stat from the last game: "According to Elias Sports Bureau, Khudobin's 9:33 of ice time was the shortest amount of time in NHL history to get one's first win." That's pretty cool.
Meanwhile, damn, the Flyers really are assholes. I don't usually have to think about it much with them being in the east but Scotty Hartnell really is a pain in the ass. Of course, if he's your guy, he "plays with an edge" but if he's the other team's guy... well, he's kind of a shit stain. But his curls are spectacular, so, ya know, props for that. We could totally talk product...
Anyway, they won 2-1 with goals from Clutterbuck and Nolan, and Anton was 1st star and still looks as "OMG this is happening to me" as he did last game. The crowd was off the chain for him, which was cool to hear. And honestly, I rarely cheer for games at home anymore, but I did a bunch of it tonight, both for the Wild and the Aeros. It was fun and I was rewarded with some great hockey.
Dear Hockey Gods,
Aeros don't play again until Friday. I'd really like that playing to include Brusty. I know that means keeping someone else hurt or whatever, but I've been a good girl lately, so maybe you can see fit to accommodate my request. I would be most appreciative.
Another win for Mr. Stubble and the Brahmas tonight. 38 stops on 40 shots and he earned the second star for the second night in a row. Wooo... I know the Brahmas Insider blog went to the game in Shreveport, so there will be pics in a few days. Something to look forward to during a few days without game action.
God, how heartbreaking is the tragic death of Brian Burke's son, Brendan? Completely. I would never have known anything about the guy if not for Justin Bourne tackling homophobia in hockey, which prompted Brendan to make the bold decision to come OUT out (he was already out, just not out on ESPN).
From everything I read, he was an amazing guy, a passionate hockey guy of the highest quality, a great person in general. And then for him to tackle something so big and forbidding... wow. What character and strength.
One can only hope something good will come of this. That someone will pick up the torch and use this tragedy as the impetus for continued awareness and change. I think it's safe to say that's what Brendan would want.
Words seem empty right now, but I think all hearts in the hockey world... and they are some of the biggest hearts in all of sports... go out to the Burke family.
I'm being asked for my firm commitment to attend the hockey camp this summer where I'll play goal for a bunch of skater campers. There's no goalie instruction, but plenty of shots to face as the skaters do drills and scrimmages. It's a great chance to work on things on my own, and I'd certainly work up a plan for making the most of it for my benefit.
Just trying to figure out the budget for it as I think our household economy is about to take a rather grim hit. I can fly for free and stay at any Marriott for free, but baggage fees are going to be ridiculous (must remember to ask my favorite frequent flying goalie for tips... remind me!), need to get a stick bag, then the camp fee (nominal for goalies just to pay for a jersey and other incidentals).
And then probably a car rental so I can toodle around the city in my off time. I have a feeling there will be no shortage of off-ice stuff to do, seeing as how I have quite a nice bunch of folks up there I have to meet. Will have to arrange a "to do" and invite everyone out. I'm thinking a Russoville reunion? Yeahhh...
Probably higher on my list of must-dos is go to wherever the best selection of goalie gear is, spend a few moments trying not to cry at the sight of pads and chest protectors and everything that aren't just pictures on the internet... and then make that store my bitch. Depending on finances, I might not buy a thing, but by god, I'll be making a Christmas list that will perceptibly boost the Chinese economy.
Props to Nick for the pep talk tonight. After watching video of me playing, I'm having a little bit of a crisis of confidence and was kinda freaking about not being good enough for this camp.
How is it that saves seem so fast and dramatic to me when it's happening, but on video, it's like, nobody should miss that shot, ever.
But the good thing is that it reinforces some things for me that Scott's been harping on and gives me a goal to reach over the next 6 months before camp. And that goal is simply faster recovery to my feet after a save on the ice.
I could be giving blow jobs between shots for how much time I spend on my knees. Jeeeezus....
But I do that because I don't recover quick enough and most of my shots come low, so in the heat of the battle, the logical and lazy side of me says, "Meh, just stay down until the puck is to safety."
Still, it's just brutal to watch and it's wrong, so I have to fix it. The good thing is that I'm doing other stuff better than I thought I was. My movement around the crease is not horrific, I'm doing much better about getting tight to my posts, tracking the puck, staying square, etc.
Playing too deep and not popping up after a low save are the two challenges I need to make a significant dent in over the next 6 months. Not really sure how I'm going to do it to be honest, but I'll find a way.
Dear Barry's Leg,
Please get better quickly. Nie is quite literally out of his league. We need you back. I kindly offer gentle boo-boo kisses or whatever would make you heal up quick and let the big guy do his job.
Jaeger got a big win tonight in Corpus that put him over .500 for the season finally (unless you count those silly couple of OT and SO losses, which I don't... haha). CHL has to have the worst traavel of any league anywhere. I guess those guys just live on the bus because it looks like they just drive through the night.
They played in Corpus tonight and will play in Shreveport tomorrow night. If Mr.C had gotten stuck in Missouri this weekend, I'd planned to surprise my parents (who live an hour from Shreveport) and go up for the game. I STILL haven't gotten to see Jaegs play since I've known him. My luck, Palmer would have started.
Though the one Mudbugs game I've been to, he was the opposing goalie. I just didn't know him at the time, though I do remember telling my parents, who were attending their first hockey game ever, that the other goalie was pretty good. In fact, he got the win.
I fucking love this song.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I was so tired after the Aeros game, from sleeplessness the last two nights and from willing that puck to stay out of Barry's net, that I had to go back this morning and remember what I wrote for T3I. All I know is that the stick figure is my second favorite of the season (the Montoya one still just cracks me up too much to get bumped out of first).
It was, of course, a take off of Monty Python's Black Knight from The Holy Grail (h/t to John for making that connection as I was drawing the bloody stump):
During the second, I stood next to Hannu Toivonen, the Peoria back-up goalie (who ended up getting in the game after the third goal against with 15 minutes left). He's a quiet guy and spent most of the game talking to the equipment guy or whoever that was for Peoria. Did notice he had almost brand new pads though. Bright white still with just a few puck marks. Pretty.
Stark contrast to Chris Holt from last year who is a ball of infectious energy.
Feeling overwhelmed with work and hockey obligations right now. If I get my work done, my hockey work doesn't get done. If I get my hockey work done, my real job suffers. One pays me money. One pays me in every other way. *sigh*
Not to say that I don't play a hand in that. If I were, you know, working right now instead of writing this blog, I'd be doing the right thing, but I had things on my mind and I had to get them off my mind so I could get my stuff done.
If you've ever wondered what it's like the telecommute. That video is pretty much it.
Of course for me, it's Twitter and Facebook and Google Reader and my blog and my delightful new vibrator that take the place of cleaning and going to the grocery store. Which means my house is a mess and I'm hungry on top of my stuff not being done.
That said, I really do have to get my stuff done. I've blogged. I've turned Twitter off. I do have the Wild game pulled up on my Slingbox. And with that one distraction, I vow right now to get my stuff done tonight.
I've confirmed that I'll be at the Stars vs. Griffins game Tuesday in Austin. That should be fun. Looking forward to either scouting Todd Ford or cheering for Matt Climie. If I weren't going with work folks, I'd make a point to get a picture of him stretching, since he's also in my personal Goalie Stretch HOF.
Oh right, I was gonna get my stuff done now. Fuck.
UPDATE of stuff I've gotten done since I posted this:
- Discovered the software I'm trying to write about won't open for me, so now I have to work on something different
- Harding's hip explodes
- Anton goes in and I hold my breath for like 15 minutes while he makes 9 stops and looks amazing and I'm so fucking proud of him.
- Totally have twitter open the whole time. Like I'm supposed to sit there and talk to myself during all this? Bitch, please.
- Get like 6 new, legit followers on Twitter (why?)
- Remember I haven't eaten dinner
- Heading to get some dinner since I have no food in the house
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
So I was up at 4:45 Tuesday after not getting to sleep until 1 a.m. dealing with hockey laundry and winding down from drop-in. Spent 3 hours driving to Austin. Spent all day in a brainstorming session (during which, I have to say, I had the pivotal idea that ended up being our solution... go me!). Then dinner with team, including a delicious Texas martini, which I could totally use another one of right now.
(And I suddenly remember my hotel has a bar... Wonder how late it's open and if I can stand to put my stiletto boots on again.)
Tomorrow, it's more fleshing out the results of today's brainstorming, though frankly, once I've had a big idea, I kinda check out. We'll see if I'm any use.
Then I'm heading back to get to Houston in time for the Aeros game, which I hear may include one Barry Brust on the roster. Lately all this means is just kinda waiting for the dreaded reassignment and ensuing feelings of bitterness for the misguided decisions being made.
To be honest, I just can't ride the highs and lows of this anymore, so don't expect hysterics. But it would be great to see him play. Fleeting greatness, but greatness all the same. I'll take what I can get and be grateful for it.
Meanwhile, I fell asleep exhausted around 10 tonight and then woke up at 11:30 and haven't been back to sleep. It's 4:45 a.m. now and I've gotten an hour and a half of sleep the last 24 hours.
Blessedly, my goalie gal Nicky is up to keep me company. Holla, West Coastie! I just said this to her in chat telling her about my latest beauty of an inner-thigh bruise from "a 5-hole slapper that beat me as I was going down" and decided it was about the dirtiest sentence I've ever written. At least by accident. Heh.
She also gave me the heads up on this new site called iCoach, which is kinda clumsy, but with video coming from Snik, maybe I can put it to some use with some of the goalie coaches on there. Assuming I'm brave enough to share any of it. :)
Speaking of which. OMG. Rawr.
And on that note, maybe I'm inspired to work on going to sleep. ;) Another long day tomorrow but I get to sleep in my own bed. And then I get to do this all over again next week, but at least I'll get to see a hockey game next time.
Ahhh, Vampire Weekend. Never really know what they're on about but I don't really care either. Just adore them.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
My awe at just how amazing hockey has been for me never ceases. Let me just say that the Wild organization has the two best "primary" beat writers in either league in Mike Russo and Andrew Ferraro.
You won't meet two guys who are more in tune with their team, have better relationships throughout the leagues, and are extremely generous with their time and passion for the game with fans and peers and really pretty much anyone who asks.
And to get to learn from them and watch them work is really something I never anticipated, but the advice and support have been phenomenal and unexpected, and therefore, that much more appreciated.
Got to finally meet Russo tonight, which was awesome. He was there with a large contingent of Wild folks, including Wild GM Chuck Fletcher (who always is younger-looking than I expect). Used to be, when Risebrough was in town, the boys would just crater and not just lose, but lose in the most miserable fashion.
But not tonight. So as much as I'd like to thump every last one of those guys between the eyes for not giving Brusty a chance, it's nice that either they didn't assert the same voodoo as the old regime did when they were in town... or maybe Abbotsford is really just that bad. (Actually, I think Abby really is that bad.)
Anyway, I had to bail early to get to Sugar Land for drop-in. It was a fun night and there were more good players than usual, so I got lit up like a christmas tree. But I love that kind of challenge and I made some killer stops. My defense was amazing at times and more of a solution than the problem at times, but then, so was I, so I guess that's just how it goes. :)
Definitely one of those, "FUCK I LOVE BEING A GOALIE!" nights.
I was not hydrated enough though, so I got fuzzy headed later in the game. Literally, an opponent was 6 feet away from the side of my net and I went, "Oh! The puck's here!" Shit, girl. Wake up!
Snikpip came out to get a little hockey fix and took a good bit of video of me, which I'm terrified and excited to watch. He showed me a little bit of it, a no-goal that everyone thought went in. Suckahs!
Okay, I get to hit the road at 5:30 to drive to Austin for work. It's a 2-day-long brainstorming session. Gonna bail early on Wednesday so I can get back for the Aeros game Wednesday night. Best make good time as there are eleventybajillion scouts in Texas right now and they have no problem just taking your seat and apologizing "sweetheart" later.
Though the one next to me (very close because we were crammed in like sardines) tonight says, "No snuggling!" and I said, "Awwww, come on! You're no fun!" :) Scouts are a funny lot. I'd love to just hang out with one for a while and understand how they work. I take furtive glances at their notes but none of makes sense to me, which makes me all the more curious.
Time to throw the laundry in the dryer and sleep. Not only did the hockey gods bless me with a fun game tonight, they made my Funyuns extra Funyuny. I think that means they love me. But then I think about how I've got a really sore oblique muscle, and a huge lump of a bruise on my inner thigh, and a crampy calf and I realize... maybe they're just helping me limp along. :) That's okay too. I'll take help where I can get it.
I love this song. Feeling far away from loved ones lately. Mr. C, my best friends, my parents. Feels like a good one.