Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Vesa Effect

Read a couple of goalie things today worth blogging about:

First is this intro to an article from Die by the Blade, a Sabres blog, on why Jhonas Enroth can and should be Ryan Miller's back-up. As much as I love AHL goalies, I know next to nothing about Enroth, so I have no opinion on that one way or another, but the intro caught my attention:

What in the world drives a person to become a hockey goaltender? Of all the positions to play, it is the easiest spot to place the blame on when things go awry. There's a slim chance of being a hero, but the odds of turning into a villain are higher, and there's also the compliance of placing your body before a puck being fired ferociously, tracking it's destination, while putting up with forwards who refuse to get out of your way blurring your vision like a blindfold.
The lonely feeling of teammates skating away after a goal is conceded and the sad fact that the netminder won't be included in a scoring celebration - as an unwritten rule, a player who's found himself a goal should skate over to his goaltender for a complimentary fist pound before the next whistle - can create a sense of abandonment. But there's also the triumph of a win, symbolized by the extraordinary feeling of everyone skating towards you for a celebration. Handling such ends of a spectrum are their obstacle, and treating it smoothly, is why they are uncommon athletes.
Goalies? What do you think of this description of our position? I love to read how people (even goalies) perceive the position on an emotional or interpersonal level.

Personally, this is pretty much the opposite of how I feel about the position. I guess I don't really crave being the hero, but I do want my efforts to be important and have an impact. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but it always matters.

And as opposed to feeling lonely and neglected, this is how I watch hockey:

Everything revolves around goalies in my head. Always has, even before I knew anything about the position, or even hockey, really. I always wanted to watch my goalie make saves rather than watch our players score goals. I suppose some people think the goalie is like Pluto, just orbiting off in the distance, occasionally coming into view, but in my world, the goalie is the sun and everything revolves around them.

And even when the action moves to the other end, I'm busy watching the other goalie, looking for break-out threats, thinking through things I need to work on, catching my breath, etc. to even consider being lonely. I honestly felt more lonely and just generally bad when I skated out. I always felt uncertain and uncomfortable and out of place. Yuck.


Now, on to the other piece. You know how I got my Vesa Toskala Leaf's shirt for $6 a while back? And you know how he got traded to the Ducks and then like a week later, traded to Calgary?

Well, apparently he is not going to be re-signed by Calgary. Not because he's bad (at least from his perspective), but because... you might wanna sit down here...
"Vesa made it very clear that he wanted to be a one or 1A in the league," said Sutter.
 I'll give you a moment while you laugh your ass off.

Oh man. To top it off, Mirtle's comment on this quote on Twitter was, "Was always delusional." Ha!

I love Vesa. No matter how crappy or crazy I get, there's always Vesa doing it just a little bit crappier and crazier to make me feel better. Every goalie in the league should send him a tip each season just to thank him for keeping the big heat off of them.

But it does take me back to the mentality of goalies again. Is Vesa delusional because he HAS to be to survive the pressure? Are all goalies cocky to a point, just as a means of keeping their head above water when things get rough? And I don't mean cocky as people, but cocky about their play. "I'm better than that guy." "I could have stopped that." I think you have to be, right?

But there's confident and then there's just plain, "Dude, you need to get a grip on reality."

I'm kinda reverse cocky... when I play well, I'm pretty quiet about it (well, not here, but on the ice) and then usually crater under the pressure to keep playing well (oh-ver-think-ing *clap clap clapclapclap*). It's when I'm playing poorly and THEN do something good that I'm a little mouthy about it because I'm just freaking excited to not be hating myself for a little while. :)


And a couple of Blue Jays notes:

I missed all but the first inning last night against the Rays. We went to dinner after that, and on the way home, I flip the XM radio over to the game just to see what the score was (love that about XM). It said, "TOR 9, TB 0."

WOOO!!! Yeah! I look at it 5 more times to make sure I'm seeing that right. Cuz, like, the Rays are really good and the Jays... well, they've got Kevin Gregg. But hey, that's what the little screen says, so it must be true. I laid in bed and thought about how I was going to pull up the archive of the game and watch it today and savor the whole thing. Ohhh, won't it be grand?!

And then I log on this morning. And I see one of the Jays beat writers on Twitter saying how hard it is to go down and interview "after games like that." And I'm thinking... "What does he mean?"

So I go to TB 9, TOR 0.


Silly birds.

On the upside, today Mr.C was on a conference call in the living room and he stops in mid sentence, says, "Hold on a sec," put the phone on mute, calls upstairs to me, "Hey, if you hurry, there's a big blue jay on the deck!" I thought that was pretty sweet of him, given he generally just rolls his eyes at my new interest in baseball.

And let me tell you, I'm predicting a win tonight because that bird looked like a mean cuss. I dunno if he was pissed or trying to impress a girl or what, but he was all puffed up and skulking around the deck railing. Pretty funny. Go Jays, dammit!


maalivahti  June 10, 2010 at 8:21 PM  

I have to be honest I skipped the whole part about baseball. :P But I didn't find the goalie description in the beginning to ring true at all either. I'm willing to bet it wasn't written by a goalie. Abandonment? What? After a goal you might get a tap to the pads, or a "don't worry we'll get it back". I'm not saying every time, but enough of the time. And I'm not doing it for the spotlight either. I just simply can't imagine doing anything else. The feel of making saves, hell even moving around in the crease is what it's all about.

deirdrebeth  June 11, 2010 at 9:20 PM  

There's something about the sheer thrill of stopping that d-bag on the breakaway that makes it all worth it. But I do understand where that's coming from. There is no goalie line. If you see your back-up it's because something has gone wrong, and you only get to sit on the bench and talk about that last play if the same is true. Yes you get the hugs at the end of the game, but even if you made the breakout pass it's unlikely that the goal celebration will make it all the way back to you. So if you're in the game for the camaraderie it's probably not the right position for you. On the other hand you're in control of your position, and everyone knows the team fails without a good goalie so there's a lot of respect for that crazy person who chooses to be a goalie. So you win some and you lose some - kinda like the games :-)

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