Thursday, July 22, 2010

Minnesota Day 2

I headed to the rink first thing to check in and drop my gear off. Met everyone and just sat in the rink and taped my stick and took it all in. As a Wild fan, I've been hearing about Parade for a while, so it was cool to finally get to see it, even though they only practice there occasionally.

It's kinda weird to go to a rink and not see loads of little girls and their little rolling figure skater bags. And in spite of it being fairly warm out, the ice at Parade is probably the nicest I've ever skated on. Smooth and clean. Not too hard, not too soft. Just perfect.

Then I went to Al's Breakfast over in Dinkytown (UM campus is in that area). Al's was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and looked like a swell place to carb up for the day. It is even tinier than I expected, but the pancakes and hash browns were fantastic. Well worth the long wait and risk of getting a parking ticket (only had 28 minutes worth of quarters for the meter).

Then it was off to Hockey Giant again, which I wrote about in my last post. I'd gone back intending to get some different thigh protectors, but the ones I wanted don't work with my pads. And then I got to looking at the chest protectors again. $220 later...

Then it was off to the rink again. I'd planned to go to the Twins game, but was told that due to street closures for a parade, I needed to be there by 3. Turned out that didn't really seem to be the case as there was a back way into the parking lot (which is how I got out last night), but not knowing my way around, who knows if I would have figured that out.

Probably better to rest up a bit instead. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Anyway, back at the rink, I watched the campers do their power skating sessions and figured out that the Red group is the top (would call them C/C+ in Houston), Green is the middle group (D+/C), and Blue is the true novice folks.

It's interesting to see how the coaches change the drills up to teach the same stuff but in a manageable way for the level of students, both in the power skating and in the individual skills sessions I tended. And that was all I did yesterday: 3 back to back to back individual skills sessions at an hour each.

Nothing too strenuous though. Because of the level of shooters, 75% of shots were stoppable standing up, either with a stick or skate or leg pad or whatever.

The best part was taking shots from the coaches, all of whom are Canadian. Honestly, if I tended in a pro game, you'd see football scores on the board. These guys just rip 'em. Not even heavy shots really, but just fast and precise and instant release. Lasers. I have even more respect for what pro goalies can do now than ever before.

The coaches beat me pretty much every time except for once. It was a 3 on 0 drill and they came up the ice after all the campers. That's without question the most talent and skill I've ever faced en masse. I stopped the first shot, stopped a rebound shot, and then the final attempt hit the cross bar. No goal, bitches!

One of the coaches reminds me a ton of Kevin Constantine, just looks-wise. He's a lot sillier though. I like him a lot. Seems like a guy you'd wanna party with.

Anyway, so far, so good. I'm having fun and feeling pretty good. Somehow I hurt my glove side pinky finger. The whole middle section of the finger is purple and swollen. Took another hard shot off the bottom of my elbow. Just a weird spot from a weird angle. No bruise yet but it hurts.

Easy day today, tending a 75 minute team skills session and a 60 minute individual skills session. Friday is when all hell breaks loose and I'm playing 5+ hours. Not in a row, thankfully.

Meanwhile, time to see about getting a little more sleep. I'm not a very good hotel sleeper. Too many strange noises. And an ant in my bed just now. That's nice.


Nick in New York  July 22, 2010 at 8:16 AM  

that would be Joey. Awesome guy. Check out A) how loose his skates are and B) how short his stick is. Dude is just silly good. He'll pull campers aside and show them little things - like how to interfere with an opposing player along the boards without being "obvious." Awesome.

And, did I tell you the ice at Parade was sweet, or what?!

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