Monday, August 30, 2010

Rambling Monday

Poor little blog. So lonely and boring. But man, have I been busy. Between work and hockey season writing gearing up and playing hockey and trying not to completely ignore Mr.C and stuff around the house, I don't have time to sit down and have the quiet time I'm used to.

I don't know if all only-children are like this, but I do love me some quiet, alone time. I start to feel frazzled and disconnected from myself if I don't get it. But then if I get too much of it, I drive myself crazy, so I guess there's a balance.

Anyway, went to the presser last week for the Aeros. Whoever decided to hold it at the Maple Leaf Pub was a freaking genius. Normally I'm all tense at these kinds of things, but I actually had a really good time. I don't know if it's because there were a few fans and booster club folks there to make it a little more festive (and not just PR people and serious reporters like myself ... haha)... anyway, I could make some guesses as to why the lighter mood but who knows.

Regardless, it was a good event and while I'd spent all summer feeling not very excited for hockey season, I am now. Part of that is a credit to Mike Yeo, who honestly surprised me with his... I dunno what. Likability? Not that I expected him to be a jerk or anything, but he was extremely open with us beat writers and quick witted, but is clearly has a lot of fire and intensity and drive.

I loved Kevin Constantine and I may have even gone into the presser with a little bit of judgment in my cold, dark heart. KC is all I've ever known as a hockey writer and I learned an awful lot from him and had a great deal of respect for him. So, for Yeo to have won me over and for me to have left the presser going, "Okay, now I see why people are so excited" is a real testament to the guy. I think he's a great follow up to what KC did here.

Now it's time to see what he can do and I'm eager to see that.

This is the first season where I'm really approaching the team with a reasonable amount of objectivity. My first year covering them, I was fresh out of the second row, screaming insults at the guy in the penalty box. The team had me by the heart.

Last year was just 100% Brusty Insanity. If he was up, I couldn't even be on press row. I had to be down in the corner, living or dying with every shot on goal. And when he was in Florida, I was judging whoever was in goal. And hating them. And hating everybody. And just generally being MsConduct CrankyPants.

But now my primary feeling about the Aeros is just, for the love of god, give me something interesting to write about. Cuz last year, I had nothing. When you took away the Brusty stuff, I had so little feeling about that team. I didn't understand them. I couldn't find their pulse. I'm not entirely sure that, as a team, they even had one. The players might not agree with that, but I think anybody watching from the stands would. Especially following up a season that was one heart attack after another.

Anyway, it's a clean slate for this team and Yeo made it VERY clear that he doesn't want any comparisons to previous years. Sir, yes sir. So gimme something fresh to write about and it won't happen.


On a personal note, I've been sievier than usual lately. I battled hard the last couple of games, but just didn't get it done like I wanted. I got a piece of nearly every puck that went in Saturday night, but they squeezed through somehow. More of a ricer than a sieve I guess.

It was still fun though. I really like this new crop of novice players. The game was as fast as I've ever seen novice and that was without the C league coach type guys playing. Also, I adore my defensemen. They talk to me, and not just when I've made a good save or let a stinker in. I have a dialogue with them and feel more like I'm on a team. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and definitely raises my compete level, but unfortunately, that isn't always enough. We still won, but I let too many in.

Anyway, drop in tonight, women's league tomorrow, just hired someone to paint the whole interior of our house, gotta sort out ice time for camp, and I've got a dozen other little things to deal with on top of work. Busy is good, right?

First, though, Egg McMuffin.

Okay, no, first Muppet Monday. Then Egg McMuffin.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Quick Hits: Camp Brusty, Gear Update

Oof, the blog looks so lonely without a post in so long. I'd apologize for the lack of updates but that seems pretentious. And also, I'm not that sorry, because I've been working on something pretty cool.

I'm partnering with Vancouver-based goalie coach Sean Murray and our very own Brusty to host a goalie camp here in Houston next summer, so I've been busy building a web site for it. Don't worry... only Sean and Brusty will be coaching, and I'm doing most everything else around organizing it.

Though I may be a student, which already has a fire lit under me. I'd been playing about 6 months when I went to watch this camp last summer and I remember thinking how I would have been the most hopeless person on the ice, including the littlest kid. Hopefully it wouldn't be that bad now, and particularly 10 months from now. I recall even the warm-ups looking exhausting. Haha. I'm screwed.

Anyway, I think it's going to be fun working with those guys, but also great for local goalies to either supplement the help we get from local coaches like Scott or, possibly for some goalies, it's all they get all year. Houston isn't exactly littered with people who understand goal well enough to coach it, so it's a fabulous opportunity to learn from guys who make their living with goaltending.

Plus they're both super foxy. So that's practically like a discount for the ladies.

I'll be pimping the web site and the camp for the next 10 months, so be ready to get sick of hearing about that.


Gear Update!

My chest protector finally got some work Saturday night at novice practice. Took a couple of good shots right in the boobs and felt nothing but a thump. Beauty! But my mask chin is still battling with the neck guard on the chesty. I'd cut it off of my old one, but it was old so I didn't really care. Now I'm not so sure. I have my Maltese, so it's not the craziest idea ever.

My skates, OTOH, get better and better and better all the time. I feel like my skating is more confident now, and I don't dread skating anymore. I even did some of the skating drills at practice Saturday night, which I used to do pretty much anything to avoid. Maybe I can finally start to play the puck with some confidence? That would be exceptional.

Plus, I don't have to go to the bench and take "foot breaks" during warm ups while my feet acclimate to the pain. And I don't have to hop from foot to foot while play is at the other end to try and alleviate the pain. How the fuck did I go so long in those skates?? If I hadn't sold them in Minnesota, I'd take 'em out back and burn 'em.

I'm hoping my new pads are a similar revelation. They can't get here soon enough. But it's only been a week since I ordered them, so it's at least another 2 before I get them, possibly 3 or 4 weeks depending on shipping. Hurry, Don Simmons!

Back at SLICE for drop-in for the first time in a month tonight. I've been playing pretty slow players in that time, so I'm going to have to rev up. Hopefully my team will give me a good warm up so I'm not quite so cold to the speed.


Crash Kings are audible Stetson. I can't explain it. I just know I can't get enough of them lately.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The one where I go off on pro hockey players who suck at Twitter but either don't know it or don't care

This rant has been building up for a while. I'm big into the Twitter, ya know, because it's awesome. And I'd say easily 95% of the people I follow have a hockey connection. Fans, writers, fellow goalies, players.

There's a real goalie community on there and I enjoy the heck out of that. Plus news is instant (and sometimes wrong, but most of the time it's not) and we keep each other amused quite nicely. I know it isn't for everybody, but I adore it.

And icing on the cake is that many pro hockey players have hopped on Twitter and taken to it nicely. Some, like Paul Bissonnette, took to it a little too nicely, offended some people, and his agent shut him down. BTW, boo on you, sir or ma'am, as we were enjoying watching his hilarious trainwreck of bad grammar, "unfiltered" opinions -- okay, he's an idiot, or at least pretends to be one -- and homeless photos.

A few players really nail it (more on them later), but so many just don't get it. They treat it like they're as much employed by their team's PR department as by hockey ops. They are polite and boring. They are obsessed with the number of followers they have and growing that number.

But rather than growing that number by being interesting and having people follow because they want a peek at the player without the team-spun façade, their first tweets look something like this:

"Let's get to 1000 followers today! I'll follow the first 10 to RT this!"


"I'll donate $5000 to charity when I reach 8,000 followers! Please RT!"

And subsequent tweets are mere variations on the theme. Or they turn on the cliche machine:

"Working out hard. Looking forward to a great season! Sushi for dinner!"

Really? Because we figured you were probably sitting on your ass, eating fried chicken, and dreading the season. Thanks for setting us straight. (And honestly, hockey players and sushi. We get it. You like lean meats and carbs rolled up in seaweed. Sheesh.)

What we don't ever get is an opinion, a taste of what the person is like when you take the gear away, anything that makes us laugh or think or relate to them. And when you don't get that, you start to wonder if it's even the player tweeting or is it some intern in their agent's office? Or worse, are they really that boring?

So, dear pro hockey players, here's what we want from you:

We want to know what you are about off the ice. What do you get excited about? What blows your mind? What gives you pause? What do you celebrate? What are your pet peeves?

  • We know from Dan Ellis that he's into cars and annoying dangerous wildlife. 
  • We know that Mike McKenna is crazy about car racing and he's painting his house (and regretting not hiring someone else to do it). 
  • For shit's sake, we know Mark Dekanich's calls his grandmother Nana and that she's an amazing cook! 
That's what we want from you. We want you to tweet like we tweet. Be a real person for us. Stop being a mouthpiece.

There's even a tag that these soulless pro hockey tweeters use that I never saw until they hit the Twitterverse this summer in decent numbers: #PassthePuck. Was there a memo about this to the players with a Tweet Script? That's certainly how it feels, and while many thousands of people follow these guys, I'm so turned off by it, I don't bother.

My thought is, if they ever DO say anything interesting, someone will RT it and I'll see it then. And if it happens a couple of times, then maybe this player has found a way out of the Matrix and is speaking for himself finally.

But thankfully, some guys do get it right. In fact, it was McKenna's tweet about reaching 1,600 followers last night that set me off. Not because he was tweeting about his follower count but because he never asks for followers and never self-promotes. And yet he still rewarded his followers with a pretty funny picture of him dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage for Halloween a couple of years ago.

THAT is how you acknowledge your fans with grace. McKenna could write the book, really. He shares parts of his life with his fans, he answers questions, he talks about whatever is annoying him at the moment or what is awesome for him at the moment. He was even very frank when Johan Hedberg was signed by the Devils, that he was disappointed to not be getting a chance to battle for that #2 spot behind Brodeur.

In short, he tweets just like you and me. It's just life. With less cussing and obnoxious drunk tweets.

Like McKenna, Dekanich, and Ellis, other good follows are Bobby Ryan (funny kid), and newcomer (recently signed by Charlotte) Mike McKenzie (son of TSN's Bob McKenzie, who is a terrific tweeter himself, so it's no surprise, and tweets between the two are fun to see, too). Any wonder some of the best are AHL guys...

Look, I'm not looking for perfect grammar or their darkest secrets or even replies to our tweets to them (that's just a bonus). And I'm glad players are jumping on. But if you're just going to spam your fans with demands for retweets, don't bother. Spare us the discovery that you have so little to say. Let us live with the fiction that you are as interesting off the ice as you are on it.

Now, get back to that workout, because we know you're really looking forward to [insert team name] making a run at it this year. *yawn*


Just a quick addendum, check out the "Prospects learn value of social media" article on this live blog from the Research, Development and Orientation camp the NHL is putting on. Check out this list of rules they give the kids doing this camp:
1-Always remain focused on your message
2-Take a team first approach
3-Set a good example
4-Be interesting, not controversal [sic]
5-Establish yourself as the real deal
6-Become a fan favorite
7-Don't let your guard down
Number 1 makes me want to cut a bitch. Some make good sense, like 7 and 5. 6 makes no sense at all. What does that even mean?


Pink Vomit Save

More women's league tonight. More sieve. It was better than the first game but nowhere as good as last week. Granted, the game was 75% in my end, so 4 goals isn't hideous, but HOW those goals were scored matters more to me than how many these days.

I've got this issue with my glove when I'm trying to cover the puck on the ice beside my left pad, there's a gap and the puck will just trickle on through for THE softest goal you could possibly imagine. Makes me want to catch on fire and turn into a pile of ashes right where I stand. Fuck.

But oh well. This team probably thinks they'd be better off playing 3 D instead of me since I've lost for them twice now, but the other two know I have some stuff because they saw me last week. (Only 3 teams in the league so the red team I played for tonight was off last week.)

My best save of the night was before the game even started. I don't like to be in the locker room any more than I have to be, so I get my lower half on and then go out and watch whoever's on the ice before us until the zam comes out, and then I finish my upper half.

Well, tonight there was a kiddy team (mites, squirts, bantam, midgets... how the fuck do people keep em straight? They all sound like 6 year olds.) before us on the ice. Coach had them skate laps at the end and some poor kiddo does a few laps and then heads over to the bench and barfs EVERYWHERE. Many times.
He'd had some red Gatorade, BTW. Yeah.

So I head back in the room and tell the girls about the Festival of Liquid WhateverThatKidHadForDinner that they're about to have to go stand in. They rush into action and stake their claim on the OTHER bench thanks to my intel. Snack on that, purple team.

So, even if I did nothing else right tonight, I kept my girls from having to tromp around in kid vomit for an hour. That might have been one of my best saves ever.

Also found a buyer for my "old" pads. She wears a 34 so they'll be perfect for her. Pretty happy to be able to find a good home for them. They're not bad pads. They just aren't my size. And the stuffing is falling out of hers, so she's in need.

Anyway, I've got a bye at women's league next week, so it will just be novice pracky on Saturday night and my dearly beloved Monday drop-in. I'd been thinking it kinda sucks for all my playing days to be in one chunk like it is (Saturday-Tuesday), but I realized, I'm pretty happy having a few days to rest up and get a mental break. If I were playing 3 days a week, every other day, I'd lose my mind. Or have to learn to play hungover. :)


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scrambling Yelps

Woof. Boy did I sieve it up tonight at novice league. Lots and lots of soft goals. On the best days, I find it difficult to get into "intense goalie mode" but it's especially bad on Saturday when I'm all chilled out and weekendy. Ah well. We still won, but certainly not because I did anything useful.

However, maybe my attention to trying to work some desperation saves into my game is helping. There were a couple of instances where I had to scramble down on the ice and I did so with less hesitation than usual, and we were able to keep the puck out. So hopefully that positive outcome will reinforce the behavior.

Anyway, no biggie.

Ordered my new pads today. All white Simmons 995s, which they compare to Revoke Pro pads. Gonna be a few weeks before they come, so I can build up a solid hate for my current pads while I wait. Non-rotating, knee-wrecking sons of bitches. I hope the new ones fit. They take several measurements to tell you which size to get. On stuff like this, I really appreciate the level of customer service Simmons provides.

Wooo! New pads!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quick hits: Jays blog and new pads!

So, I don't want to blog about the Jays here, but as you have seen, things come up and I'm so warped that I fear if I don't write about something that's on my mind, I may cease to exist. Or my head will explode. Or you guys won't know what I'm thinking! Oh the humanity.

And since I don't really have much to say about baseball that's very long winded, I went the Tumblr route. I'm actually not a big Tumblr fan. Either have a blog or have Twitter, but Tumblr is sort of in between and more media rich, so pics, video, etc.

Anyway, we'll see how it goes. You can follow it on Google Reader just like a real blog. It just won't be pages of entertaining angst about knees and goaltending and Brusty lust (sorry, man, but hey, at least it's your Jays!)

What pushed me over the edge, because I'd been thinking about this for a while, was the whole Meats Don't Clash thing. When it hit me like a bolt of lightening that that would be an awesome blog name, I knew that was my cue to go Tumbl the Jays. Now if I could figure out how to Tumbl JUST my Jays tweets over there... that would be cool.

Oh, you can go to there by clicking here:


I wasn't expecting this so soon but it looks like I've gotten funding for new pads. I'm pretty jacked about that, but now my head is spinning with information.

I knew absolutely nothing about anything when I bought my first set (RBK 6ks with no break). And they were mis-measured because, as I found out in MN, my skates were too big and skate size is part of the measurement. DOH!

So now that I have skates that fit, I remeasure and get 32", which is exactly what I thought I needed (have 34s now and my knee rests between the knee stack and the calf pad... and when I say rests, I mean, my knee slams into the ice in that spot every time I butterfly).

It occurs to me that having my knee actually rest on the pad stack like it's supposed to might even help with my knee woes. Less torque on the knee and whatnot. We'll see.

I'd love to go custom but I don't think it's necessary. And I do like the feel of my 6ks, but I have a fairly narrow fly, so I need more flex at the top to close up my 5-hole (according to the sales guy in MN).

As such, I'm looking at the Revoke 9000s and the Bauer Supreme One80s. I'm looking at the Vaughns, but I've gotten used to a looser fit on the leg and I'm afraid Vaughns will sit around my leg more than I'll like.

My concern about the Bauers is that they'll be too hard. They have a thinner profile and in order to have a thinner profile and still protect, they have to be harder, right? But they do come in a 32+1 and solid white (yum---lookie at all the pucks I stopped!)

The Revokes only come in a 33+1 (or intermediate 31+1, which is too small). The 33 would probably be okay, so it's not a huge deciding factor, but when combined with the fact that I also can't get the color I want... Hmm...

Then there are ones like Smiths that are just a few hundred more and completely custom pads. The problem is, what if I don't like them? Pretty sure they can't go back.

And then I go back to the Vaughns, which have better knee protection and are softer from the start (and come in 32+1) but also don't come in a color I want. But the idea of not getting dinged in the calf sounds kinda nice, too. Plus they have this wider pad on the bottom so you have better stability, which seems like a fine idea.

Bahhhh! So, I dunno. Advice is welcome, as long as you're okay with me not taking it. :)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Beer run and Meats don't clash

I'm not a big fan of drinking alone, but man, I really want a beer right now and I don't have any in the house that isn't 3 years old and living in the scary abyss at the back of the fridge. I could run out to CVS and get some, but I'd also come home with chips or some crap and I'm finally shedding that "injury weight" so I don't wanna fuck that up. Damn.

Anyway, speaking of eating crap, Blue Jay Travis Snider is back from his injury and worming his beefy way into my heart (shove over and make room, Overbay). And if his efforts on the field weren't enough, this awesome little article where he reviews nachos around Toronto completely seals the deal. God, I love me an athlete who isn't giving the ol' "I really love salmon and brown rice and plain sweet potatoes" line.

"Meats don't clash."

Poetry, Snidey. Poetry.

Fuck it. I'm going for beer.

And then I'm going to ponder why anybody would review nachos in Toronto. It's fucking Canada. What the hell do they know about nachos? That's like writing about hockey in Texas. Crazy talk!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ain't no thang

Won 3-2 tonight in women's league and played well, as did my team. One goal was a complete piece of shit goal off a face off that I played like I was swatting flies. The other was a really nice shot just over my pad on a breakaway.

My team played like champs in front of me, which always makes my job easier and gives me a mental/confidence boost.

I felt a lot better tonight though. Felt strong and steady. I had a chip on my shoulder after all those bad goals last week and really wanted to battle hard to keep that puck out. Fortunately, unlike last week, it didn't feel like overkill to hustle in my crease because the game moved a bit faster and the shots were more "true" if that makes sense. Plus, this team I was playing for was a little bit stacked on defense. Always nice.

A couple of things I did seemed to help:

First was overreacting to the puck. And this is something that I think will help me in general, because I tend to underreact. If that puck is coming anywhere near me, I'm relentlessly square and putting everything I've got in front of it.

Second was something I read about called a $2000 Save. Where, as I said above, you get every piece of equipment you have in front of that thing. Because these shots knuckle and bounce and do all kinds of weird shit, you have to be there with every piece of equipment and ready for unpredictability.

So in general, I feel a lot better about the value of this league to my development. Of course, every time I think I've got something figured out, the whole thing changes the next week and I realize I don't. :) But these aren't bad tactics to adopt regardless of whether they foolproof me for this league.

Knee didn't bother me much and I'm icing it now. I don't play again until Saturday night and then not again until Tuesday, so that's a nice light schedule.

Looking forward to a few days of relaxing, watching my Jays, and feeling good about goal again.


After all it was a great big world

I'm a smidge looped on vicodin, so I figure that's as good a time as any to blog it up, right?

Clinic was good tonight, even though I had to dial it waaaaay back because of my knee. It was one of those deals where I could have gone a lot harder, but seeing as I have a game tomorrow and am trying not to make my knee worse, I just tried to get as much out of it as I could without being a dumbass. Of course, I still did a bit, plus have a twinge in my back. So, to the bottle of vicodin I went. Feels like cheating, but I don't care.

Anyway, two of our drills tonight were geared toward "desperation" saves and getting comfortable with those. One of them, the Hasek rollover drill was pretty fun and even though I was kind of retarded at it, I was okay with being retarded at it because it's not the most elegant move anyway.

The other, though, I didn't capitalize on and was really the one I needed the most work at. But we only cycled through that station one time and I was at the end of my turn before I realized, damn, this is the drill where I was supposed to be flopping and all I was doing was what I always do: Drop into fly, kick rebound out, sit there like a statue. Ugh. Hopefully we'll do that again and I'll clue in a little better, because it was exactly the kind of drill I wanted to do to work on scrambling, but I was just unfocused and didn't get it done.

Practice time is so limited, I'm really annoyed with myself for dropping the ball there.

Ah well. I feel better anyway, about goalieing in general. Got my new chest protector working better with my mask. Chesty seems to be breaking in a little bit, too, so that's helpful. The only thing really still difficult about it is putting my sweater on over it. It gets hung up on the much-better-padded arms, but just a tug from a teammate and I'm on my way. That's what she said.

So, I'm looking forward to my game tomorrow. Or the vicodin is making me think I am. Hopefully my knee will feel good enough that I won't be so tentative out there. Hopefully I shook some of that injury rust off tonight at clinic.

I've got this song in my head tonight. Is it underrated or is it, again, the narcotics thinking for me? I'm not so looped to be unaware that that's a godawful picture of Tom Petty. Sorry.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Dear Monday... bite me

It's a bad sign when you and your spouse are sitting at the dinner table Sunday night and agree that today felt 100% like a weekday. We both had real work to do throughout the day and I hadn't played hockey all weekend and we were just bored. Weekday.

Blue Jays
The highlight of my weekend, however, was watching the Blue Jays sweep the Rays. It was the kind of series that made you feel sorry for people who don't like sports, or maybe worse, sports fans who don't like baseball.

Saturday's 17-11 home run derby-slash-JP Arencibia debutante ball was an absolute carnival of sporting pleasures. Any time you have a major league debut where phrases like "first time in modern-era baseball" are being written, you know you've done well. Guys play for 20 years and don't have games like Arencibia had in his debut. Never mind the rest of the team bringing the big bats with them, too, and just piling on.

Then yesterday, a more elegant show as Brandon Morrow gets one out away from his first career no-hitter. Even crazier is that I watched 90% of the game and didn't know he had a no hitter going. I missed an inning or two and not really being a stats person, hadn't clued into the big goose egg under H for the Rays... that is, until there was a 1 under the H and the tv guys could finally say, "Ohhhh, there went his no-hitter!" Duh.

Of course, the tv guys weren't saying it because they didn't want to jinx it. I even fell asleep during the bottom of the 6th for about 10 minutes. Ha! Even Mr.C, who only begrudgingly tolerates my baseball fandom, was pretty jacked to realize he'd just witnessed his first no-hitter... almost.

Anyway, it was a great weekend to be a Jays fan, or even just a sports fan watching the Jays.

Maybe it wasn't such a great weekend to be in my head though. I'm still feeling pretty "meh" about goal. I HATE this feeling. It's happened 2 or 3 times since I started. Where I just feel like if I never strapped the pads on again, I wouldn't miss it.

Fortunately, since I HAVE been here a few times before, I know I'll find my heart for it again real soon. I think I'm mostly just tired of hurting. But if I get objective about it, it's really camp that was just too much for me and I'm having to recover from that . As much as I enjoyed it and loved having a week to wallow in goalieness, I'm not sure it's worth this continued misery in my knees to do it again next year.

I promised my PT I'd take a full week off, but then I got Scott TFCG's agenda for goalie clinic tonight and it's exactly that "scrambling" issue I talked about wanting to work on a few weeks ago. So there's no way I'm missing that. What's one day early? I'll try to take it easy though and not bang up my knee too much. Mainly I just want to get warm and then really focus my energy on the scrambling drills.

Then back to women's league tomorrow night. Oh boy has that GOT to get better for me. Then for the next two weeks, I only have 2 games a week and never 2 days in a row, so that's a good healing schedule.

I feel better already, just writing that out. Phew.

Ice Ice Baby
So, the ice in Houston is pretty shitty right now (though it wasn't too bad at Space City since it's just been re-done), so I went back to a 3/4 sharpening last week. Ugh, what a mistake. It definitely felt more comfortable initially, but I'd really gotten used to the dig you get with a deeper hollow. I think I'm still a little bit away from finding my sweet spot when it comes to my blades.

Speaking of Space City though, man do they ever need to upgrade their lighting. Or even just replace the bulbs that are out. That rink is like playing in a cave. Even in my mind's eye, playing the game, it's dim. And yet, still Equator hot in there.

I've come to a realization about the Wild: I don't care what they do with their roster. Apart from a few favorite players, I don't give a crap who they sign or for how much or where they are relative to the cap or who plays on what line or with whom. All I care about is that they don't suck like they have the last two years.

How they get from point A to point P (for Playoffs!!!!!!1), doesn't matter one bit to me. I realized this as I was scrolling through the Hockey's Future message board for the Wild and didn't feel compelled to click any of the topics. And as much as I'm all about prospects, I don't care to rank them. They will be what they will be (or not, if they're James Sheppard).

I am pretty jacked about having John Madden on the team, though, because we are John Madden fans in this house, even though it's the football version with the crazy eyebrows. So I'm looking forward to a season of saying, "BOOM!" and "Turduckin!" and "They used to use stickem, but now they've got those gloves!" though I have no idea when that would be appropriate in hockey. I'm going to try though.

Everything should be Muppetized on Mondays. Things are so much easier to take when offered up by Muppets. Had "In the Navy" in my head this morning after discussing the Milwaukee and Norfolk Admirals logos with Chris "Your Taste in Logos Sucks" Jerina.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's that smell? The new goalie

Well, that was weird. I knew playing all women, especially at a novice level, was going to be really different, but I didn't think I'd have so much trouble adjusting. Needless to say, I had a crapload of trouble adjusting.

It's so slow, and I think it's sort of human nature to operate at the pace of those around you. Some sort of innate mimickery that just happens. Unfortunately, just because they're moving slowly getting the puck into shooting range, the physics of a 6 oz puck moving on ice doesn't (don't?) really change, so it moves relatively quickly compared to everything else.

But the shots are slower/weaker so they do different things when they hit you. Like, rebounds bounce off you and just die. I think I froze a record number (for me) of pucks tonight. Or rather than hitting your stick and having the momentum to deflect away, it just bounces over the stick and slides into the net while you stand there with your thumb up your ass. Ugh.

I let in 3 in the first period and then 2 more in the next two periods (which are 13 minute stop-time periods). At least 3 of them were so soft, I wanna take up cutting myself just to replace the pain with something less awful.

Doesn't help that I'm playing too deep. Doesn't help that I'm really tentative in my movement because of my knee. Doesn't help that I was wearing my new chest protector for the first time and it was pushing my mask up and interfering with my vision downward and just generally making me uncomfortable.

I was just out of sorts and definitely a bigger mess than I usually am. Plus it was my first time with this league and I was feeling nervous and pressure to play well and was much too tight mentally and physically, especially in the first period.

But I'm not climbing the walls just yet. I know I'm a better goalie than I was tonight. I just need to figure out how to separate myself from the skaters and just focus on the puck.

It's all good though. The girls all seem nice and I'm sure it will become more fun as I adapt and get to know some of them. If I look at it more as a social thing and not so much a "growth as a goalie" thing, maybe it will feel better. I dunno. We'll see.

Regardless, that's my last game until next Tuesday. I graduated from physical therapy today, but Ingrid insisted that I give myself a week to rest and get my knee feeling better. And I think I need the mental break, too. I'm creeping into that "bad feelings" place about playing goal and I don't like that place. I'm not having fun right now and I miss that.

What is fun though is watching my beautiful Blue Jays beat the snot out of the stanky Yankees. Bring that home run derby shit, jaybirds!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Swiss Goalie (full of holes but neutral)

I survived the 3 on 3 tournament and actually had fun. I think I played 5 15-min games in 5 hours, though it felt like more.

As much as I was dreading the effort level of 3 on 3, I really didn't see more shots than 2 goalies would normally see in 15 minutes of play. Which, at the novice level, isn't a tremendous amount. There was effort defensively (which I'm sure my high-quality goaltending inspired) and in general, apart from a few ringers, was relatively not-insane work. It was just more constant work, so from that perspective, it was pretty fun. I was busy but never "pleasegod, someoneshootthepuckovertheglass" exhausted.

What was really interesting was the mental side of it. Obviously for pride's sake, I wanted to play my best regardless of which team was shooting on me at the moment (and honestly, I wasn't always sure). But it was so easy to let go of bad goals and really, the outcome of the games was almost entirely inconsequential to me, at least objectively.

In this type of play, where you're the goalie for both teams, assuming you're doing the best you can do given the level of fatigue (which got pretty bad as the night wore on, even though I buzzed on adrenaline until well after sun-up), it's a pretty even match. I can honestly say, from my perspective, the team that won the championship was, on average, the most skilled team. They capitalized on my weaknesses a few more times than the other teams did, and that was enough. I let in soft goals, but I let in soft goals for both teams.

They were organized, too. A cheering section with signs and t-shirts. They had a warm-up routine and seemed to know each other well on the ice. I didn't know any of them, but knew just about everybody on the other 3 teams, so I was personally biased toward my friends. Yet I had this team in Every. Single. Game I tended. Which is how I know they were better, because even if I had subconsciously favored the teams with my friends on them, they still managed to win or tie.

Ah well, good for them. They worked hard and had fun and earned their medals. And their cheering section was loud and proud. And they liked me a lot, too. Go figure. Would have preferred some boos or something.

Anyway, once that was all done, we had some breakfast at about 5:30 a.m. at Katz's. Apart from not having bacon (kosher!), I delighted in stuffing my face and then coming home and crashing for a few hours. I think all I did today was sleep, eat, and do laundry. Lemme tell you, I've had worse days.

Though after nap #3, the soreness set into my legs, especially the left one with the bum knee. I only have about 90 degrees of bend in that knee at the moment, which sucks. And it hurt pretty bad all night during the tournament. Butterflying is NOT my friend right now and I'll definitely be wearing knee pads Tuesday.

It's so swollen that if I press at the point where my quad connects to the knee cap, I can feel the fluids or whatever moving all the way down at the base of my kneecap. Eww. But I'm icing and Adviling and really, it 100% feels like an overuse type of thing rather than a pull or something acute. So I'm not too worried. It's mostly just annoying and uncomfortable and makes me wish I didn't live in a 3 story house.

Even better is the nice bruise just above my knee where a line drive from the high slot beamed me unprotected. I yelled so loud when it hit, everyone around the net started asking if I was okay. I was, but the pain startled me and left an immediate bruise. Good to have a war wound (other than the swollen knee) commensurate with the battle. :)


I'm even bored by this post. Sorry. I was reading back through some old posts during the season, and find that I'm more interesting when crusading about something. Fired up, passionate, indignant, etc. I got nothin' at the moment. Just little ol' me playing some hockey, hobbling around, being a dork. Summer in Ms.Conductland, limping through to October.


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