Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Like being in college again

Pulling an all-nighter for work after getting home from hockey at midnight tonight. Made myself a double mocha in the ol' coffee machine (how is it that I pass a 24-hour Shipley's Donuts but not a 24-hour Starbucks on my way home?) and have been grinding away at it for the last 4 hours.

Not fun, but must be done. Sad thing is, it must be done because I'm maxed out on vacation and I need to Wednesday and Thursday off or I'll lose it. Not much of a vacation day if I have to spend it half or completely asleep.

I should get a boost from heading down to SLICE to check out Aeros training camp for a little while. Looking forward to that, though I always get a headache from it squinting to see who the guys are based on their helmet numbers. Maybe I'll just watch the goalies, eh?


Game was good tonight. Played for the purple team, those hard-battling gals. Love them. Didn't see many shots and stopped all but two. One I actually DIVED for like I'm supposed to, but after about 3 tries, they finally got it in. Disappointing, but I was proud of myself for going after it like a crazed somethingorother.

What was funny is that I somehow missed the GWG going in and thought we were tied when the game ended. Then my team skates over to me for fist bumps and I'm like, "What, no shootout?" And they're like, "We WON!" Haha, oops. In my defense, my back was to the scoreboard. But how do I miss a goal? I'm not very good at numbers.


I follow a kid on Twitter who has a tryout with Elmira, where Brusty's probably going to spend some time since the Senators are apeshit for wunderkind Robin Lehner. Anyway, Elmira and Bingo camps start today and Bingo finally has a beat writer, so that's good. Gimme newwwwwws. Though I do not understand this business of the B-Sens holding camp in Newfoundland. I think it's because the circus is in town or something in Bingo, but still. There's not a local rink they can use? Weird.

Anyway, in my early morning haven't slept in nearly 24 hours punchiness,  I have that old Oak Ridge Boys song, "My Heart's on Fire for Elvira" in my head, except it's Elmira. I'm pretty sure that's gonna happen a lot this season and it may be the thing that finally drives me over the edge. For what's left of my sanity's sake, here's hoping B-money is in Bingo a lot. Giddy up, oom poppa-omm poppa, mow-mow


Tomorrow is a spa day for my gear. At least 3 teammates walked in the room tonight and went, "Eww, what stinks?" I figured I should just fess up and claim responsibility because it was all me. My bag is unbearably smelly right now. It honestly smells like something died in my car right now, even with an air freshener going that supposed to unfunk a 400 sq ft room. Gnarly!

I think my gloves are the biggest culprits, but also hardest to de-funk. I've got Oxyclean, a steamer, and time at my disposal so I'll do my best. I know I won't make them WORSE, so I have that going for me.

Okay, time to finish this damn work so I can have some fun, where fun = writing my "OOoooh, it's a new season!" article for PHN.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sievery, Harding, Overbay

Awesome game by my team tonight, but I didn't play so hot. I'm assuming it's uncool to go hug your d-men mid-game, so I didn't do it, but I wanted to. But I saw so few shots, by the time they remembered it's novice league in the third period and let up on the other team, I was already off in la-la land mentally. I KNEW I was unfocused and I was talking to myself, telling myself to get focused, but it didn't work to the tune of 3 goals in the third period.

Yet again my unwillingness to scramble bit me in the ass. Fuck me, that's frustrating. I don't know how to explain it. I WANT to do it, but ... augh! Dammit. I just don't.


Anyway, interesting changes in the state of Wild and Aeros goaltending this weekend, huh? Harding goes down decisively in the pre-season game last night after a Brad Boyes falls on his butterflied knee.

I saw the injury and called an MCL tear, but wasn't surprised there was more to it with the ACL tear, too.

Here were my reactions in the order I had them. Don't judge me.

  • THIS year you do this? Gimping around on that bum hip all last year, keeping Brusty in Florida and making me annoyed, but no, now that he's gone, you go and assplode yourself? Goddamnit. *pounding fists on floor*
  • Ouch. Shit. Shit. Poor guy. My measley MCL strain was months of pain. I can't even imagine what tearing two knee ligaments must feel like. Jesus. Plus coming back from months of rehab from his hip surgery. Just sick for the guy. Awful.
  • OMG Anton!! Very excited for him to have this opportunity. Maybe that sounds callous, but that's how it happens sometimes. Critical injury and a spot opens up and some really patient kid gets his chance to prove he belongs in the show. Though tonight, Russo is saying the team isn't committing to Anton as the #2. Hmm. Hi, Theodore!
  • Crap, now it's just Hackett and Tordjman in Houston. Nothing wrong with either of them, but I'd spent all summer trying to convince myself that Anton's goaltending style was entertaining enough to fill some of the hole in my heart left by Brusty. So much for that. I was mighty impressed by Hackett against the Blues last night though and I think him having a larger role and more starts in Houston will be okay. He's a good goalie. 
Aaaanyway, goalies. You can beat 'em for fun but you can't beat 'em for drama, can you?


I love Lyle Overbay. Unabashedly. I'm hoping I can get an Overbay shirt on the cheap after the stupid Blue Jays don't re-sign him and put some poo-flinging monkey on first base and break my heart.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Shootout Shutout

One of my favorite hockey "things" ever is a victorious team hopping the boards in unison and racing to their goalie after a shootout victory. I didn't know if I'd ever get to be that goalie, but tonight I was. And the feeling was every bit as joyous and wonderful as I thought it would be.

Our game ended in a 3-3 tie and in this league, we don't need no stinkin' ties, so we do a 5-round shootout with "fuzzy rules," which means if you lose the puck or whiff before the top of the faceoff circles, you can keep going, but if the puck's forward progress is stopped below the top of the circles, your turn is over.

I had a feeling I was due for a shootout and really had been dreading the eventuality. But something in my attitude shifted when it was go time and suddenly I was just completely dorky-excited to be in my first ever shootout. It was weird. I shifted into mano-a-mano gear and just shut 'em down.

Man it was fun. My team scored one goal in 5 attempts, so it was tight and went down to the last shot on me. At my net, two shots never made it to the net, one went wide and one lost the puck before she could get a shot off, but the other 3 were good shots.

My timing at keeping pace with the shooter was great, I stayed up and patient until they took their shot. It was just magic. And the cheers after each save, and then hopping up after the good saves feeling like the cockiest rooster on the farm? OMG... most fun thing ever.

In this league, the winning team gets a free pitcher of beer. I don't normally stick around since it's around 11 p.m. by the time I'm undressed and a solid 30 minutes home, but tonight I made an exception and man did that beer taste good. I don't even know what kind it was. I didn't even care. It was Victory Beer and it was delicious!

Pads are already feeling better, too. Almost felt normal tonight, except with happier knees. And I'm selling my old pads to the other goalie, who looked as good as I've EVER seen her when she was trying them out tonight. She was not really in butterfly-style pads before, so these really had her sliding nicely. After the game, she came into our room and said, "SOLD!" to me. :) Happy they're going to someone who will appreciate them, and they're the right size for her!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So, put the stick where, d-man?

Remember how I bragged on my awesome d-man talking to me in a way that's useful? Well, tonight I had the opposite happen. I was so focused on my new pads feeling weird (more on that later) that I didn't really think about it until I was driving home, but the more I think about it, the more absurd it is.

So, hot shot in the Crosby jersey is charging into the slot. He does a little deke to my glove side as he sets up to shoot and I have to slide over a touch as I'm dropping into my butterfly.

Well, he beat me to the punch and the puck went just under my left pad, bing bang boom. Meh, whatever, I'm still getting used to these pads and I'm distracted by them and my timing is off. It's drop-in. No big deal.

But then my defenseman comes to me, unsolicited, and says...

"If you keep your stick on the ice, that won't go through."


I said (imagine me using the Marcel the Shell voice), "I think it went under my pad actually."

"Oh, I dunno, I didn't see it."

You what now? You have advice for me on a goal you didn't see?


No, I'd never heard of this stick on the ice thing. Why didn't one of you bitches tell me about this before? I've been lifting it up on purpose because I'm a complete and utter fucking idiot.

I have nothing more to say about that. But I'll certainly endeavor to try incorporating this "stick on the ice" newfangledry into my game.


New pads were... awkward.

On the upside: My knees are SOOO HAPPPYYYYYYY!!!! I was pegging my net and that was my first butterfly on the ice. It was like landing in a big pile of cotton balls. Glorious! Babies could sleep blissfully in my knee padding. It's magic.

On the downside: Have you ever tried to slide laterally on a big pile of cotton balls? My first attempt at butterfly sliding turned into a butterfly block that went absolutely nowhere, until I got up and fished the puck out of the net.

Also, there's like 3x as much padding between my knees and the very most annoying thing about the pads was being unable to stand like I always do when the play is away from me. I know that sounds weird, but it was really goddamn annoying. I had no idea I stood in such a specific way, but I do. I put most of my weight on my left leg and kinda jut my left hip out.

I think I do it because I'm set to move from there. If my weight is balanced between my feet, then I have to load to one side and then make a move. But because the knee stacks are so thick, I can't comfortably stand shifted any more.

It's something I know I'll get used to but it was surprisingly distracting all game long. And I played like dog shit. Literally. A pile of dog shit woulda stopped more pucks.


I had more but now I have hiccups and they're giving me a headache. So I'll leave it with this song, which kicked me out of my funk on the way to the rink tonight. Sending this out to my friend who isn't enjoying his job right now ;)...


Saturday, September 18, 2010

You need coolin', baby, I'm not foolin'

Poor blog. So ignored. Now that I'm not so full of angst after I play, I have so little to say. But I feel like writing tonight, so I'll back the mental dump truck up here.

Got my new pads yesterday. Props for UPS delivering two things to me this week a day early. First my Bingo practice sweater (wearing it Monday night!) and then my pads.

They look great and are well made, but I'm struggling a little with the fit, mainly that my knees still hit the back half of the knee stack. But I asked about this on the goalie board and was told that they'd settle enough after they're broken in and eventually I'll end up square on the knee stack.

That was kind of my feeling, but for nearly $900, um, yeah, I'm just being careful. They are super solid though. Gonna sit on them while I watch football tomorrow and try to soften them up a bit.

They also have a set of inner calf wraps that I'm not sold on. If I take them off, the calf wraps will be just like my current pads and I like that looser feeling, so I'll try to play with them in and see how I like it but those are probably going to go.

The thigh boards are definitely coming off. They are completely incompatible with my pants. Might just see if Simmons will let me swap the thigh wraps for the flat boards. If not, I'll just snag 'em off my current pads.

They sure are pretty though. Goalie Angel White. Can't you hear the heavenly chorus singing with every save?


Speaking of saves, fun game tonight at novice. I <3 my team so much. Had some nice saves, a couple where I was straight up screened but just kinda knew it was coming and butterflied and boom. There it was. Fun times.

Though I thought it was a practice tonight and it turned out to be a game. Thought that might throw me off, but it didn't. Look who's cool and collected these days! Feels good.


I miss Brusty.

There. I said it.

He's up there in Ottawa stopping pucks and I don't get to watch.  

Boooo. That sucks.


Last Monday at drop-in, one of my defensemen scraped my crease for me before the game.

The appropriate reaction here would be: Huh?

I don't ever scrape my crease (I probably should, but I think it's well established that I'm pretty lazy), but I guess he's seen me go careening across my crease in a few early-game butterfly pushes and felt that needed correcting.

I let him do it, but I don't know that it helped much or that I liked it. I'm used to being slippery at first and then progressively slower on the push (that's what she said). Don't mess with my groove, man. Don't people know better than to go in a goalie's crease and start making decisions for them? Weirdddddd....


Saw pics of Nolan Schaefer's new Providence Bruins mask today. Holy shit. What a beautiful mask. I'm annoyed that pucks are gonna hit it. It needs a force field of its own to protect it.


He's in solid black pads, too. So sick. Easily one of the best looking goalies in terms of gear year after year. Always love to see what he's come up with.


I'm never quite sure how much I buy into chiropractors, but damn if I wasn't walking like an old lady all week after pulling my back last Friday, but then one back cracking yesterday and I feel like a million bucks today. So, I'm convinced. Scoreboard!


That's all, I guess. Enjoy your Sunday of football (or Wild training camp scrimmage if you're one of those Minny punks who gets to go to that).


Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick hits: House turmoil, Ellis, 1 ark please, Bingo sweater, game prep grind

Random midnight brain spew:

Been having our house painted this week. I've described it as "halfway to moving" in terms of the disruption. They've been great, but most of the house has been out of commission all week, with me and the dog cooped up wherever I'm working from 8 a.m. to nearly 7 every night. He misses the dog park, I miss eating something other than granola bars and Sun Chips and strawberry Fanta all day long.

But strawberry Fanta really is tasty, man. I'm jonesing for one right now and that would be my third today. Yeesh. I think I'm just really happy to have something decaf to drink besides water and Sprite.

It'll all be worth it though. The colors look amazing and it feels so chic. Our house is officially way cooler than we are.


Been wanting to write on the Dan Ellis Twitter fiasco from earlier this week, but I've seen gobs of other people blog about it and I haven't had any interest in reading their takes, so I dunno why anybody would want mine.

I enjoyed his tweeting, as I've said before, but he strikes me as a guy who's actually fairly immature but doesn't know it, if you know what I mean. He lacks a certain self-awareness that I think you kinda need to have if you're going to open yourself up like that to fans.

But whatever. I have Joffrey Lupul now. And he's better looking. So there. (Except, WTF is a "Joffrey?)


I had to bail on my Tuesday women's league game this week a mere 2 hours before puck drop. I felt awful about it, but it was the right decision. Between me and that rink, I know of at least 3 places that flood and who knows what places I DON'T know about. I wouldn't have gotten out until 11 p.m. and the storms were rolling in from the gulf.

Mr.C pretty much said he was going to worry to death if I went, and Coach Stalin, who works at NASA and lives by me, said she left work early to avoid the flooding. So that was enough to convince me to bail.


My new pads still haven't shipped. Hopefully next week!

However, I did sweet talk my way into a great deal on a Binghamton Sens goalie cut practice jersey, which should be coming next week. They even threw in some other goodies, which was pretty awesome of them. Their PR gal is a little slice of awesome, as is their merch guy.

I'm still a little flummoxed by the lack of twitter or blog attention some AHL teams get. Doesn't anybody love these teams enough to obsess over them on the internet?

(Edit: As soon as I write that, I discover the Ottawa Sens SBNation blog did a preview of the B-Sens goalies. I was nervous to read Brusty's because I knew if it was wrong, I was gonna be all cranky about it. Instead, it made me want to hug whoever wrote it. Double-Ds comin' atcha Alex Calloway/Crooklyn Banks/whateverthefuck your name is!)

Anyway, that jersey is gonna look sweet with my gear. I've been wanting a black sweater for a while. Only thing not black will be my solid white pads and gloves. Ooooo, sweet, right? I bet CHRIS HOLT! wore this one, too (I'm assuming it's an old one, anyway). Winnnn...


Having a chat on Twitter right now with my goalie buddy, Moosey, on the number of games per week we play. I was commenting that 3x/week every week will burn me out over time. And not because of the games themselves, but because, well, I'm not the most disciplined person, but I do have to be disciplined about my game-day preparation or I stink worse than usual.

And it's that constant state of "I gotta do XYZ because I have a game tomorrow/tonight" that wears me down. I don't like being high-maintenance. I like to roll with the flow. But I know from experience that if I'm not getting enough hydration, my mind gets fuzzy, I get overheated, and I don't play well.

And I know that my energy stays more consistent and high if I eat carby meals on game day. But I don't want too heavy a meal if it's 3-4 hours from game time, and I don't want too light a meal because then I'll get hungry or I'll need a snack, which is a whole other thing to figure out.

Also, playing in the evenings means I screw up "mealtime" for Mr.C, too. So either he fends for himself and I eat later when I get home, or he eats early with me, or whatever. Regardless, I always feel some guilt for my silly little hobby dictating his schedule, too.

And then if I'm tired, do I nap even though that can make me feel too relaxed and lethargic for my game? Or do I just muddle through and try to stay awake? Or do I crash for 15-30 minutes for a power nap (my favorite)?

Then there's the gear. I've actually started leaving my gear (except skates) in my bag in the car. I find I play better with it already a little damp (that's what she said). I feel like I'm wearing drywall when it's dried out. So that's one bit of preparation that makes it easier to play several games a week. Then, how are the skates? Sharp enough? Need a sharpening? When can I spare 2 days without them to get that done?

Then, AFTER the game, adrenaline is surging until 2 a.m. and I'm dog tired the next day.... ugh. Man. That plus all the rest really wears on me. The Dainty Ms.Conduct Flower, she wilts so easily.

Luckily, for the foreseeable future, I've got 2-3 games a week, with women's league being off for me every third week (typically), which is a perfect break.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

The talking d-man & how I wrap a goalie stick

Novice had a fun practice last night. For the drills portion, they set the goals up cross ice and played 3 on 3. You never realize how much you rely on your posts being firmly set in the ice until you have to play with them unpegged. And doing 3 on 3 is even worse, since lots of shots are close in at tight angles, so you do lots of post hugging.

Still, it was good, clean fun.

We scrimmaged after and I fell even more in love with my favorite defenseman. There was a bunch of traffic in front of my net and he was on my glove side with more of a clear view.

He recognized that I probably couldn't see very well what the shooter was doing so he said, "SHOT COMING!" when the shooter was winding up. Since I figured I was covered up high with all the bodies, I just butterflied and got my glove and blocker out to try and prevent any corner picking.

I think the puck ended up hitting someone in front of me and my team took it out of the zone, but as they were skating out, I thanked my dman and told him I LOVE when they talk to me.

He was surprised. He said he thought goalies hated that and were like, "STFU" when the D talked to them.

I explained that yeah, I don't want to hear that I'm playing well or, even worse, goaltending advice, but to give me information to help me do my job in the moment? Fuck yeah. All day long.

Maybe I'm only speaking for myself there, but I can't imagine a goalie NOT wanting their defensemen to be their "eyes" at times. His play and his interaction with me really makes the game exponentially more fun.

And really, just in general, I'm having so much fun playing right now. I'm not playing lights out or anything, but I feel good, I'm not stressed or angsty or beating myself up for this or that. Nor am I thinking I've got anything figured out that I don't. I'm just playing a game and this feels like how I always wanted it to feel. Well, with more goals against than I'd want. :)


I finally decided to retire my first Khudobin stick after last night. It's still in reasonable shape after playing with it for over a year, but it's time for a fresh one. So I taped up the one I bought at the Aeros gear sale this year and it's so lovely in its clean whiteness.

I noticed that Anton switched from a Sherwood 530 to a 9950 last year. The pattern doesn't seem real different but I do see that the edges of the paddle are thinner than on the 530. Since that's the first place the 530 started falling apart, I'm much more wary of this stick not being as durable.

Though I think my taping style will help, as I think that's what made my old one last for so long. I actually stole it off of Brusty's picture in the Aeros calendar last year as he worked on a truck motor in full gear with his goalie stick. Cuz that's how he rolls. Mr. April is handsome, handy, and educational!

I tape the knob as usual, then I run a strip down both edges of the paddle to protect those edges a bit. On the back edge of the paddle, I run the strip all the way to the toe of the blade to give the heel and bottom of the blade some reinforcement.

Then I wrap a double-thick strip around where I grip the paddle. This helps me hang on to the stick better and secures the ends of the strips running along the edges of the paddle.

And then start the blade wrapping at the bottom of the paddle, do 2 wraps to tack down the paddle edge tape, and then leave a gap at the heel and wrap the blade like normal, including covering the toe and cutting the excess off. Oh, and then Blade Butter where it touches the ice. MUST have Blade Butter.

Like this, but with white tape instead of red. :)

Might seem like a lot of tape and might make the stick too heavy but if my weak little girl arms can manage it, I'm pretty sure anyone can. Well worth it to lengthen the life of your stick. I call it the Viagra taping job. :)


Okay, enough of that. Time to enjoy some really beautiful weather and absolutely nothing on the agenda today that HAS to be done. Thinking dog park, maybe a snow cone. But tomorrow the work begins. We're having the total interior of the house painted and I have to get all the window coverings and art off the walls and knick-knacks out of the way for them to work.

It's gonna be bitchin' though. Burnt orange on the walls of the man cave, lime green in my office... ahh, color!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Purple Power; Goalie Introductions

I'm in a little bit of a post-awesome-game euphoria tonight. This was by far the most fun I've had at women's league. I played for the purple team for the first time and they were short-handed by a full line vs. the green team that not only had their best players but even had one of the better women players I know dropping in to play with them.

So, lots of talent on that green team but my team had more heart and patience, and they just hustled and hustled and I made some timely saves and we got the win. I know it can't be this way all the time, but it sure does feel great when the stars align like they did tonight. I'd go into battle with these gals any day.

As usual, the save I made that I deemed absolutely mind-blowingly amazing got no reaction from anybody. I guess you have to be a goalie to understand what all went into it, so I'll break it down for my goalie friends so someone besides me can appreciate it.

One of the best players on the green team picks the puck off one of my girls in the NZ and carries it in pretty much on a breakaway, though my D were on her tail so she had to keep moving and couldn't set up.

But she's quick and a good skater and good hands, so she's coming at me from the blue line on a little bit of an angle but on my glove side. But the way her body and stick are looking, she's projecting that she's going to try and sweep across the top of my crease and get me moving and hope I'll either bite too early or not get over quick enough and she'll try to pop it in high blocker side before I can get there.

So I read this from her body language and I. just. stay. with. her. I don't even remember when I dropped into the fly or how I got over, I just know I stayed in front of that puck, and when she tried to pop it in just inside the post, I put that blocker up just in the nick of time and batted it into the corner, Bob's your uncle!

*crickets* (And for the record, even the most retarded, ugly, easy saves get cheers from these gals, cuz they're nice like that)

And I'm thinking, "Shit, that might be the best save I ever made." Sure, mundane blocker save but to read the shooter perfectly and react perfectly... I rarely put it all together like that! LOL Oh well, as long as I appreciate it. So much I stick figured it....

Apologies if I made anyone pregnant with that save. It's a gift and a curse.


The other thing is that, as I mentioned, I'm pretty jacked for the season about now, but it's still a solid month before Aeros pre-season starts and I get to see live, professional hockey again.

I heard the song below and was thinking how I really like this song but it seems like more of a shooter song. And then I was thinking if hockey players had some equivalent of an "at bat" song, this would be a cool one, lyrically anyway. Not exactly a beat that makes you wanna crush skulls, so maybe not.

Anyway, that led me to think about the goalie introductions and how that's one of my favorite parts of a game. I got chills thinking about it.

The spotlight, the announcer, "AND, IN GOAL, NUMBER 35, ANTON KHUUUUUUUDOBIN" or whoever.

It's dorky but I always get nervous before games. Almost as nervous as when I play my own games, sometimes more. And the goalie introduction is the absolute height of my nervousness. They're standing there in that spotlight, separate from the team, the most pivotal guy on the ice.

I wonder what he's thinking right then. What a moment.

Man, I love hockey. October just can't get here fast enough.


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