Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good things happen

I'm just hours away from being finished with the biggest project of my career. Literally years in the making but a year and half of actual focused work (along with all my other responsibilities at work). It's been a learning process, but I'm proud of how it's turned out.

Goaltending isn't like this project, where at some point I can just call it done and then switch to maintenance mode. It's a constant process and you can never be too quick or too focused or too good. Not that I'm pushing those boundaries by any means.

But I am happy where I'm at right now. I used to get so overwhelmed, as you know from reading this, at how much there is to learn and the bajillion things I could be doing to improve. But when I was out with my knee injury, I think I got some perspective on what playing goal means to me and its place in my life.

Now, it's almost 100% pleasure. I want to play well and I'm always looking to fix problems in my game where I'm getting burned. There's a myth that I'm not trying to improve, but even that doesn't bother me much because I'm the only one who sees every game I play and I know I'm better than I was even a few months ago. It happens in little ways: challenging a little more aggressively, reading plays better, putting rebounds in safer places, looking for opportunities to play the puck, staying focused after bad goals or when I'm tired.

There are a million ways to improve as a goalie that maybe aren't completely obvious.

And with my knee bumming me again (and really for the better part of 2010), I've had to look inside more for ways to improve. If I've got physical limitations, then the logical thing is to focus on the mental side of the game. So that's where I've been lately and I'm feeling really good about it.


Monday was a good drop-in and probably the best I've played that in a while (though I've been particularly unhappy with my game there lately, so maybe it's not saying much). Started to lose some focus at the end, but one of the guys kept telling me after what a good game I had. Always nice to hear from someone with no vested interest in giving their opinion one way or the other.

Scotty was in the other net and I know he wants me to write here about how hard he was on me after the game because I stay on my knees too much and that I'm pissed at him or whatever. I was for a bit, just because, as I said, I was pleased with the outing. But he's right. I do stay on my knees like I'm getting paid to be there. I know this. That aspect gets better when my knee isn't bothering me so much. Hopefully getting back on the PT bandwagon will start improving that and let me build strength in my weak leg again.

I was going pretty well at that before I went to camp in Minnesota, and that week just wrecked my progress. I'll get back there, but it's a process.


Tuesday, I played for the red team again (of last week's un-shutout fame). My hopes of a shutout were dashed 14 seconds into the game when I let in the softest goal in the history of mankind. I could make excuses but I just wasn't ready.

Yesterday made me its bitch, work-wise. I was fried and it took me a full period to work up the "fight" I needed. Once I did, I was fine. It was that goal and two breakaways (one of which I should have had... stick on the ice, dummy).

We got the win though. My girls battled hard and put 5 goals on the other team. One was probably the sickest goal I've seen from an amateur. Basically a behind the net goal that she whipped in and punched in off the back of the goalie. I just stood there for a full minute with my mouth hanging open. It was unreal.

The nicest part was before the game when one of the gals asked if I was their goalie tonight. I said yes, and she said, "Good, I like when you play for us. Good things happen." What, like being 0-2-1? Haha. But whatever. I may not have gotten my shutout but I won that team's trust last week and that's more important to me.

I find that these women's league games are really meaningful for me. My teammates, even though they change each week, inspire me and I want to play well for them. This has had the effect of improving my willingness to scramble and dive and do whatever I have to to keep the puck out. It's showing up even at drop-in. It's still not ingrained like I'd like, but I'm happy to see that mental shift to a little more of a battler. I'm proud of that.


Cool weather is coming tomorrow. It was 94 here today. Fuck that noise. Hockey weather, please. Like NOW!

Hey, I don't say it enough but thanks for reading. I'd write even if nobody read it, but it's nice when you know people are amused, inspired, or just can flat out relate to this stuff in my head. Or maybe you're just a glutton for punishment. :) Either way, a lot of you come back day after day and it means a lot to me that you do.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jon Gruden, next Wild coach?

Crap. Supposed be up at 6:30 in the morning to drive to Austin for the UT vs. Iowa Farm College or whoever they make us play anymore. But much like games I play in, I still suffer from an adrenaline rush after good Aeros games and have a hard time sleeping.

Beer? Why, yes, I believe I will. BRB

Oh how nice. I feel like a pro for using the gap between the couch cushions as a cup holder. Here's hoping the dog doesn't get startled or anything since he's up here with me.


Good Aeros game tonight. They lost in OT, but it was entertaining the whole way. Lots of excellent chances but Ben Bishop, y'all. Ben Bishop has found. his. game. He looks like a different goalie. Gone is the lumbering slowness. All he is now is big and relentlessly square to the puck (aka, he's moving faster) Whoever's been coaching him absolutely nailed it. He's fantastic right now.

I'll see him again tomorrow night in Austin, unless Jake Allen takes the net. But I kinda hope it's Bish again. Just so I can compare and make sure what I saw tonight is really what I saw. And also because I never had a great view of his porn stretch tonight. *sad*


Meanwhile, way up north, Brusty followed up his killer appearance on Sunday with a 28-save shutout. Show-off.

I tried to tell Andrew and John that we're "Shutout Twins" now but John kindly reminded me that I didn't actually WIN my shutout. Hmph. Yeah. I guess Anton and I will have to settle for each other as shutout twins since he lost his shutout, too.

It's pretty cool to see BSens fans on Twitter being absolutely nuts for Brusty though. Told ya so!  On to Wilkes-Barre tomorrow, where I daydream that they will erupt into a "Barre! Barre! Barre!" chant without realizing they're cheering on the opposing goalie.

Anyway, WTG,  Brusty. You're making my endless fawning and adulation seem not quite so insane.


At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Wild are a mess. I don't get it. They've shown that they CAN do this. What is their problem? I feel bad bad bad for Todd Richards. He seems like a decent guy but this ship is sinking around his ears. It's painful to watch. *glug*

So much optimism when you get a new coach, you know? How much is Jacques Lemaire enjoying this though? Like, I dunno if the guy gets giddy, but if he does... well... he's giggling like a school girl right now. His desk chair wasn't even cool before he called this.

Anyway, I asked on Twitter how many games folks give him. I say he's gone in the next 10 and everybody was within that timeframe. But who do you bring in? I say Jon Gruden... I mean, these guys already know how to play hockey. They need someone to kick their asses. Chuckyyyyyyy....

Haha! Goodnight!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quick Hits: Emo Shutout Recovery, Shift-Shift-Shift, Hockey Wife

Feeling better after Tuesday's Emo Shutout Night. As Jarick posted in my comments, it's like a player getting his first goal in a losing effort for the team. Nobody cares except him. But the next goal could be a beauteous game winner. My time will come. I will get a shutout AND the W. Won't be long either. I'm highly motivated.

I'm percolating on an epic post about how hockey is my religion (and probably is for others, too). But my thoughts were reaffirmed last night when I literally thought, "Well, the hockey gods knew I wasn't ready for a REAL shutout. They're keeping me humble while building my confidence and teaching me to win."

If that ain't religious thinking, I dunno what is. Hopefully I'll sort that post out in my head sometime soon. I think it will be entertaining (and informative!)


Another thing from Tuesday night: I realized that while I'm waiting for the puck to drop on a faceoff (that's not in my end), I shift from foot to foot over and over and over until the puck drops. It's like a cat kneading someone with its paws. It relaxes me, but keeps me moving so I don't get cold or unfocused while waiting around.

Wasn't a conscious decision to do that and I really hadn't noticed before (except when my old skates would hurt my feet), and I think it's from a combination of my skates being uncomfortable for so long until I got these new ones, and now my new pads being a little awkward to stand in. So instead of tap-tap-tap, it's shift-shift-shift.

I'm sure it looks pretty damn stupid but whatever. I'm the goalie.


I mentioned this on Twitter, but wanted to expand on it here. I've been reading Brent Sopel's wife's blog lately and it's got more tooth than you'd expect. She really doesn't seem to hold much back. She drops f-bombs, openly complains about both the little annoyances (like Sopes calling her every 30 minutes... boy can I relate to that) to big problems, like one of her daughters being bullied at school. (She's adorable, too. I can't believe a kid like that is getting bullied. There's no hope for the ugly ducklings if that's the case.)

But she also seems like a sweet person and they have a nice relationship. You want to believe it's real, KWIM? Like, if they end up divorced one of these days, it'll be like, "Damn. Fooled me." And it's not all mommy stuff. She does focus on the marriage/hockey part of her life as much as the mommy part, and boy do I hate mommy blogs, so obviously there's enough good stuff there to get past that.

This is the first time they're living apart, so it's interesting to read about the challenges. Having been there and done that myself, I can relate to a lot of it. Not with a hockey player, but with Mr.C, who has been put through the travel/live apart ringer by his company.

One thing I realize reading her blog is that I'd be a terrible hockey wife. I'm high maintenance as a rec league goalie so I can only imagine how high maintenance a pro player is (especially a goalie... Tim Thomas's wife needs a blog). I hate to cook. I don't "dote" on my husband, at least not with any consistency. I'm too busy spinning my own plates. You know where the microwave is. Heat up your own Stouffer's lasagna, man.

I would say that, unless you're just into money, the ideal hockey player relations are sort of a reverse of the old "why by the cow when you can get the milk for free" adage. Why put up with high maintenance lifestyle of a hockey wife when you could just ... well...


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Phrases you rarely hear" for $1000, Alex: Shutout Loss

I've had some rollercoaster nights as a goalie, but tonight takes the cake. Remember how I said last week that I felt like a shutout was completely within reach in my women's league? Well, I was right.

I. Got. A. Shutout. :)

But.... so did the other goalie.

And we lost 2-1 in the shootout. :(

I'm experiencing some crazy cognitive dissonance as a result. How can I play that hard, stop so many pucks (probably 30 shots on my end and maybe 15 at the other), end the game with a goose egg on the board and not win?

Technically, a shutout in regulation IS a shutout. So I could go around saying, ZOMFG IGOTASHUTOUT!!!!! But the truth is, I didn't really. We lost and it completely deflates that joy.

The way the teams shook out, there are just no real ringers on this team, particularly offensively. They're decent defensively, clearing rebounds pretty well and keeping shooters to the outside, breaking up passing lanes, etc. So when the final minute was ticking down, OMG, I was begging for them to get a goal because I didn't have a good feeling about the shootout given the disparate skill levels.

Sure enough, the two best players on purple beat me. And I was heartbroken. Just heartbroken. And feeling silly for feeling heartbroken because I did pitch a shutout and it was 100% legit. I earned that bitch.

So, while I want to feel amazing about it, I just don't. I feel like a marathoner who ran 26 miles and faltered on the final .2 for a DNF. Sure, I went the distance, but I didn't reach the goal.

Even though I'm feeling very FML about it (and logically I know I shouldn't), I'm really proud of several things from tonight:

First, I nearly had a complete meltdown before the game. I've lost ugly for this red team twice now and I really wanted to be good for them tonight. So I was putting this pressure on myself and I started overthinking before I even left the house.

I tweeted about it and the cool heads of my fellow goalies and players tried to jump in and settle me down. It helped some. But mainly what helped was my favorite song coming on the radio on my way there. I was so keyed up, I even cried on the my way to the rink. I haven't been this pent up before a game in a VERY long time. It was just total headcase time.

But I got there and started feeling like myself again. One tweeter reminded me: #calmbutintense. And that's the mentality I went with. I played really well. Very focused and steady. Big time compete level. I was ready to do anything to keep that puck out and I did. So I'm really proud of that.

And I'm also proud that I did it. Like, I did it. And that means I CAN do it. Which means I can do it AGAIN. And hopefully the next time I do it, my team will put a few points on the board and I can love that shutout with my whole heart. 

I know I got tight in the shootout though. I was wanting to just put this game, my first shutout, in my pocket and take it home and love it forever. But here I had to keep defending it.

I dunno. I just can't believe it. I never thought when I finally get my first shutout, the other goalie would get one, too. Crap.

Also, I never knew you couldn't be out of your crease before the player touches the puck in a shoot out. I was all amped and practically at the hash marks and stripes had to tell me to get back in my office. Haha. That's dumb, but whatever.

Ah well. Hopefully sleep, should it ever come, will provide some perspective in the morning. I tell ya though, I've never felt so split down the middle emotionally. I didn't even want to go home after. I just wanted to go somewhere with really loud music and lots of alcohol. Just numb myself until my mind can sort it out or distance makes it matter less.

How fucking melodramatic is that? Haha. But there ya go. Welcome to my head.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Braggin' on my goalie

So, while the Aeros soiled the bed at home this weekend, Brusty and the Baby Senators found their game on the road. I'mma tell you about it because I'm pretty proud of him.

It all starts with Mike Brodeur getting run and bonking his head last weekend. Welcome to Concussionville, Mikey! So he's out, and Brusty gets a start at home last Saturday. Yay!

Well, yay turns into boo when we discover that the rest of the team is Bad At Hockey and it ends up such a mess that Venice sinks an extra inch into the Adriatic Sea.

But never fear, Binghamtonians! Rookie phenom Robin Lehner has finally gotten his visa squared away and will be in town to start the next game. Phew!

But alas, Pascal Leclaire, being Pascal Leclaire, found a way to break himself. God bless him. I mean that. I hate that he's so fragile but he's really and truly Mr. Opportunity for everyone behind him. Anyway, it's some kinda groin thing with some kinda indefinite timeline that they're checking into this week.

Whyyyy? Whyyyyyyyyy?

Regardless, that meant that Lehner spent all of about 3 days in Bingo before getting called up on an emergency basis. But first! They let him get a game in for Bingo to get his game speed going. But that didn't go so well, as he got lit up just as bad as Brusty did in the last game. Guess he is what he is, too.

After the game, Lehner heads to meet the Senators in Montreal and Brusty is finally a #1 goalie in the AHL again and all is right with the world. And just to prove it, he holds the Crunch to 2 (from what I hear, very nice) goals. It's a loss to the Crunch but only because Bingo can't freaking score.

Regardless, finally, the score is less footbally and my friend in the stands (see Chairman How's Glorious Army) told me Barry played great. But apparently he was also quite drunk (my friend, not Barry). Never the less, I trust his judgment in goaltending quality through the boozy haze.

Even the boards in Syracuse know what's up.
The road trip continues up to Toronto where things get really good, because not only is Brusty pretty much the only choice to play (other goalie is an emergency backup) but the game is being broadcast on CBC in Canada and NHL Network in the US.

Holy crap, I get to watch Brusty! I really believe the hockey gods love me and want me to be happy that they knocked out all those other guys to make this happen. But to be honest, I've only watched the first period. I had to shut 'er down because of computer issues and the TV was taken up with football. But it's on my DVR and I've already marked it KEEP. If I could have marked it OMG KEEPKEEPKEEP!!!, I would have. You know this is gonna be up there with The Princess Bride and Office Space for "Number of Watches" before long.

What I do know is that it went amazingly well. He stopped 41 of 42 shots, 18 of which were in the 3rd period, and they won 3-1. He also got the first star, natch, and hopefully enjoyed a little skate with a big grin and lots of Marlies fans hating him for being so fucking awesome in their barn. So clutch.

I'm gonna guess we're looking at the aftermath of a poke here. Shaaaahhhh. I like the new pads.
More cool pics of the game here. The lighting is weird for these shots, like they're in the sun almost. Gives them a strange paparazzi-ish quality that I kinda like.

Anyway, that's the Brusty Report. It's just one game and when everybody's healthy again, I don't know what happens after that. But it was one game on the biggest stage the B-Sens will play on all season and he made the point he spent all last season trying to make. Not only does he belong in this league (or better), he can dominate it.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quick Hits: Empathy, Monster, Major, DITL

Funny little phenomenon. You know how I play in a cluster of days, like Saturday-Tuesday and then have a solid break during the week? I noticed that I almost can't stand to watch On the Fly on the NHL Network on the nights I've played.

Because really, what are hockey highlights 75% of the time? Goals. So I watch and I just get more and more tense for these poor goalies. In the context of a full game, it's no big deal, but when it's condensed into a highlight reel... ugh. Can't take it.

But then tonight, with no game until Monday, it doesn't even phase me. I can look at goals against fairly objectively and don't get all, "Ohh, that hurts my heart, baby. I'm so sorry those mean boys scored on you."


I think it's really cute that Ron Wilson calls Gustavsson "the Monster." I wonder if he busts out his real name when he's mad at him. "Jonas Monster Gustavsson! You get out there and challenge that shooter!"


Major is back to the dog park after 3 weeks with that godforsaken cone around his head because of a hole he chewed in his side. I was watching him today and marveling at, aside from our red hair, how much we have in common.

The old boy turns 9 this month (Happy Birthday Booboo!). He's had one ACL surgery and has severe dysplasia in both hips. But he's still a puppy at heart and he runs and runs with the fast young dogs, except he runs about 10 feet behind them, tongue dragging, no hope of catching up unless they just flat out stop.

And sometimes when they're really going, he just stops and waits for them to circle back. Older, wiser with his energy. I watch him and realize that we're not real different in our playtime. Neither of us is very well equipped for it or very good at it, but we have as much or more fun than anybody else.

Also, we both stink like something died when we're finished playing.


Ryan Stanzel, the Wild's PR guru and all-around nice guy, tweet-asked if it sounded like a good idea to tweet a "day in the life" of an NHL PR guy on the day of the home opener tomorrow. I love the idea, so I told him if he did that, I'd tweet a day in the life of a marginal, minor-league, third-string beat writer the day of the Aeros home opener on Saturday.

Should be good fun. It's going to be like 12 hours of hoping the dining room has mashed potatoes and 2 minutes of checking that my recorder has a fresh battery. Though in reality, I'll be jonesing so bad to go sit in the arena, I'll probably skip dinner and just go take it in for a while before the madness starts. This has been one seriously LONG summer.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Make them good goals go bad

Gosh darn. I guess my hot streak had to run out sometime, huh? Played an unreal game tonight at women's league, but still lost because I let in one stinker of a goal with just a couple of minutes left. Didn't plan to blog tonight but this is one I just need to write about to stop dwelling on it.

Started out with a 35 minute shut out, and NOT because I wasn't seeing shots. Their good players weren't holding back (like ours were... grrr) and I got shelled all night by their best girls. My best save was a quick pass from my blocker side to a girl right at the top of my crease glove side. I read the pass and pushed off the post to get a pad in front of it just in the nick of time. Normally I get beat on backdoor plays like that, so I felt super awesome on that save.

The first goal was a breakaway, where she came up on my glove side. It's a situation I often have trouble deciding what to do, but with this group, I should have known to challenge more. Instead I got back on my post and butterflied and she put it in the gap just over my pad and outside my glove. Good shot, but I shouldn't have given her that much space.

The second was a breakaway from their best girl and my captain was backchecking but something happened and she went down and didn't get up, but ref didn't blow the whistle, so I've got an injured teammate on my door step and am sort of in shock that there's no whistle, plus I'm sort of keeping my distance so I don't run into her, which meant I was too deep for the shot and she put it in far side just inside the post. Poop.

The girls were kinda pissy afterward that she took the shot when clearly there was someone hurt, but I told them I very much expected her to play to the whistle and if anyone should get a little stink eye, it's the ref who didn't blow the whistle when she wasn't getting up.

The third, though... fuck. Awful goal and I broke my one overriding rule about this league: $2000 saves. Get EVERYTHING in front of the puck if it's coming anywhere near the goal. It was a faceoff and the center (again, their really good girl) got a shot off but my d-man tipped it and it kinda turned wobbly. I would have put $100 on it going just wide so I was just letting it go, but it wobbled right into my net. Goddamnit. A ridiculously great night in goal and I fuck it up with that shit going in.

That put it 3-2 and we couldn't get another one in. Someone iced it with 30-something seconds so even pulling me for the extra woman wasn't very feasible. Ah well. 

Trying to focus on the really good stuff I did, and there was a lot of it, but I wanted that win so badly. (And yeah, I know it would have been tied, but I think I could have won the shootout.) But hey, it's a good reminder of the golden rule and I'll carry this loss with me for a while so I don't forget. No losing, just learning. Haha.

Honestly, now that I'm comfortable with this league, I'm going into each game with the mindset that if I play a smart, energetic game, a shutout is very much within reach. I've never been able to set that as a goal before, but that's my goal every week in this league. Absolutely no reason I can't reach it.


I'm officially loving my pads now. They're broken in and I can stand comfortably when play is away from me. I slide like a pro in them. It's grand. I thought I'd end up ditching the inner calf wraps, but I love them. They help keep the pads centered on my leg and help with rotation. My butterfly is pretty nice now. No gaping V in the middle any more like with my old pads.


Got a massage lined up for Thursday, though I'm feeling a lot better already. I figure a little precautionary work on my glutes wouldn't hurt, just to run that pain off for good. My knee is stiff again, but I'm going to get back to doing my PT and hopefully that will help.

And then I'm off until next Monday since the Aeros home opener is Saturday night, so I'll miss novice practice. I'm pretty jacked to see these guys play given the success they've had so far (in a whopping 2 games). And Hackett appears to be so good so early, I want to see it for myself... I can't wait to see where he goes and how his presence will push Anton.

I think Anton has had "the climb" pushing him thus far, either to get out of the Coast, or to stay in the AHL, or to be the Wild's call-up. But he's always been the baby of the organization, never having a higher-drafted, younger guy nipping at his heels the way Hackett will, and I think it will be interesting to see how he responds. He's so confident/cocky and happy go lucky, I don't doubt he'll thrive, and Anton thriving + Hackett thriving = some seriously good goaltending.



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hang gliding on a Dorito

Man, another crummy day. Been feeling lately like every time I solve a problem, whether it's work or hockey obligations or whatever, the solution just presents another problem bigger than the one before it. I was feeling pretty down today, but I had a game to play and I knew I needed it to shake off the dumps.

Then I get halfway to the rink and realize I left my stick at home. I knew the other goalie always brings two sticks so it would probably be okay, but it was more of that feeling like a colossal fuckup.

I get there and hey, look, it's Scott TFCG working with the prep goalies! I never get to see Scotty any more and he's one of my favorite people, so that was nice to have a little chat and that lifted my mood. He stuck around and played our drop in for a little while. I sucked at the start and let in a cluster of goals. I don't know if this was his intention or not, but he had a clean shot at me and put it right in my belly. I was grateful for the easy save and it calmed me down and I played better after that.

My second half was quite good actually, and I was happy to find that the pain in my leg is not nearly as noticeable tonight. It's still there but didn't distract me once I got confidence that it wasn't going to cripple me if I played fully.

What stunk was the pegs for the nets were missing. That's probably the best I've played with slippery nets, but man is that annoying. Only benefit: No blade dings. :)

Anyway, no dumb goals tonight, so I like that about myself, and I like myself and I have a lot of other great qualities as well.

The hot shot I call Crosby has been trying to score on me 5-hole for a few weeks now. He finally got me tonight when he dished a rebound between my knees as I was trying to move across. He was pretty pleased with himself, and I was pretty pleased that I'd made it hard for him. So to speak. Everybody wins!

As I was driving home, I had that all too rare feeling like all was right with the world. In fact, I really felt that from the time I got to the rink. I talked to my folks on the phone this afternoon and we were having a laugh when I said that I didn't think my body was real fond of the things I do to it lately cuz something's always hurting. Dad said, "Yeah, we really passed on those family athletic genes to you, didn't we?" Ha, yeah, the what now? Not an athletic person in the bunch. Dad plays golf. My uncle was a mascot in high school. That's about it.

Anyway, I stood there waiting for the zam to run and finish dressing and just kinda took in the scene around me. If you'd told me I'd be a hockey goalie even 5 years ago, I would have laughed in your face and told you to seek treatment. I dunno, maybe I make too much of this, but seriously, I was in band and the newspaper editor in high school. At the dog park, I throw the ball and the dog looks at me like, "That's the best you got?" I have really severe vision issues related to tracking a moving object.

I'm a writer, an artist, a nerd, a couch potato. I'm everything a goalie isn't and yet, here I stand with big leg pads on and literally twitching to get on the ice, knowing this is the most meaningful hour of my week. Rarely does a day go by where I don't marvel at the chain of events that led to this. I'm so lucky. Someone's looking out for me, that's for sure.

Nonnie, if it's you, can you work some glove hand magic for me?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let's just pretend today didn't happen

Some days you just can't wait to say goodbye to and today is one of them. I spent all day stressed about crap, fighting with Mr.C, the bitter chemistry of PMS churning in my cold, dark heart and making me want to punch kittens in the face.

And then I was late to hockey. Didn't even have my skates tied when the zamboni started running. Normally my pads are on and I'm chillin' by the time the zam runs. So, I was sweating and frantic and my skates weren't tight enough.

And THEN I get on the ice and do one c-cut and go, "OW!" Sharp pain in my left quad, the one that also hurts when I walk down stairs. I hobble around and try to figure out what else makes it hurt...

C-cuts and being in my stance both send such a sharp pain in my quad, it takes my breath away.

No big deal.

So I skate over to our coach and tell him I'm gonna try and hang in there, but if I feel like it's getting worse, I'm Audi 5000. I also told a few of my key D-men that I'm in a bad way so I'm gonna be stinking, and they need to bring the hurt.

They played hard but I was not to be helped. I let 'em in all night to the tune of 11 goals, in spite of a few "even a blind squirrel finds a nut" good saves. And the other goalie played very well. He plays almost a pure stand up style but he's got a good glove and my team can generally lift the puck so he snags 'em.

Anyway, I was straight up awful, but I had fun and don't feel too badly about it. At some point, I quit being frustrated, just adapted the best I could, and decided I'm having fun regardless. Life's too short for any other attitude.

Now, I AM worried about Monday night. I've been struggling in that game lately and was looking to keep on an upward trajectory after playing fairly well there last week. But even something simple like hugging the post hurts since that's exactly the amount of leg bend that hurts. Higher is fine, lower is fine but that amount of "squat".... FMD, that hurts.

Anyway, my silly novice games don't matter, but I'm sure Brusty was looking for a great game tonight. He got it in the first period where he was heroic in the face of a shelling reminiscent of Florida last season. But it turned into a shit show in the second.

I didn't see any of the game, just followed the beat writer's tweets, but apparently the team cratered defensively, got in the quicksand, and really needed the intermission to get it together. Coach said it wasn't on him, and the captain fell on the sword on behalf of the team, but still.... not much makes that feel better.

Except beer. Which I'mma go have right now while I give the ol' middle finger to this poorly behaved Saturday. You're supposed to be fun, Saturday. Do better next time.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My take on "Women and Sports"

Very rude of me to post on top of myself, but whatever. I'll get over it. I was just reminded of something I wanted to throw a few words up about.

My buddy Buddha posted this yesterday on women in sports fields, either as players, reporters, front office, etc.: Women and Sports. It's a good read and puts me in the same bucket as Sarah Spain, for which I apologize to Ms. Spain because she's way fuckin' awesomer than me. I've never gotten an NHLer to sing Fergie and I look ridiculous in pigtails.

It's a good read and I'm flattered to be mentioned, but every time I read something along these lines (and then the ensuing comments), I guess I'm a little surprised that mens' perceptions of them in a sports context is still such an issue for so many women.

It absolutely hasn't been for me and I'm left to sit and think about why that is.

Am I just really lucky? Well, yeah, as I mentioned in my last post, with my fellow Aeros writers (and on up to the Wild where Russo has also been very good to me), I am surrounded by people who support what I do. The PR guys have always been professional toward me and if I've ever felt any slight, I've always interpreted that as more because I'm not always writing the straightest material about their team. That's just what I do and I take some risks as a result.

Or maybe it's because I really don't attempt at any pretense. I'm pretty up front with my take on hockey and I'm an open book really. Things you have to know:

  1. I love this game more than anything. I love sports in general, but I think hockey is the greatest sport ever and that's really and truly the bottom line. 
  2. I'm obsessed with goalies so much that in spite of being old and completely lacking in athleticism, I had to become one.
  3. Hockey players are, by and large, pretty foxy and I don't mind saying it. It's not what I'm about as a sports fan, but Christ, I'm supposed to NOT appreciate those strong, lean bodies? Please. You're dead inside if you're not enjoying the view.
  4. Brusty Brusty Brusty Brusty
The other thing is that I'm not really into this, "We are sportswomen, hear us roar" thing. I think part of that is because what I see, at least from some hockey blogging women, is that they're trying to dictate how women should relate to sport as part of their agenda. It's this overcompensation of being serious and demanding respect and how dare you think I might wanna tap that?!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. For shit's sake, just be genuine. Don't apologize for your unique relationship to the game just because some women's libber wants to poo-poo you for liking a player just a little extra because he's got eyes the color of the ocean. *sigh*

Bottom line, any man who insists that you prove your "legitimacy" as a sports fan is a man whose opinion doesn't matter. And maybe that's just my weird take on feminism, but to me it doesn't mean equality or being like the guys or demanding respect. It means the freedom to be who I am without apology, to men OR women.


Weekend Update (like SNL's but not funny)

Oooooweeee, kids, I love me some vicodin! My back hurts like a mother after I play lately. Dunno how I keep doing it but my hips are out of alignment and I need to get back to the handsome chiro asap before I'm officially crippled.

It's been a while since I posted because, really, nothing's been too interesting and I've been too busy to blog about anything boring.

Friday, the Aeros' home pre-season game got axed because the compressor went out at the rink and the ice melted. Oooops. Still, it was fun to see John and Drew and shoot the shit. As if watching hockey wasn't fun enough, I'm lucky enough to do it with those guys, who make me laugh and, more importantly, laugh at my dumb jokes and generally treat me like one of the boys, except with tits. It's perfection.

Saturday, I listened to Brusty's first full (preseason) game with Bingo on the ol' internet radio thingy. Sounded like an okay game but the announcer didn't describe the goals very well, so I dunno. Coach K said he felt the first and third goals (they lost 3-2) weren't his fault and then he says, "He is what he is. He probably feels pretty good about the way he played." Or something like that. That was the gist.

As you can imagine, I officially hate the guy. I sent off the paperwork earlier today. I mean, WTF, Master Motivator? One thing I always appreciated about Kevin Constantine was that he never EVER threw a goalie under the bus. I think having been one himself, he knows it's so easy to make the goalie the goat, so he's sensitive to it, especially with the media. I never heard him say something that would deflate a goalie.

Seems to me, no matter how you feel about your goalie, as a coach, surely you understand that goalies without confidence are completely worthless to you. You gotta keep their tires pump and find other ways to get what you want out of them than "Well, he has a pulse and he gear fits, so yeah, whatever" kinds of comments. 

*ahem* /rant

Saturday night I had practice. Happy to report my favorite d-man is back this season. I <3 him so much. He apologized to me after the scrimmage and yeah, he had a couple of pylon moments but damn if he doesn't block shots and play a smart game. Told him he never needs to apologize to me for anything.

They've also got one of the C goalies coming in to help us goalies. That rattled me a little bit, to be honest, and I felt insecure and desperate all practice long. It's like the voices were back... self-doubt, etc. They were evaluating the skaters, and I guess Jon was evaluating us goalies too a bit. He was really nice, so I don't know why I got all keyed up, but I did.

I'll admit, I've gotten pretty comfortable lately and I know I need someone to push me out of my comfort zone. I won't do it to myself, this I know. Ah, well. We'll see where it goes. Kinda feel like Scott should warn him. :)  I'll miss the next practice because of Aeros opening night, anyway.

I did have one absolutely crazy scrambling play where I was really proud of myself for staying with it. The puck was all over my crease and I was battling to get my glove on it and it went ALMOST completely over the line, but not quite when I swiped it back to myself and held on to it. It maybe had a few millimeters to being a goal. It was CLOSE and Toronto woulda needed a look at it, but it wasn't in, man. No goal.

Sunday, I did nothing but get writing done and say goodbye to the 2010 Toronto Blue Jays. I already miss Lyle Overbay. *sniff* He's just so manly and first basey. I love him more than any baseball person.

And finally, tonight I checked out the Aeros' "Sorry about that canceled pre-season game" Skills Competition. I'm just gonna throw a theory out there: Colton Gillies IS the Energizer bunny, right? The kid is constantly moving, always smiling, just a completely adorable button. But I wonder if a little Ritalin in his water bottle might not be a terrible idea.

He and Brandon Buck were most impressive in the shootout competition. Gillies has poor Hackett figured out blocker side. And Buck has this RIDICULOUS move where he ... well, I'm not even sure what he did, but it involved the puck being in his glove, which he swears is legal but I can't fathom how. Anyway, he did it twice and Hack bit both times.

I had my drop-in after that and it was fun having my friend Christa there finally getting to see what a hack I am in goal. Haha. Actually, it was better than last week because there were so few players and they got tired pretty quickly. Had some nice stops though, including a sweet glove at the end. It was fast and fun and the rink was COLD, so I didn't overheat like I have been the last few weeks there.

Loving the new pads more all the time. Still can't stand comfortably in them and I shift from foot to foot all game, which is tiring and probably weird to look at, but they sure are easier on the knees and awfully sturdy. Glad I invested in pro quality. They are beauties!


I don't have a video this week cuz I'm too tired to care, but I have a site recommendation if you like weird shit that's funny. There's this craft-selling site called Etsy where people make stuff and sell it. Normally it's cute handmade purses, jewelry, or normal things like that, but some of it is seriously weird, fetishy shit. And that's where the site Regretsy comes in. They find and post the crazy shit for all us mean-spirited people to laugh at. It's a wicked good time. Check it out.


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