Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wrapping up my bi-polar week in net

So, I wrote a big long whiny post about Monday night, but decided it was too whiny even for me. It was really tedious, so you're welcome for sparing you.

But it suffices to say that I was absolutely fucking awful at drop-in. FUCKING. AWFUL. I think at some point I let in 10 shots in a row. I was as close to tears on the ice as I've ever been. I was standing there wondering how I was going to get undressed without bursting into tears in front of everybody, or maybe I should just head straight to the bathroom, have my cry, and then change.

How humiliating.

But my girl Cyndi showed me some love, got me to laugh, and told me to take off if I needed to. She knew I was tired from goalie clinic (which I was feeling awful after), but for some reason, I wouldn't or couldn't recognize how tired I was and just got more and more and more discouraged.

I screamed at a guy just for having his stick in my crease (haha). Just horrible melt-down.

And they were so nice about it. I owe them for that, especially as I haven't played that drop-in as well as I'd like in a few weeks. That probably was in the back of my mind fueling the melt-down.

Anyway, I was rejecting Cyndi's offers to call it quits. I was angry and I needed to prove to myself that I could stop some pucks. I needed to shake off the crisis of confidence.

So I stayed out and I stopped pretty much everything after that.

I finally snagged a really pretty one in my glove (god bless them, they've all learned to act real impressed when I make a glove save) and said, "Okay, with that... I'm DONE. See you next week!"

We had some laughs afterward and that took the edge off but I was still feeling pretty glum when I got home.

I wasn't sure how it was going to carry over tonight at Women's league. In fact, I was so rattled, my legs didn't quit shaking and my heart didn't stop pounding until the second period tonight.

But I saw a handful of shots in the first and eventually settled down, and then saw maybe 3 more shots the whole game and got another shutout (5-0 final). Can't even get excited about this one. It's nice, but doesn't mean a whole lot when you see so few shots.

So, this means we're in the championship week after next, likely with Captain Danglemitt's team, so that will be an epic battle. But this is one where I literally have to just think of it as enjoying one last game with these girls as my teammates and savor every minute. Fully intend to drink my face off after that one, too. It's gonna be a blast, regardless of who wins.

Enjoying the process.

Couple of funny things from the night:

It was CRAZY humid at Space City. The glass was sweating, the ice had a layer of fog hovering over it.... and it was raining. Not even kidding. As I stood there, bored out of my mind, I could just hear it -- drip, drip, drip -- all around my crease and up the center of the ice. On my helmet, on my back, on my net. Drip, drip, drip.

Also, because I was so nervous in the first, I was fighting the puck, so while I made the saves, they weren't pretty. So I was trying to settle myself down and what came to mind?


Cuz honey badger don't give a shit. I'mma be like honey badger! Can't get enough honey badger.

And with that, tomorrow morning I'm off to Dallas to spend time with my family and see the Blue Jays. I hope those bats keep going the next two days! They're kicking ass in Dallas!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Not so quick hits: Birthday Edition

The dream lives!

Don't ask me who I'd root for if the Aeros and B-Sens, by some miracle, ended up playing each other for the Calder Cup. Honestly, I'm pretty sure it would be the Aeros. I know where my bread is buttered and what an honor and treat it would be to cover a Championship team.

But that's way way WAY ahead of this Round 2 point we're both at now. All I can say is, Get well soon, Corey Locke. Keep the dream alive, squirt!

Of course, if Lehner cements the starting role in Bingo (ride the hot goalie, right?), there really is no question of my loyalty but I'd totally sneak down to the backup goalie corner and marvel at Brusty's hair.

Bonus tongue!
Photo courtesy of Tracy Hicks/White Raven Creations/Press Photo International
No kidding, I've had at least 5 pictures of the BACK of him randomly sent to me by various friends/enablers, because the flow is so bitchin'. I love my hockey friends so much. :)


Today's my birthday. 35 again. Shut up. I'm staying 35 until someone outright laughs at me when I tell them my age. I figure I can be 35 for a good 10 years if I keep after the Oil of Olay and sunscreen and stop smiling.

:) <--this is all you get

I'm spending my birthday working my tail off to meet a couple of deadlines (worked most of Sunday, too), then working my tail off on the ice at goalie clinic and then drop-in.

Likely have a playoff game Tuesday night at women's league, too, so hopefully I'm not hurting too badly after Monday.


Speaking of which, my buddy and awesome goalie writer Kevin Woodley, tweeted this last night:

I sorta half read the quote. Then I went back and half read it again. And then I really read it. And then I started choking back tears.

At least for me, that really does boil it down to what matters on the inside for a goalie. And for me, they're sometimes hard to remember. And I guess what's amazing is that a guy playing at the highest level has to remind himself of these things, too.

"Don't fear failure." I'm mortified of failure. Failure = embarrassment and embarrassment is honestly my biggest motivator and my biggest inhibitor. I play with too much fear, and 90% of that is fear of failure.

"Compete 100%." Um yeah. Nobody's going to be making any dramatic movies about my competitive spirit. I'm getting better though. Contrary to the "just play and have fun" spirit of women's league, my experience there as actually upped my competitiveness. Because I have a team and stats and playoffs and all that "evidence" of my success or suck-ess, it's easier to get in the zone.

"Play for others." This one makes my head swim a little. Goalie is so solitary, playing a game within the game, with your own (and usually quite different) mental and physical needs and demands. It's easy to get and stay wrapped in your little cocoon of goalieness and not really connect with what everyone else on the ice is experiencing. My best games have come when I AM engaged in the experience others are having, but not worried about it.

"Enjoy the process." This is the one I have the least trouble remembering, but man, when the shit starts flying and I'm knocking pucks into my own net, all my mind can think is "Fuck the process." But screwing up and being miserable and watching the clock IS part of the process. It's just the part I don't like and want to minimize.

God, I feel like I need therapy after writing that. But, I dunno, I felt like that "quote" was worth sharing. I was surprised how strong my reaction to it was.


Nothing real special going on today. Monday birthdays are kinda lame other than I get to see a shit ton of rubber, so that's cool. My real birthday gift is my trip to Dallas Wednesday and Thursday to see my Jaybirdses! Yay!

It's funny because my Dad is as excited as I am. No other way he's getting to go to Dallas and see HIS favorite team two days in a row. But Mom's putting up with it because it's what her lovely daughter wants. Any wonder I'm such a brat... ;)

He's also excited because it's dollar hot dog day on Wednesday. I'm bringing Tums...

Also, crushing pretty hard on Snidey, that foxy meat mixer... can't wait to get my gawk and giggle on.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Losing Weight

Ahhhhhh, what a night!

Monday nights with goalie clinic AND drop-in are so hard. I mean, it's over 2 hours on the ice, with an hour in the middle to sit there in my sweaty clothes and get cold and tired. It suuuuucks.

Clinic tonight was great, though I swear, sometimes I feel like I'm just starting. One of the drills, I just couldn't do. A simple stick save drill and I just couldn't do it for shit. I can't even explain it.

But we did a lot of movement work, butterfly slides and backside pushes and whatnot. The young lady (12?) helping Jason and me told us it took her about a year and a half of work to get that down pat. And she's got crazy quick legs. Very good goalie, very smooth. I'm jealous, but I know she's worked really hard to get that good. She's a bad ass and really inspiring.

Jason and I both bailed a little bit early because of drop-in. And I still ended up being pretty gassed in the last 20 minutes or so of our game.

Didn't help that all but 1 of the really fast guys who plays this drop-in (even some who aren't usually there) were on the ice. It's definitely more fun that way but I honestly think my mind was fading worse than my body. In fact, I was pretty happy with my legs not being ALL that tired, especially after the work in clinic.

But my brain was toast. Like, I'd just zone out, and look up, and there's an opponent in front of me with the puck on his stick. SHIT!

Still, had some nice saves, and more importantly, I burned off the lake of vodka I drank this weekend in Austin. Never mind all that I ate. Jesus. H. Austin.

So, I survived my marathon evening at SLICE. I brought my lappy to get some stuff done in the break between ice times and check in on the Aeros game. I was dismayed to see them down 2-1, then 3-1, then 3-2, then 3-3 as I got back on the ice.

The other weight off my shoulders was finding out, when I got in the car, that they won 5-3.

That's a big confidence building game. They had to find a way to reset themselves within the game and boy did they. Would love to see them finish the Rivs off tomorrow and avoid that ugly 3 in 3. I would also love to see ALL us prognosticators be WRONG. Not a single person picked Aeros in 4.

Well, I picked Aeros in 3, but that was a joke. :) Though that would have me coming closest without going over, so if we're playing by Price is Right rules, I win.

No more hockey this week and I'm glad. I hurt absolutely everywhere. From my toes to my knees, to my elbow (looking up "tennis elbow" after I press send on this post) to my back and neck. Wuss.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You know it's a bad night in goal when you're the other team's MVP

Let's start with this: I love my team. There's not even a "but" coming. I just love them.

We were missing some of our best players tonight against Captain Danglemitts' team (who was not there, fortunately), but they had all their best players except her. So it was a shooting gallery in my end. I saw 28 shots in 42 minutes of play and stayed really busy, especially in the first and second.

I didn't play a bad game overall, BUT... I put TWO of the goals IN the net with MY OWN GLOVE.

Stand on top of a mountain and scream FUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKK and let it echo off the surrounding mountains and that's pretty much the sound in my head after each one.

They were both shots that, one way or another got past me and were sitting on the goal line. All I had to do was sweep them into my body and we're done. No goal. (Though we still would have lost as the final was 4-1.)

But because I'm a glove retard, I pushed them INTO the goal while trying to snag them. /insert mountain  echo fuck again/

So, even though I stopped probably 5 breakaways and plenty of good shots, you goalies know that even one fuck-up like that can take it all away. Two makes you want to beat yourself to death with your own goalie stick.

I get in the room after and I'm NOT HAPPY. I'm trying to be cool, trying to keep perspective, but then the girls compliment my game and I can't hold it in. "Yeah, good game except for those TWO GOALS I put in with my OWN GLOVE."

So one of the girls says, "Okay, good game, except for those TWO AWFUL GOALS! What were you DOING?" She's kidding of course, but I actually felt a little better hearing that.

So I said, 'Thank you! Exactly!"

And the other girls caught on and I egged them on to just give me shit for my "awful" game. I don't think any of them understood it. I'm not sure I did either, but honest to god, it made me feel better.

I told them I should call one of those phone sex lines (I was thinking of @TeleEroticist's Submissive Line) and pay someone to berate me for my bad game so I feel better.

It's like, when I'm mad at myself for a game, I'm mad at myself as much on my behalf as on theirs. So it's a big burden to carry, their anger and mine. But by them, even jokingly, giving me hell for it, I could give their anger back to them and not have to carry it myself.

Or something like that.

Whatever the case, I had a smile on my face after that and I was able to (mostly) just learn my lesson (don't COVER the puck, put the glove behind the puck and pull it towards me) and move on.

Anyway, I love my team for doing that and for lots of other reasons. This was our last regular season game of the season, which makes me sad. The deck will get shuffled next season and I'll likely have to face the girls I've grown to adore.

If we're still in 1st place, we don't play for 2 weeks -- one bye week and one "play-in" game for the playoffs, which I don't understand --  but hopefully this knocked us into second place and we can play again 2 weeks from now. (Don't try to figure it out.) I just show up when they tell me to and try to get in front of pucks.

Playoffs start tomorrow. Kuemper's team is one loss away from getting swept by Medicine Hat (and best hockey name since Clutter, goalie Tyler Bunz), so maybe he joins the crew soon, too.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Quick hits: Playoffs?!, InGoalMag piece, Fantasy

It's playoff time, bitches!

I'm a little bit WOOO! and a little bit "OMG I have to write about EVERY game??" Because seriously, I'm used to having time to craft and tinker over stories. But game stories? No time for that.

Plus, it all feels very jinxy having to start writing before the game is over. When I'm covering for Andrew for the Chronicle, it's like pulling teeth to open that blank page on my laptop during the first intermission, but I know I have to or I have no hope of making deadline.

Anyway, I think the Peoria match-up is a fun one, if not particularly advantageous. But really, in the West, who's "easy" to beat? Absolutely no one.

Mr.C and I immediately put the Boston/Montreal series on our Must See TV calendar. I mean, shit. That's got the makings of World War III.

And of course, I'll be keeping one googly eye on Binghamton and Manchester. The B-Sens got 8 players back from Ottawa Sunday. And I thought the 5 Aeros we're getting back felt like a lot.

Had to laugh at the Pirates vs. the Whale (nautical theme!) and the Bears vs. Checkers (both bear mascots... one grizzly, one polar) match-ups in the East. If you're the type who makes your picks based on the mascots, I'm not sure which way to go on those two.


I finally put together my story from Thursday's adventure getting in net for some of the Aeros players and coaches and media. What a great time that was. You can read about it here:


After finishing in last place last season, I finished 2nd in my fantasy hockey rotisserie league this season. The #1 guy was 30 points ahead of me. So I like to consider myself first place among the people who weren't cheating. ;) It's a keeper league and I have Jeff Skinner and Corey Perry, so I'm feeling pretty fucking rich for next year. I'mma go buy myself something silver to celebrate. Maybe a Hershey bar.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Shutout. For Realsies.

I remember back when I had that shutout that I lost ultimately in the shootout. I was moaning about it to Scott and he said something that stuck with me: Everybody wants that first shutout, but you'll find that it wasn't your best game and there are games you let goals in that you're a lot more proud of.

And he's right. We got a shutout tonight 100% because my girls played like rock stars and kept the puck away from me, not because of any grand effort on my part. I saw maybe 10-15 shots tonight in 42 minutes of play. I was bored, honestly, and I played just fine and handled the shots I saw, but nothing heroic.

I tell ya though, I had the clock behind me in the third and I knew time was running down, but there was no way I was looking back at the clock to see how much was left. I was DYING to know. But I knew the buzzer would be that much more satisfying if it came as a surprise.

I normally don't react to wins. Just go out and shake hands and smile a little more. But I allowed myself a little fist pump after the final buzzer. I feel like I've come so close so many times, I at least earned that. A shutout is a special thing for a goalie, even when it's not exactly earned the hard way.

So, that was nice and now I can scratch that off my bucket list. Only took 2 years and 4 months in net to nail that one down.

It was also cool that it came when I had friends watching the game. Usually when I have someone I know there to watch, I choke. So, I've got witnesses if nothing else. :)

It was a fun night. Some tasty food and drinks and jello shots after the game and a good time with the girls. I love this bunch a whole lot.


So I went back to wearing my pads loose and they seemed to be rotating better. Also, I found that my suspenders had lengthened on the right side, so I hiked those up to where they're supposed to be. I guess I'm going to have to glue or stitch them in place. That could be part of the problem. The pads felt a lot better tonight.


I haven't written about Brusty in a while because I think I've said it all at this point. But these quotes from him today (er, yesterday) are particularly delectable. Props to my *ahem* second favorite AHL beat writer, Joy Lindsay, for getting these.

The stuff about his appreciation for where he is now vs. the last couple of years, both health-wise and organizational respect-wise, as well as the bonding in post-season stuff gave me goosebumps. The guy is just a straight up great quote. Beat writer gold.

And honestly, it takes some effort to give thoughtful answers. Not too many guys will be so earnest and honest.

Rooting hard for Bingo to lock up their playoff spot tomorrow!


Just because we did a little post-game bootie shaking to this one in the bar tonight....

"My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun." - Best Lyric Ever


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Either side of 4 a.m. pretty much sucks

Well fuck. I got home at 11:20 and decided against a Benedryl to help me fall asleep sooner because I didn't want the hangover.

Whaddaya know, here I am at 4 a.m. wide awake. Like THAT'S not gonna leave me with a hangover... Dumbass.

Might as well write, right?

Thought tonight was going to be pretty tough. Scott TFCG's goalie clinics are starting back up for the summer. The great thing is that it's on Mondays when I'm already playing drop-in, so I can knock out one evening at the rink and get coaching AND a game.

The bad thing is that there's over an hour between the end of clinic and our drop-in and sitting around sweaty and cold and getting sleepy isn't much fun.

Never mind that I'm pretty tired for the game. I was lousy tonight. I'm actually feeling like I'm getting worse in goal, but I hope that feeling is actually my realizing the things I'm doing wrong rather than just being oblivious to them. But I dunno. I just haven't felt right lately.

I think clinic must throw off my timing a bit, too. Maybe it was just being tired and a little unfocused. Maybe overthinking? Lots of pucks went right under me tonight at drop-in and that's unusual for me.

Anyway, clinic was good. At least the part I actually made it to. A wreck on 59 had us crawling at about 2 mph up to Beechnut, so I missed warm-ups and 3 stations. Though honestly, "I wouldn't say I'm missing it, Bob." I dread warm-up drills, which is maybe kinda weird. Let's just skate around a bit, do a couple of up and downs, and get to work. That's pretty much what I did tonight since I had to jump in mid-stream.

Banged up my knee pretty good though, somehow, during clinic. Not really sure but there's a big knot on my knee and it hurts pretty good to butterfly on it. My pad rotation issue is worse than ever, too. Between banging my knee up and looking like a fool with my pad under my leg, I'm getting pretty frustrated with that, but don't have a clue how to fix it other than being in a VERY low stance before I fly.


Why is it all the cool shit happens when I have Real Job meetings? Aeros are having their playoff media day right smack in the middle of a meeting that I've already missed 2 weeks in a row. Moreover, it's a media-skate-with-the-coaches thingy, which should be hilariously awesome since nobody here knows how to skate. :) And frankly, I'm pretty damn wobbly in just my goalie skates without pads, and too chicken to wear my player skates that have been collecting dust for 2 years.

Still, I'd totally do it and I may still, because I'd like to talk to Sydor a bit. Plus I want to see the local media enjoy a little ice time if they are brave enough and realize what good TV it is to see people busting their ass on the ice while trying to conduct interviews.

Honestly, if I were a TV sports person, I'd throw the goalie gear on and give it a go. Nothing makes you appreciate what "real" goalies do until you try it yourself. And again, great TV.

It's funny because people think the hard part of goaltending is getting hit with the puck, but that's far and away the easiest part. The hard part is, well, everything else.


Recruiting/party at Women's League tonight. I'm dragging a couple of gals out to get a feel for it and hopefully get them on the ice with us before too long. Food and fun and drink specials up in the bar. May have to score a jello shot before the game so these lushes don't slurp 'em all down before our game is over. I'll probably play better, to be honest.

If anybody out there is reading and interested in playing women's league, come on out to Space City Ice. Shenanigans start at 7, game starts at 8:20. It's my team versus Team Orange, so no Captain Danglemitts, but still should be good competition. Bar closes at 1. :)


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