Good times!

I got up on Saturday morning and felt great. This was going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. I stepped out to get my skates sharpened for the game and then headed down to Van Andel Arena at 2:15. There, I got dressed, ate some veggies that the catering company brought in as snacks, and talked with my teammates. At 3:15 we hit the ice. There were about 2,000 people there, and I was excited as ever.

Saturday 2/21 – GR All Stars vrs the Red Wings Alumni
I played a total of 24 minutes which isn’t bad for 3 15 minute stop clock periods. I stopped 15 of 17 shots in the game and I was very pleased with myself. The first goal they got was the first shot I faced. Forward maneuvered to the faceoff circle to my left and wristed the puck five hole on me. The second goal was a shot from the slot that went top corner. The funny thing was that I stopped every deflection they put on me. Same with the odd man rushes where they tried tipping a couple shots past me. I really fanned out in the butterfly well.

The other goalie didn’t have as much luck. He stopped 10 of 15 shots and we lost 8-6 from an empty netter in the last 10 seconds.

After eating up when we got back to the locker room, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways until the banquet dinner later that evening during the Griffins game. During the game itself, after eating all that food, I felt VERY uneasy. I just wasn’t feeling well at all as the night went on. By the morning, I found out I was either suffering from a small bout of food poisoning or food intolerance. That made Sunday very enjoyable let me tell you. 🙁

I am feeling better today though, which is a huge feat. 🙂

The experience is over, but I hope I get invited to do it again next year!

What a game

I will write in my journal tomorrow on the game and what happened. I am feeling very ill right now, stomach ache to be precise. It is probably due to all the food I ate after we played. Either that or nerves.

More later! I promise!

Re:

After a hard practice, the GR All Stars gathered for the Griffins game on Friday night. We spent the game together eating, drinking, and having a great time. Part of the fun of this event is to bond with your team after the practices and the game. The game is tomorrow at 3:30pm and I am excited. I am getting the nod to start the game tomorrow. I figure either way I will make a positive contribution.

I have had thoughts of not doing well in this game. The butterflys were going during the Griffins game, but my teammates say I have nothing to worry about. The game is very laid back and you just have fun playing. Sure, you are under the watchful eye of about 2,000 fans, but the game goes by so fast.

I guess we will see what happens.

Tonight, I am exhausted. It has been a long day and my heart is racing in my chest as I type this. I really need to get a good nights sleep tonight.

Quickly approaching

Saturday is quickly coming up. The game is now 28 hours away and I am excited. I have a practice today coming up, and then I will be playing in front of about 2,000-5,000 fans. Maybe more.

I had a strong game in net with Team X on Wednesday night as we won 7-1. Team X currently sits tied for first place. I feel I have a lot to prove after last season’s debacle when I let in one weak goal in two straight games. Those weak goals were the difference in a 5-4 loss and a 2-1 playoff loss. So far, so good this season.

Not much to talk about other than tomorrow. My mind is on that alone. 🙂

Not one of my stronger games

Monday 02/16/04 – Stick Heads vrs DeKline Builders
I have to give a hand to the Builders. They really came ready to play and beat us 6-5 in OT. I suspect it could have been due to the last game DeKline played against the Fury. The Stick Heads are made up of almost half of the Fury team. For all of you who don’t know, the Fury defeated DeKline in the playoffs in quite a hard fought game.

Back to the present now though. It really wasn’t a strong game by our team or by me for that matter. Starting with me, I let in a couple bad goals but I thought I centered myself to the shot pretty well. Dekline had a couple good deflections, a breakaway goal, and the bounces went their way as one of my own defenseman kicked in a goal past me. The final goal was a deflection, and it was a fitting end to a game that we should have played better in and won.

The good thing is that we at least got a point in the game. That is really the only thing I can say right now that is good about the game. Oh well, kick it in the ass and play again on Wednesday. Then, practice with the GR All Stars team on Friday and then the big Red Wing Alumni game on Saturday. I know I will have a strong game on Wednesday, Friday, and then on Saturday. 🙂

Miracle

I finally got the opportunity to see this movie today and what can I say….I was floored. I have always wanted to see a good hockey movie. SlapShot was probably the best I have seen up until this day. Mystery Alaska was decent, but not great. Youngblood I saw eons ago, and I thought it was good back then.

Miracle was simply awesome.

There were parts of that movie when I actually shed a few tears. Leaving the theater, I realized those tears were similar to the ones I shed when I acheived each of my championships in hockey. After being denied many times, you set a goal for yourself. Some people set small goals. I choose to set higher goals for myself. I wanted that trophy at the end of the season. So far, I have 5 to my name and I am proud of my accomplishments.

That movie was the highlight of my day. Especially after the Red Wings lost to Colorado and Ferris State lost to Notre Dame. On top of that, Ferris State goaltender Mike Brown went down with a throat injury. *Sigh*

Got one more day of rest before I start another week.

Workout with the GR All Stars

My first workout with the team that plays against the Red Wings Alumni went very well. I came up with some good saves through practice. I suppose all this playing has paid off. When I started a little over four years ago, I couldn’t skate. Today, I was keeping up with the rest of this team pretty well.

My counterpart is the goalie coach from Davenport University. Very solid netminder and quite big as well. He keeps his chest up in the net and really plays smart hockey. He was off for 6 weeks and this was his first practice back in net. I found that hard to believe because he wasn’t showing any signs of rust.

Our team practiced a variety of drills and then scrimmaged the last part of the practice. Overall, the team is solid, but we know what we are up against. This Red Wings team is talented, very talented. You are talking about players that eat, sleep, and breathe hockey. This team I am playing on consists of people who play hockey in their spare time. Even that spare time isn’t available sometimes.

One of the players on my team said it best. No matter what happens out there, you can’t be discouraged. This is like the Harlem Globetrotters playing basketball against a pickup team. We have a shot to stay in the game, but this team could wipe us out and crush our confidence if they wanted to. The key is to not let it affect you…especially the goalies. It is up to me and my partner to stay in a positive frame of mind.

Next week Friday, we do it again. Another practice in preparation for the upcoming Alumni game on Saturday Feb. 21st.

A victory with a price

I really didn’t play very solid today. My first game I was hung out to dry a little, but I feel I didn’t play as well as I should have in a 5-1 loss with Smith-Diamond. That makes Smith-Diamond 0-2 so far this season and it is going to be rough. Without 2 of our scorers, we are struggling to find the back of the net. Two goals our first game and one goal our second game. In order for me to get this team a win, I am going to have to play my ass off. So far, I haven’t done that. My margin for error is very small with this team.

My second game I didn’t play well again, but Team X won 9-5. There were two goals I let in that I never should have allowed. Both came for me centering myself to the shot correctly. To my defense, I did play a much better second half of the game. I just expect more out of myself than the performance I turned in tonight.

The second game was a rough one as the opposing team was called for 11 penalties while we were called for 6. Some of the Stick Heads play on the other team, and there were more fights this game between the teams. I really just don’t know what the heck was going on out there. I thought some of the rough stuff was just fooling around. Other times, I didn’t know what to think. All I do know is that I can’t control the actions of my team. I can only control myself and that is the way I want it. One of the opposing players said I was the captain of Team X. I laughed. I really am not a captain. That is why I am playing in the lower divisions. I don’t consider myself captain material. Maybe after I grow a pair of balls and start scoring goals as a skater….then I will be a captain. Goalies are not captains typically. I tried to be a captain on Smith-Diamond, and somehow I feel I just don’t connect with the team that well.

I am better off as a goalie.

Tomorrow is going to be another big day. I have a practice with the team that is going to play against the Red Wing Alumni and then I have my first game with the Bulldogs in Brass. Not many more days until I play in that Alumni game. Time is moving so fast. I am convinced it moves faster as you get older.

The Raw Deal

Every now and then, I make an entry talking about someone getting a raw deal. My last one was on Sergei Fedorov and the deal he got at the beginning of the season. Now, I am going to talk about Cujo and Hasek.

Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for Hasek. He did help bring Detroit another Stanley cup in 2002. I am very proud of that. However, the way he conducted himself this year made me sick. The way he walked into training camp and tried to get the players to side with him for example. The shots he fired through the media saying he was the best option Detroit had. Finally, himself calling it quits for the season. The Red Wings didn’t make that announcement, Hasek did. It was as if he said, “I am taking my ball and going home”. Earlier in the season, I had my doubts on if he would be ready. I questioned his health at first, and now that he is gone with that injury, I am pretty sure I was right. Now, I am questioning his ethics and behavior.

Now, onto Cujo.

I am not going to get into the whole “bad cop, good cop” comparison, but it definetly seems that Cujo was the good cop in this. He handled himself very well this season all things considered. The organization placed him on waivers, the trading block, sent him down to the minors, and I think hurt his feelings in the process. However, he bounced back through all that adversity. As a goaltender, I understand his fustration with the whole situation.

I will go on record as saying that the sweep last year was NOT Cujos fault. It was the team’s fault. The scorers weren’t scoring and the Mighty Ducks did everything right. Yes, there were a couple soft goals scored in that series. The Steve Thomas shot from the faceoff circles at the Joe in game 2 is a key one in my book. However, the Wings didn’t get anything soft past Giguere and that is why he won the Conn Smythe. Soft goals are scored on EVERY goalie. Even elite goaltenders get hit with one of those every now and then. Joseph had a better GAA in 4 games in the playoffs than Hasek did. I could go on and on talking about this issue.

My hope is that Joseph returns from the ankle sprain he got last night and proves all these nay-sayers wrong.

Memorable comeback!

Monday 02/09/04 – Stick Heads vrs Legion
After giving up the first 4 goals of the game, the Stick Heads came back to win 5-4 in overtime. It was probably one of the most improbable comebacks I have seen against a very talented team. First, the bad stuff…

1 – Shot went off my helmet, up and over me, and landed behind me in the net. Bad break.
2 – Pass across to a winger on my right hand side. No one was covering him and he wristed a shot upstairs on me. I slid over and just barely got a piece of the shot with my blocker.
3 – Man behind the net centered it and it went off my defenseman and into the crease. I went down to grab the puck but it was shot into me once and then into the net on the second try.
4 – Another off the helmet shot. This one hit just to the left on my helmet, but it still went into the net.

After we gave up those four goals, my team finally kicked it into high gear. I really didn’t stop a lot of quality chances in the second half of that game as my defense also stepped it up. They had one good breakaway chance that I stopped to keep it a one goal game. I went to the bench for the extra attacker with a minute left and we notched the 4th goal to send it to overtime.

Yes, it was a memorable comeback, but I keep looking at the big picture. If I am going to compete for a championship, I need to continue to play well. I was out of position on a couple shots last night. I need to keep working on my angles and keep playing aggressive. The captain of the Stick Heads was worried about me playing out so far. I was just trying to cut off the angle on their shooters and it worked for the most part.

The season is still young and there are many more games to go.