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It feels like ages since I last played when in all reality it has only been 5 days.  My knee is healing well.  It isn’t as tight as it was last week, but it still won’t move fast.  It feels very stiff inside, and if I force it to move fast, it hurts a little.  My hope is that it will be mostly healed by Thursday before my ice hockey game.  Until then, rest….rest….rest.

I keep thinking about my Bulldogs game next week on Monday.  I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle again.  Well, that and I have something to prove to myself.  I feel the need to constantly prove that I can compete in this league.  With a good team in front of me, I have done so.  However, this is only the beginning.  I have 3 tough games, and then playoffs.  Anything less than a trophy is a wasted season in my eyes.  The Bulldogs have put a lot of trust and faith in me.  I am going to come through for them.

It hasn’t been that long since I lifted a trophy at Rivertown.  However, I guess I have instilled a little of the “compete” bug in my head.  Every session, I want to compete for a championship.  So far, the last few seasons I have had teams in that position.  This session is no exception.  There is a piece of me that constantly wonders if it will be my last session in the intermediate or advanced leagues.  My skills have no where to go but down.  I would like to say I can play at a high level consistantly, but that isn’t going to happen.  My knees are catching up to me.  All the driving I do with them down to the ice and the way I drive with them may be damaging them further.  This little knee tweak I have now may only be the beginning….

In other news, I moved from Nextel to Cingular today.  After one day with the service, I really don’t know what to think as of yet.  I will miss the direct connect a little, but I can tell there is better service so far.  I guess this part of my journal will have wait until I get more use out of the service and phone.

Finally

I was really happy with my goaltending last night.  Even though we tied 3-3, I had a solid game.  I made very timely saves, even a nice glove save on a puck that was going top corner.  A couple of my defensemen said that I was facing my shots real well, and I have been working on that.  I am glad to see things were much improved after last game’s lackluster effort on my part.

The only thing that chaps my ass are the goals they scored to tie it up.  Both came with under 2 minutes to play with an extra skater.  My team was exhausted.  One was a screen shot I didn’t see.  The other was a pileup in front of the net that I didn’t see either.  Bah!

On another note, my knees have been acting up over the last week or so.  Today, they are very stiff.  Especially the right one.  I don’t know if I need a knee brace or something.  It could be my butterfly style of goaltending.  After 4 years, maybe my knees are giving out on me.  I don’t know.

I have a week to rest them.

New Years Resolution!

After some reflection on the game last night, I have to make a promise to myself.  This promise is something that I need to keep to not only myself, but the teams I play for.  That promise is to stay calm.

Last night, I ended up taking a dumb penalty that cost our team a goal.  That goal could have been the difference in the game.  In a close game, that was the dumbest move I could have made.  Even though I felt it was reasonable at the time, it wasn’t.

My New Years Resolution is to keep my cool a little better than I have been out there.  The second part of tha tresolution is to keep playing and stay confident about myself and the team I play for.  Those things will make me a better goaltender.

Snow and Hockey

It is amazing how Michigan drivers react to the first major snow of the season.  Here it is in December, and we got our first major snowstorm today.  I wouldn’t quite call it a storm, so lets call it a few inches of snow with a little wind.  Anyway, traffic was backed up for miles trying to get on the highway.  People were driving like morons.  Trying to change lanes required 3 car lengths for some people.  Others had to slow down to 25 just to merge off.  It simply astounds me how Michigan drivers can be this dumb.

Now that I got that rant out of the way….

My Bulldogs team made it 6-1 with a 5-4 win tonight.  I played another average game, gave the other team a 2 man advantage when I took a dumb penalty, and the team around me played great D.  The story of my hockey season so far.  The thing I fear that will bite me and/or my team in the ass come playoff time.  We should be ready considering we have the defending champions for 2 games straight and the Fighting Squirrels for another game.  They are ranked 2 and 3 in the division for a reason.

That is where I will know if I am going to be ready.

Confidence

After my ice hockey team won on Thursday night, some of us went out for a beer and just to talk about the game.  During the course of the game, I let in 6 goals, and a couple were weak.  The other team didn’t have a lot of shots, but they had some good quality chances when we coughed the puck up in our own zone.

Anyway, I got to talking with another goalie who had been playing for over 15 years without the use of his legs.  I really didn’t know him until about a year ago when I met him for the first time.  This is the second game I have played against him.  I am very impressed with the way he plays considering his disability.

He let me know what he observed at the other end of the ice.  One thing was that I go down to much.  That is a no brainer and something I have been working on getting out of the habit of.  I have been slowly but surely, but I still go down a lot.  The other thing was confidence.  The captain of my team recalled a practice we had when I was facing 3 of the best players on my team on the same line.  I was stopping pucks all over the place and the main reason why was because I was relaxed.  It seems that maybe, in the back of my mind, I am not that relaxed in a game.

It could be a confidence problem.  I really don’t know what to say to that.  Even though I believe and know I am going to stop the puck when I play, maybe there is a bug in the back of my mind that has doubts.  I took some of his recommendations and am going to work on doing what he says.  I have always listened to what other goalies have told me.  Some of the advice has been very good in the past.

I love the game of hockey and have loved it for a while now.  My goal is to get better, and they only way to get better is to make small changes to your game.  If I played the way I played 4 years ago today, I wouldn’t have the success I have had.

Just average

Well, i played an average game tonight.  I say average because I was beaten from a distance 3 times.  2 of those shots were screened, but the other one I just barely got a piece of and it still went in.  My Bulldogs still won 9-5, but it was a game I should have played a little better in.

It seems after my two great games, I have played two average ones.  This isn’t a huge cause for concern.  The idea is to get into the playoffs and let the chips fall where they may.  However, I need to work on those long shots.  I am going to get my team to warm me up before every game with shots like that.  The more I see, the better I will be at stopping them.

Nothing comes easy

There are many things that life throws at you.  Some good and some bad.  Getting through those times are never easy.  Even if they are good.  For instance, you can work hard at acheiving a championship.  When you get there it is good, but it is never easy to do it again.

Getting that 9th championship has been my goal.  Getting there is always the hardest part.  Will it be this session or 4 sessions from now?

In order to acheive that goal, I have been working extra hard by taking more games than I normally play.  Sure, I am taking more time off, but if I take a few extra games here and there, that will help me.  I played two last night and got beat in both games, although neither of them were my fault we lost.  I played two solid games, and I am ready to play for my established teams again.

The Bulldogs are 4-1 so far and first in the division.  However, the points between 1st and last are only separated by 5.  In short, anyone is going to be able to win these next few games.  I will need to play strong hockey in order to stay at the top of the division.

My Vintage painting team is right in the middle of the pack, but we are last in goals scored for.  We need to get the puck into the net.

I have an ice hockey game tonight and I will write more about them later.  🙂

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After some big losses, my ice hockey team showed up to play today and we won 5-3.  I played very well.  The only goal I let in that I wanted back was a shot from the right side that jumped over my pad and one of their fowards was there to put the rebound in.  Otherwise, I made a couple breakaway stops and a few cross ice chances I stopped as well.  I was very satisfied with my performance.

I didn’t get a chance to play my one extra game a week last week due to the holiday.  I am considering playing tomorrow, but I don’t know if that will happen because of the fact I already have a big game at 8:00pm.  I really don’t want to wear myself out any.  My Bulldogs team deserves better.

Otherwise, other than work and hockey, it has been World of Warcraft.  I am still addicted to this game and probably will be for a while.  Going to log some hours playing this weekend.

Well, I would type more tonight, but I am going to bed.  These late hockey games are killers, but the good thing is that we have 3 10:00pm games in a row over the next 3 weeks.  Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that you tresure.