Monthly Archives: January 2005

Day 1 of Instructional Hockey

My first day was a good one. The skating exercises we did were very good. I really liked the drills as well. The game ended in a 4-3 victory for my team and I had some decent saves. I have a list of things to work on next week, such as my angles and keeping my stick down. I got burned for 2 goals right along the ice in the slot and if I had my stick down, I would have stopped those shots.

On the way to the class, I started thinking about Windemuller Electric, my old team. It is hard to put into words, but I was bummed out about not playing with them. I was a little bitter that I wasn’t asked to play on the team that some of the players went off to form. They had someone better in mind no doubt, but it still stings nonetheless. I wish them the best, but I am going to be thinking about this for quite sometime.

As much as it pains me, I know that no team is forever. I really want that kind of longevity, but I realize that isn’t the way teams are formed. Players come and go, teams collapse, life goes on. I just hope there is something good ahead of me in my ice hockey career. I would like a chance to compete on a team for a championship eventually.

209

Well, my ice hockey team that I have played on for over two years has up and folded.  Ok, let me chime in on some mixed feelings I have on this team.  First the pros and then the cons…

Pros:
I enjoyed playing for Windemuller Electric for the last two years.  In that time, I have made some good friendships with people on that team.

Cons:
There really was no sense of competition on the team.  Mainly because the team wasn’t built to be that way.  That is a plus and a minus in itself.  Imagine, if you will, half of the team not caring what happens from one game to the next.  The other half consist of some people who care and some who just don’t.  This is why we had 8-10 guys show up one game and 15 guys show up in another game.  No communication on who was going to be there and who wasn’t.

I wouldn’t have to say I was leaning towards leaving them, but this decision to split the team up comes as no suprise to me.  Near the end of the season, some long time members were starting to talk about forming their own team.  It also came to no suprise when these members who split off decided to get another goalie.  There are a lot of goalies who are better than I am, and me not being asked to play just doesn’t suprise me.  The thing that irritates me is the lack of communication.  However, since I wasn’t their choice anyway, I suppose that they have every right to keep me in the dark.  You would think after a few years of loyal service they would at least call and tell me what was going on.

Anyway, time for a fresh start…

I am hoping this Doug Smith Instructional program will not only give me some much needed work, but also allow me to meet new players and maybe get a new team.  Lets face it, no team is forever.  I learned that lesson a few times the hard way with the Zingers, Stick Heads, and now with Windemuller.  As much as I like longevity, it just doesn’t happen in the hockey world.  I have to be able to roll with the punches and come out ready to fight again.  This instructional will be a good step for me and I can’t wait until tomorrow for the first class.

Just a little short

My bid for my 9th championship will have to wait 3 months or so.

After getting ousted in my first game with Vintage Painting by a 1-0 score, there was a little promise when my Bulldogs played.  After beating the defending champion Reforms 3-2, we just couldn’t get anything going against the top ranked Fighting Squirrels.  The Squirrels outshot us 31-10, and beat us 3-0 in the championship game.  I felt bad about it yesterday, but after some reflection, I have come to terms with what happened.  The flat out fact of the matter is that we were dominated in that game.  No question.  When the opposing team tripples your shot output, there is a problem.  I still finished the game with above a .900 save percentage, which is good all things considered.  It still hurts all the same.

The first goal they scored on me could have been prevented.  The shot was sailing over the net, but I reached up and batted it down.  A wide open forward was there to hit it out of midair and put it in the net.  It was a good goal, and I gave up a similar one before in a game vrs 40oz to Freedom earlier in the season.  My glove hand needs work, I will tell you that much.  Anyway, from now on, if I am going to bat something away, do it to the side if possible.  I don’t think that goal gave them all the momentum in the game, but it was one that could have been prevented.

The second goal was a pretty deflection that I couldn’t do anything about.  The third was a miscue by one of my forwards and he gave the puck away in the slot.  Really, that was a bad situation to begin with.  I didn’t have time to make a decision on what I was going to do so it really wasn’t my fault either.

Still, the loss hurts all the same.  It was history after it happened, but I still remember these kinds of things.  I still remember every championship I have won, but also those that I have lost.  I have routinely asked, what if I played differently?  The flat out fact of the matter is that it wouldn’t have mattered.  We were just outplayed and that was the root of our problem.  If we lost 1-0, I might have felt worse about the result.  However, after looking at the stats and doing some thinking, I don’t feel as bad.  It actually reminds me of a Bronze game I played back before we won our first championship.  This X-Rite team dominated us with fast back checking.  We just couldn’t get anything going against them and they rolled over us 7-2.  However, we did come back and make our mark the next playoff series.  I have every confidence things will turn around for us in the future.

Well, now I get 2 weeks off from rollerhockey.  I will have ice hockey once a week starting on Tuesday for the next 8 weeks so I will stay in shape.  I will return focused next session.

207

Well, with the NHL discussions going nowhere, I am not as optimistic as I was at the beginning of the year. The lines of communication are open, but no future talks are scheduled. Now, there is gloom and doom coming from the mouths of the players. Everyone is saying there will be no hockey till next year. I say fine. So be it. As bummed about it as I was at the beginning of the season, I am bummed now, but I can get my hockey fix elsewhere. I have Ferris State to cover for USCHO, the Griffins to cover for Michigan Hockey, and I haven’t even scratched the surface on the amount of hockey I can play.

Speaking of playing, I have gotten a few new leads for new goaltending positions. Some of which I don’t think I want to take. I am already going to be playing goal for Doug Smith’s Instructional course, Bulldogs in Rollerhockey, and lastly I am skating out. Right now, that is Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evening tied up. Along with my day job, USCHO, and Michigan Hockey coverage, my time is growing short. Therefore, I think this is going to be it for this upcoming season. Three nights a week is going to be plenty of time.

Skating out this season has been a lot of fun. This marks the third season in a row I am skating out with marginal success. The problem I have is my hockey sense is still a little off. Well, that and I am afraid to bump people out there. I guess that is why I am in beginner. Anyway, it really is a trip from the norm if you get my drift. I have considered going back to just goaltending, but I just can’t do it right now. If ice times were more reasonable, I would play ice hockey more often. However, that isn’t going to happen either.

Overall, I am satisfied with the choices I have made for the next session.

I am trying to keep my mind off of tomorrow. Playoffs are starting to loom over me a bit, and now is the time it starts to dawn on me. I start to wonder what is going to happen tomorrow and I hope that things go my way. In order to be successful in a one game playoff, you not only have to play well, but the little things have to bounce in your favor. If the puck bounces in the other team’s favor a few times, it is a hard hole for your team to get back into things. 17 minute halves go by so fast. As I said before, all I want is to play a strong game. If we lose, then we lose. I just want my team to know I did a great job and that we gave it our all.

I used “No Regrets” as the slogan of one of my playoff teams about two years ago. We got beat in the first round, but I didn’t regret the good time I had with that team when it was done. I felt that we really worked hard to succeed and despite the loss in the playoffs, it didn’t wipe out a successful season. Lets hope my entire team leaves the rink at the end of the day knowing they gave it their all. No regrets.

206

I really don’t have an appropriate title for this post, so I will just start talking and see where it leads.

First, I am going to comment on the NHL strike.  It seems there are a lot of people who either want to see the NHL fall flat on its face and not play any games at all.  There are a lot of die hard hockey fans that want to see professional hockey this year.  Will we see any NHL hockey?  Who knows.  This is playing out like a soap opera of epic proportions.  I am glad that time is ticking down.  Now we will see what sides want to fix this problem.  So far, I have only seen the players association go the extra mile.  Why aren’t the owners doing what they need to do to make a deal?  Why are they waiting for the players to do something?  I would be on that phone every day asking for a meeting.  I would be negotiating, giving and taking, trying to come to a deal.  In the end, there is a deal to be made, but it seems like no one on either side cares much.

Except maybe Trevor Linden.  I have new respect for this man.  At least he had the balls to call a meeting and go out of his way to do something when the big muckity mucks were watching everything happen.

**SIGH**

Get a deal done guys.

Ok, I got that out of the way, now I can talk about my personal hockey life.

My ice hockey team is going the way of the dodo I think.  Some of the skilled players are leaving to form their own team, with a new goalie at the helm supposedly.  Now, I called to get some information on this, but I got the run around which tells me that some people didn’t have the balls to come up to me and tell me these things.  Either that or they were afraid of hurting my feelings.  Either way, it stings a little.  However, maybe it is time for a change.  I have agreed to be a part of Doug Smiths adult hockey instruction.

http://www.hockeysmith.net

I am going to get a lot of work, and see if I can get on a new team down the road.  For right now, I will get plenty of practice time, a little instruction, and then a fresh start elsewhere on the ice.  That is all I can ask for.

This Saturday is playoffs for rollerhockey.  I have one team in for sure, and hopefully tonight, I will have 2 teams in.  I skate out on this team, and after last seasons undefeated run we made and then one playoff game upset, I have something to prove.  Our team has something to prove.  Going to work on that and see if we can get in tonight.

More tomorrow on playoffs and then on Saturday discussing the aftermath.

Bulldogs 7-3 Record

Overall, a very good season.  We finished with a 7-3 record, which isn’t bad.  However, our last two games we lost 4-3.  With playoffs on the horizon, I will admit that I am nervous.  The only thing I keep wishing for is a strong performance come Saturday.  If I play a good game and we lose, I will have no regrets.  If I don’t do my part, then I will feel pretty bad.  I just know I will.  Case in point, a couple sessions ago when my Bulldogs went to the playoffs and lost to this Fighting Squirells team 5-2.  I won 2 other championships that day, but that loss was still a hard one.  Even though I didn’t play a horrible game, I didn’t play good enough to win.  Same goes for the last playoff game the Bulldogs lost 5-4 against the Komets.  Did I play my best game?  Not really.

I have a lot to prove to myself this coming playoff day.  I need to play strong for both my teams.  Most of all, the Bulldogs games will mean the most for me.  It is championship or bust in my mind.  Anything less is a failed season.  Course, that is the way it is every season to me.  If you don’t win your last game, then it is a bad season.

Maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself, but considering the competition I am up against, I have to play strong.

204

Months after the season 2 finale of Nip/Tuck, I went looking for this song called “All I know”.  Those people who watch the show will remember what part this song was played in.  Needless to say, I still remember it to this day.  It is amazing how a show director knows how to push the buttons of an audience by using music.  Sometimes, we look around for songs that define us in times of happiness, sadness, etc.  Look at me for instance, I picked up a few songs after winning my first set of championships in hockey.  When I hear those songs, it reminds me of those things.

Being as emotional as I am, I have learned that I am a sucker for this kind of thing.  That may be bad for my goaltending, but I am only human after all.  Even today, I have fond memories of the good things, but also remember the bad things that have happened.  I am a positive guy, so the negative things are gone from my memories for the most part, but you still remember them.  They pop into my head during difficult times.

I so want to be a champion again.  I want to lift that trophy again, but not just for me.  I want to do it for the teams I have led into the playoffs before and lost with.  I want to see the joy in their eyes as much as I want to feel alive again.  You can call hockey a drug to me, because it is.  However, being the last team standing in a tournament or championship is intoxicating.  Being part of a team is important to me.

I know a lot of these thoughts are just thrown out in this post.  To be honest, I am a little tired and it is hard to concentrate.  However, I had this overload of things to put down and now I will sleep better tonight.

This week was a hard one in hockey.  My Bulldogs fell to Reforms so that puts us in 2nd place, with a chance to take over 1st on Monday.  I don’t know what to expect after the hard effort we had last time we played this Squirrels team.  If we falter, then we are still in the playoff picture, so it isn’t a must win.  It is just good to go into a playoff series on a high note.  In the other team I skate out on, we dropped our 3rd game of the season, and are on the playoff bubble.  If we want to get in for sure, we must win next week.

On a somewhat sad note, my ice hockey team is up in the air.  Will the captain come back and recreate the team?  Will I have a team to play on in Febuary?  I hope so.

I still remember my last game with my summer ice hockey team, the first one I played on.  The last game of the season was a hard one.  We made it to the finals after winning 1-0 in the semifinals and got toasted by the opposing team 6-2.  I shed tears in that last game, mainly because I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to play with that group again.  I still haven’t to this day, and I am still unhappy about it.

*sigh*

Well, time for bed.

203

For a long time, I have worked hard to get to the point I am at today.  Playing hockey is living a dream.  A dream come true almost 5 years ago.  I have progressed far beyond my expectations and then some.  The friends I have made in my travels, the charity games I have played against former pros, and countless games I have played against a variety of teams in tournaments and at rinks all over the area.  It has been a journey I have enjoyed.

Everything that has a beginning….

For over 2 years, I have played for Windmuller Electric. It has been a lot of fun, although we haven’t been the most competitive team. Well, the captain of the team after our last playoff game on Wednesday announced to me he may not get the team back together again. I don’t know where this leaves me to be honest. I feel like I am out in limbo at the moment. Playing that last game was disappointing. Not because of the 4-1 loss, but because of the fact I may have to start out again looking for another team. It took me a long time to find this one, and now I will have to reset the dial again.

So therefore, everything that has a beginning, has an end.