Once again

I am getting more than a little irritated at a few things.

The first is with a certain player being upset with my goaltending, and then waiting until the break to announce he isn’t coming back. Especially when he chooses to play for us at the end of the previous session. I just don’t understand it. I know I am not the best goalie out there, but we had a solid team and finished with a winning record the last two seasons he played on the team. Then, we struggled for a few games and he gets pissed off. Now, I would normally just brush it off, but he is taking another player that we need on our team with him. So, now with a few days to go, we are short 2 key players and we have a lot of decisions to make.

*sigh*

What a pain in the butt.

Circumventing Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA)

Microsoft has always given free patches and updates out to people who pirate their software. In my opinion, this was something they needed to do to make sure that there weren’t mass problems with systems all over the world. Well, they instituted WGA which checks for a valid serial number and they started making it a requirement for some things yesterday.

It took one day for it to be circumvented. Amazing.

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Too short of a break

I have been resting a lot the last few days waiting for this, my last ice hockey game of the session. My body still isn’t in the best of shape. My left shoulder still is sore from being run into on Saturday. My right shoulder is still bruised up, but it is a lot better. The puck I took to the chest while skating out on Thursday last week is healing nicely, but that also still hurts a bit.

I am not making excuses though. I am approaching this game as if it is my last one for the next few weeks. Then, I get to recharge my batteries and wait for the season to start in a week or two. Oh, and I plan to have some fun through the next few weeks. I plan on doing some photography, playing games, spending time with the wife, and so on. The time off is going to be welcome at this stage.

As for ice hockey next season, I was just told that the last session runs for 8 weeks starting the first week of August and then is done for the year. Yes, the year. That means, I am once again a goalie without a team. I have some choices though. Either I can go all out looking for an ice hockey team to play on, or I can switch to roller full time and just play out at Rivertown. As much as I enjoy ice hockey, no one is beating down my door. I have time to consider my options though.

Hacker unlocks all weapons for 5 million Battlefield 2 IDs

Battlefield 2 has been one of my favorite games as of late. However, even I noticed that something was wrong with my account. I could play any weapon in the game for the better part of 1-2 weeks! Come to find out some guy went ahead and hacked 5,000,000 accounts to unlock the weapons. EA probably doesn’t care. Me? I really don’t care as well. It doesn’t change the fact that I still enjoy playing the game. As for the unlockable weapons, it doesn’t matter one way or the other. What matters is if you have fun playing the game.

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Infirmary Report

I haven’t been beat up this much in a long time. My right shoulder is still bruised and hurts a bit after getting run into on a chase for a puck I covered up. This is the thing I notice the most to be honest with you. Especially when I try to lift anything heavy or use my right shoulder for anything more than carrying its own weight around. My left shoulder isn’t the healthiest either as it is also a little stiff to move which makes things even more fustrating. I like to sleep on my side, so when I turn over to either side, it ends up waking me up. Even if I take Motrin or Advil, about 4-6 hours later, the pain returns and I wake up. My right hand hurts as well due to the collision, more specifically my thumb is sprained. That makes it fun typing and opening doors.

So, in short both arms and my right hand are driving me nuts.

My chest has a nice big bruise on it from Thursday’s game, but that is nothing to be honest.

All the dings were worth it though. Especially after I carried that trophy around with me on Saturday night. I guess you could say I was healed by it. I no longer worry that this trophy will be my last, but those thoughts do cross my mind on occassion. Its my 9th championship in 5 years, and it feels so good.

After 3 near misses…

Yesterday was another playoff day. After 3 finals losses in my last 2 playoff Saturdays, I was starting to wonder when it would happen again. I even thought, if it would happen again.

I woke up yesterday morning at 6:45 for breakfast with some players at the rink. The games started at 8:30am and ended about 12 hours later. In that time, I played 3 games, but I was scheduled to play at least 3 if not 6. With the heat and fatigue playing a huge factor, I feel the only mistake I made was overscheduling myself. That would hit reality just after my first game.

My first game of the day was with the Fury in Brass division against Biohazzard. In the division, our two teams were the closest match to each other which is why we finished 2 and 3 respectively in the division. The game was an intense one as Biohazzard lept out to a 3-1 lead at the end of the first half. I thought I played pretty well, but one player on Biohazzard put in all 3 goals on me and he has always been able to find my weak spots on me. Our team captain told me to keep them off the board the rest of the game and we will win the game 4-3. I smiled and nodded thinking I would do my best. We got another goal early in the second half, and then scored the game tying goal with under 2 minutes to go, at least that is what we thought. The game tying goal was called off due to a man in the crease. That got someone from our team kicked out for abuse of officials for yelling at the refs. With under 45 seconds and shorthanded, we got that game tying goal to send it into OT.

The first OT went by fast with both teams having chances to win the game, but neither team could put the puck in the net. Another one of our teammates ended up leaving with an injury to his shoulder which brought our bench down from 9 to 7 guys total after the abuse of officials incident. That OT turned into a second OT. Fury finally found the back of the net about 10 minutes into the second OT when Weibs put it upstairs on Cody to finish the game 4-3. The entire team was estatic, but exhausted after such a long game. Probably one of the best saves I came up with in this game was a glove save off a breakaway chance. Pawlik, the forward converted to defenseman who got beat for that breakaway, was more than happy after that glove save. Personally, I thought I played very solid in that double OT game, especially as the game drew to a close.

I was so damn tired after that game, I got another goalie to step in for me for the next game. I refused to do back to back games after a full 60+ minutes of hockey. Vintage Painting deserved to have a fresh goalie, so I gave them one. Vintage just couldn’t put goals up on the board as they were beat out in their first game by a score of 4-2 by the eventual champions.

My next game was about a couple hours later when I played for Ionia Skateland. With no defense in front of me and no offense on that team, we folded very quickly by a 7-0 score. I thought I played decent considering the circumstances.

I had about 4 hours before my finals game with the Fury, so I took the opportunity to get some food and rest. I talked hockey with Pawlik over lunch, and then sat in my air conditioned car and tried to snooze for a bit. That was hard to do though, with my expectations of the finals approaching. It was then that I decided to try this energy drink just before the Fury played called Full Throttle. I have never had one of these before, but I felt I needed it with my energy level low at the time.

The first seed was the Black Dragons. A team that beat us 9-1 just the previous night and has dominated us through the regular season 2 times. We eneded up beating them once in the regular season, but by just one goal. Both sides were expected to not have their entire team. We lost one guy due to a billing problem late in the season. We also lost one due to injury and then the guy who got suspended as I previously mentioned. The Black Dragons were lacking one or two of their guys, which is much less than everyone expected. The core of their team was intact though and they had a lot of firepower.

I played my strongest game in the finals game. At least that is what my entire team said. I was just seeing the puck so well I couldn’t miss making a save, and I had to make a lot of them. The Dragons were outshooting us by a good 2-1 margin at one point in the game. I stood my ground and was equal to each task. The game was tied 0-0 and I figured it was fitting if the game went to OT with both teams playing very well. With about a minute to go, Fury forward Justin Brinks put the puck upstairs on the goalie to make it 1-0. I just knew we had the game at that point. We scored an empty netter with 21 seconds left and controled the puck for the duration of the game. My teammates piled on top of me, did the trophy presentation, and then the fun really began.

I was totally drained. I walked around the rink and just chatted with everyone. The entire team at one point in time carried the trophy around the rink. Personally, I was just happy I did it. With everything that happened with us losing 3 of our regular players. We really wanted a steady defenseman, but no one on our sub list would step in after our best defenseman left near the end of the season due to a billing dispute. Then, you had the injury and the suspension of the other 2. We went in on that finals game with less than our full roster, and acheived victory.

Its a great feeling.

I gathered at TGI Fridays for a late dinner and drinks. I got home at 1:40am and was in bed by 2am. 20+ hours up and playing. It was a long day, but an experience I won’t forget.

241

After ending the week with a lot of excitment, I started this week with a huge wimper. Along with that, I had some thought cross through my head and some doubts start to creep back in. I will explain all these things in a moment…

Last week, I was on cloud 9. I was playing very solid hockey. Even despite losing 2 of my 3 games, I really was playing well under very difficult circumstances. Tonight, I played one crappy game in a 10-4 lopsided loss. This with the roster we are going to have next season for the most part. On top of that, my team was a little disappointed in my performance. A few players on the squad were obviously fustrated. That on top of the fact that my confidence went into the crapper after a couple bad goals. I hope tomorrow works out a little better.

That got me to thinking….

How long do I have to play with the Bulldogs. This team that I am one of the founding members for the most part. Will my exit be with a wimper? Will I be replaced? What about the rest of the team. Are they feeling the fustration more than I am? After making it to the finals twice and losing both times, the rest of the team is fustrated and wants to make it over that hump. Others on the team are happy to just let things work out in the end and just go with the flow. Maybe that is my problem.

My concern is keeping the team together and staying on top of my game. Next season may see a lot of changes we don’t want to have unless I step my game up one more level.

The NHL lockout was over for the most part. Now both sides can go back to their corners and ratify the deal. That along with reading the proposed rule changes make me excited about the upcoming season. Now lets see if the NHL can bring the fans back.

240

I wanted to take a little bit of time out to talk about the NHL and all the fun they are having getting a new CBA in place so they can play hockey next season.

First off, let me say that it is good to see the owners and the players come together in order to get this done. It has been a long time coming that is for sure. However, where was all this sense of urgency when the lockout was formally announced? The players and owners met a handful of times between the lockout announcement and the cancelation of the season. Did either side just not care? Were the players or the owners standing pat? In this situation, you have to blame both sides for the loss of last season. It is clear that both sides care right now. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be meeting as much as they are meeting now. Today is the 9th straight day in this round. They have taken a day or two off here and there, but they are meeting on holidays for 12 hour sessions for crying out loud. Someone must see the writing on the wall.

Now, when a new CBA is done, what are they going to do to bring the fans back to their seats? Will they lower ticket prices? One can only hope. The players reduced their salaries by roughly 25%, so we should see 25% less prices right? Hockey was already the most expensive sport to go watch for the most part. Some of the Red Wings tickets were selling for $70 face value for a lower bowl seat. If you settle for upper, that is $35 a piece for nosebleed. Taking a family out to the game is harmful to the wallet thats for sure. By the time you factor in parking, maybe a snack, and $50 seats, you are looking at over $250 for a family of 4! Thats nuts! A rollback on ticket prices by 25% across the board is the best way to show you want to bring fans back. I would put 25% at the MINIMUM for a rollback on ticket prices.

Now you know why I only go if I can get someone to sell me their tickets at face value. Even if I do go, I don’t eat at the game. Still, for my brother and I to go it costs us about $125 in tickets alone. The ticket scalpers were making a hell of a lot more on those same seats. I hope those scalpers don’t get much money after the NHL comes back. I know Detroit will always be Hockeytown, but with the CBA in place making teams much more even, I just don’t see Detroit bringing back so many stars and being as dominant as they were.

Now, they are going to make the game more exciting. An NHL slogan of, “Its a whole new game” indeed. Lets look at these possible rule changes.

1. Touch up offsides: Great idea! They should have never removed this rule in the first place. The NHL had touch up offsides at one point in time, but removed it for various reasons. The college game is much more exciting in my mind due to the touch up offsides. Less whistles and more flow to the game.

2. Reduced goalie equipment: Another good idea, but will it result in more goals scored? Maybe a few, but you are looking at a few inches here and there. I think it is a good call, but I also think that too much has been harped on this as being a primary reason why goals aren’t being scored.

3. Two line pass: Remove the red line for two line passes? Another great idea. That should open the game up a little bit. Making the blue lines thicker would help a little bit as well.

4. Obstruction: Ah, here we go. Every season, the NHL wants to crack down on obstruction. At the end of the season, we are seeing more and more clutching, grabbing, holding, and hooking than ever. So is the NHL serious about this? I guess we will have to wait to find out. On a side note, the CCHA did this last season and did it for the better part of half the season before slipping into their old ways. Anyway, there were 20-30 minor penalties called per game. Each side had 10-15 power plays. Thats just huge! If they call every little obstruction, that would probably be a good direction for the game to go into. Just call it both ways.

5. Shootouts: I have always been a fan of the shootout in the regular season. How many sports have tie games these days? Off the top of my head, soccer does. Thats it. Its about time to remove the ties in the regular season. The NHL has mentioned that 4 minutes of 4v4 OT and 3 minutes of 3v3 OT before going to the shootout would be the best option. I agree 100%. As for the playoffs, keep the 5v5 OT going until there is a winner.

6. Icing: No touch icing is the best way to go. I have seen so many NHL injuries sustained when skaters race back for the icing call. Great idea.

What does this all equal? A better NHL game? I can tell you I am excited, but it will all depend on how these rule changes occur and how they are enforced.

Just get a deal done and lets start the season on time this year! 🙂

239

The week off of hockey this week has really healed me physically.

The 4th of July holiday always brings most of the hockey leagues around here to a standstill.  That means, I have more time this week to do other things like spend it with the wife, work, play Battlefield 2, and so on.  The big part is my body healing up, getting ready for the end run for this season’s hockey leagues.  Most important is playoffs.

My Bulldogs team is in a very precarious position.  With 2 games left, we are put in a position where we can make playoffs if we win both games.  A loss will put us behind the 8 ball where we will have to rely on other teams to help us.  Ironically enough, we play a team that we have eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for 2 straight years, the Reforms.  A newly revamped Reforms team that looks to do some damage this time around.  To be honest, I am looking forward to this game more than any game that I have coming up in the next week.

Vintage Painting in Aluminum asked me to play for them this coming playoff Saturday.  It is a couple weeks away, but I can get myself psyched up for it easy enough.  Vintage is 2nd in their division and poised to do damage this season in the playoffs.  I hope I can give them a good boost come playoff time.