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It has been a few days since playoff Saturday, and my right arm is still a little stiff.  To be honest, I don’t know if I hurt it playing hockey on Saturday or something else.  Either way, it is annoying.

I don’t play at all until next week when Groot Builders has a small practice set up.  Plenty of time to heal up by then, I hope.

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A day and a half later, to be honest, I haven’t felt as pleased with myself as I have in the past.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great playoff day on Saturday.  I played 5 strong games of hockey, and got 1 championship.  Now that it is over, I am in the middle of 2 weeks off.

The time off after 10 weeks of 3-4 games a week is what I am looking forward to the most right now.

I know I have said it in the past, but this time I feel I mean it.  I really need to cut down on my playing time.  I really felt at the end of this season I was losing my desire to compete.  I forced myself back into my competitive mindset a few days before playoffs.  However, it was still a grind.  Next season, now that I have gotten the milestone I have wanted, I am going to stick with 2 teams goaltending, and go back to skating out again.  I liked playing forward to be honest.  I missed my days playing with Kontakt and Vintage Painting.

As for the upper two divisions I have always wanted to play in, I am going to turn my back and walk away.  I am going to miss it, but at the same time, playing a few less days per week is going to feel so good.  Three games in a row on Tuesday-Thursday, off on Friday-Monday.  🙂

I guess the thing that shocks me the most is the fact that I am not totally pleased with the end of the season.  Especially since the end resulted in a championship.  Maybe it was because my very last game I had a chance at a second championship and my team just didn’t have any gas left after the big upset win earlier in the day.  I do feel like I owe Dekleine something, and I want to help them get there next session.

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Before I start playing World of Warcraft this morning, I am going to update my journal on what happened yesterday in playoffs.

Game 1 – Groot Builders vrs Schutts Greenhouse
Groot came in as the one seed and I felt this was my best opportunity to get that elusive 10th championship I was going for. It was not an easy game as it was scoreless at the end of the first half. The other team rang two shots off the post in the first half alone. One of the refs skated by me and said, “The hockey gods are smiling upon you today”. I had to agree with that statement. We got two quick goals in the second half to go up 2-0. They got back within 1 a few minutes later. We got another goal and then they got another one. We hit the empty net in the final seconds of the game to win 4-2 and advance to the finals.

Game 2 – Bulldogs vrs River Yaks
Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker of a game 2-1 and it was very painful to say the least. This is one team I was on for years as we worked hard for that elusive championship. It just never came to be. I was beat on a nice screen shot from the point and then again from a shot in the slot that the guy hit top corner on me. We got the first goal of the game and I thought we had a shot. It just was never meant to be. The team that beat us went on to lose in the finals by a 1-0 score. The only goal that was scored on him was a deflected shot. As a goalie, I know that was a hard pilll to swallow.

Game 3 – Dekleine Builders vrs Biohazard
Dekleine was a #4 ranked team playing the top seed. I thought, if we played hard and gave it our all, we would have a legit shot at competing with these guys. As it turns out, we jumped up to a 2-0 lead off really good goal scoring and hard work by the entire team. They tied it up 2-2 before the end of the half. We would take the 2 goal lead back and then held on for the 4-3 win. My team had next to nothing left in the tank after that game, but I was hoping they had some left for the finals.

Game 4 – Groot Builders vrs Fury
I have never played well against the Fury. In the last 6 years of playing, I haven’t beaten certain members of the Fury in a playoff game. That was going through my head almost all afternoon leading up to this game. It was such a hard fought game from start to finish. We got up on them 2-0 early, and then the Fury responded with 2 goals of their own to tie the game. One shot that beat me was in the slot that hit me and trickled past me. The second one was a slapshot from the point that hit top corner. We scored another two unanswered goals and that was all we needed. I got scored on by a nice pass across the top of the circle to a wide open forward who put it in on the weak side. Otherwise, the wheels came off the Fury after I made a few key stops in the dying minues and we held on to win. It was my 10th championship. For the first time since winning my 3rd championship, I didn’t break down and cry, throw my equipment off and jump into my teammates arms. It just felt like I accepted I hit that milestone and was content to let it just stay like that. It was a great run for Groot.

Game 5 – Deklieine Builders vrs Phantoms
Dekleine just didn’t have much left in the tank and it showed. They worked hard, but couldn’t get a goal. I played pretty well in the game, but was beaten by a couple odd man rushes, a penalty shot, and a rebound chance as we lost 4-0. I felt badly for Dekleine, but that team was an Aluminum team that was playing in the Brass league. They were overachievers that will compete much better in the lower division next season. I am very proud of this team.

Hitting my 10th championship now, and against a team I have had no luck beating, it has some special meaning. I no longer feel as if I am chasing a goal I can’t make. Will I move on away from hockey? I don’t think so. However, I know I won’t play as much as I used to. I also know my limitations in that I am going to stay out of the higher divisions for a while unless I have the right team in front of me.

Step 1: Rebounding

After a series of difficult games, I rebounded with a 6-0 shutout last night in my beginner league.  It wasn’t the prettiest victory, as the other team hit 3 posts and I got lucky on a couple saves.  However, I will take it.  After 3 weeks of average performances, I need a strong game.

With playoffs tomorrow, I volunteered for an extra game tonight.  I figure since I am struggling a little bit, I might as well work that out of me.  2 games tonight and I will be dead on my feet by 9am.  I can go home, shower, play a little World of Warcraft, and then hit the sack for the big day tomorrow.

3 of my 4 teams are in playoffs, and that is all that matters to me right now.  Through all the hard times I had this season, I now have my opportunity to win my 10th championship.  All I have to do it win 2 games with 1 team.  None of which will be easy, but it never is.  Anyone can win a one game playoff.

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ESPN Fantasy Hockey Update!

I had a total of 4 teams.

All 4 teams made the playoffs.

1 team went all the way through the playoffs and was crowned champion!  The Grand Rapids Blades finished with a 155-34-11 record.  Simply incredible.

The other 3 teams were ousted in the first round of playoffs.  2 of the 3 went on to win the second round of the consolation.

I misplayed 2 of those 3 teams that got booted from the playoffs in the first round.  I played goaltenders that had really horrible games and they costed me valuable points.  I took a lesson from that and didn’t play both goalies on the last game of the season on my championship team.  That was a good move because Lundquivst got lit up for 5 goals last night.  Esche would have been good, but I didn’t need him to dominate.

Anyway, all in all it was a good season and I had fun.  🙂

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Well, I have struggled pretty hard in the last few weeks.  What is suprising is the fact that, through my struggles, I have many teams still qualifing for the playoffs.  I guess it shows that I did play solid for some of these games down the stretch.

A note to myself though as a reflection on this season.

For teams that make up the top half of the divisions I play in, I am a combined 2-10.  That doesn’t bode well that is for sure.

I am doing the best I can at puting my last few games out of my mind.  I have to concentrate on the two games leading up to the playoffs on Saturday.  I have to get back to basics, such as coming out to take the shot and centering myself to the puck.

I also think I am getting lazy in my butterfly.  I have to change that up as well a little bit.  I feel I am just dropping and not doing anything with my arms and hands.  I need to position those better as well.

It looks like I have a clear direction on how to improve.  There is still time for me to make an impact on Saturday.  My last playoffs were anything but memorable with me having probably my worst day in my short hockey career.  I am already looking to turn it around this time.

I have already decided that less is going to be more next season.  Going to play Tuesday and Wednesday for sure.  Monday is probably going to be out.  I really haven’t had the right team to compete in the highest division and I am not going to force it this time around.  My beginner team is also up in the air.  With a few of the core members not coming back, most of whom I am friends with, it leaves me up in the air for next season for this team.  Friday is also up in the air.  I would like to think I will get another opportunity to play in Brass division, but it depends on the team.

Slumping at the wrong time

With work taking a #1 priority, my goaltending has taken a noticable dive. The last 3 weeks I haven’t played a great game. Going into playoffs on Saturday, it just doesn’t bode well for me. I got whacked 6-2 tonight and let in 3 horrible long shot goals.

The funny part is, even though I haven’t played great, I still have 3 teams in on Saturday.

I will write more tomorrow. I am just too damn negative right now and I need a little time to reflect.

Rethink the way you hire IT professionals

Ok, my comment on this article…

First off, these pieces of advice would be good to use for OVERALL hiring. Not just for IT. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people that I know that applied for a job and waited weeks if not months for the opportunity to interview or get the rejection letter.

Actually, my new interview was just like the ideal one they had in the example.

1 interview? Check!
Got back to me within a few days of applying? Check!
Communicated with me after the interview? Check!
Extended me the offer quickly? Check!

Better than I can say from some companies who hire around the area. I had a friend who was just hired in at another company. He had to wait 3 months before he heard ANYTHING about his application and resume for a job position.

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Down and out

Well, it was a fun day, but also a little disappointing.

I played in my first iron man 3-3 tournament. In our division, it was a story of the haves and the have nots. 2 teams were haves. 2 didn’t have anything. Course, it came down to the last two games of the tournament. We lost both games against this other team 4-3. I thought I played a pretty decent day of games. I let in a couple bad goals, at least in my estimation. In the end though, I did pretty good.

As normal, when defeated, I look at how the other goalie played and he played awesome. Right now, I am playing like a 3rd tier goalie while others I am playing against are really playing well. There are a couple goalies out there that I play against that are hot right now. Concerning myself, I am not playing that hot right now thats for sure. I have tried to pinpoint why, and am unable to figure it out. There is part of me that is questioning the fact that maybe I am burning out a little. Another part of me is discouraged when my team isn’t playing well and I get down on myself in the process.

Either way, after the loss at Van Andel, and the losses today, I am feeling just a little down on myself. I was edged in close battles where, in my mind, I could have won if I played a little better or stopped a stoppable shot in the course of the game.

Lack of focus? Mistakes? Loss of confidence? Take your pick I suppose.

On the way home, I asked myself if I was having fun playing. I immediately thought of my teams I am doing well with. The others that are struggling I am upset with and obviously not impressed to be playing with. For the first time, I am noticing a bad trend to get into and I feel I have to nip it in the bud.

Am I having fun playing? Yes.

Should I take a little time off? Not entirely, but I am going to make some adjustments for next session and beyond.