We all know the NHL needs a technological breakthrough to improve the presentation of their game to the masses. Here’s an idea.
In a perfect world, the NHL would become the people’s choice, not just because of the game itself, but also because of the atmosphere surrounding the game and its environs, environs that have, for the most part, remained immune to the kinds of cripplingly bad press we’ve seen other leagues and sports endure this summer.
While in Milwaukee on Saturday, I noticed that my right knee began to pop when I flexed it in and out. No pain mind you, but its got me thinking about what I had done to it. I had done a lot of walking around the city on Friday and maybe that was it. Saturday and Sunday was more of the same, and I played hockey on Sunday night with no problems to report. Today, it is still popping when I flex it. I have been told that this problem may disappear in a couple weeks. As long as it isn’t hurting my goaltending, I am fine with it. Lets hope it goes away.
It was a great weekend in Milwaukee.
We took the Lake Express across from Muskegon. While it was a expensive trip, it was worth it. Very easy going boat ride across and you had time to just relax and let someone else take care of the trip. We got across to Milwaukee, did the Miller Beer tour and toured the Pabst Mansion. We went to the Zoo on Saturday, went to the Germanfest, and then saw Jimmy Buffett in the evening.
The food was great as well. We tried Maders, Turner Historic Restaurant, Oberweis for desert, and a few other places that was just incredible. The Knick was great for brunch on Sunday morning.
I really have to say that Germanfest was a sin city of sorts. Everywhere you looked, there were people smoking cigars, drinking like crazy, and just having a good ole time. I thought there were more drunk people at the Jimmy Buffett concert, but the people at the concert were more disorderly. I counted a few separate times where people at the Buffett concert just got arrested or were in the process of being detained by the authorities.
Overall though, I am glad to be home and glad to be going back to work tomorrow. A trip like that takes a lot out of you that is for sure.
I have one game on Wednesday this week, and my Sunday team is now 2-2 and on a roll. We take on the first place team next week so that will show just how good they are. I have so much to take care of this week in terms of the teams I am on it isn’t even funny.
Last night, my ice hockey team won a game we simply shouldn’t have won. We took a 2-0 lead and then found ourselves behind 3-2 at the end of the second period. Their second goal was one I should have had though as I kicked the rebound out right in the slot and the shooter tapped it into the open side of the net. Still, if it wasn’t for a couple good shots we had in the 3rd period, we would have lost that game. At it turned out, we won 4-3.
It was good to play hockey again. I think the few days off from hockey really recharged my batteries. I felt really good out there and played pretty well overall.
What is my goal when I play hockey? To win? To win playoff championships? To be the best goalie? Everyone has their standards they set and mine has always been championship or bust. I have been very fortunate to be on many championship teams. Some have been the best in the league after the season is over and have cruised through the playoffs. Others have been #4 seeds that have barely made it in, and yet won it all. Then I have had some #1 seeds that have dominated through the regular season, and then struggled in playoffs and got ousted.
In the end, its all about that trophy I lift up at the end of the day on Saturday. Now, why is that? A lot of it has to do with how others look at me. I always feel the pressure of the people I play with and against to look at me favorably. I feel like a failure if I don’t win it all. If I don’t win my final game of the playoffs, its a bad season to me.
Those are very lofty expectations. I have been fortunate to be a playoff champion for the better part a year and a half. Six consecutive seasons I have been a champion on one or more teams. A total of 18 trophies later, and I am still hungry for another one.
At the same time though, all good things must come to an end. Will that streak end this season? I would like to think no, but who knows how it will all turn out. When my season does and, and I don’t hold a trophy in my hands, I should not be discouraged. You can’t be a champion every season. New players should get the opportunity to taste victory. New teams should get the chance to be a winner.
In the end, I have achieved more than I can possibly imagine.
The reason for this post is to have me realize that this run I have been on for the longest time is going to end soon. When it does, I know I will be devestated. In return, I will probably retreat deep within myself and not want to go out with my friends or the other players. Mainly because of how others will view me. That isn’t the right course of action.
Playoffs on Saturday have come and gone, and today the I played last night took their toll on my body and emotions. I played 4 games last night, went 2-2, and had one game slip through my fingers.
I played for Who Cares my first game. A team that had only 7 skaters, and would have only had 6 had I not played for them. Their goalie skated out and we had a great first game. I played very well in net in a 5-1 victory, but it was the offense and defense that stole the show. I made some very good saves and I was feeling great.
My second game was my Malys team and we only had 5 guys show up all night. We took a quick 3-0 lead, but that evaporated as the game went on. I played an excellent game in a 5-4 loss though. Once again, a lot of diving saves and great positional play. While I was disappointed about the loss, I was pleased with my performance. I had two finals games to concentrate on now.
My third game was my finals game with Who Cares. While I had played terrific up to this point, here is where it ended. With us down 2-1, I missed a routine save from a sharp angle. I came out to cut the angle down, and the shot went through my armpit. I just couldn’t close my arm in time. Then, the game winning goal was a show from behind the net that banked off the back of my arm and into the net. That was the goal that annoyed me the most. Mainly because of my lack of positioning. That game should have been tied at the end of regulation. At it was, we lost 4-3.
Dekleine Builders had the final game of the playoffs and here is where the day ended on a great note. Dekleine took a 2-0 lead and I preserved the lead a few times on a few diving saves. One with an outstretched stick to deny an easy tap in goal. Village Bike, the opposing team, scored off a deflection goal and then on a 5 hole goal with a lot of traffic in front. With the game tied, Village took a 2 minute penality with 2 minutes to go. They called their time out, devised a plan, and executed it off a beautiful top corner shot to make it 3-2. Add an empty netter to complete the scoring and I have my 18th divisional playoff championship under my belt.
The toughest decision that was taking its toll on me was which team to play for on Wednesday. Do I play for Dekleine or Malys? Both teams I have been on for a long time. I have had a lot of success with both teams. So what do I do? After thinking long and hard about things, I have made the decision to stay with Dekleine and defend my championship. I have learned my lesson in the past that the best team doesn’t always win. The team that wants it more does. I feel that Dekleine has that right now along with the better chemistry. That call to Malys saying I won’t be back next season is going to be very hard to make thats for sure.
Going to rest up today thats for sure. Can’t rest all day though cause I play for Howies Hockey tape today.
I skated out last night as Dekleine completed a 10-0 season. My brother Ian was in net and played very well. I had a couple shots on net, but nothing spectacular. It was fun to play with these guys this season. Now we have playoffs to look forward to, where we will have the odds against us. We will have 7 guys for the playoffs against a tough Village Bike Squad for the championship. I am looking foward to the opportunity.
Today I got a call from Jeff, captain of Who Cares who plays on Tuesday. I was given the opportunity to play for Who Cares in the playoffs on Saturday, which I accepted. They are going to be short players so Jeff is going to skate out while I am in goal. I am very eager to play for them, but I couldn’t help but wonder why Jeff called me. Especially since I have struggled in net this season, and especially these last two weeks. If a goalie is not playing up to par, would you ask him to play for you? He said I always bring a strong game on Saturday. While I always have, there is a lingering doubt that I am going to do the same thing this year.
Its hard to shake that doubt once you let it creep into your head and start letting it affect you. No matter how much I ignore it, it keeps coming back.
I am going to show up extra early to my game tomorrow and take extra shots. I have one game to get my confidence back and my game back for that matter.
Last night I played a pivotal game that we needed to win and I played it very poorly. I let in a couple very weak 5 hole goals and we got whitewashed 12-5. That eliminated our hopes to make playoffs on Tuesday nights, and also ended the team as we know it as no one is returning. There is a possibility that I may play for the Builders next season on Tuesday….but thats just a chance at this point.
I have hit the lowest point I can go in hockey right now. Pucks are going off me and going in. Shots are going 5 hole on me. My angles are off. I don’t know, but I better get a adjustment in my confidence and play real quick. Playoff Saturday is just a few days away.
I am going to skate out today and enjoy the game. Then, maybe I will try to pick up a game or two in net before the end of the week. I really need to find another level to my game.
My confidence has been pretty low as of late. My Sunday team has struggled this season, but I have been subpar in net which doesn’t make me feel any better.
My Tuesday team is on the cusp of making the playoffs, but we have to win tomorrow night, which is no easy feat against the 1st place team. My Wednesday team is ensured of 1st place while my Friday team is ensured of 2nd place.
For the first time in a long time, I am worried about my performance and with playoffs quickly approaching, its hard for me not to think about it more than I normally do. I am going to attempt to make some changes to my game tomorrow that will hopefully tip the scales in our favor for a win. Also, hopefully it will set the stage for my playoff game on Saturday.