It has been a full 9 days since playoff Saturday and my neck was not feeling great last week. I didn’t play any hockey and pretty much just rested from any really taxing physical activities. The good news today is that my neck is feeling much better. I must have really strained it for it to have taken that long to heal. Either that or the older I get the longer it takes to heal up. If its the latter, that’s really going to suck.
I am really enjoying the break from hockey, but also enjoying my new schedule for the summer. I will play roller hockey on Monday, Wednesday ice hockey, and back to roller on Thursday. Unlike last season where I was playing 5 nights a week, I am down to 3 and I am quite happy. Gives me more time to concentrate on my MBA class and also a few projects around the house.
Its amazing how one playoff series on Saturday just kills me physically. My neck is still sore. I can’t tilt it down without having to deal with an annoying pain. I also can’t turn my neck left without having to deal with pain. My knees are still a little stiff but getting better. I guess the older I get the slower I heal up which is a huge pain in the butt. I guess I am going to have to start taking more Aleve or something if I am going to want to continue to play hockey.
The good thing is that the break between seasons and no ice hockey for a couple weeks is making my recovery a speedy one. I am really enjoying my time out of my skates and off the ice. I am going to take in the Wings game tonight and really take it easy again.
As in the past, I really didn’t know what to expect coming into playoffs on Saturday. Malys had limped into playoffs and got beat by the first place team two times during the regular season in dominating fashion. Marketlab had a solid season finishing 8-2, with the top teams in the division giving them the hardest time. Lastly, the Stick Heads made playoffs because another team dropped out. Beating Grand Valley was an almost impossible thought.
#5 Malys vrs #4 Main Street Pub
We have had a lot of success vrs Main Street and this game would be no exception. We notched the first 3 goals in the game to take a big lead. I really can’t remember the first goal they scored off hand, but we scored to make it 4-1 shortly after that. They scored their 2nd goal off a rebound I gave up in the last few minutes, but by then the game was over by a final of 4-2 and we had an almost impossible game coming up against the Rabid Wombats.
#5 Malys vrs #1 Rabid Wombats
The Wombats came into this game with the best record and the best team. They beat us 7-2 and 7-4 respectively during the regular season. Everyone on our team had a bad feeling about this game. Yet, we came out and played an awesome game. We passed the puck and capitalized on the few chances we had. They took the early 1-0 lead though off of a shot that hit me and I thought it was under me, but it had in fact trickled behind me and sat there until one of them poked the puck in. Eli tied the game later in the first period to tie the game 1-1 at the end of the first. In the second period. Chad wristed a shot from the point that found the back of the net. With us up 2-1 at the end of the second period, we needed to keep up the hard work. We did so and we held on to win the game. How did I do? I came up with several strong saves in this game. A couple shots were labeled for the top part of the net that I stopped with my glove or blocker. Overall, the best game I have played so far.
#2 Marketlab vrs #5 Dragons
The Dragons came up with a upset over the Guns of Pablo. Marketlab just played a very solid game in order to keep the Dragons off the board. I came up with a few good stops, but my team really came up with a stellar performance. We moved out to a 4-0 lead by the 3rd period. Then, we sat on the lead the last 10 minutes giving the Dragons some offensive leeway which they took advantage of. I gave up a rebound and the put it back into me but it trickled behind me and into the net to give them a goal in the final 3 minutes. We still won 4-1 which put us in the finals against Red Army.
#4 Stick Heads vrs #1 Grand Valley
If I won this game, I would have probably retired because it would have been the biggest upset I have ever been a part of. Instead, this game was a 7-1 loss where I played pretty well but just didn’t do well. We just got hammered but we had fun playing our last game together….at least for a while.
#5 Malys vrs #3 Dragons B
We had beaten the Dragons in the regular season 5-1. I really didn’t know what to expect out of this game. The Dragons path had taken them through two games as well so it wasn’t like either of us had less games. That being said, it was a tight game from the start. I was beaten by the only goal I gave up by Brad, their best player. He rifled a shot top corner on me in the slot to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, we tallied two goals. Phil got a good sharp angle 5 hole goal to tie the game. Then, Nick came back from a 2 game suspension and scored off of a rebound attempt. He needed about 3 swipes to get it in.
Through the entire game, the Dragons put a lot of shots on me. My defense cleared some rebounds, but they shot a lot right into my chest. The closest they came to tying it was a rising backhand in the slot that hit the post. I was not ready for that. With a minute left, Eli missed a wide open net with the goalie pulled. He was hooked by the defense, and I thought for a second that it might be a turning point, but it wasn’t. We held on for the win and our second championship in three sessions.
That was my 25th championship. I have achieved my goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year. I am indeed very fortunate.
#2 Marketlab vrs #1 Red Army
The games we have played so far have been very competitive ones. This one would live up to its billing. Brit would score first for us off a rebound chance to bring us up 1-0. Red Army answered off a partial breakaway. I let him drive around the top of the crease and backhand it into the wide open side of the net. At the end of the first period it was 1-1 and I knew I should have dove out to stop that player from driving around and my teammates told me.
The second period was a coming out party for Red Army early. They notched a goal off a shot from the top of the faceoff circle. I didn’t see it because he used my defenseman as a screen. I didn’t see it until it was too late. Red Army continued to put pressure on me and they got another goal off a sharp angle rebound. I dove over to cover the puck and they banked it off my stick and it somehow trickled into the net. Down 3-1, I didn’t have a good feeling about this game all of a sudden but I didn’t let it shake my confidence. I continued to make stops to keep my team in the game. We scored later in the period off a nice 2 on 1 chance to bring us closer. The final at the end of the second period was 3-2.
We came out much stronger in the third period. Brit got a nice goal that went five hole on the goalie to tie the game. I really can’t remember the 4th goal we scored, but we did so with 5 minutes left to go to take a 4-3 lead. I lept inside and I also pumped my fist at that point. I knew I could keep the lead. Of course, knowing you can keep the lead and actually keeping it is another thing. Less than a minute later, they had tied the game off a shot that deflected off of at least 2 people. With 4 minutes to go, the score was tied once again. Both sides exchanged shots but it was the last one that Marketlab had that was the difference. With 43 seconds left, Red Army had a defensive breakdown leaving Andy right in front of the net with the slot with the puck with only the goalie to beat. The goalie dove out to knock the puck away or cover it, but Andy deked around him and put it in the yawning cage. We had taken the lead 5-4, and this time we would hold it. I made one good butterfly stop and my defense did the rest to win the game.
That would be my 26th championship.
What am I the most proud of?
I usually can remember a few big stops I had in the games I played. I came up with some, but none that I remember conclusively. The thing I am most proud of are the performances of my teams. Malys had a tough road to the championship but went through three teams that had done better than they had through the regular season. The defensive effort they put on in front of me was outstanding. Marketlab participated in the most competitive division and came out with a championship. They dropped their first two games of the season and then picked themselves up and played spectacular hockey the rest of the season. In the playoffs, they played their best hockey. Especially in the final game against a team that averaged 7 goals per game.
What was the surprising story of the playoffs?
The Thursday hockey division was the most competitive division. Marketlab was locked into 2nd place needing a win to keep that 1st round bye and possibly a 1st place finish. They beat Red Army in OT to keep 2nd place but that was only because they took dumb penalties. We win that game outright it changes the playoff picture. We lose that game we are in 3rd place and not getting that bye in the first round. What about the other teams in the playoffs that I didn’t talk about? Ellis Sales won their game which put Structural Standards out of the playoff picture. They don’t win and I am playing for them in that 6th seed which may wear me out playing an additional game. The team that slipped into that 3rd seed beat us in the regular season, which was the Hot Shots. I call them “Jordie’s Team” and they would have tore through Structural. Ellis beat them in the first round which was a big playoff upset.
One last thing about surprising stories. The top seeded team only won in 2 divisions, one of them was by a forfeit. That just shows how much parody there was in the playoffs and always will be. Just getting into the playoffs should be the goal for any team because anything can happen.
Tomorrow, my quest for 25 championships may become fulfilled. I may also not win any of my games, but I am trying not to think about it too much. The less time I have to analyze the games the better off I am. That is why I am going to make a blog entry about tomorrow, go back to watching the NHL Playoffs, and then get some sleep tonight.
Malys will be playing the first game against a team we have had very good fortune against, Main Street Pub. I have played great against them to boot. I think the teams I have played for have eliminated that team the last 3 seasons running. Either way, its a winnable game. We can concentrate on other games as they come.
Marketlab earned a 1st round bye and will play the higher seeded team in the 2nd round. This division has been the most competitive I have ever seen it. Any team can win any game. The one thing I am happy about is that everyone on my team will be there tomorrow.
Lastly, Stick Heads will be playing the first place Grand Valley team who has scored almost 100 goals in 10 games. I am going to have to play the best game of my life in order to beat them.
Either way, after the hockey is played and the trophies are handed out, I will be going out with everyone from the rink. I especially love the outing afterwards.
The only thing I can complain about right now is a small lingering pain in my left ankle. I got dumped pretty hard by a player on Red Army last night in our clutch victory. I will be taking ibuprofen tomorrow and I am resting it tonight.
I had two tough games in a row tonight. One of them was to help Structural have a shot at playoffs. The other one was to give Marketlab a shot at a first or second place finish and a bye in the first round.
Structural was a tough game. We started strong and got the first goal, but the Dragons got 1 to tie it and then tapped in 2 more in the last period to take a 3-1 lead. Structural never gave up and scored 2 more to tie it back up and then a clutch goal to take the lead with 5 minutes to go. I really played well in this game. I didn’t let in any weak goals and I really came out to take the shooters. The Dragons showed me no mercy and got a lot of good opportunities. They just couldn’t get the equalizer. Structural won their last game 4-3 and earned the right to make playoffs if Ellis Sales loses which is a very good possibility.
Marketlab was another tough game as they played the first place Red Army team. Red Army beat us the first game of the season by a final of 6-5. This game would go back and forth just like the first one. With the game tied 4-4, Red Army scored 2 in the final period to take a 6-4 lead. In the final minute, Marketlab put one in with 46 seconds left and scored again with 20 seconds left to force overtime. In OT, Andy Rosart scored a huge goal to win the game 7-6. It was the game that got away from Red Army and it was the one that gave us a first round bye which is what we needed.
How did I play that second game? Average. I let in one goal I should have had and I had a hard time controlling my rebounds. I did make several diving saves and a few breakaway stops. Maybe I played above average actually. We won the game, its as simple as that and maybe I should just be happy about that.
The playoffs are now set and I get a night off tomorrow to rest up for the tournament.
If there is a valuable lesson that I have learned over the last few days, it is that hockey is only temporary. Everything that happens while playing is just temporary. Nothing I accomplish out there is going to be remembered by anyone but me. Sure, I may react on a shot and make a huge save or make a major gaff in a playoff game. The key is that the things I do out there won’t really be remembered years down the road.
My reactions to the people I play with though are always remembered. I have gotten so competitive in the past that I have taken to doing things out on the rink that I wouldn’t dream of doing to someone on a personal level. I am going to be changing that. I won’t lose my edge out there, but I am going to remind myself to think twice before doing something questionable.
Malys is going to clinch 5th or 6th for playoffs which means we will have a challenging game coming up on Saturday. Looks like Stick Heads is going to get a playoff shot by default. Its my hope that I can steal a game there as well. Heck, a win against a top team in that division would be like the ultimate playoff upset. Make no mistake though, its practically impossible for Stick Heads to win both games on Saturday.
I really like those odds though.
This week is going to be a tune up week for me. The butterflies start to float around in my system leading up to the playoffs on Saturday. So the week before playoffs is always a good test for me. I am going to be working on my focus and obviously trying to win some games. These games couldn’t be more important.
Malys can finish anywhere from 3rd to 6th. A win and they will pick up a 3rd place finish which is a heck of a lot better than a 6th place finish obviously. I would rather get the higher seed. What’s even more interesting will be the game on Monday as Malys will play the first place Rabid Wombats. Malys played a great game last week in a 5-1 win over the Dragons. I was very encouraged to see them play so hungry. They blocked shots, capitalized on odd man rushes, and really back checked like they wanted the game. I hope to see that same effort this week. If we win or its a close game, I will be very encouraged coming into playoffs.
Marketlab also has a very interesting situation. After losing to Red Army 7-6 the first game of the season, they face them again with a lot on the line. If Marketlab wins, they will be 1st in the division. If Red Army wins, Marketlab will take 3rd probably and have to play 3 games to the championship. We will see if Marketlab has what it takes to win this very pivotal game. Once again, a win or a close game will bring me a lot of confidence leading into the playoffs.
Lastly, Structural Standards has an outside chance to make playoffs, but they have to win their last game and Ellis Sales needs to lose which is a good possibility. Structural has their hands full with Dragons though. They won 3-2 last time, but the Dragons have upgraded since then. I am going to have to play a great game, and Structural is going to need to help me like they never have before. Lets hope for the best.
My play this week in net has been very encouraging. With playoffs coming up next week, my confidence has been climbing. Especially after some tough games that I came out ahead in this week.
Malys beat the 2nd place Dragons team and secured a playoff spot in a 5-1 game. I had a strong game and stopped some good opportunities. Still, my defense came up with the first star by blocking as many shots as they did and really cutting off the passing lanes.
Marketlab also won their big game by a 8-2 final over Ellis Sales. This game was 3-2 going into the 3rd period, but after giving up the 4th goal, the team just collapsed. This was the same team that we barely beat in the finals last season 2-1, and they played us tough. I had two big breakaway stops and really felt confident we would win that game.
Believe it or not, Structural Standards has a chance to make playoffs with a win next week. They didn’t win this week, but I also didn’t play for them. Not like it mattered since they were missing all their big guns. Lets see what happens next week. To sneak into the playoffs as the #6 seed would be an unbelievable accomplishment. One that won’t be easy to achieve.
Finally, I played the last game for Action Water Sports which I have been subbing for the last month. I finished 2-2 for the season. One loss I had was a forfeit because we didn’t have enough players. The other forfeit was a 5-2 loss that I just didn’t play well in. Both wins we had were against teams that were not as skilled as us. I guess the point of me saying that is I have to play a lot better in ice hockey this summer. I really need to come up with wins against teams who are just as good if not better than us.
Heading into the weekend, I am quite relaxed. Playoffs are next weekend, and I have games all week to tune me up for the playoff run. No playoff series is going to be easy. You just have to take it one game at a time and hope that the hockey gods are smiling upon you. I have had great luck in playoffs and I have to wonder when those same hockey gods are going to turn their backs on me.
I just hope its not next weekend.
So, how do you update your Twitter status? There are a variety of applications I have tried and here are my favorites. When it comes to my computers at home and at work, I have used a small application called Twitteroo.
Its a small application that works really well with Windows XP and Vista. Allows you to send updates really easily. If you are a Firefox user though, I can also recommend Twitbin. Its an addon that you can get through Firefox and can open a sidebar on your browser to allow you to update your status and view the status of your friends and replies.
If you are looking for a way to update Twitter on your Iphone, there are two applications I can recommend. The first is Twittelator Pro and the second is Tweetie. I bought Twittelator Pro last year and it was my client of choice for a long time. At the request of some friends, I tried Tweetie and loved it. I am using Tweetie exclusively right now because it has a much cleaner interface and seems to update faster.
Of course, those of you with Facebook accounts, you can autoupdate your Facebook status with Twitter as well. Here is the application you use.