Missing hockey already

After almost 5 days without playing, I am already missing hockey.  Just a week ago I was playing 3-4 times a week.  Now I am down to zero because my neck is pretty stiff and sore from playing on Saturday.  I should be ok to play hockey by next week, but the time when you aren’t playing sucks pretty bad.

After my last 3 games where my teams scored a combined total of 4 goals, I am eager to get back in the crease and playing some fun hockey.  After having so much success in all the years I have played, I promised myself I would never get down on myself if I didn’t win a championship again.  I was up to my word on Saturday last week and even today I have two words that make everything alright.

“No Regrets”

I started saying this about 4 years ago, back when I was still learning what it meant.  I now realize just how meaningful those words mean.  Everyone deserves their turn in the spotlight.  You can’t win every game.  Most importantly, you have to play for the fun of playing and for the friends you have around you.  Not for titles or trophies.  Not for glory.  No one is going to remember you forever, so why let the small things get you down?  Life is short, play hard.

Heck, just by typing this, I have learned that I really miss hockey.  🙂

At least I have the Griffins and some occasional reffing gigs to keep me occupied in the meantime.

Not what I wanted

I guess after playing my first 3 playoff games that good things were going to happen to me today.  Things didn’t work out like I had planned.  In the last three games, my teams scored a grand total of 4 goals.  It didn’t help that I wasn’t consistent in net after the first three games.

Malys made it to the second round and lost after a very spirited first game.  Who Cares did the same thing.  Marketlab made it to the finals and lost to a hungrier team.

I have a few admissions to make after this season.  First, I might have been a little tired and not on my game.  Sure, your team doesn’t score you aren’t going to win, but I probably could have played a little sharper.  I could attribute it to playing on too many teams in a single day and not sleeping well the previous night.  I think it was probably a little of both.

Really, it wasn’t a disappointing day.  Even though I didn’t achieve the goal I wanted.  Marketlab will be back and I will be back for a new team that will be a combination of Maly’s and Who Cares.  I played against some really great people.  Its great to get out there and have fun with people that you play against every now and again.  I am glad that I have so many friends and players who respect me and vice versa.  I couldn’t be happier playing hockey.

I have achieved more in hockey than I ever thought possible.  Which is why I am not terribly disappointed with the result today.  I remember back about 7 years ago when I took it personally when it came to my playoff performance.  Today, 27 championships later, I am content with letting things fall into place and if good things happen then great.  Everyone gets their day in the sun eventually and its my hope that I will get that next season.

I really hoped to see other friends of mine get their shot at a championship.  Some dreams were squashed while others came true.  I was happy to see P.J. and Mr. Burger win a championship.  They have played many seasons and have struck out over and over again.  You have to be happy when someone works hard and gets far.  I was hoping that Hailstorm would take the beginner league, but it just didn’t work out for them this season.

In the end, its all about playing with your friends.  I am happy that I have been able to play for as long as I have.

Now I am going to settle into a break and rest up for next season.

Successful season

When this season started, I was caught up in wondering just how I would do.  After last season and only leading a single team to the playoffs, I really wanted to make strides in my game.  I did pretty well this season in leading all my teams to playoffs.  It wasn’t all me though, but it still leaves me quite satisfied with the results so far.

Maly’s finished 3rd overall after a very successful season.  With our personnel I thought we did marvelous.  I may have gotten frustrated a couple times, but by the end of the season I was playing like I should have played.  I gave my team a chance to win every night, and I feel very good going into playoffs on Saturday with this team.

Who Cares also did well finishing 5th overall in a very tough division.  I feel very good about our chances here as well.  Our team has come through a lot of adversity to be a better team at the end of the season.  I really believe that we can make some noise in the tournament.

Finally, Marketlab finished 1st overall in a up and down season.  We started out strong, only to falter a few weeks, and then start back on the upswing.  We will have our full team which works in our favor.  At the same time though, we really need to make our mark in the playoffs this season.  We started out 6-0, and then went 2-2 in our last 4 games.  One of the teams we beat only had 4 guys.  I really think we are the best team in the division, but we have to prove it against the top 4 teams in the league.  Its very doable as we have beaten every team that made playoffs at least once.  Its just time to prove it.

I find myself eagerly anticipating the games tomorrow.  I am glad that I have enough to do today to keep my mind occupied.  Otherwise I would sit at home and just think about the games and how I would react in certain situations.

Then I wonder what I am going to do when I can’t play in these kinds of games anymore as I get older…

Flashes of brilliance

I played last night to what came out a better than average game.  I came up with a couple excellent saves, but those were wiped out by a couple goals I let in that I should have had.  In the end, we won 6-5 in OT so I was happy about that.  Still, it was a game that shouldn’t have been as close if I was on top of my game.

This week, I knew with only 2 games that I was going to play, that I had to be sharp.  I wanted to go into playoffs on Saturday focused and ready to play.  I wanted to go in on a roll winning my games and playing solid.  Instead, I have been inconsistent.  I come up with some great saves, and then I just can’t stop the puck 5 minutes later.

My focus is what the problem is.  On the two shots I should have stopped, I lost my focus on the puck.  I have to stay on target so to speak.  Anything less is bad for me and my teams.

Now I shift my focus to tonight’s game where a win puts us in 1st place.  A win against the team we are tied with right now is going to be a tough feat.  The game will not be easy, but it will be ultra competitive.  I would not be surprised to see us playing in the finals against this tough Lightning team.  For now though, with my full team in front of me, I am aiming for a win tonight.

Inconsistent

After playing solid on Monday and Wednesday, I thought that I would be following that up with a strong performance on Thursday.  It just didn’t happen.  Marketlab lost 6-3, and I was inconsistent in net for the loss.  My team couldn’t put the puck in the net, but I couldn’t make a solid save all night.  With one week to go in the season, I have a few games to get my feet back underneath me and get my swagger back before playoffs hit.

I found myself bumming pretty badly yesterday after that loss.  I took it rather personally that I let my team down.  It was our best shot to put a solid foothold on first, and then I realized that it doesn’t matter what place we take.  The last few championships I have won the team wasn’t in first place.  Last season with Marketlab we were 2nd and won the title.  Same in spring 2009 when we finished in 2nd place and won the title.  There have been countless times I have won championships when not in the first seed.

So whats the problem here?  What feels so different that I have to get down on myself?  My confidence was shaken and I feel like I am playing inconsistently.  I had two great games, and then played bad last night.  I have to start building on winning consistently next week.  I focus on winning Wednesday and Thursday.  Leading into Saturday for playoffs, I want to have wins and confidence under my belt.

Today though, I am physically spent still, and I have ice hockey tonight and refereeing this weekend.  I will be resting a lot this weekend around my reffing that’s for sure.

Playoff bound

This season was full of question marks for some of the teams I play for.  Would we be good enough to compete in our respective leagues?  Would we have enough to compete for a championship?  I am proud to say that hockey has treated me and my teammates well for the most part this season.

Malys is moving onto the playoffs in the 3rd place position for the most part.  With a 7-2 record right now, we have a very small chance to jump to 2nd but can’t drop to lower than 4th with one game to go.

Who Cares moved on with a win last night and are currently sitting 5th in the league.  We have a shot to move up as high as 3rd depending on how things go with our last game.

Lastly, Marketlab can clinch 1st in the division with a win in the last 2 games.  Either way, they are in the playoffs even if we lose our last 2 games which won’t happen.  I am really looking forward to getting out there and getting a step toward clinching first tonight.

Ice hockey has been hit or miss for me all season because I have not been able to steadily play on Friday nights due to other commitments.  I am really looking forward to playing ice hockey on a regular basis in the Spring/Summer.

On a side note, my body has been responding well over the last few weeks.  I was still hobbled by a groin injury that was taking forever to heal up from October-December.  Now, that twinge of pain is finally subsiding and I am able to move much more quickly than I was before.  I hope this is a sign of things to come.  Getting fully healthy right around playoff time is a good thing.