Playoff reflections

I look back upon Saturday after a few days to think about what happened.  I have had a lot of fond memories of this past season, and even more anticipation to start the next one.  Now all I need to do is close the book on last season for good.

It was a very good season and a good playoff run for me.  After sucking it up at the last playoff day when I made it to 2 finals games and lost in both of them, I was looking forward to a little redemption.  I went 3-1 on the day in total.  I feel I was centered to the puck well and I came up with some pretty good saves all day.  The icing on the cake was beating the undefeated team to win the championship.  The last undefeated team I beat was with the Dragons about a year ago, and that victory really brought back some fond memories that’s for sure.

Maly’s didn’t even make the playoffs this season and there is rumors that they will move back down to beginner where they belong.  I also may skate out on the team as well.  I don’t know yet.  My difficulty will be settling into a role outside of goaltending and sticking with it.  So long as the team is successful, I am happy to be skating.

Marketlab will return after winning their 4th championship.  We are making no changes over last season right now.  The players all want to return, and thats fine being as that we finished in 2nd by just a point and the 3rd-5th place squads were just a point behind us.  It was a tight division and it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds by the end of it.  The division is going to be a tough one needless to say.  The intermediate division is always tough and tight though.  I love the parity and knowing that any team can win on any given day.

For now though, I am just going to heal up.  I strained my groin and after reffing on it on Sunday, I am really feeling it today.  I am going to rest it for the rest of the week and then see how it feels on Saturday.  I hope it will be fully healed by then.  I am going to take a solid two weeks off goaltending just to get my heart and soul back into the game.  I need the break if not for my groin, but for my desire to make another run at a championship.

Wanting it more

I am sitting here in my chair at home, my eyelids are so heavy.  I am ready to crash very soon.  Yet, I am sitting here typing a piece to add to my blog.  I must be very dedicated.  Well, that and I am excited still.  My Marketlab team was shorthanded tonight, and yet with only 6 guys and seeded 2nd overall, we charged into the finals and then gave a dominating performance to take the championship.  It was my 27th, and I feel on top of the world right now.

The day was not without its low points though.  Getting beat with the Blizzard house team in the highest division 6-1 was pretty sad.  I had higher hopes for this team than I did Marketlab actually.  I thought we would have a good shot to win a championship, and that dream ended real quick.  I know my defense left me out to dry.  Still, it was a sad game to lose like that.

I subbed in for a team called “Great White Ninja” who had a great first game against the Lightning house team.  We skated to a 6-4 victory.  It was good to see them advance, but from that point forward I was concentrating on Marketlab.

Marketlab only had 6 skaters, and I knew the task was daunting.  Beat Team Steve, a team that beat us in the last game of the regular season in OT.  Then, beat the Puckups, a team that went undefeated and has a super team.  One game at a time though.  We concentrated on the first one.

We won the first game 7-3.  We had a really good start to the game by scoring the first few goals.  Then they came back with a few goals of their own to make it close.  We tore away from them in the 3rd and they never caught up.  My performance was mixed.  I just feel that I didn’t play my strongest game.

The strongest game of the night that I played was in the last game against the Puckups.  However, my team didn’t need it.  My team dominated the play.  Everyone just skated like they wanted to win that game.  Sure, there were a couple good saves I made, but my team did the hard work.  I was not relied on to make big save until we were up 2-0 and I had a couple nice saves in the crease.  By the time they got a shot on the backdoor that I stopped, it was already 5-0.  By the time they scored their first goal it was already 7-0 and less than 3 minutes left in the game.  It was a nice breakaway.  I gave up a crappy 5-hole goal after that, but we did win a solid game thats for sure.  I cannot complain.

Yes, we wanted that game the the championship that came with it.  Everyone played a solid game and played like a true team with a ton of desire.  I will write more tomorrow.  I am exhausted.

Gone are those days

I remember back about 8 years ago when I was just dying to get my first championship.  Today, 26 championships later, I still have that desire to win.  The only thing that has settled into me has been my body and time working against me.  I have been very fortunate to get on some good teams, some lucky teams, and turned in some great performances in order to be successful in a playoff tournament.  At the same time, I remember some of the crushing defeats.  Those defeats fuel me to do better.

I have already achieved my goal of 25 championships this year and that was in the first week.  Now, with this last playoff tournament upon me, I find myself in familiar territory.  Neither of the teams I am on are favored to win it.  Both long shots.  The main differences between 6-7 years ago and today are the fact that I am older and a little banged up, but wiser than I used to be.

I was complacent last playoffs.  I was not focused and it showed in my play.  I was 100% healthy and really didn’t play my best games.  I lost in two finals games and really put a question mark over my head.  I wondered if my ability to play in clutch situations really was leaving me.  This time it will be different. 

In order to be successful this time around, I have to revert back to the way I was 5-6 years ago.  Excited for my team’s success.  Doing the little things right like coming out to take the shot.  Rely on my teammates to help me out.  All these things equate into playoff success.

As I promised myself, if I fail I will not get down on myself or my team.  I will take it for what it is and move on.  After all, I have had so much success over the last 8 years and I cannot ignore that.  At the same time though, losing sucks.  I am in it to win it just like any season.  I am just more focused than I was last season.

I just wish my body was at 100%.  The nagging bruises and pulled muscle in my leg are going to be a pain to deal with…..until I pop a 800mg ibuprofen. 

My new rate structure

You want your computer fixed?  Here is my new rate structure.

Friend: Case of Corona or Heineken
Neighbor: Dinner out and a Case of Corona or Heineken
Relative you like: Case of Corona or Heineken
Relative you dont like: 2 Cases of Corona or Heineken
Person you dont know: $75/hr.
Person you dont know, but really would like to get to know: $50/hr.
Wife/Spouse: Sexual favors
Boss: $50/Hr.
Ex-Boss: $175/Hr.
Your Car/Motorcycle Mechanic: IOU = to number of hours worked to trade for his time when your car breaks.
Cow-Irkers from work: $75/Hr
Annoying Cow-Irkers: $125/Hr
People I work with that are good to me: $50/Hr

The shiny new toy

Lately, it has been all about refereeing to me.

First it was how can I get started.  I study up for the USA Hockey test and get my certification.  Then it was how soon can I get started.  Games are starting to come out and I have at least one game per week so far.  I would have had more if I could have reffed on Saturday this week.  Unfortunately I have hockey to play on Saturday and I am not available.  For as much as I want to ref, I can’t push playing hockey off.  I can ref for the next 10-20 years.  I won’t be playing hockey for that long.  At least I don’t think I will be playing.

Some people have told me that refereeing is like the shiny new toy.  It wears off on you quickly.  Well, here I am really enjoying it because it is new.  Then I wonder if it will fade out too quickly.  Will I get burned out on reffing?  I guess time will tell.

I am not going to let the fear of burning out stop me from getting as many games as I can.  The more games I do, the better I will be in the end.

Adventures in Refereeing

After many months of preparation, I have refereed adult inline and a squirt ice hockey game.  Both of which were incredibly fun to do and my first reffing assignments to boot.  I have a lot to learn, the first of which is to adjust to skating on something other than goalie skates.  Even my ice hockey forward skates are taking some getting used to.

My positioning is pretty good.  My situational awareness is also very good.  I was calling offsides today very accurately.  With all the positives, there are a few negatives.  I will keep improving my skating, as well as my play awareness.  I have to be aware on who scores the goals and has the assists a lot better than I did today.

Overall, it was very productive.  I can’t wait until I ref inline on Monday and Wednesday, and then ref ice hockey again on Friday.  Lots of opportunities to improve and show what I can do.

Still not there yet

Two nights before I went to Dallas on vacation, I felt something give in my left leg.  Thankfully, it wasn’t my knee, but it felt pretty terrible after I was done playing.  It felt like my inner thigh muscle was pulled, and for any butterfly goalie, that is a necessity.  I rested it all week when I was gone to Dallas.  No running, jumping, or other hockey related activities.  I really just rested the whole time I was away.  Fast forward to Tuesday night this week, a full 10 days since I last played hockey.  I stretched out real good before my game, and that didn’t matter.

The same damn muscle gave again.  This time it wasn’t as bad, but still equally annoying.

I started doing some research into this and it doesn’t seem to be a groin pull.  I remember what those feel like and this wasn’t one of them.  At the same time though, it could just be a muscle strain, and it couldn’t come at a worse time.  Playoffs are next weekend.  I start reffing hockey this week, and I won’t get much downtime.

I have already decided to play through it until playoffs and then take a couple weeks off to rest it.  I just hope this isn’t one of those lingering injuries that kicks my ass and causes me to lose.  So far, the pain is manageable with some ibuprofen, but my kick save and butterfly are gimped a bit and I am worried that I might strain it worse than it already is.

Oh well… body has to break down sometime I suppose.