Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Traininc Clinic - Balance, Stopping and Skating

Last night I went to a clinic. Work on your skating, shooting, passing, etc. It sounded good. It was nice and close to home. As a result, I've noticed a few things. My balance and stopping sucks. This causes my skating to be awful. I was always unsatisfactory on the drills. As a result, I'm going to use my balance board 10 minutes a day for a while to get my balance back. It helped a lot a few years ago, and I'm hoping it'll help now.

It wasn't a good night for me and I was getting frustrated. Then we started the scrimmage. Aside from one or two guys who had played for a long time, I was the strongest there. My passes were outstanding. I'd bring the puck up on the rush, go down into the corner, and by then, someone was open in front. Multiple times I hit my guy's stick through traffic. I never passed so well in my life. Two of them lead to easy goals. I had one goal where I had just stood in front, but used some reach to put it in.

Either way, it was a productive night. I'm sore though. I should be good for the Wednesday night Immortals game.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Immortals Game 2010-08-11 - Black And Blue

One thing I think the Immortals needs more of is energy. I watched a game from the stands one night and I noticed that there wasn't a whole lot of balls-out play from most of our players. Some of them may be afraid of getting hurt, others don't want to, maybe some are still not comfortable on skates. I've been in each of those positions at some point in the past year.

I see myself as one of the balls-out players. I'll chase down loose pucks, I'll bang the body, I'll do what I can... when I feel I can. Lately, I've felt awesome and that made me want to use my energy as an example to bring the rest of the guys who are more tentative to become a bit more gutsy.

The next day my legs were sore, knee was bruised, hip had the biggest black and blue bruise I've had in years, and my fingers were slightly bruised and swollen. The fingers were from face-offs, and I knew they'd be this way after the second period. My knee was bruised as a result of a slash/tripping penalty when I was racing to get the puck out of our slot. My hip was probably from crashing into the boards.

Either way, I played a very black and blue game. I drew one penalty, but I didn't take any. I felt I played a physical game, wand was clean. However - I'm feeling it today, and will for another week. I wonder how NHL players can do this night in and night out. They have trainers and such, but time is what really heals anything.

Immortals Game 2010-08-11 - Playing Center

Wednesday night was my first night back with the Immortals in some time. With school and the Goaldiggers' playoffs, it became difficult to keep up. I missed a game and a few practices. It felt longer.

I was pumped going into the game. I also went back to my pre-game routine from a few months ago as closely as I could. I laced them up, went out there for my pregame skate, felt good. I was playing center tonight, inspired to make a difference, and to be an example.

I'm not sure I did that. I played hard. I raced to every loose puck and won well more than my share of the battles. I also had to be aware of what was going on as we had a few guys playing out of position - myself being one of them.

I hate playing center for one reason. Face-offs. I can't do it. I really need a lot of work on it. I won maybe 20% of the draws all night. I'd try and roll my wrists and pull it back to the defensemen. I tried to turn into it to get a better angle. I don't know if it was bad timing, or if I'm just not that strong. Either way, I'll be consulting some of the better centers I play with for some tips on the draw.

Other than that, center is a great position for me at this level. I can skate as much as I want, I've got a ton of space to cover, I enjoy playing defense a little bit and digging into the corners, and I'm fairly decent at just tapping the puck to slow it down or disrupt the play. I'm not known for goal scoring, and I have a tendency to just out work players, even though I'm frequently smaller than them.

I have a ton of thoughts on this game. May as well break them up a little.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Championship Game, Goaldiggers 2010-08-09

Last night was the championship game. I got a great nap in with the dog before the game, had all of my equipment ready, got there early – I had never been so excited to play. The championship game before us went into a shootout. How exciting. The problem is that the ice afterwards was incredibly bad. On humid days, skating on the ice when it’s still wet, of course it is going to be bad.

The problem is when you’re a bad skater, and have dull blades, you’re not going to skate well. It felt like I was in sand all night. As a result, I didn’t play as well as I had in the past. I through a couple of checks, broke up a play here and there, but I wasn’t as effective as I was in the past.

I wasn’t the only one feeling it last night either. Our best player was really out of it, and so was our goaltender. No one seemed to be fired up. At the end though, there was no hanging of the heads. Yes, we lost, but we were proud that we made it that far. A little over a year ago we couldn’t imagine playing for the championship. Yes we added a lot of good players. But for the most part, the make up of our team is the same.

In my opinion, we were not the better team last night. I think if it was a best of seven series though, we would have won.

Next session, the college kids will leave the league, and it sounds like if every team member will be back. I like our chances to win next year. Our team is getting better and better. I know I’m getting better and contributing in more ways than I was in the past. I’m going to work that much harder as well because I want to win now. I never thought about it, but now that I realize I was close, it is my goal.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Semi-Finals, Goaldiggers 2010-08-02

Last night we had the semi-final game for the Goaldiggers. I was ready for it. I had gotten to the rink early, got nice and warmed up and I was ready. Went through warm ups, sat on the bench prepared.

Our team knew that they had one standout player, who scored more than 50% of their goals, so he was the guy to watch. Tonight he was playing defense.

I played good for the first six minutes of the game, then I kicked it up a level. My fore checking was more aggressive than normal tonight, which would later show benefits. By the second, our team was really clicking. At one point I did a give and go with our d-man, which gave us a lead, and my first assist of the night.

After that, I had a great night. I had a decent check on their star player while on the forecheck. I also used my body more than once to keep the puck in and protect the puck. Any time the puck would come to me, it felt like I made the right choice. Multiple times I had the puck behind the net and just took it to the front, hoping for a rebound or mishandle by the goalie. My forecheck was great tonight – and caused a lot of bad passes, which left their players stuck inside the zone, causing a few odd man opportunities.

We won 6-3 and have the championship game on Sunday.