Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Goaldiggers Game - 2010-10-23

This entry will be short for a number of reasons.

I feel I played about average. My first three shifts, I thought it was going to be the best game I ever played. I had a couple of defensive breakups, I was carrying the puck well, and I had a great scoring chance. The center came down the left, and I sprinted down the center, slightly to right as I got closer to spread the d-men apart. He cut over, and gave me the puck. I remember the nightmare situation from last game, so I took my time, I settled it down, and fired it for the top right corner. It had room, and the goalie had little to no chance. Unfortunately, it went wide, and that ended the scoring chance. At least I didn't whiff.

I also got my money out of some of my equipment in one shift. The defenseman was firing the puck up the boards. It was waist high, and I went against the boards to stop it with my body, and it hit me in the family jewels. It's been a while since that piece of equipment was put to use, so I forgot how it still stings, despite being completely protected.

I'm really starting to feel more comfortable in this league. I get that I rarely score goals, but a lot of guys are like that. If you look at most teams. 60% of the goals come from a couple of players. It is the small plays that I'm making that make me feel like I can stay at this level. I'm still not getting points, and I'm still making mistakes, but I'm making a difference, and I don't feel that I'm as big of a liability. My speed and effort are coming into play, and as soon as I'm back in shape, I feel that I'll be a lot better. It is only a matter of time before I start putting up some points with the Goaldiggers.

Unfortunately, the next Goaldiggers game isn't for about three weeks. I'm really not liking how the league is being run since the new guy took it over.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chicago Bruins - Adult Beginner Hockey Class - 2010-11-22

The Chicago Bruins are having an adult beginner hockey class at the Addison Ice Arena. I really like the ice there, and I've been thinking about joining a league that plays there and at Seven Bridges Ice Arena. I sort of assumed that some of the players in the league would be in this class. There are 8 classes over 4 weeks for $125, and we get the ice at about 9:00. You really can't go wrong.

I decided to do the league for multiple reasons. It would help me work on my skills of course, and if I can learn to stop, it is going to change my game dramatically. These types of classes are great conditioning when you're trying to come back from an injury, like I am. The price is right - about $15 a class. And I'm looking to be recruited onto one of the teams in that league.

This was the most fun I've had in months, on and off the ice. The drills were just the right difficulty for me, and fun at the same time. I could really see myself benefiting from these drills. Last night it was just skating and catching a pass or two, but I learned more in the 1 hour of drills than I did in the HNA class.

One area that I never thought about was how you hold your stick when you're turning. Now I've said in the past I believe you should learn to skate without your stick, then introduce your stick when you play for assistance. It'd just make you a better skater. It was brought to my attention that my blade should be on the inside of my turn, and not the outside. I thought about it, and it makes total sense. It'll help get you lower to the ground, and you can lean on it to help you turn faster, all while giving you better balance.

The other thing that was brought to my attention is how tightly I hold my stick. I usually keep it relatively loose, unless I'm actually battling with someone for the puck. When I receive my passes though, I need to tighten up on my stick, or else the puck will bounce, and not just lay flat. I'm not talking about having the puck hop over your stick, but when you do catch it, to keep it flat. It keeps you from having to settle it down, and then skating.

The scrimmage was a blast, and great for my conditioning, as it was on the Olympic ice and there were only two lines to a team. The skill level of everyone there is very balanced. No one is too outstanding, and no one is too raw, which makes it more enjoyable for me. To top it off, most of the people in the class had already taken it, so they know each other. They're very friendly and outgoing. It wasn't intense at all and there were people around my age, which is actually rare it seems.

It was a good workout the night before the game I have tonight with the Goaldiggers. I'm sore just enough to know that I played, but I'm rested enough that I feel I confident going into tonight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Get a similar pattern on your new stick

To me the pattern on your stick is what you're buying. If you don't like it, you're not going to like your stick. So when I got very used to a specific pattern, I didn't want to sway from it. It was the Lemieux pattern by Nike, PM66.

Eventually they phased that pattern out and ended up on the Easton Sakic, which I now enjoy. It's really nice for wrist shots, round on the toe for some good stick handling and resembled the old Lemieux pattern.

I came across a site that will help you find similar blades on different sticks. For example, if I liked the Sakic pattern, but wanted to use a Bauer stick, I could switch to the Naslund pattern which is somewhat similar.

Very cool stuff.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Goaldiggers vs. Immortal 2010-11-08

I went to the rink kind of excited. I went in with a positive attitude and hoped it would show up. I decided to use the new RBK two-piece tonight, simply because I'm tired of waiting. I got to the rink and saw not only was it the olympic sided rink, which I love, but tonight's matchup was the Goaldiggers vs. Immortal! Slightly different from an old team, but funny to think about. I always thought Immortals was a unique name, but a variation is in my other league.

I like the Olympic sized rink. I feel a stronger part of my game lately is my speed. I may not be able to stop, but at least once I build up some speed it makes a difference. It also allows a lot more room to work with the puck. I feel it'd give me a little extra time to make a move and be patient.

I started on the ice, and the opponents scored 30 seconds into the game. Always tough to swallow but whatever. I stayed out there, and on the fore check I was able to break up a D to D pass, and get around the defenseman. I shot, and the whistle blew. Apparently, I was hooked after I got past the d-man. I didn't feel it so I'm going to assume it was a bad call. Stayed out there for the powerplay. I picked up the puck on the half boards. I didn't have much of a shot, the other winger was covered. I saw the centerman standing on the goal line, open. I gave him the puck and he tried a wrap around while I was driving towards the center. No luck. Our D-man pinched in, puck came out and the opponents scored on a 2-1 breakaway... shorthanded. Shift over.
Next shift, I came down too low in our own zone. I started drifting back to cover my d-man, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him sneaking into the slot. He got hit with a pass and scored. 100% my fault. Down 0-3, on the ice for all 3 goals. The Goaldiggers would keep pinching, and getting caught, giving up odd man rushes. Usually our D is fast enough to get back, but the Immortal were very good skaters.

Eventually the Goaldiggers would score, but escape the period being down 5-1. I felt I played much better in the second. I had a nice play along the boards, where I was able to beat two players, and get the puck back to the other forward. It amazes me how frequently I go against bigger guys along the wall and come out victorious. I had one play where I got the puck down low, and shot from the goal line. I put it behind the goalie, but it didn't hit anything and just went into the corner. It felt like it was moving pretty well. I'd later have a shot on goal where I'd put it right into the goalie's pads. The Goaldiggers would then be down 4-5 after 2 periods.

In the third, I was covering for a pinching d-man. A puck came out, I stepped up. I fumbled the puck, but put a quick low shot/pass towards the net and the left winger. He'd tip it, but it'd go out of play. The worst play of the night though still has me shaking my head 12 hours ago. It is the type of play that gives you nightmares. I'm coming back down the ice as fast as I can. My center has a one on one. He goes into the corner, and the d-man falls. He gets the puck to the slot where I am. I go to one time it and I whiff. The puck lays next to me, and I stll can't get enough stick on it. The goalie was down, and I had all day. The back checkers were not coming hard, and I had all day to shoot, yet I rush and fail.

Final score was a 6-6 tie. Good come back from being down 5-1.

I felt I played well, but the mistakes I made were amplified by speed and the size of the rink. a

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bringing Heart back

I'm sitting here, thinking about how I'd love to be playing the game right now. How I like to battle in the corners, or brace myself against the boards to keep the puck from leaving the zone. I think about the game, and how I play it. I play it the way it should be played in my opinion. Some physical contact, lots of pressure, and with a ton of heart.

Then I think about the past few months. The injuries have come, and the heart is gone. I don't get excited to go to the rink, and I don't make the effort to go to open hockey to play anymore. I feel like a slug, and have done nothing away from the ice to keep in shape or improve over the past few months. I nearly vomited last week from working so hard - and that has never happened to me in my playing days.

But I look at the reasons I missed time and they're really not at the fault of hockey. My collapsed lungs didn't happen because of hockey. They never have, and probably never will. Mono or whatever I had didn't happen because of hockey. There's no reason to blame health as a reason to stop playing. I need to get motivated on my way to the rinks and get out there.

I would take a break, but other than work, I'd never leave the house. I considered skipping grocery shopping this weekend simply because I didn't want to be around people. I need to get back to my routine of being on ice 3 times a week and doing some off ice training.

In less than 5 hours, I'll be on the ice for a Goaldiggers game. I need to go back to how I was. Playing with a ton of heart. But what I also need to do is start using my skill. I've worked at carrying the puck in practice. I've worked on keeping my head up and my positioning away from the puck, and now it is time to start using this. I need to bring heart back to my game and play fired up, or else I'm useless to the team.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Rbk 6K shaft w/ Easton SE Pro Hybrid Blade

During my injury time, I did some cleaning and I realized that I break a lot of sticks since I started playing more frequently, and I switched to the S7. I also noticed an older shaft I had purchased sometime back that I wanted to try. It is an old RBK 6K shaft with the sharkskin grip. Basically, it is a normal shaft, but with a very textured grip - like sand grains right in the paint. I've never seen anything like it, and that is why I wanted to try it. I've always had an issue with my hand sliding on the stick in ice hockey. In inline, I never had a problem though. I attribute it to the moisture that comes with playing on ice.

I ordered an Easton SE Pro Hybrid Blade, and put it in over the weekend. It is very bottom heavy, as expected with the two piece stick, and putting a hunk of wood in it. I'm ok with that though. I used to play inline with a similar setup, and I really enjoyed it. I'll enjoy the money I'll save too.
I haven't played with it yet, but I plan on trying it out soon. A lot stiffer than the S7, and significantly heavier too.

We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Goaldiggers Game 2010-11-01

I haven't played in nearly a month. I hadn't done much of anything. See, I was having issues with my lung again. Usually this is two weeks and I come back, but when I tried to do an open skate, I made it worse. This with the combination of all the recent injuries made me question if I even want to play the game anymore.

I got to the rink, suited up but was still fairly nervous. I could feel myself just out of it and wobbly. The team had 7 forwards, so I said I'd just rotate through lines when I could. In the first, I tried to play my regular amount of ice time, or rate. It was tough though. My shifts were 30-40 seconds max, but I went as hard as I could on them. I had a couple of rushes, and got good shots off, but no goal. It was clear my balance was off twice. The first was about six minutes into the first period when a shot from the point rebounded to right behind me. I tried and reached for it to get the shot off right away and whipped it as hard as I could at the net. Problem is it was so far behind me after I shot, I fell over on my butt. The other time my balance was really bad was a chip in our own zone. Our d-man chipped it from the slot to my wing up on the boards.. it was right past me. Unfortunately , I was going the other way. I stopped, but I couldn't move. All of my weight was on my back heels, and I felt I couldn't even turn to get there and make the opponent work for it. I played maybe two shifts in the third, and then felt like I was going to vomit, so I called it a night. It was nice though to make a little contact, skate hard and not feel bad doing so. I feel fine a few days later, so I think I'm fully healed.

The team won 5-2, and I was a -1 with no points. Bad statistically, but all things considered, I couldn't be more pleased with how the night turned out. It was exactly what I needed. I now just need to get into shape and that'll happen over time. You can't expect to lay around for a month, and come back and be where you were.