Ten Skaters again for the Coyotes. We had a solid set of guys though who could skate the whole time, and work hard. I got a nap in, got there early, took time getting ready. My lace bite didn't seem to bother me in the locker room, but I had my skates extremely loose.
The first few shifts were shaky but improved as the game went on. I again tried to keep my game simple, and just bang the puck off the glass. I felt a lot slower than normal because of the lace bite, and it was difficult to adjust to. Many times tonight I thought I had plenty of time picking up the puck, but when I finally did, I heard yelling, so I would just get rid of it fast. Sometimes it was a good clear, often I gave it to a Shark at the point.
I think I did a good job in my own zone when the sharks had the puck. I tied up a lot of sticks, and was able to read a lot of plays. My defense partner though had an outstanding game. His patience was quite amazing, and was the reason we didn't have a lot of chances against while I was on the ice. He would stay down on the puck, power through someone, and make a great pass to the center to create a rush going the other way. He hit his winger with countless passes, while I just stood in the slot covering potential scoring chances.
In the beginning, trying to take my time, and not rush things, I dropped the puck. I battled the forward, and kept him from getting it. Once I could get the puck, I wanted to throw it behind the net, seeing that the other defense man was open, and could take care of things. I fanned on it, and it went right to the slot. I felt awful, but that same defense man was there to pick it up and clear it.
At one point the Coyotes were up 4-0 . I wasn't too worried, but we've lost to the Sharks 7-2. I was thrilled with the progress of the game. Then I started collapsing. I got too aggressive, and chased the puck carrier who looked weak behind the net. He made a simple move, and I over skated. Instead of trying to turn around, I swung way out in front of the net, leaving half of the ice open. The Sharks scored. The Coyotes took a penalty. The Sharks scored when I failed to pick up the puck in the slot and get rid of it. The Coyotes gave up four quick goals, and the game was now tied.
I decided to stay down on my stick more, and play stronger. The Sharks would dump the puck past me. I turned, picked it up, and heard, "Skate it around!" So I did just that. I couldn't lift my head up because I couldn't get the puck off the wall. I felt a stick, so I stayed down, lowered my center of gravity and made sure to get through it. I came up around the corner, saw someone coming at me and just launched it on the wall to get it out of the zone. The center picked it off the wall, went down and scored.
I've had my head down much too much lately, and I need to work on my stick handling. I need to get more comfortable on my skates again. I need to develop some sort of confidence, and learn when to be aggressive and when not to. The Coyotes won 5-4, but I wasn't happy with my play at all.