Monday, March 3, 2014

Dead Man Skating - Old man Learns Hockey Games #15 and #16

You may have noticed I didn't post an entry last week (and if you did, what the hell is wrong with you?). We did have a game, and it was probably the best we've played all season, but the day after it a few of us found out that the plan we'd had to move about 2/3rds of the team forward for next season was now the plan to move about half of the team forward for next season. It was explained as a numbers thing - the couple of friends they were going to join with became a couple of more, and they wanted the roster kept at 14, etc . That's not the vexing part - well, okay, it always stings a little to be the kid on the way nobody wants for kickball, but I've been playing for a handful of months and I can dig that. The irritating part is that we weren't told that this change had occurred and the only reason we found out, with under a month until rosters are due for next season, is because Sheq asked to see if we wanted to get jerseys ordered. It's one thing to get tossed on the trash heap, but it's another to have to call the garbage truck in a rush to haul you away as well.

So I was grouchy going into last week's game, determined to just sit quietly on the bench and play my role. Of course I couldn't do that, because I get too into the game and I can't stop myself from being a team player. I may grouse about blown assignments or too-long shifts but this is a likeable crew and I want to see us do well. It also helped that I was paired with a good defensive partner. Against Behind Bahrs, the team we'll face in the play-in game for the playoffs next week, we gave up an early goal when a clearing pass behind the net got picked off and stuffed in. That was the last goal Duffy and I would be on the ice for that wasn't one of ours. They got one off a screened point shot off a faceoff before we answered to draw back within 1. It was a faceoff in their zone, left circle, and the draw went to Sheq at left wing. I was all alone behind him at the point and would have loved the opportunity to flub the shot (which I had done in a particularly hysterical sequence that had Alex congratulating me for almost sticking the triple axel as I floundered about), so I started to yell in protest as he flicked it toward the net. It wasn't a shot, though - it was a pass. A goddamn perfect pass, a tape-to-tape pass - no, it was a hockey pass, and was easily dunked in for a goal. It was glorious and gorgeous. And we were in a game.

It stayed that way until the 3rd, where one of our D got caught too deep on a pinch and they slammed home the breakaway for the final score of 3-1. Still, we hung with these guys. I made my usual mistakes - not going to talk about the flubbed slapshot again - and I somehow became a puck magnet. I mean, I lost track of how many shots I blocked - 10? 15? I have no idea. My new pants came through, though. No new bruises and a sense of progress. Hell, I finished at Even for the game. That's some crazy shit right there.

This week's game was against a team with two 'way-too-good-to-be-in-this-division' players and we did our best to hold them down. I was paired with Duffy again and at one point we were +2. PLUS TWO. Imagine the madness. We'd gotten two quick-strike goals in about 20 second - the second was a laser-beam top-corner wrister from a guy who just came back from climbing a mountain in South America. You could see the little dude who leads the league in scoring chomping at the bit, and soon after he skated through everyone and made it 5-2. I ended up at a -1, which isn't horrible for a 9-2 final. We had another weird deflection goal to start the third, then I dove to stop a breakaway but as I lay tangled with the dude one of his teammates swooped in and put it home. The last goal was just a superior player blowing past both Tom and I with a full head of steam and finishing it off with a nice move. Sometimes you can't stop talent. I made my mistakes - at one point I read a hard-around and darted (okay, skated by at a pace faster than a crawl) by the defenseman who was waiting for it. There was nobody near me and I could have driven right for the net - but I missed the puck. Gah. Later I managed to get a wrister on net and thought I was getting an assist as one of our guys had a wide-open shot on the rebound, but he took too long and the goalie got over in time to stuff him. I was a little slow keeping up with their cutting, and Alex had to yell at me once for screening him, but it's all baby steps forward. After holding the Rebels to 4 and BB to 3 it didn't feel great to give up 9 to these guys, but that's what happened. No Sheq either, as he was home with the kids. Jeff showed up and continues to improve, even if he doesn't know it. So we're working on cobbling together another team, and we're close - wanna play? Let me know.

Writing: still editing other people's stuff, which gobbles up any and all free time. Getting close to finishing the first edit, which was son simple task - they're in the 90-100K range here. Good stuff, though. Very interesting. It'll be interesting to see what they think of the heavy, heavy editing I did.

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