Wednesday, August 27, 2014

End of Summer Round-up - Yee-ha!

Yeah, I've been slacking a little lately on the blogging. It's a combination of vacation and being busy, but here I am so let the pigeons loose.

::flap flap::

Anyway, Summer hockey has ended with our brave little toaster of a team going 3-5. That's a huge improvement over 0-10 and we could have gone 4-4 with a few different bounces. I've been able to watch tape of our games - our goalie has this thing called a GoPro which is kinda awesome - and realized I looked like I was skating while on a very short horse - my legs were way too wide. Should maybe someone have mentioned this at the clinic I used to go to? Perhaps. In any case, I've tried to be more conscious about ti and when I remember to keep my feet together I look almost non-spastic on the ice. I finished the season somewhere around even, helped by being +3 for our final game. I'm still terrible, but a lesser degree of terrible than before. Soon I may just be awful, with dreams of crappy danicing in my eyes.

Vacation at Hershey was fun, and afterward I finally trekked down the Shore and saw the vacant lot that was the beach house. Sad. Things are good on most fronts - business is still too slow and I'm still waiting on authors so I can do some more editing, but that's life. I'm within striking distance of finishing my retooling/rewrite/re-edit of Dancing with the Boneyard Gods, although I already thinking some of the early chapters can be excised as well. Soon it will go into the hands of the victims readers and I'll get lots of constructive feedback. Bring out the cat-o-nine tails! Looking forward to spending Labor Day weekend with wonderful friends up near Boston. Jumping down the rabbit hole and doing a LARP the following weekend. Don't care what people may think, it sounds like fun.

Still enjoying XCom. Shut up, I'm old and have little free time. And why can't I have a squad of 6 snipers?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Don't Get It, Redux - Summer Season, 2014

So last week we were playing one of the undefeated teams in our division, the unfortunately Bro-named Mooseknuckles. I'd seen them play a little the week before and knew we'd have our hands full, as not only did they have a number of good players but they also had a 'shouldn't-be-in-this-division' Superstar who also was sporting a vintage mid-1990's Jaromir Jagr full blown mullet. So I was prepared for a possible replay of our game against the Wolfpack and their two douchenozzles.

However, I underestimated the level of loser we were dealing with. They scored on each of the first two shifts and it looked like it was going to be a long night. We calmed down, got a few big saves from Chaz and then a few more before poking one home. Then another. And another. They scored to tie it up before the first period ended, but we got one early in the second to take a 4-3 lead. Hell, I even got an assist on it, even though they gave it to someone else. To be fair we were in our 'road' sweaters, which are a miismosh of non-black colors with numbers taped on the back. They answered back quickly, but then I started to notice something. They had a full bench like us, 15 or 16 skaters.

They weren't using about half of them.

As I watched I realized the same 8 or 9 guys were the only ones on the ice for the second period and a good chunk of the third, during which Superstar potted 6 goals and turned the game into a farce. They BENCHED half their team to win a mid-season game against a 2-2 team.


I would say it was a testament to our class that Superstar didn't get clobbered, but the truth is that I couldn't catch him. I'd watched tape of the previous game and noticed that part of what makes me look so goofy skating is that my feet are always super-wide apart, so I tried to work on that. Watching this week's tape (and realizing that if not for Chaz's heroics it could have been 22-5 instead of 11-5 for the final) I looked much better - for about half the game. Also, if someone with speed started skating at me it all went out the window and I started moving like a guy getting tasered. Baby steps, baby steps. I was either a -1 or -2 for the game - not great, but not awful for a blowout like that. Got caught flatfooted too much. Well, flat-bladed. Whatever.

Tomorrow night is pretty much the game that'll decide which team grabs the 4th and final playoff spot. the Mutiny play smart team hockey and have a couple of higher-end 8W players. Can we beat them? Well, we haven't yet, but hopefully with the scouting report I ferreted out of my friend Dave while drinking Friday night (he plays for them) we can try to reverse that trend. Our two best-skating defensemen are unavailable so we'll shift a few people around and let the pucks fall where they may. Next week we suffer the wrath of the scheduling gods as we have 10:45pm games on back-to-back nights. That's next week, though. One game at a time.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ten Out of Ten - Hockey, Summer, Game 4

There's something to be said for having a 3-0 lead after 9 minutes of play.

There's also something to be said for the other team not having a goalie.

Actually, it kinda sucks. We scored 3 in those 9 minutes and could have scored more, but it felt, I don't know, cheap. I was happy when their goalie (or 'hey can anyone show up and play goalie for us' arrived b/c theis guy has freelanced for other teams we've played) showed up and the game could continue on a more normal keel. Goalie or no goalie, we were the better team. And the score reflected it.

We had a grand total of 10 skaters, not counting Chaz the goalie, who was back after missing two games - both losses. 10 is not a whole lot - two sets of forwards and two pairs of defense. I'm not going to say the low number upset me - playing half a game is better than playing a third, to be sure -  and the old bones held together pretty well. I was a +3 for the game, on ice for 5 of ours and 2 of theirs - both weird, irritating goals. I will take a +3 any game of the season, believe you me. We just played well as a team, racking up what had to be 40 or so shots. Our better players played down to our level, always looking to pass when they gained the zone, and Chaz made several big saves when it was 3-2 and we were doing a little nail-biting. A couple of timely goals gave us breathing room, and the final of 6-3 was indicative of how the game went. Aside from a few minutes of sustained pressure by them, we carried the play. It was nice, winning again.

Several of our players had great games. I had a game; mistakes, decent plays, etc. I grabbed two shots out of the air for something new and took at least five shots, which was very new. Most were iceburners that were turned aside, although I did get one waist-height that took a nosedive at the end and almost found five-hole. I'll take a win over a Kit goal any day. I'm also okay with both occurring at the same time.

We're 2-2 at the midway point of the season, and given the league breakdown it's reasonable to assume that 4-4 is going to be good enough to make the playoffs (top 4 out of 8). We play a 4-0 team loaded with 'you're in the wrong division, dude' players next week, so expectations are tempered. We play the house team again, and one would hope that we can beat them for a second time. That leaves us with games against the Mutiny and the Rhinos, games that could go either way (but, to be fair, have gone the wrong way in the past). One game at a time, one shift at a time, and try not to wince too much watching me skate after Chaz posts the video. These are my mantras.