Monday, October 21, 2013

Sliding and Getting Hit by the Puck. These are my Skills. Old Man/Hockey - Game 3

So, our games run 45 minutes. Hockey is different from football in that the clock doesn't just run - the only way time ticks off is while the puck is in play. The pros play 60 minute games, with 4 lines of forwards (12 players) and 3 pairs of defensemen (6 players), and if a guy logs 20-25 minutes of ice time during a game that's considered a lot. They also have 15 minutes between periods to rest up. Last night our shorthanded squad of scrappy heroes numbered 7 forwards and 4 defense, along with a goalie who is very good but considers himself out of shape. Plus, no Greengrassi (the plural of Greengrass). Sheq is in Mexico, the bastard, and Jeff's recovering from a dislocated shoulder. I think Sheq went just to avoid having to listen to me talk about the Sox, Welcome to Ironman Hockey. 

I loved it, of course. Much like every other sport I've played I have a minimum of talent but a motor that won't stop running, so I ate up the extra playing time. I am the cliche of 'plays with all his heart' brought to life.By my best guess I logged between 20-23 minutes, and today my shoulders are achy but my legs feel great. Disclaimer - I took naproxin pre-game. Let's see how I feel at 9pm tonight.

We dropped the puck at 10:45pm and by 10:46 we were . . . not losing. In fact they didn't punch in a lucky goal - an errant pass ticked off the goalie's slick and slithered over the line - until there was only 50 seconds left in the period. The score wasn't a misnomer, either - we spent a good chunk of time in their zone as well. I was a puck magnet in the 1st, and by that I mean I kept getting drilled. I blocked 4 shots - some intentionally, some not - including an actual slapshot off my hip. Allow me to take this moment to mention how awesome hockey pants are. I didn't even feel it.

In the 2nd they chipped in two more, both on rebounds that we didn't clear. Poor, poor Alex the goalie. We spent a good time yelling at one player who likes to sort of wander around the ice kinda doing whatever he wants during shifts that go on wayyyyy too long. Look, if you're going to take a 3+ minute shift and chip in two goals during that period, we'll all good. But if you're going to kind of doodle-oo around like some toddler chasing butterflies and keep ignoring the bench pleading with you to change as you skate at about half-speed to get back on defense, you're hurting the team.

As the 3rd period wore on we were clearly tiring, and the 4 additional skaters they had made a difference as  they punched in four more. Our goalie was so wiped out he could barely stand. And me, I was still a little insane. We were down 6-0 and one of their guys took a pass for a breakaway. I had been backchecking and was a stride behind him when he hit our blueline. Chances of me catching him were nil and while I have no aversion to taking a penalty one in this situation would have been a penalty shot, so I did the logical, perfectly sane thing and dove face first, sweeping my stick around him to knock the puck away before my momentum carried me into our net. That counts as a score, right?

I finished the night at -2. In hockey if you're on the ice for a goal scored against, you get a -1. If your team scores, you get a +1. Power plays don't count either way. In a 7-0 loss I'm a tiny bit proud of being only -2. The guy who won't come off the ice? -6, by my best count. Hope he gets the message soon. Hope we get some more guys to show up soon.

Writing: nothing. Seriously, by the time I was in bed last night it was 1:30am. 3.5 hours sleep would have been non-productive in many ways. I'll just write 1000 words tomorrow IT COULD HAPPEN.

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