What is it that people have against three centers and two sets of wings? Apparently the Galaxy's SOP when there's an extra forward is to have that forward float through one line a period—not one position a period, as the Spitfires did in Vancouver, but one line. This means playing a new position every shift. And of course, either because I'm new or because they think I'm the weakest player, I was asked to be the floater, to start on the second line, and to sit first. I was against the floater scheme, not because I thought it would decrease my ice time, as Fred assumed, but because I think it's confusing. I wasn't able to convince Mattias to go with three centers, however. "If Bill shows up it's a whole different story, because then we can have two centers and three sets of wings," he said, "but if he doesn't, we're going with the floater." Why two centers and three sets of wings is OK, but three centers and two sets of wings is not, I do not understand; if anyone knows, feel free to explain in the comments.

In any case, I got together with the rest of the guys on the second line (Doug at LW, Eric at Center, and Matt at RW) and devised a plan for rotating from left to right. I totally missed the fact that I was supposed to change to the first line in the second period and then back to the second line in the third (I ended up doing second line, second line, first line, though in middle of the third period Matt got tired at RW, and I ended up back on the second line again). The system worked better than I thought it would, and one of the evils I'd anticipated—that I'd be playing with different people every time—turned out to be one of the biggest positives. It gave me a chance to see how well I worked with different guys and at different positions. And, weirdly, I think we weren't getting in each other's way as much in this game as we were in the last game (though Eric and I did actually run into each other at one point).

I had thought I would have trouble remembering which position I was playing each time, but possibly because I was so worried about this I had even less trouble staying in position than usual. It also probably helped that the team we were playing was a better match for us than the Ice Raiders were (although they did have one University of Wisconsin player who manhandled just about every guy on our team—much to our guys' dismay, since the UW player was a woman :). The more even level meant that there was more time for team play, and believe it or not, there actually *was* some team play. I got a pass on my first shift on the ice, in fact, and at the ref's suggestion, there was even some talk about trying out a triangle (Eric in particular was very excited to try it, once I outlined how it worked). We never quite got a real triangle going, but we came close enough a few times; I got two shots on goal from the slot (one my own rebound) off a pass from Eric from behind the net, and Mattias and someone else (can't remember who) actually scored a goal with the same setup.

Although I didn't score any goals, I felt like I skated hard and fast, passed fairly well, and played each position convincingly enough; consequently, I had a great time. I was even specifically called to come out on the ice during a penalty kill, to my complete surprise—I involuntarily did that "you talking to me?" look over my shoulder when I heard my name being shouted from the faceoff circle—and learned later that it was because Matt thought "we should have some more speed on the ice." It was almost flattering. (I say almost because it felt like more of a slight to Doug, whose turn it was to go out, than a compliment to me.) That I fell down while trying to clear the puck during that penalty kill didn't matter much, as I still managed to tie up a couple sticks in the process and leave the puck for one of my teammates to clear.

I enjoyed playing with Lee more this week (the few times we were on the ice at the same time, anyway); he seemed more comfortable at Left Wing, and I had more to do at either Center or RW. Playing with Doug and Eric worked pretty well, too; we were very scrappy down low, and we managed to keep the puck in the offensive zone for quite a while. This week was so different for me puckwise; whereas last week I could count the number of times I touched the puck on one finger, this week I touched it on almost every shift. I loved having an opportunity to pass and shoot and skate. I wish I'd been a little more aggressive with the forechecking, especially against the UW player, but I felt like my backchecking was fairly decent. (I had the sense that I was skating hard when I was on the ice, but I was sure when I got out of the car at home and felt the soreness in my hip muscles.) I remember one play where I had the third man in all the way—I kept my shoulder in his chest, and consequently kept him from getting around me. Though I was sad that the Admirals scored on us anyway, at least it wasn't the guy I was covering who did the shooting.

I noticed that there were a couple breakdowns in team play while I was on the ice toward the end of the game—lots of whacking at the puck with no sense of where we wanted it to go, no looking for passes, etc.—but I was pleasantly surprised by how organized we were most of the time. Not quite as organized as my old Gang Green squad, but close.

On the downside, I was a little appalled by all the snarky comments about the UW player and the female goalie (including a "five hole" remark that seemed in especially poor taste); saying "she's kinda cute" *sounds* like a compliment, but it's not. What the woman behind the face cage looks like is hardly the point when her slap shot is harder than yours, she can take you down with a flick of her hip, and she can skate around you like you're standing still. It's a way of objectifying her, of saying, "she's just a girl, just something to look at." And it's ironic that the same guys who'll remark on her looks will, in the next breath, question whether she's a girl at all. I've got news for you: It doesn't take a Y chromosome to outskate you guys. Interestingly, my teammates don't seem to feel any need to objectify me (at least to my face); I'm assuming that this is because my hockey skills pose no threat to their egos. (I do get teased on the bench—for example, when I was the one player not involved in shouting-and-pushing match in front of the net, I was accused of starting it—but it's kinda sweet rather than offensive. :)

After getting a chance to see me at every position (and in combination with almost every other player), I'm curious to see where Mattias puts me next week. I assume I'll be on the last line, regardless of position... but you never know. If I can get called out on the ice for a penalty kill, anything can happen.

Posted by Lori in Galaxy ~ Summer 2005 | June 24, 2005·11:59 PM


No one's called you a F***ing B**ch yet? I got that in my co-ed game on Saturday. I admit to screaming an invective his way, but that was after he two handed slashed me - across my gloves. Ah, the joys of "rec league" hockey.

Just as an introduction: I've been following your blog for a while, I love reading your game write-ups. And Austen? Is way cute.

Good luck in your next game!

Posted by: AA Icer at June 27, 2005 3:21 PM

I think the only way to go when you have an extra player is three centers.

The centers should get tired quicker than everyone else due to the 2 way nature of their position. It sounds to me like someone, probably the captain and a buddy, are not willing to roll three centers as it will eat into their ice time.

The resentment of women's players is odd to me, but maybe it is because I was not a jock growing up. I also find the macho puching and shoving pretty silly.

Have Fun..

Posted by: Clark at June 27, 2005 4:31 PM

AA Icer: I've definitely been called a f&&&ing bitch (sometimes because I was mistaken for my teammate on Gang Green, Inga, who's a better player and who wastes no time telling -- and showing -- opponents how pathetic they are ;). I'm pretty sure it's the women who are threats who take the most abuse; too bad your opponents can't find a way to throw a compliment your way rather than a slash and a slur. :(

Clark: I totally agree about the two-way nature of the Center position, and it's the #1 reason every league team I've ever played on went with three centers whenever possible. The captain of this team, interestingly, is a Defenseman (as is the assistant captain); I'm not sure how they got attached to the floater idea, but Al tells me that it definitely was SOP during the Fall/Winter season.

And btw, you sound like the kind of player I'd want to be on the ice with!

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2005 4:52 PM

Why two centers and three sets of wings is OK, but three centers and two sets of wings is not, I do not understand; if anyone knows, feel free to explain in the comments.

You have a good point here, but maybe the real question is probably "Why would we choose to have use floaters rather than having 3 centers and 2 pairs of wingers?" THAT is a question I can answer (since I get mentioned as an almost-antagonist in this story)...

When I started my own hockey career, we almost always had 8 forwards, and we often went with 2 centers, 3 sets of wingers. I loved this (as a center), but the forwards gradually started rebelling against it.

Apparently, they preferred a situation where linemates stayed together and learned to play together as much as possible, and they were willing to suffer the line confusion in order to achieve this. This tendency seems stronger among the more talented scoring forwards -- which explains why I don't buy into it personally.

But there it is -- right from the guy who thought you just wanted more ice time.


Posted by: Fred at August 2, 2005 9:22 AM

Thanks for clarifying why the team uses floaters, Fred. However, my question *really was* "why are two centers and three sets of wings OK, but three centers and two sets of wings not?"

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2005 9:35 AM