Let's Begin Again

I've now played two games with the Admirals, and we may not be winning, but we are all learning—and BOY, AM I HAVING A GOOD TIME. The enthusiasm of my early hockey career is totally back. It's fun to be figuring out the fundamentals on the one hand, and playing all-out and feeling like I'm contributing on the other. I've yet to score any goals, but I feel like I *could*; in Saturday's game against the Moose, for example, I had a couple shots on goal and at least two passes through the crease. The speed of the game was also totally within my limits (my three-line limits, anyway—too bad we only had two :).

Some highlights from our first two games:

  • We lost to the Galaxy 8-1 on October 18, but we scored first. The Galaxy seemed slow and disorganized in the first period, and I wish we'd capitalized on that more. I also wish I hadn't chatted so much with Gavin every time I bumped into him or blocked one of his shots or passes with my instep (ouch!)—it tended to take me out of the play for too long. In general I do like playing against people I like, though. Makes the game more fun.
  • I had a nice moment along the boards where I managed to get between two Galaxy players and pop the puck out on a penalty kill. I could have put more mustard on the pass, but at least I cleared the zone (and won the battle for the puck in the first place).
  • There was one shift where I spent more time on my back than on my skates, thanks to Eric (who was doing a Dan Taborga-type move, skating half sideways, half backwards while looking in the opposite direction when he hit me) and Alan (who abruptly decided to get off the ice after deking me and making me chase the play). I didn't see Eric coming at all, so that hit hurt in a whiplash kind of way; with Alan I at least had time to yell "look out!" before I ran into him (not having any deking skills to speak of myself). Not surprisingly, the Galaxy bench erupted in cheers when I was flattened and Alan remained standing. Both Eric and Alan asked if I was OK, though.
  • Speaking of being flattened while your opponent remains standing, Watson had a great hit on Mattias as he charged into the zone in his usual manner. Watson basically just stood up and took what would have been a charge in basketball, but in no-check hockey is a penalty. I can't remember if we killed that penalty off or got scored on, but either way I'd say it was worth it.
  • I think we lost to the Moose 5-0 or 5-1, but it should have been much closer. There was a ringer on the Moose who probably always would have put them ahead by 1, but other than that we were fairly evenly matched—and they were downright slow.
  • Of course, I should talk... When I was chasing down a Defenseman who'd gone back to get a loose puck, I heard one of his teammates yelling, "ONE ON YOU, SLOW! ONE COMING ON, SLOW!" I was like, "who's he calling SLOW?" I know I *look* slow, but I proved that the yell did more harm than good when I took the puck away from the Defenseman... who thought he had all the time in the world to wait for his forwards. :)
  • And now, a reminder not to be a total DORK and think you can Do It All: There was a time when the play turned around and I didn't see any of our D nearby, so I followed the puck carrier down into the corner—much lower than I really should have been, as a forward. Diaz did the same and got between us and the net, perhaps with the idea of covering another forward or blocking any shot coming from the guy I was covering. I lost the battle for the puck when said guy stepped on my skate (how, I have no idea), and I went down like I was wearing a skate guard... taking out Diaz in the process. Duh.
  • I remember having several great moments in the corners where I managed to dig out the puck and/or steal it from an opponent; a couple times I even managed to fling it in front of the net. (I didn't think I could score from that crazy angle, but one time the puck almost did go in, probably because it hit a pad or a post.) After one particularly frenzied battle (which I won), there was a brief delay followed by a whistle. The ref pointed in my direction, so I asked the guy I'd been battling with what happened. "I just got called for slashing you," he said. Oh. I was so busy trying to get the puck out I hadn't noticed.

Some thoughts for next time:

  • I think I'm going to suggest that we go with two Centers and three sets of Wings next time we have 8 forwards. One floater is manageable, but two is insanity—especially when Lisa wants to play Center every shift anyway.
  • One of the reasons I don't get off the ice right away when I come to the bench for a line change is that I want to see (a) that someone's responding to the call of Left Wing! or Right Wing! or whatever, and (b) where the responder is on the bench, so we don't run into each other. Once I've made room for my replacement, I hop off. I should probably share this philosophy with some of my teammates, so I don't get blocked in on the bench when I'm slow to respond to the holler for a change (as I was a couple times in our game against the Moose).
  • If no one's in front of the net when I (or anyone else) digs the puck out of the corner, remember that Mifflin or Kimberg or one of the other D might be open at the point. (Thanks to Mifflin for this idea.)
  • Ideally, someone SHOULD be in front of the net when the puck is being dug out of the corner; if I'm not doing the digging, I vow to be in the slot or otherwise crashing the net.
  • Al has told me on numerous occasions, "you're not as open as you think you are." Too true. If an opponent is between you and the puck carrier, YOU ARE NOT OPEN—even if that opponent is nowhere near you. Check the passing lanes, and make sure they're not blocked!

Posted by Lori in Admirals ~ Fall/Winter 2005-2006 | October 25, 2005·05:29 PM


Love the Site!! Living in the UK there's not to many hockey blogs but check ours out!! We follow our local team home and away!! I'll certainly add your blog as a link!! Keep playing hard!!

Mark Sampson
aka Sammo86

Posted by: Sammo86 at October 27, 2005 6:21 PM

Thanks, Mark -- I'll give the Pandas blog a look! :)

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 9:31 PM