In an effort to get a certain former teammate to stop harrassing me over AIM, I promise never to use the term "cherrypicking" or "cherrypicker" to refer to anyone or anything other than (a) my fantasy football league (which is called cherrypickers), or (b) myself. Since said former teammate seems to think the word "cherrypicker" is a slur, I will stop trying to convince him that unless the context indicates otherwise, I'm using the term synonomously with "benign opportunist" and just use the term "benign opportunist" instead.
Of course, all bets are off when I finally start my own team, probably sometime after my 40th birthday. At that point, everyone on the team will justifiably be called a Cherrypicker.
I know I'm a few games behind on my updates; I really did plan to write about the last three games, and I even had post titles and partial paragraphs in my head. I just never got them down, and now I feel like those game summaries are blocking all future ones. Luckily, Jeff is in Iraq for work for a couple weeks—well, I guess the being in Iraq part isn't very lucky, but the part where he asked me for details of last night's game is, because it made me sit down and write a summary. Here it is:
We got our first real snow of the season last night, and although the roads were pretty clear (well-salted), only 7 of us plus our backup Goalie, Brian, showed up. Mifflin called Freeland from the locker room to see where he was, and it turned out that he'd thought the game was on Tuesday. He showed up about halfway through the first period.
We got two referees to come out, but there was no scorekeeper, so we did 20-minute running periods instead of 15-minute stop time. With such a limited bench, people just yelled out their position when they came off the ice and whoever was rested enough went back out. As expected, Lisa was on the ice a LOT, trying to make up for how tired the rest of us were.
The score remained 0-0 for most of the first period, despite the fact that we were in the defensive zone for most of the time. I think because we were all tired and trying to conserve energy, we tended to play position more rather than chase the puck as usual. By the end of the first period, however, the score was 2-0 Galaxy. I believe one of the goals was a weird one that ricocheted off several pads before going in.
We didn't get very much going in the offensive zone for most of the game, though we did have several chances at good breakouts... most of which we didn't capitalize on. I felt like I was open, in motion, and with my stick on the ice several times but never got a breakout pass; instead the D would fling the puck to an empty spot in the neutral zone or Lisa would turn around and skate the puck behind the net before passing to one of the D, who passed to the other D... etc. Maybe I wasn't as open as I thought I was? Maybe I didn't look like a viable target? Maybe I'm not trustworthy as a pass receiver? I'm not sure—I should ask. I know I need to turn towards the boards instead of the slot when Mifflin passes up the boards; as a lefty who likes to face the passer, having my stick toward the slot feels more natural, but Mifflin always sends the puck behind me. Perhaps glueing my skates and legs to the boards would help, as I could stop the puck with my body if not my stick.
Anyway, Josh was a maniac on the ice and totally deserves the Molson #1 star for his speed and determination; he probably accounted for 80% of our shots, and he definitely accounted for our only goal. That one was phenomenal; Chip had just come on for Lisa when the puck floated out to the blue line, practically at his feet. He kept it in, saw Josh down low, and fired the puck at him. Josh one-timed it perfectly and sent it over the goalie's far shoulder and into the net. So beautiful.
Chip deserves star #2, IMHO, for getting over his fear of D and playing the position quite well. He went from avoiding it at all costs to volunteering to go on for the next D who came off. He also had a couple shots on goal while playing up, including a breakaway. Lisa was probably star #3 for managing to be everywhere at once.
One ugly note: Freeland, while playing D, did a great job of standing Eric Day (Galaxy Center) up along the boards when Eric carried the puck in, but Eric felt like he was being held and tried to push Freeland off. Eric ended up hitting Freeland rather hard in the face cage, and what looked like a fight ensued. Both players were sent to the box, but Freeland argued the call rather vehemently and was ejected within moments of sitting down. He continued to argue, and one of the refs said that the game would not continue until he left the ice (keep in mind that the clock was still running). Freeland eventually skated off, arguing all the way. He says that the ref who escorted him off told him to "shut the fuck up", which I didn't hear; all I heard was his response, which was, "YOU shut the fuck up, ya douchebag!" At that point he was given a game misconduct and a suspension for abuse of official, and we were back down to 7. I couldn't hear Eric from where I was on the bench, but I did hear one of the refs say to him, "keep that up, and you'll get another 2 minutes." Of course, at that point there were only 2 minutes 43 seconds left in the game, so it's not like it really mattered.
We ended up losing 5-1, with Adam (Galaxy Right Wing)
cherrypicking being benignly opportunistic right to the end. I was doing a bit of cherrypicking myself in the third period, but as I mentioned, I never got a pass, so it didn't do much good. The forechecking did, though; I managed to knock a couple guys off the puck, and I caused an intentional offsides once when Bill (Galaxy D) shot the puck on net from the neutral zone to avoid having me steal it. I'd blocked enough of his view that he apparently didn't notice that two or three of his teammates were still inside the blue line.
So, even though we lost, we actually acquitted ourselves pretty well considering our limited numbers. Chip gave a good summary in the locker room after the game: "Here's what I learned tonight: Play tired if you can -- you're more likely to conserve your energy and play position!"