All The Posts I Haven't Written

I have composed SO MANY hockey blog entries in my head over the past few months, and I've written exactly 0 of them. What the heck is my problem? I honestly had *tons* of observations to make about my skills (which seem to be declining rather than improving), my attitude, the attitudes of my teammates (and how those were affecting my play and my enthusiasm for the game), and the differences between playing here in Philadelphia vs. playing in Northern California.

Here are a few brief summaries of things I'd planned to write about:

The Joy is Back!
Sadly, it only lasted for one game, but on Feb. 4, I came home EXCITED and gabbling about everything that had happened on the ice that night. I felt like I'd really made a difference in the game—even if no one else noticed, *I* knew I'd contributed—and I couldn't wait to tell Al about it. I remember literally jumping up and down as I related the following accomplishments (which I happened to write down):

  • preventing a slapshot and then clearing the puck
    I'd gotten beat on the backcheck, but I'd realized I still had time to disrupt the play when my guy foolishly stopped and wound up for a slapshot.
  • tying up opponent on faceoff -> Kimberg goal
    When we're in the offensive zone, my policy is to get the puck to the D if it comes to me, and to tie up my opponent so the D has a clear shot if the puck goes straight to one of them. The latter happened in this case, and because I effectively tied up my guy, Kimberg got a shot off—and scored.
  • forechecking/backchecking
    I was a maniac on the ice when it came to attempting to disrupt my opponents. I swear I get more of a thrill from disruption than from shooting or scoring.
  • almost tip-in from Mifflin
    This was pretty cool: I'd set up in front of the net, as usual, when Mifflin let a slapshot fly from the point. For the first time ever, I *saw the shot the whole way in* and managed to get my stick on it. The shot went a little wide, but it was totally an advanced move for me.
  • causing offsides even when I couldn't get control of the puck
    Another benefit of agressive backchecking. Just by being there and not giving my opponents a clear lane, I caused them to go offsides. Yay!
  • Flip accusing me of being on his side all the time
    This one kinda cracked me up, because DeFillipo was the one on *my* side. He just figured that since we were next to each other, I must have it wrong. :)

An Overdose of Exasperation
This post was going to be about how one of my linemates (who isn't particularly talented either) kept getting *extremely* exasperated every time I flubbed a play or didn't do what he wanted me to do, even if what I *did* do was perfectly reasonable. It was so wearing on my psyche that I eventually just stopped doing anything. I would literally stand still while the puck went by me, sometimes even with a flourish of the hand. Of course my passive-agressive point was lost on him; he just assumed I *couldn't* do anything, not that I just wouldn't. He also seemed completely unaware of [a] his own ineptitude, and [b] how much his annoyance was ruining the game for me. [I finally called him on it during the last game of the season—in a rather dramatic fashion—but I'm still not sure he understood why I was so freakin' mad.]

Collision -> Concussion
In a game against the Shock, I had just executed a nice breakout pass and was turning up ice to follow my teammates when I saw an opponent barrelling toward me along the boards. EVERYONE else (except our goalie) was now skating in the opposite direction this guy was, so all of my teammates and the two referees had their backs to us when this speeding hulk of an idiot crashed into me. He knocked me sideways, into the boards, and then kept coming—could he really not stop???—hitting me again in the chest as I fell. (He must have brought his arms up or something.)

In any case, the back of my head hit the boards on the way down. I didn't hit the actual ice very hard, probably because I was still somewhat entangled with the big goon, and I sat up immediately. I had an instant headache, and I couldn't see straight. The goon said, "Are you OK?", and I replied with an emphatic "NO." When I still couldn't see straight after a couple seconds, panic took over and I started to cry. My head hurt SO MUCH, and something was obviously wrong. Finally the refs realized I was down and blew the whistle, and everyone came back to see why I was sitting on the ice.

Everyone had a theory about what had happened, but since none of them had seen the collision or my head hit the boards, only I and the goon knew for sure what had gone down. What *was* clear was that I had a minor concussion. I ended up sitting out the rest of the first period and all of the second, but I skated the third because—and I know this sounds completely illogical—the nausea was so bad that I needed some cool air in my face to keep from barfing. I obviously didn't go full-steam out there, but the cool breeze *was* soothing.

The next morning I woke up with only a slight headache and some stiffness, but otherwise I was OK.

Fight Night
My parents were in town for this game, so they, Austen, and Al all came, and Al videotaped some of the game. I still haven't watched the tape, actually, and I'm not sure I really want to. We were playing the Galaxy, and not one but two fights broke out. Lisa, for some reason, took offense to the usually-inoffensive Gavin, and she ended up jumping on his chest and swinging freely at his (caged) face. WTF? She got ejected, of course, and then a couple plays later, Watson attacked the often-offensive Derek for something I didn't see. Watson then got ejected, and I think we were down to 7 or 8 skaters. Stupid.

Together Again
Al and I splurged on a sitter (Hannah came for about 6 hours) and participated in an open hockey session at the Igloo in Mt. Laurel a few Saturdays ago. It was SO GREAT, not just because we got to play together, but also because we ended up talking about hockey for the rest of the weekend. We each made observations about our own play and each other's, and we made a few connections we hadn't made before. For example, I noticed that Al was always a little ahead of the person with the puck and going full-speed when looking for a pass. He said he'd been working on kicking it as soon as a pass was in progress—either from himself to a teammate, or between two other teammates.

I realized that this was the reason for the problem I have with everyone always passing behind me: We'd always known that it happened because I kick it, and the passer passes to where I *was*, not to where I'm going. What I didn't realize until I saw Al's moves and discussed the pickup with him afterwards was that I wasn't kicking it until after the passer looked up and saw me, whereas Al kicked it as soon as the puck got to the now-passer. We talked about it for a while, and I also realized *why* I don't kick it until the passer sees me: It's because I'm not used to being passed to. I've been hung out to dry at the blueline so many times that I don't really start skating until [a] the passer decides *not* to pass and takes off up-ice; or [b] I see the passer's clear intention to pass to me. Why bother skating full speed if I just going to have to come to a screeching halt at the blueline anyway?

I realized that Al wasn't the only one kicking it immediately; it's what I see the pros do, other players at pickups do... in short, men do. I think playing with guys who don't pass could have fucked up my timing a little, and that it's time to take charge of the situation. I should be kicking it right away, and making it obvious that I'm OPEN and READY and ALREADY AT SPEED. If the goobers *still* don't pass to me, at some point hopefully it'll become obvious to everyone else as well, and I won't be the only one complaining.

Posted by Lori in Admirals ~ Fall/Winter 2005-2006 | May 25, 2006·10:35 AM


"Why bother skating full speed if I just going to have to come to a screeching halt at the blueline anyway?"

I find that this is a common way to think when things aren't gelling between players - either because puck hawgs, differences in skill levels, or unfamiliarity in playing styles.

My suggestion?

Go for it. "Kick it" as you say - right away and be vocal. Scream for the pass and don't stop. GO OFFSIDE! Do it until they realize that it's THEIR fault for the offside because they didn't hit the open person.

Posted by: Glen at May 26, 2006 1:38 PM

Yes, I'm with you on the the kick it right away and be vocal (I'm also considering getting some bright orange tape for my stick blade, so a couple teammates who shall remain nameless can SEE ME), but as for the offsides? I can feel the exasperation washing my way already! ;)

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 26, 2006 3:33 PM