Monday, March 28, 2011

Notes from the beer leagues

As I've written before, this blog isn't the place for me to delve too deeply into issues concerning my team -- in particular the play of individuals. So I like to write around it and speak generally.

So, generally speaking, a few random thoughts about my team's 4 to 3 loss yesterday in our league semifinals (note: there are only four teams in the league, so everyone qualifies for the playoffs):

•Our opponents had some fast, younger guys with a good first step -- and they deployed them well. It felt like whoever had the puck for our team was often surrounded by a triangle of opponents and that they had even less time than usual to make a good decision.

•It still feels to me that the best way to mitigate for a speedier opponent is to know good positioning inside and out. If there are two or three guys covering whoever has the puck, that leaves two or three opponents covering our other four guys. On the really good teams, players know where everyone should be on the ice so they can pass the puck when they get in trouble or cornered or whatnot. Half my team is fairly new to the game and positioning hasn't become second nature -- like it needs to be.

•The sweetest play of the game for my team was when one of our third-line wingers picked up the puck in the neutral zone, got in trouble and then dumped it into the other team's zone. In a footrace, he out-hustled an opponent to the boards, got the puck back, and wrapped around the post and was able to just nudge the puck in for a goal. It wasn't the prettiest of plays and the other team's goalie came within an inch of stopping it -- but in this case hustle was rewarded.

•As for me, I've been tempted to write another edition of "hockey crimes and misdemeanors," and I probably soon will. But I really don't know what to say; I feel like my individual mistakes have become one big mistake. While I feel like a few of my hockey skills have improved in recent months, you wouldn't know it from this past three-month season. Outside of a few good shifts here and there, I basically did nothing and was a non-factor. At game speed, what limited skills I have are falling apart.

I'm not really sure what to do about it. Well, I know a few things I'd like to do about it -- like grab my stick and bash the crap out of this laptop/a wall/anything that might break. Joking aside, it feels like it's time to reevaluate how to learn to play the game.


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