Monthly Archives: June 2012

Empty Ice (Again!)

There is something kinda special about sharing an entire sheet of ice with only your significant other for an entire hour. Especially when the cost is $20 instead of hundreds of dollars. It was another stick time all to ourselves this morning.

We made a plan for the skate last night, wrote it down this morning and then left it sitting on the table when we left for the rink. But because we had discussed it twice, we remembered to spend some time working on almost everything on the list. Except the snake drill. We didn’t do the snake drill, which is strange because that’s one that I have come to enjoy.

We did spend time working on our stops, both right and left foot leading. The left foot leading stop is there, the right foot is there without speed and with premeditation. If I don’t think about leading with the right foot and then prepare for it with a short mental pep talk, I default to the left.

Which is fine for the moment. Technically you don’t want to lose sight of the puck or the play when stopping but hey, I’m still a tripod. Even if I do see the puck, I’m likely to miss it anyway.

Next up was transitions. I went down on the first one I tried. Used the excuse that I didn’t sleep well last night (I didn’t, but it was still an excuse) and worked on stopping with the puck (some to the right even) while he went forwards and backwards and forwards and backwards.

Took all four of our pucks down to the other end and did full ice 2 on 0’s. Some were better than others. Tried to skate even with and pass just ahead of him, which worked well. We did some backhand runs as well. If I don’t have the puck as I’m coming to the net, I’ve been trying to stop just outside the crease with my blade on the ice, ready to deflect. As a wannabe defenseman, it’s tough to think about angling the blade to knock the puck in instead of out!

Another huge positive to having the whole ice to ourselves is being able to skate the whole rink and go really fast – no moving pylons to slow down for. I’m coming to love the feeling of gaining speed through crossover lane changes all the way down the ice and then quickly dumping that speed in a hard (left foot) stop. As Richard Bach wrote in Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “perfect speed is being there”. I need to remember to use crossovers in the scrimmages – they will get me there much faster.

While he went off to work on transitions and skating some more, I spent some time bashing pucks towards the net from the point. Or the edge of the faceoff circle. More like the edge of the faceoff circle. My form truly sucks and I can’t elevate the puck at all, but I can get the puck in the general vicinity of the net with what I’m going to call a slap shot.

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Like I said, my form truly sucks! (pic from last week)

The sticktime runs from 6:30 to 8:30, but we are always off the ice by 7:30 so Keith can make it to work close to on time. Today there was someone getting dressed as we came into the locker room. This makes one other skater that we’ve seen in about 6 sticktimes. It’s getting too busy! 😉

The guy who takes our money (I need to get his name next week) told us about their adult learn to play class. It’s a drop in thing, Tuesday evenings. We’re tempted. We’d like to get another skate in every week, and we think it is good to learn from a number of different people – this instructor may drop gems that Jeff and Brian don’t know or he may be able to explain to me how to lift the damn puck when I’m shooting.

According to a paper on the locker room door, there is also an adult hockey camp next weekend – 2 pm to 8 pm, including 3 hours of ice time and a chalk talk. Also very tempting, but $75 each, while not excessive for the amount of time and coaching, would stretch the budget a bit further than we can stretch it right now.

Off now to “fold” the hockey laundry and contemplate how I got this new bruise on my elbow…

Too Pooped to Practice

It was a long weekend of hanging out with some old and new friends at the dropzone. I didn’t go big on the partying; we were home before 11 pm every night. But still didn’t sleep well Friday or Saturday night, which left me debating going to class by late afternoon on Sunday. Decision made when I was almost falling asleep on the couch at 5 pm – I was too tired to skate and even massive amounts of caffeine weren’t going to make it happen. I spent the rest of the evening planted firmly on the couch while Keith went off to skate.

He said it was a pretty good class. They did a lot of skating, and with only 18 people there the shifts were long in the scrimmage. Introduced climbing over the boards and changing on the fly – of course. That’s one thing I didn’t want to miss. Oh well, I was so tired I’d probably have smacked my head on the boards on the way over.

While hanging out and chatting over beers, he learned that several people from the class are hitting the Thursday morning sticktime at Skatetown. Now we are torn… we love the empty ice at Vacaville, but these are the people who are likely going to be the core of the team that comes out of the class. We haven’t decided if we are for sure going to be a part of that team, but we want to keep our options open – and it would be good to be able to run some drills with other people at sticktimes. Ideally, we could hit an early morning sticktime at Vacaville on Tuesdays to focus on skating and then join the others at Skatetown on Thursday to work on team play…

Was all excited about getting to play some 3 on 3 with Pandora this coming Saturday, but not enough people responded in time so it’s been cancelled. The joys of summertime scheduling, I guess; most everyone has things going on this time of year.

I’m still very excited about getting the chance to play with Pandora at a women’s tournament in Vacaville the first weekend of August. Pandora will be sending two teams, a silver and a bronze. Assuming I’m good enough to even be on a team, this will be not only my first tournament… the first game of the tournament will be the first time I’ve played 5 on 5 in an actual game. Nothing like putting some extra pressure on myself!

Even better, we leave on our delayed honeymoon a few days after the practice and we won’t return until a day or two before the tournament. I won’t be worn out after 10 days of backpacking. Really I won’t.

Silly Stick Time

We’ve missed our Thursday morning stick times the past two weeks. Even though I promptly curled back up under the covers after turning the 5 am alarm off, I wasn’t going to miss it this week.

As I got in the truck, I saw our “Sharks territory” sign. They sent a bunch out to people they can take pictures of them while on vacation. We got a few on our trip up to Seattle last weekend.

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I’d forgotten to take the sign out of the truck. So it was back into the house to find the camera – if there are only the two of us on the ice, why not be a bit (okay, a lot) silly?

 

I remembered to put the camera in my gear bag, but I forgot the sign. by the time Keith mentioned it, we were already half dressed. I considered walking out to the truck wearing half my hockey gear but for some reason decided against it.

 

The ice was, once again, all ours. Not quite as perfect as some mornings; there were a few ruts here and there but they weren’t deep. We managed to ignore the camera for the majority of the hour. Did some transitions and I fell and smacked my head on the one I tried with speed. Doh! Then I fell and smacked my head again while doing crossovers. Double doh!

 

After that, I decided to just skate and not challenge myself. By the end of the hour, crossovers/lane changes were smooth on both sides, and right foot stops were beginning to feel “right” again. No huge leaps of improvement, but a good skate overall.

 

We couldn’t ignore the camera completely. All that ice and just the two of us… even without the Sharks sign, we managed to get more than a bit silly. 😀

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The dropzone is having it’s annual party – the American Boogie – this weekend.  Four days of skydiving, four nights of partying.  I won’t be jumping but I will be heading out to visit (and drink) with friends. Good times!

Catching Edges

It was a long weekend. Had to make a trip up near Seattle to pick up a new toy. We drove 1300 miles in three days, and still made it home in time to rest a bit before hockey class last night. 

We’d managed to avoid the hottest day of the weekend by being out of town (it was well over 102 degrees throughout the area on Saturday), but it was still plenty hot Sunday. The ice was about what we expected after that much heat… it pretty much sucked. Ruts everywhere and soft enough that the pucks were sticking to it  

Caught my first edge on the snake drill and down I went. Crossovers are easy on the awesome ice at 6:00 in the morning at Vacaville. Not so much at 7:30 pm after a full day of usage at Skatetown. 

I was happy with my right foot stops for once – even with a bit of speed. And my transtions weren’t bad either, even once front to back with some speed. Have had mental blocks for both of those for months now so it felt really good to do them. 

Jeff had us working on the slick move involving almost stopping then skating backwards. I’ve been doing this fairly well leading with my right foot, but have been having issues leading with the left. He made us work on both and I managed one or two decent transitions leading with the left. And then as I was doing one with the right, I caught an edge in a rut and down I went, legs flailing in opposite directions as I hoped they didn’t cross themselves up underneath me. 

At this point I was beginning to wonder if I wasn’t too tired to be out there. But I soldiered on to the next drill – short passes all the way down the ice, ending with a shot on goal. First couple went okay, even with the sticky ice. Third time I went down hard on my left hip and I was reminded that my pants don’t really provide a whole lot of protection in that area.

Managed another run, in which the puck got stuck and I left it behind. The hip was not happy, so I skated over to the bench to get a drink and sit for a few minutes. I knew nothing was broken but sitting on that cheek wasn’t the hot tip. After five minutes or so, I decided to give up for the evening and went to get out of my gear.

After taking my stuff to the car, I got back in time to watch one of Keith’s shifts in the scrimmage. He was playing defense instead of his usual offense, and he did good. A couple nice plays and I could tell he was thinking about positioning.

We hung out for a beer after he was done, watching Blue Thunder play on rink 1 (which is conviently located on the other side of some windows by the snack bar) and chatting with some of the people from the class. Despite the owie, it was still a good evening of hockey.

As I type this, it’s two days later and the hip is much better. Haven’t even had to take any vitamin I (ibuprofen).

Catching Up (Hi Jack!)

 

Fifty percent of my readership has been giving me shit about not updating this blog. My apologies to both of them for the long delay.

Life has been loads of fun since I last posted. April was a good month, despite the stupid Sharks and their less than hoped for performance in the playoffs. They even had the audacity to lose their last game on the evening of April 21st.

Which just happened to be mere hours after Keith and I took the big plunge. We jumped from an airplane with two good friends, finished the skydive with a few words on the ground in front of our families and we were married. 😀

Mr and Mrs 😀

 

The Pandora 3 on 3 league was SO MUCH FUN!! In the course of three evenings, I learned an amazing amount. By the last night, I could almost think and skate at the same time. Very basic skating and very limited thinking, but still. Progress!

And I loved playing with other women – they didn’t make it easy on me but they weren’t excessively aggressive like some of the guys in the class can be. The challenge of trying to defend against someone who is magnitudes better at the game than I am was awesome.

Unfortunately we have other plans for two of the five nights planned for summer, but I hope to be able to play one or two of them.

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Class has been going well. We’ve progressed to doing far more hockey drills than skating drills; last night was pretty much all break out drills after our warmup drills. It’s interesting to watch the improvement in everybody’s skills, both skating and playing, over the past couple months. It is most visible in the scrimmages; there is much less “bunchy puck” and more position play. People are starting to go to where they need to be to make a play instead of going to the puck, and fewer defensemen are randomly becoming forwards..

I’ve decided to stick with defense, which works well since most of the boys want to be forwards. Got three shifts each in the last two scrimmages and was very happy with my overall play. Some nice keep ins in the offensive zone and a few nice plays in the defensive zone. And I’m thinking more about the game than I am about my skating while I’m out there – which is a long way from where I started!

We are down to one sticktime a week right now instead of the two that we’d like to do. The Thursday 6:15 am sticktime at Roseville has been our favorite; we like the morning workout, the ice is nice and it usually isn’t crowded. But then we discovered that Vacaville has one at 6:30 on Thursdays.

Vacaville is 15 minutes closer to the house, which means he can skate for an hour and still make it to work on time. So we checked it out two weeks ago.

We were the only people on the ice. Beautiful, fast, hard, dry, smooth ice. And it was all ours. Same thing happened last Thursday. Heaven!

My skating has improved quite a bit. Crossovers in both directions are now pretty much owned; lately I’ve been working on using them to “change lanes”, which is easier without a puck than with one but will be a handy tool to have in my toolbox. Left foot stops are done with speed, right foot stops… yeah, they’ll come back eventually. That cool move from forward to backward changing direction is coming along nicely.

 Next up – backwards crossovers!