NHL on Google Video

Sorry to all of my regular readers who aren’t hockey fans, but I just found something really cool that I wanted to share. The NHL is posting entire games on Google Video. This may be the final straw in the “I need high-speed internet at home” self-debate (I get dial-up for free). The games are sorted by team, so you can watch all of your team’s games.

Here is one of the games pitting my Pittsburgh Penguins against the hated Philadelphia Flyers:

Not a Wise Choice

Last night, I played in an adult hockey league game. Even though I am just recovering from my sinus infection, for the most part I felt pretty good during the game. However, near the end of the game I made a stupid decision and am paying for it today.

Let me paint the picture for you. I was playing right wing and the puck went toward the blue line. One of our defensemen wound up and took a slapshot. The puck was hurtling toward me but I had time to get out of the way, except I didn’t. Time seemed to slow down and I noticed the puck was not headed toward the net. At this point my 20 years of soccer playing took over and I thought it would be a good idea to try to redirect the puck. Not with my stick, though, like a normal person. Instead, I lifted my foot and placed it into the path of the puck. My hand eye coordination is still spot on, and I took the puck to the unpadded portion of my skate, right in the ankle.

At this point, time sped up and my foot now told my brain, “Ouch, you hurt me you big dummy!”. I fell to the ice and only with the help of some of my teammates skated to the bench. I wound up finishing the game, as my adrenaline pretty much took care of the pain. Today is another matter. Hopefully, it is only badly bruised. If not, it is my own dumb fault that I took a puck to my ankle. It is not an experience I would recommend anyone reading this should try.

The Line

Today I was inspired by a post at The Clarity of Night in which Jason talks about his “line”, “the place where only you can pass and everything else is left behind”. I thought about this and I think I know my “line”.

In high school I was neither one of the cool kids. I played sports, but I definitely wasn’t invited to all of the parties. Nor was I one of the outcasts, one of the people who unfortunately, everyone dumped on. I would say I was either in the middle, or in the “upper bottom” of the coolness scale, not that it mattered to me. Anyhow, because of this I didn’t have a great amount of confidence. That is, unless I was playing street hockey.

When the Elementary school in my home town was built in the late 70’s they decided it would be a good idea to include a decent sized skating rink. This skating rink was really just a parking lot with a 6 or so inch high barrier that allowed them to fill the surface with water in the winter, allowing people to ice skate. In reality, they almost never flooded the surface, due to “insurance liability”.

Anyhow, my friends and I discovered this deserted piece of pavement would make a great place for street hockey and played there whenever we could. We were able to play there for free and no one ever seemed to complain. I guess they were just happy it was getting some use. The only trouble we ever made there was when someone was dumb enough to park directly behind one of our goals, I guess they saw us playing and thought their car was immune to hard, rubber hockey ball clanging off the doors. Sorry!

Whenever we were skating on that surface I felt alive. You could probably see the confidence in my body language from a mile away. Each game we chose different teams among us, so you were never quite sure who you would be skating with. However, we always played with the urgency of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Though there were usually five to ten people with me on a particular night, I always felt like myself while playing street hockey. I felt ALIVE.

We haven’t played street hockey there for a few years. Everyone has grown up and we have started having kids. Recently they did a major remodeling of the Elementary School, which decimated the surface we used to play on. I haven’t had the heart to look at what it has become, even though I visit home often. We play Ice Hockey now, but it isn’t the same.

Some day I hope to get the group together to play a game of street hockey, at least somewhere near our old “Arena” if only to feel that feeling I had as I skated up and down the pavement, looking to score a goal one last time.

Victory and Home Brewing

Well, it turns out I’m not a jinx. The Pittsburgh Penguins soundly defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 last night. The Penguins played a pretty good game, killing 10 powerplays. The only alarming thing about the game was that the Penguins committed 10 penalties. They will need to reduce that number if they plan on winning many games.

Also last night I was able to start brewing my own beer using Mr. Beer, a home brewing kit my friend gave me as a gift for being in his wedding. The process wasn’t too difficult, just a little time consuming. It probably took me about an hour and a half to do all the steps (a lot of the steps are just waiting).  It takes a week for the beer to “brew”, then another week for the bottling process.  So in a couple weeks I should have my own beer.  I will let you know how it turns out.

The NHL is Back!

pens_300_small.jpgTonight is opening night for my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins. Though the Penguins are not supposed to make the playoffs this year, I am optimistic as they have some good young players on their team. We will see what happens. To make things more interesting, the Penguins are playing their cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. When I was in college, half of my friends were from the Pittsburgh area and half were from the Philly area. There was always much trash talked when the Penguins and Flyers met. Even today, I may send a little note to the Philly guys if the Pens can pull of the win.

As in years past, I will be watching the game with my friend Brian. Over the years we have watched Penguins games many times together and with other of our friends. It seems like every time we get together to watch a game, the Pens usually lose. That said, it is tradition to watch the first game of the season together and we must follow tradition. In years past, we used to eat Pez to counteract the bad luck (I’m not sure why). Anyhow, I take full responsibility if they lose.

Let’s go Pens!

Ice Hockey – Why I Can’t Think

I play in an adult ice hockey league every year and yesterday was my first game. There were no practices, we just started on the season full force. The last time I was on the ice was last April, which was our last game of last season. My off season training consisted of playing slow pitch softball in a church league and lifting a 15 pound baby. I used to lift weights three days a week before my daughter was born. Now I am lucky to get 60 pushups in before I go to sleep. Regardless, nothing prepares the body for the rigors of skating in a hockey game.

Therefore, my body and brain are not doing very well right now. I don’t have the energy to do much creative writing today. I have included a picture of me before and after my game so you can see how tired I am today. “Read the rest of this entry” to view the picture. Continue reading