Some surprises suck. For instance, finding out that you’ve got no edge even though you sharpened your skates less than three ice hours ago. Usually I go five, even six ice hours in the summer when the ice is so soft anyway that super sharp skates are detrimental, before I get them done again. Also an unfortunate surprise: we ended up with 5 defencemen this Sunday. I hate that. Is hate too strong a word? No. It is not. 5 defencemen (D) makes everyone unhappy, especially our goalie, who helped argue for 2 centres to rotate though 3 pairs of wingers and 3 D. We did not win the argument. I was not impressed.
See, with 3D you are always ‘in the game’. You are either on the ice or waiting for a good time to swap. You’re completely exhausted by the end. It’s wonderful! 4D means two set pairs of defenders. This is also ok. Now you don’t have to worry about your partner as much since you will each stay on your own side (with 3 D I bounce between left and right as necessary since I like playing off-hand), remain in the same rhythm together the whole game, and just kinda know when they are going to pinch or peel back. 5D? Oy. Now you are getting bored on the bench and swapping sides and partners all the time. Not optimal. Our goalie hates this since she likes knowing who is going to be where and when.
In a more serious league, with actual coaches and stuff, I’d be less perturbed about the whole thing. However, this league has unique quirks that, before I usually supported. See, my ‘team’ does not exist. My ‘team’ (top of three skill levels) only has a couple of actual top level players on it (and our beloved goalie, of course!). In order to not forfeit every single game, we were given permission to borrow from the lower tiers and we cobbled a surprisingly good team together that way! This is a wonderful deal for those players. It gets complicated for them when their division and ours play back to back, but we have enough other tier players regularly helping now that it’s not a big deal; we like playing with a shorter bench anyway! But, now and then, EVERYONE shows up and I end up fuming. I’m paying the same money as everyone else on the team, but I am not allowed to go help out lower level teams when they are short. I try to help other teams at my level when they need help getting 7 on the ice, but that’s a rare thing. This makes me one of a few people on my team that only gets to play one game in this league each week. This makes me all GRR, especially when some others are whining about how tired they are. I HAVE AN IDEA. WE’VE GOT THIS. IT’S FINE. GO HOME. 3D is optimal, yes, but I am super happy with 4 over 5! </bitter>
*cough* Anyway, it was a pretty ok game. Since I knew I was going to sit every other shift, I went full out crazy every time I hit the ice. We played the first place team and they usually beat people by 6. We only lost by 4, so that was pretty huge. Goalie stood on her head and we could not buy a bounce at the other end. With my non-stop rushing I had some really good chances, but she had an excellent glove. She was apparently pretty proud of it herself since she didn’t actually use her blocker. She’d catch shots across her body instead of deflecting them with the blocker. Can’t say I’ve seen that before! And did I mention that I had no edges? I looked hi-freakin’-larious out there taking random faceplants and wobbles and wipeouts. Straight line, I was ok. Turning or stopping, however, was more complicated. I usually have a stone on the bench with me, but not then! Three moments stand out:
1.) I’m at the red line, just off the bench, heading to the offensive zone to join the play. Their D fires it down ice a little to the left of me. I turn to stop it. Well, that was what I had planned to do. Instead, one leg pushed off, the other one didn’t, and I did a quick splits at centre ice. I did not get the puck. I think the refs called it icing out of sheer pity.
2.) I’m at my blue line. Other team D is at hers. Puck is at the faceoff dot. I decide ‘screw it, I’m rushing. That’s my puck!’ and I bolt down the ice. By the time the puck crosses the icing line, I’m ahead of other team D and it’s mine. Uh-oh. What’s just after the icing line? The end boards. Somehow I found and edge or a rut or a prayer and did not go THUD against said end boards but turned and was able to pull off a top shelf wrap-around. Damn that other goalie and her glove hand. That would have been the best goal of the season by far!!
3.) Halfway through the third, I decide to go for a skate again. I’m lead player, deke my way through the neutral zone, tee up the puck and nearly blew a tire when I went to check my speed a bit to better line up the shot. I still got the shot off while falling — literally. I had neither skate on the ground when I made contact with the puck! — but it was more a wounded duck than a bullet. I was moving pretty good when I took the zone, so I slid quite a ways once I hit the ice. BOTH teams found that one equally amusing, as did everyone else in the rink, I imagine! Even though I had just gotten back on the ice, I went back to the bench, laughing my ass off to regroup a little and clean myself up. Good times.
One bad thing did happen, though. In the third period, one of the tired D got hurt while we were on the ice together and I felt like a gigantic ice-hole. Not that there was anything to be done from my side of the ice (though the ref should have called a penalty on the other team! Totally two for roughing…) but I really really wanted 4D, tops, and immediately felt guilty for thinking that. She should be totally fine for next weekend though! Might have to wear a brace, but otherwise ok. With my silent grousing (and not-so-silent post) about having too many players, just watch us have nobody next Sunday!!
I should also seriously consider re-taping my sticks before Friday’s game:
Their backsides are just as rough :)