March 20, 2013

One step forward...

Its time for a few updates in no particular order.

Pads. Pads everywhere
I've had my first set of hybrid pads for about two months now and while getting used to them along with the butterfly technique, I've started to wonder if they are tall enough. I bought these 35" (no + sizing) from an Ebay seller after using various sizing charts I found on the web. The reason I think these 35's are too short is because of the h u g e 5-hole that's opening up in the butterfly. My 35's are only just making it to my mid-thigh and nearly every other goalie I see has pads that extend to groin level.

So I've begun researching pads again- anticipating that a new, taller set is imminent. Here's about all I've learned so far;

  1. Intermediate and Senior has more to do with sizing than anything else
  2. Pads with one or no break above the knee are considered butterfly, not hybrid pads
  3. The better pads have adjustable knee blocks and calf wraps
  4. New pads are still ridiculously expensive
  5. There are only a handful of companies but they produce seemingly hundreds of models
my folks
My folks watched me play while
visiting from Canada

Another "Punisher" session
Last week I finished another session with my coach, whom I've dubbed, "The Punisher". We revisited the butterfly slide and for whatever reason, something finally clicked with me. I was executing the basic slide correctly more than 75% of the time. I need to work to keep my hips up and not slump while in the slide but this gets tougher as I get tired. I am far more comfortable pushing off the net posts into the slide than in open ice. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm keeping my skates sharp enough for the open ice push.

Two steps back
With all the work I've been putting into my return to hockey, I felt I was on a pretty steep curve of improvement. The reality is that if I'm measuring my success by GAA or wins and losses, I'm trending downward. Last night's I-League loss (5-2) matches my GA high and pushed me to 4th out 4 goalies in my league. The losses are adding up and my confidence is shaken.

I understand a couple of weeks of bad losses and mountains of goals isn't a true measure of improvement. I also know that hockey is a team sport and despite all my efforts (good and bad), I can't win or loose alone. That doesn't change the fact that for the first time since I stepped back onto the ice a couple of months ago, I have started to doubt whether I will improve to a point where I feel more like an asset than a liability to my team.

Fortunately I have some great friends who have been offering me encouragement and I hope in the coming weeks you will read about more successes than failures.

I know you can do this bud. You're working hard and learning a completely different style of goaltending. You have years (many many years :)) of muscle memory to overwrite. I believe that the work is going to pay off. You're Canadian man!! Hockey is in the blood! - T.F.
I admire you for even trying! - G.W.
I'm proud of you, babe. - A.L.E

Thanks guys!