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Skating, Scoring, and Scrapping

Nat and I went skating at JMC today. She still has the adjustable skates (single blade - none of that "training" nonsense) and though we eventually moved them from 9 to 10 (they go up to 12) to give her a bit more wiggle room, they worked out well.

Nat did incredibly awesome for her first time on ice in so long. Her instructions were to turn her toes out and to bend her knees. Turning her toes out allowed her to get more traction when she'd push backwards and keeping her knees bent (or, what worked better - "sticking her butt out") kept her a bit lower to the ice and also let her push off with longer strokes.

Beginners, if you've ever noticed, all tend to try to skate standing straight up. Bent knees not only help your balance, people, but they let you actually push so you can get around the rink in less than ten minutes.

That evening we had a hockey game. I'd been looking over my stats for the year and was a bit bummed because they were down, but all of my linemates' are up - some quite a bit. It's not helped by the fact that we have one line on our team that consistently takes 50% of the ice time (in a three-line setup), but in talking with Joe we realized a few things. First, refs rarely count assists in our league if they don't occur within two seconds of the goal being scored. They're like goldfish with a really short memory. As a center it's my job to distribute the puck. It's also my job to play a sound defensive game, and a lot of the times I'll be the fourth guy up the ice so I'll hang back at the point to play D, or I'll kick a puck out of the defensive zone which leads to a rush and a goal. A stat we obviously don't track is our team's +/-, and Joe and I are probably both the leaders in that category. I can only remember being on the ice for about three goals against all year.

All that said, it was nice to collect the puck around the blue line today off a Schrubb play in the neutral zone, walk in on the goalie who was deep in his net, and fire one beneath the blocker. I picked up a few assists later on (one was even credited I think) and took an elbow to the head when a guy couldn't stop in time as I was skating along the boards with the puck. I punched((Punched is too strong a word, but it's hockey, so "pushed him in the face" doesn't sound quite as cool.)) him in the face in retaliation and we both went off for 2:00.

And that line that stays out way too long? They were out the entire time I was in the box and 21 seconds afterward, too. 😛