Can you score in 10 seconds like Johnny Gaudreau?

The Calgary Flames beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 in Overtime on the back of forward Johnny Gaudreau’s 3-point-night, including 2 goals and the assist on the winning goal. Gaudreau scored twice in the first period, both goals came within 10 seconds of each other, only 4 seconds slower than Lanny McDonald’s record of six seconds on March 22, 1984 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Ten seconds? The hell?

Gonna be honest it takes me at least four or five seconds to skate with the puck from the blue line to get into position to shoot on goal. I mean, I’ve got to get up some speed. Then there’s getting control. You know, I’m fidgeting with the puck. It’s bouncing on me. I gotta look up and see where the goalie is.

Is the goalie standing?

Is the goalie down?

Oh hell, what am I going to do?

Now do I have control?

If I do have control, are my hands right? Probably not.

Am I in the right position? Probably not. Here I go again, I’m hunched over. Bend your knees dummy. Don’t lose your balance. OK, bending my knees, gathering the puck and looking at the goalie.

OK, I’m picking a spot and I’m looking for a spot.

So where am I gonna go?

Can I hit the five hole? Or should I go for a side?

I can’t really get lift, I’m not there yet. I’m so screwed.

Am I going to shoot off the right part of the stick? Am I balanced? Last shot went off to the right. Make it count.

All this runs through my mind in a matter of milliseconds. It’s all too fast, I’m thinking about everything. Too much thinking. It’s not natural. I’m not letting it play. I’m thinking about this I’m thinking about that. I’m letting it all bother me.

Flick the wrist!

The goalie moves.

The puck flies faster than I can comprehend.

Right into the goalie.

“Nice save.”

Skate back to line and try it again. Legs ache, lungs burn and head hurts but confidence is relatively unshaken. I’m not Gaudreau, Kane or Gretzky and I never will be.

Hell I’ll be impressed if I can gather in a pass and turn and fire without losing my balance.

Or let me throw a cross ice tape to tape pass that zips without bouncing.

Maybe I can stay on my skates without falling over. Stay on them without falling backwards. Remind me to always wear my helmet when I skate, will you? That soft spot on my head now reminds me of hitting my head on the ice.  I didn’t lose consciousness but I was a bit fuzzy a few days later.  There’s always that fear of a concussion.  I don’t need that.

Then there’s the big elephant in the room. ME. Yeah, me! The big feet that struggle to be fit into skates snugly and properly. One day I feel like I’m getting my skating legs back and the next day I think “nope I’ve got disaster written all over me again.”

I’ve gotta work on that.  Is that a confidence thing too?  Do I have to skate so much to the point I believe in myself?  I always thought it was a muscle thing.  Inline skating for so many years I could feel that feeling, but I think there’s some truth to the belief.

I have to believe that I can stop myself on the ice.  I have to believe that I can quick turn on the ice.  I can half turn without falling now.  I did that once after falling the first three times.  But that’s a win.  I have to believe I can stay balanced.

Take another pass. Crap I’m sloppy. Collect it, look up.

The goalie is standing. The five hole.  I gotta make this one count.  Look up. Look up, don’t look at the puck, feel it on the stick, there it is on the toe…that’s it…yeah it feel it on the toe..can I snap that off?

Have you ever heard the sound of the post?  Glove side just above the blocker but it hit the post.

But then again I have to get my ass back in shape.  I can only go so much before my legs give out.  Unfortunately I’ve let my cardio go and hockey will make you pay.  Watch it on television and you don’t realize it but hockey is tough on the body.  The added weight of equipment and the friction of the skates on the ice. Plus I’m trying to make myself move in a coordinated way which is a huge challenge.  I feel like a puppet on strings that someone is pulling me different ways I can’t keep up with.  I don’t feel natural.  I don’t know when I will feel natural.

I feel natural inline skating.  I haven’t felt natural on ice yet.  It’s too slick, my feet feel like they will give out.  There’s still a small fear of falling.  That has to stop.  Johnny Gaudreau scored one of his goals after one of the Preds fell last night and took out another player.  Guys fall all the time.  It’s ice right?  You are going to fall.  Just because you fall doesn’t mean you are bad, right?  I guess as long as you are doing your best, that’s what I tell my daughter.

My skating is funny.  I should get a video of me for the blog.  It should be video day.  Laugh at the funny hockey guy!  Although it may be good to see what I’m doing wrong.  There’s some good people out there.  They give great tips.  Shoulders up.  Stop leaning over the puck.  Bend your knees.  Yes yes!  I know!  I am trying.  It’s not natural.  I am trying.  Keep skating.  Yeah I’m trying.  I feel like I’m in quicksand half the time and Johnny Gaudreau and everyone else are passing me by like I’m standing still.  Am I?  Am I getting better?


Last try before I lose it.  Collect the puck.  Bend your knees dummy!  Here we go.  Don’t hunch over!  There’s the goalie standing again.  This time I’m going to hit that five hole! Feel the puck on the stick.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.  Slide to the toe.  I feel that.

Quick before the goalie senses.

Not pretty but there it went.  Wow.  A little confidence.  Maybe I can do this.  Is it time? It took Johnny ten seconds to score his second, trust me, I’m in for a long skate.


You Want Me To Eat What!?

Some of you may know this about hockey and the National Hockey League in particular, but the teams and the fans are quite peculiar.  I myself am one of those people if you hadn’t guessed: a multiple time Hockey Hall of Fame visitor, I watch many games during the season , I love the post-season, I play the video games and I root heavily for my teams (even my minor league team, Hi Tux!).

But one of the cool perks about being a hockey fan is that you get to be a part of some really cool traditions that have stood for many years.  There’s the national anthem before the game where people walk out on those cheesy mats and sing while the scoreboard displays an 8 bit American flag.  Or maybe even similar to Slap Shot where you hear some guy in a hair piece banging away at an organ up in the rafters (although these days computers are replacing those).  You could grab a seat down by the ice and watch the zamboni come through in between periods and the have a former Stanley Cup winner give you the evil eye through the glass because you are cheering for the other team. I mean there’s what six inches of plastic glass in between them and me and he’s sneering at me before a face off?  Meanwhile the puck gets dropped, won and fired back around the boards and all you hear is this sizzle as it goes by you.  What the hell?  Seriously?  Some guys don’t want to wear visors?  Aww hell naw.  That’s my face.

Beyond all the nasty guys and busted lips there’s the stuff that happens in certain places when the home team scores or wins.  There’s always the famous hat-trick celebration too you know?  Nothing like throwing your lid on the ice, woo hoo I have to go buy another!

Maybe you’ve seen that giant octopus in Detroit and wonder just what in the hell that means?  Where did that come from?  Ironically it’s 63 years ago, in 1952, the brothers Cusinano, Pete and Jerry brought an octopus because during that time it was two best of 7 series to win to take home the Stanley Cup (8wins-8tentacles).  Wouldn’t you know it they won?  Since then they’ve opened Joe Louis Arena and seen many different occasions where people have bombarded the ice with this aquatic delight.

Because there are some people who can’t escape fighting with a rival about every detail, the Nashville Predators decided that they would start their own fishy marine tradition.  Instead of octopus they toss catfish because you know it’s much more plentiful in Tennessee than octopus.  Whether it’s truly something that I’d want to sneak into an arena under my clothing is a different story. I’m not looking to smell like catfish all night but thanks.

In 1996 the Florida Panthers came into their third year with veteran Scott Melanby as captain making a mark on history by taking out a rat before the start of the first home game with his twig.  He went on to score two goals and the team won 4-3.  Afterward goalie John Vanbiesbrouck said that even though he missed a hat trick he scored a “rat trick.”  From there a tradition was born, seeing as it was also the Chinese year of the rat, it felt like this all was written in the stars.  After every Panthers goal plastic rats went flying all over.  There were rats all over and somehow all this rat business propelled the team I their third year (I know I said it already but it’s the third year!) to the Stanley Cup finals.  The Panthers were denied a larger shot at destiny by the dream killer himself, Patrick Roy, and the Colorado Avalanche who hoisted the Cup for themselves.  So much for the year of the rat, although he did always have weird teeth (but damn was he the best goalie).

Then there’s this gem from the Toronto police in January of 2015:

update: 3 fans threw jerseys @MapleLeafs game @AirCanadaCentre during play. Discretion used after investigations… ^vk