So T had his first game of the new season this afternoon and we got to see whether the extra skating he’s done over the last month and a half has really improved his skills or not. It wasn’t a league game at the rink his team’s at – one thing I like about his coach is that he arranges a couple extra games each season. This one was at the Iceplex in Rockledge and, I think, they were playing that rink’s squirt/mite travel team – at least that’s what I heard.
It looked a little one-sided at the first face-off, since T’s team is pee-wee. His team’s starting lineup seemed to be twice as big as the other team and I think the weight-ratio on the centers was 3-to-1. Then the puck dropped.
Those little buggers can skate.
So T’s team lost, shut-out in fact, but T himself had an awesome game. I think he touched the puck more in this game than he did all last season and he was definitely more aggressive and his skills had improved.
He stretched. Not everyone on his team does and this is the first time he’s done it. I think it’s an indication he’s taking this thing a bit more seriously.
He didn’t wear his cup. His excuse was that he doesn’t have the underwear to hold it over at his mom’s, but he also doesn’t really like to wear it. I swear, I’m going to spend a few hours at skate and shoots just to learn how to lift the puck, then I’m going to nail the boy-child in the ‘nads just to teach him an important lesson.
Period 1 – Shift 1
In his own zone with the puck in the center about at the top of the circles, he challenged another player pretty good. He missed the puck, but he took his man off it and kept him out of the play. A teammate got the puck and cleared the zone.
Period 1 – shift 2
He wasn’t ready on the faceoff – he was just sort of standing there and not prepared to react. So when the puck came his way, he didn’t move and the other team got it.
Even in the stands I could hear his coach yelling at him to skate harder. This is a serious problem – he just doesn’t put his all into it on his shifts. I’ve noticed it, his coach has noticed it … and I’m not sure how to address it. I’m going to have a talk with his coach tomorrow and let him know that I have no issue with him sitting the boy if he doesn’t put in enough effort.
In the offensive zone the puck went around the boards. He got there on the right-wing and kept it in, which is pretty good for him. He went down on this play, but he kept his eye on the puck and waved his stick at it enough to keep the other team off and move it back to the boards. The puck finally went to the point, where his team kept it in the zone.
Period 2 – Shift 1
Again he went down (he’s falling a lot, but is skating harder, so that may be why) and again he used his stick and his body to keep the puck away from the other team. This is a big change from last season – when he fell then, he’d usually just lie there for a while.
One of his teammates took the puck up the right boards with T following behind. As they crossed the blue-line, T slowed up and let his teammate take it in for a shot. He should have kept going so he’d be available to pick up a rebound or a drop-pass – or even pushed harder and gone to the slot even with the other guy so there’d be a passing opportunity.
Period 2 – Shift 2
I noticed still that he’s not skating as hard as he can, but he is more aggressive and he’s touching the puck more.
His team took a penalty on his shift so he wound up out there for the first part of the penalty kill. He not only touched the puck in his zone, but he cleared it. This is the first time that’s he’s gotten enough on the puck to clear it – I think that’s an awesome accomplishment.
He did one thing on this shift that I see a lot of the kids in his league doing: They’ll touch the puck, do something with it and then turn away from where the puck is rather casually without really keeping track of it.
Period 3 – Shift 1
I noticed him reaching for the puck a couple times. He didn’t get it, but he stretched a lot to try. Last season, if the puck wasn’t right near him, maybe a couple feet from his feet, he wouldn’t try for it. Today he started reaching out with his stick and this is going to really increase the radius where he can have some impact on the game.
Period 3 – Shift 2
He did skate hard in this shift – at least once he really dug in to get to the puck and keep it in the zone.
Period 3 – Shift 3
In his zone, he got into it along the boards and really dug in there to get the puck. He got it out and passed it … there was no one where he passed to, but still …
So that was the game. And as I look at what I wrote about it, I can honestly say that he was involved in this one game more than he was in all the games last season – even the things he did wrong are kind of good, because at least he’s getting in there.