So … yeah … not my most impressive showing at the clinic …
On the plus-side, I have a new stick. The old one was wood, no flex at all and cost $19.99. New one’s composite, has some flex which may help my shot and was $69 – which is still on the cheap side, but it’s much lighter.
Skating drill was goal to goal pretty fast five times – we were divided into two groups. Fourth time coach sent the twos off quicker and told them to catch the ones – I was a one and didn’t get caught. Fifth was the reverse – I also didn’t catch anyone. Then backwards to the far goal line.
Then we paired up for some passing drills. Two of us skate to the far end, trying to stay even with about two stick-lengths between us, passing the whole way.
First time down, I flubbed my first pass and put it behind him. Second time we did well and made all our passes except the last one – that was almost at the goal line and he wasn’t expecting me to send it back to him. I think I did okay the rest of the times we did this – we weren’t trying to skate at full speed, so that helped me a lot.
For the rest of the clinic, we did a three man breakout drill. Two goalies, coach along the boards with a pile of pucks and us in three lines at the red-line.
Coach dumps the puck in and we’re supposed to chase it – the goalie goes behind the net to stop it, but might miss, so the theory is whoever’s fastest gets behind the net, where the puck should be, and the other two head for the boards.
If the goalie’s missed the puck behind the net, we’re supposed to send it back to the player behind the net and start a breakout – down the ice to the far goal, passing, and then shoot on the far net.
Well, two things happened to me in this drill:
First, it just killed me. I wound up on the bench about ten minutes before the clinic was over. See, I’m still pretty much slower than everyone else, so where they might go half- or three-quarter-speed into the zone and down the ice, I have to go full speed just to keep up. After a few repetitions of this, I was wiped out and had to sit for a while.
Second, and this happened on, I think, my first time, I had a bit of an impact.
We enter the offensive zone and the guy with the puck passes it to me, but I miss it and it heads to the goal-line, left of the net. So I skate after it at full-speed and I’m about to the goal-line when I realize I have a problem.
I’m going full-speed, the pucks right there, the boards are in front of me, the plays to the right and I can’t stop on my left foot. So I could turn left and stop on my right foot, but that’s away from the play – I’m on the puck and I’ve got two guys crashing the net, so I should get it to them. Or I can try to stop on my left foot and get the puck into play. What did I do?
I muttered a copulative-verb and skated full-tilt into the boards, missing the puck entirely.
I bounced off the boards and landed on my hands and knees staring straight down at the stationary puck with my stick flat on the ice in my left hand.
Now, I don’t know how this looked to the other guys, but here’s what I was thinking at this point: I need to get the puck to somebody. So I reached for it with my right hand, dimly realized that would be a hand-pass, and then shuffle the shaft of my stick into it to knock it toward the net.
As I’m doing this, one of the other guys skates over and asks if I’m okay, to which I reply: “Ib tieing ‘oo ‘it ‘oo ‘uh ‘ucking ‘uck.”
I have yet to master speaking with the mouthpiece in, so translate that yourself.
Why didn’t I turn right instead of thinking about stopping, take the puck behind the net with me and pop it out in front to a teammate? Because I’m an ‘ucking ‘oron.
The rest of the drill went better for me, though.
I’d say I was about 50/50 for passes I made being on target or reasonably so. I made my share that were off target, but everyone did. On receiving passes, mostly they were too far ahead of me – which is reasonable and expected when you consider my speed. They’re passing where they think I’ll be, but they’re expecting me to be moving faster than I do.
This was actually a fun drill and I wish I’d been able to finish it, but the repetition of full-speed from center ice into the zone then pushing it all the way down wore me out. Especially when I had to push even harder when a pass was ahead of me.
Some of those I got, though, even though I had to skate hard and stretch off-balance to reach them. It was good to have to push myself that hard – now I just have to push myself into better shape.