Monday, January 23, 2012
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Its the Economy Stupid
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Taking only the "right" calls
Monday, November 26, 2007
To my non-existent readers...
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Advice to the goalies
You can tell mostly from the effort level of the players during the warmup - do they slack off or do they charge hard. Slackers, even tremendously skilled slackers, rarely win against an opponent who is prepared to skate their ba**s off (um, is there a gender neutral equivalent?). And it usually also shows up on the score sheet in the form of penalties, slackers get more box time because instead of working hard they hook, hold and interfere to make up for the lack of hustle.
So why is this relevant? Because I find myself usually whispering to a goalie 'way to stay in the game' after a particularly bad 2-on-1 or breakaway induced goal - so long as the goaltender doesnt quit (ie: lay down on the ice and pout) the game may not turn into a sh*t fest. When the goalie quits I know I'm going to be doing a lot of talking to the scorekeeper.
Its like magic, a bunch of dimwits that stood around all period barely breathing hard and letting the netminder get peppered like a steak, suddenly discover they can use those jointed appendages below the waist to motivate them across the ice, and into the face of the stupidest opponent in order to cause an altercation. Where all that energy was being stored during the first two periods I'll never know.
So from this ref to you - 'way to stay in the game' - one save can make a 180 degree difference in a game.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
I have a strange foot, I have a nearly opposable big toe, and widely splayed toes - monkey like actually - a flattened arch and a somewhat narrower than would be expected ankle bone. The resulting triangular shape (as opposed to the normal rectangle) means I have a nearly impossible time finding a pair of blades that fit comfortable and provide real performance.
So I opted to have a pair custom ordered, since CCM no longer makes the 1152 Tacks (my favorite) I ended up with the RBK 9k - a glisteneing nearly all black unit with an annoyingly florescent pump - yes a pump ala air Jordans - the pump was quickly covered with a few strokes of a black sharpie to make them look less childish.
So after nearly 3 months waiting my new torture^H^H^H^H^H^H skates arrived and after a short bake in the fitting oven (a throughly bogus invention as far as I can tell) I started trying to 'break' them in. This is the process by which a skate is supposed to assume the shape of your foot - or in this case, your foot assume the shape of the skate. Also the skate becomes less stiff and begins to flex in a way specific to your skating motion.
Now a little digression - a hockey skate is made from a solid footbed (which anchors the blade and carrier), a protective plastic shell over the toe (toe cap), a high stiff back (tendon guard) and finally a boot which contains the previous two items plus the eyelets and toung which allow one to be laced into the skate. In the good old days before modern composite materials the boot was leather - when you got a new skate you had to break in the leather so that it would flex with your foot (the same process that a cowboy boot goes through) and folks would soak the skate in water and then walk around the house in them, or soak them in rubbing alcohol to avoid water stains.
The downside of leather - and this is a biggie - is that it tends to stretch and become lose strength over time if overused, and if it sits exposed without being treated (oiled) it becomes hard and brittle. To solve this issue skate manufacturers have changed from leather, and part-leather skates to all polymer and composite materials. In days past the material of choice was kevlar - a fine choice if you need bullet protection but a poor choice for skate logenvity. When kevlar is stressed it performs one of two ways - either it breaks or it doesnt - it barely stretches, which is why it is used in bullet proof vests. This is what happened to my old CCM 1152s, after 6 years nearly every fiber in the boot had broken somewhere reducing the integrity of the boot and thereby eliminating any skate provided performance.
The new models use different materials, a polycarbonate inner plastic shell covering most of the foot, and a carbon fiber (graphite) woven layer around the shell to make a traditional boot with eyelets and a toung. The result is a skate that becomes nearly a seamless structure - a huge improvement over my 1152s because there is no gap between the plastic toe cap and the rest of the boot - and hence no rough edges inside the boot to rip up my tender foot flesh. The downside is that this nearly flawless single structure is much - much - stiffer than even the 1152s were when first removed from the box.
Now the manufacturers like to say that the glues used in the boot are somewhat maleable - if you heat the skate just right these glues become loose and a warmed skate will then 'form' to the owner's foot. The problem is that your foot is made of somewhat compressible material! When the skate is warm and placed on the foot you must tighly lace the boot to force it to mold to your features. However your features also warp under the tightened laces.... Dohhhhhh...
Result - I'm laying in bed with an icepack on my big toes and giant caluses forming... ahhh for the love of the game.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Teachin' the new Emphasis
Its a good deal, and we got Leafers to come and talk about the new rule emphasis in place for 2006-2007. Red showed up, thank-you sir, and we had the usual crowd of guys on the NCAA and IOC call list as instructors.
I dont have many comments about the new rules, other than to say its about time... 11 pages of trash dissapeared from the Advanced Officiating manual, pages on pages of meandering and less than helpful junk about 'judgement' which inevitably end up making no-one's decisions terribly well respected. A few times my supervisor told me "dont be a black-and-white referee", meaning I needed to be more flexible and allow the game to go its own way, usually down the gutter and into the sewer...
What got me was two items. The Level 3 on-ice time was meant to provide some skating and positioning help, it ended up being a nut-busting skate session because of two things:
1) during the SILENT warmup there was quite a lot of talking and not very much warming up
2) during the drills a few of the less mature teens decided this was a phone-it-in event.
Dont get me wrong, the seminar can be boring and tedious, but the on-ice time is a very special event, once a year only, and the only actual time officials get to practice. To make matters worse the two instructors for the on-ice time are nearly the most experienced guys in the state, both have worked international events, both have 20+ years instructing and still can outskate, out-hustle, out-think and generally handle any sh*t fest like the pros they are. Here they are on a Sunday, not getting paid, not with their families (and both have road jobs), and some punk ass kids blow off the time.
Ladders. Yep. Thats what the ice time ended up being. We were prepared to do full on teaching of power skating, and drills like the "full-package", goal line movement, etc. Those things that turn promising officials into candidates for development camps. Instead we worked them, hard. In the end all of the instructors agreed that they earned it.
Sigh.... perhaps next year some of them will even remember....