April 27, 2008

Nibs' tune up hits sour note

If Nibs wants to win his first Stanley Stick as a starting goalie, he's going to have to put Sunday's disaster behind him.

The neophyte netminder, who played himself into a starter's role after opening the season as the third-string backup, faltered in the second half as his side's defense squandered a five-goal advantage to lose the final tuneup before next week's Championship opener, 20-14.

His potential teammates are hoping it was only a speed bump in his otherwise remarkable emergence as a solid shotstopper. The absence of former stalwarts Lobsterboy and Pig Farming Goalie through mush of the season's second half opened the door for Nibs to climb the depth chart. For the most part, he's responded.

"I've just been playing more, and that's built my confidence a little bit," said Nibs, before Sunday's game.

"He's getting better and better," said Paul One. "He's got a lot more confidence and that's what he has to do, put the nerves aside and start playing with confidence right from the opening draw."

"His work ethic is a lot better than it used to be," said Gump, who unstrapped the pads to give his successor apparent an opportunity to hone his game heading into next week's pressure cooker finale. "I think he's in better shape. It used to be when he played in goal he'd be great through the first half and then he'd get tired."

But Sunday's second half collapse wasn't his fault, as his defense abandoned him and the ball luck which had kept juicy rebounds off opposing forwards' sticks early suddenly turned, fates that are unlikely to be repeated when road hockey's biggest prize is on the line.

"You know your defense is gonna be amped up," said Cowboy Bill.

And his mates will be looking to Nibs to turn the heat up as well.

"He's gonna face some intensity and scrutiny like he never has before," said Cowboy Bill. "It's different than playing in the regular season."

"It's extremely competitive out there," said Unabomber, who played only his second game since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for six weeks. "Everyone is working way harder than they have for any other game in the season, mistakes can't be made, everything has to be stopped."

"He'll have to make an adjustment to the pace and intensity of play for sure," said Paul One.

A tall order, but one he's ready for, said Nibs. "It's a bit of pressure. I'll just play hard."


Nibs' opponent at the other end of the court will be another backup-turned-starter, Billy Idol.
With Pig Farming Goalie apparently retired to help around the house after the recent birth of his daughter, Lobsterboy mysteriously AWOL, and Gump only available for one of the two games, the roadsters faced a difficult decision to determine starting goalies for the Stanley Stick. A proposal by Colonel to recruit ringers was roundly rejected. So the pads have been passed to the backups, who've steadily improved through the season and seem equally matched.
Gump will play forward, a role he seemed to relish in Sunday's prelude, with a gritty performance on the forecheck that created a number of scoring chances for his victorious team.
Lobsterboy, after twice backing out of verbal commitments to play in late-season games, will be out of luck. If he bothers to show up.

Other roadsters expected to miss the first leg of the championship series are Lak Attack and Cowboy Bill, both of whom will be honing their fitness for the finale by running a marathon. They'll be included in the card draw and distributed to their respective teams accordingly.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:45 PM | Comments (14)

April 24, 2008

Nibs treats team

Just two weeks away from the Stanley Stick, Nibs is making a case to be an opening day starter for the big game.

Backstopping his team to a 20-15 victory in Sunday's game, Nibs is starting to show some poise, since the baby blues hit the league's goaltending core.

According to Colonel, “I think Nibs was the better goalie today”. “He stoned our opposition all day today, and Gump looked pretty shaky”.

Comments well deserved to the netminder who continuously stacked the pads across the crease to shutdown his opposition.

“If I were to chose a goalie for the stick, it would be Nibs”, added Colonel.

Although, there are some that still think a veteran or an outsider should be brought in for the stick. The word’s still out on Lobsterboy, and it looks like PFG is on the shelf. Which is leaving the fans wondering, what happened to Ottoman, Couch, and Frosty the State Puff Marsh Mellow Man? Either way, it looks like backup goalies will be required for the Stick, which should make next week's performances all the more meaningful.

Posted by jaysuburb at 10:34 PM | Comments (7)

April 13, 2008

Old flames burn bright

The old flames of Sunday Morning Road Hockey are far from extinguished. Sunday, Lak Attack, Paul One and the Living Legend sparked their team with a ferocious first shift that netted them three goals and launched their mates to an easy 20-11 rout of their stunned opponents.

With a dry court and mild temperatures, the wily veterans stormed deep into the offensive zone with aggressive forechecking that flummoxed bewildered defenders into coughing up the evil orange plastic ball, creating scoring opportunities that were too easy for even the Legend to miss. He scored twice, while Lak Attack added another, and the game was pretty much over before it even began. The other 17 goals were just padding.

"I think it put them on their heels right off the bat," said Paul One of his line's stunning success. "We had some jump and I think that's what we needed to do; it got them turned around to play defense more than they were thinking offense."

"The older guys went out and showed 'em who was boss," said Smith, who anchored the squad's second line, with young snipers Scooby and Doo. "It's a huge mental advantage for us right off the bat."

"Unfortunately, they set the tone right from the start, and we put ourselves in a hole with no chance of getting back out," said Beetle Boy, who's own four-goal effort was swallowed by his team's ineptitude. "We just let ourelves get down way too fast."

Cowboy Bill was less charitable.

"We can't let the old line score like that," said the veteran defender who witnessed the carnage from the sideline as he awaited his first shift. "We were just standing around letting those guys run around us. What are we, three toed sloths out there?"

Or maybe armadillos. Because once they got down, they seemed to just curl up in a ball and let the game get away from them as the margin mounted to as much as 10-4.

Energized by the example set by their veteran teammates, Smith and his young linemates contributed a solid two-way effort, shutting down opposing snipers like Elvis and the Colonel.

"We threw in a couple more goals, a couple more daggers," said Smith.

Meanwhile, their opponents panicked. After trading away the late-arriving Scrappy so they could maintain two set lines, they started to juggle combinations looking for any formula that could stem the slaughter. But that strategy only seemed to brew a toxic stew of discord.

"We just couldn't put anything together," said Beetle Boy.

"You couldn't have got six guys to play worse together," said Cowboy Bill. "We never played well together, we didn't communicate together and that's what cost us the game."

"I think the damage was done in the first shift," said Paul One.


Posted by jaysuburb at 03:58 PM | Comments (11)

April 06, 2008

Fine finale for Farmer

Pig Farming Goalie ended his season, and possible his Sunday Morning career, on a high note, leading his team to a 20-14 win in Sunday's game.

The victory was a sweet swan song in an otherwise sour season for the stalwart shotstopper, who stormed off the court a month ago in disgust after his defense disappeared in front of him in a tough 10-3 loss. After the game he indicated that with a new baby due this week, he'd be unlikely to return for the Stanley Stick, if ever.

The agrarian goaltender has been growing increasingly frustrated with the roadsters' tardiness and lack of commitment, a sentiment that wasn't salved by his solid play in Sunday's win.

"I think it's pretty sad for road hockey, the lack of commitment," said Pig Farming Goalie, still sombre despite his victorious performance. "When guys don't show up, there's less at stake for the game. It's hard to stay super motivated for these games."

But his motivation hardly seemed in doubt when he robbed Kid on a breakaway with a head first save early in the game, setting the tone for his mates who responded with a responsible defensive effort by clearing rebounds and picking up their checks.

"It's really hard, especially when you're shooting on a goalie like PFG, you've really got to work hard," said Scooby of his side's scoring futility. "We just couldn't get the goals when we needed them."

"You can never count on getting a cheap one on (PFG)," said Paul One, who also returned to the courts after an extended absence. "You have to really earn all your goals and you pretty much have to be perfect to get them."

In the game's earliest moments, it was Pig Farming Goalie who was perfect, as he made a number of key saves to allow his mates to storm ahead by as many as six goals. But as rain started to fall, concrete courts slicked up, the scoring momentum shifted.

"When the courts started getting wet, the transition game became critical, and they were able to take advantage of their speed and our inability to keep up," said PFG. "It's pretty tough for the defense to turn around, and they got some fast goals."

Not enough to shake the veteran netminder from his resolve, though, as he never let the margin shrink to less than three goals.


Posted by jaysuburb at 03:19 PM | Comments (12)