January 25, 2009

Idol's confidence comeback

All Billy Idol needed was a shot of confidence.

He got it from a whole bunch of shots. The seasoned shotstopper faced down a barrage of scoring attempts early in Sunday's game, rebuilding the confidence that was shattered by a rough defeat last week and boosting his team to a 20-17 win.

The victory may have been a turning point in his career.

Since being felled by a shot in last Spring's Stanley Stick finale that collapsed his face mask and bruised his eye, Idol admits he's been a reluctant rearguard. Shots from in close made him flinch, shattering his concentration and eroding his confidence.

"I wasn't expecting to play goal today, and to be honest, I was ready to go into retirement (from goaltending)," said the versatile veteran.

But with a newfound discipline to keep his stick down to guard against the easy low shots that eluded him so easily last week, he started strongly in Sunday's rematch, regaining his confidence with each save, every smothered rebound.

"I think you've just got to try to make those first few saves," said Idol. "Your confidence goes through the roof."

Inspired by their revived rearguard, Idol's teammates wheeled and dealed in the offensive zone, their newfound confidence in their goaltender fueling their ability to take risks and press the play.

"I think right from the get-go, we had a pretty good idea this wasn't the Billy Idol of last week," said Elvis. "That sort of gave us the green light to be able to play a little more offensively."

They needed every one of their red light rewards, though, as a mid-game swoon almost cost them the game. After building a formidable lead, their hands turned to stone, their checking in the defensive zone to the ferocity of cold noodles.

"We were getting beat down low, we were losing the battles in the corner," said Idol as he gave up eight straight goals, tying the game at 16.

But the comeback creaseminder wasn't giving up. Diving across the crease, sprawling on his back between the pipes, Idol fought gamely to give his mates a chance to get their heads back into the match.

"Once they tied it up we knew we just had to bear down," said Elvis.

They rewarded Idol's determination with three straight goals.

"Last week I had no confidence, and today I felt really confident," said Idol. "It made the difference."

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:17 PM | Comments (7)

January 19, 2009

Shrimp ring fuels shovel brigade

Fueled by a ring of shrimp and a jar of spicy cocktail sauce, the roadsters were determined to finally launch the season's second half. It was a long time coming.

With the season waylaid for the past five weeks after a series of storms during the Christmas hiatus buried the court under more than two feet of snow and ice, the players attacked the frozen remnants of the winter wipeout Sunday with shovels, spades and scrapers. But a week of thaws and subsequent freezes had hardened the precipitation to the consistency of undulating concrete.

"It's pretty bad, miserable conditions," said Lobsterboy, as he hacked at the ice while already suited up with most of his goaltending equipment.

"It's obviously a lot more work than we bargained for," said Pig Farming Goalie, who was anticipating a showdown with his old nemesis. "I mean, some of it clears off pretty nicely, and some of it goes in big chunks."

The frightful condition of the court was made all the more frustrating by the otherwise perfect conditions for an epic game, sunny and mild.

"It's such a beautiful sunny day," lamented Lobsterboy. "I thought it would be melted, and to see so much hard-packed snow, it's a sad day for road hockey."

Or maybe a day without road hockey at all, as a few of the roadsters seemed resigned to their frosty fate.

"My first reaction was this isn't going to happen," said Cowboy Bill. "It's been four or five weeks since we've really had a good game and this isn't looking too promising."

Others weren't so quick to give in to the ice and snow. After two hours of sweat and hard labor, the surface was slippery, but finally playable.

But after the unprecedented five week mid-season hiatus, some feared more had been lost than just a handful of games.

"It's like we're almost going to have to start the season over again," said Cowboy Bill. "We've lost five week so we've lost all that conditioning and that comfort we've been building up through the first half of the season. Now we're almost starting from Ground Zero."

But after more than a month off, at least they were starting.

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:25 PM | Comments (9)

January 10, 2009

Courts, shrimp ring still frozen

The shrimp ring is staying in the freezer for another week.

The road hockey courts are still buried under more than a foot of frozen slush and ice, the remnants of a series of snow storms during the Christmas hiatus. The subsequent rains haven't melted enough of the snow, and overnight freezes have hardened the moonscape into hardened pack ice that would resist even the most determined shoveling brigade.

The road leading to the courts also continues to be clogged by three foot high mounds of hard-packed snow, now blackened by salt and street grime, making parking almost impossible.

It's the first time in Sunday Morning Road Hockey history that three consecutive games have been lost to weather; including the week off for the Christmas holiday, it's now been four weeks since the roadsters last slapped the evil orange plastic ball in anger.

"It's unbelievable," said founding father Living Legend after inspecting the courts on Saturday afternoon. "The snow on the courts has been trampled and frozen so hard, it's going to take jet engines blowing hot air or a week of monsoon rains to get back down to the concrete. That stuff would smash any shovel, and the will of even the most-hardened shoveler."

Posted by jaysuburb at 03:12 PM | Comments (17)

January 02, 2009

Snow puts freeze on Shrimp Ring

The shrimp are on ice, but so is Sunday's Shrimp Ring Bowl.

The stubborn winter weather has forced the postponement of the annual celebration of the new year, and the traditional beginning of the second half of the Sunday Morning Road Hockey season, by at least a week. The road hockey courts are still unplayable, buried under more than a foot of snow, ice and frozen slush, the aftermath of three storms in less than a week during the Christmas break.

More snow is forecast for Saturday, but then a warming trend will hopefully bring a sustained stretch of melting rains.

"I've never seen the courts in worse shape," said founding father, Living Legend, after a visit on Friday afternoon. "Even the road to the courts is still a snow-covered and icy mess. There's no place to park."

With the Shrimp Ring Bowl on ice, the shrimp will stay frozen until the courts thaw out.

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:59 PM | Comments (7)