January 29, 2012

(Dis)avantage

Sometimes a disadvantage can be an advantage.

Despite playing without the advantage of an extra man to spell off tired teammates, Franz Beckenbauer and his mates were able to control the tempo of Sunday's soggy game and roll to a 10-6 win.

The sophomore centreman said the manpower disadvantage forced them to play smarter, more responsibly, minimizing the opportunities they gave up to their more rested opponents.

"You have to play smart and let the ball do the work," said Beckenbauer. "I thought we did a good job passing in triangles, setting plays up without doing too much running."

The constant combination of Beckenbauer, Weeble and Pistol cashed in on their apparent chemistry early and often, building a lead their floundering foes couldn't overcome.

"I think not having a sub helped us establish some rhythm out there," said Chico, who played another strong game that allowed his team to concentrate on sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. "When you're not subbing a guy off, players start to play a little more conservatively, preserve their energy and they're thinking ahead. You need to play smart."

At the other end of the court, their opponents never seemed to get on track as players slipped on an off the court to catch their breath or chase balls that had flown out of the court.

"We just weren't able to build any momentum going into any of our shifts," said Bam Bam, who was further hobbled by the rainsoaked, slippery concrete that sent him tumbling to the hard surface on a few occasions.

"That took a toll later in the game," he said. "You've got to make sure every step is on good footing."

But the conditions were equally bad for both teams, said Beckenbauer. "It becomes very frustrating very quickly."

Even the goalies struggled at times, especially when they tried to play passes behind the net, where deep puddles soaked their feet and stopped the ball.

"I think both teams expected the ball to have a little more go," said Chico.

The slippery, wet court may have been a factor in a flubbed penalty shot by rookie speedster Pistol, who was awarded the opportunity when a breakaway was thwarted by Bam Bam's hurtled stick. As the lanky winger streaked in on Lak Attack, he seemed tentative with his footing and fanned on his attempt to find the five hole as the ball skittered through a puddle.

The game was also the debut of another Living Legend protégé, Bing, who set the senior founding father up for the game's first goal and made a number of solid defensive plays.

"Bing's a bit of a battering ram out there," said Beckenbauer. "You have to take that into account and play him a little more flexibly."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:02 PM | Comments (5)

January 22, 2012

Icy triumph

Chico's team prevailed in Sunday's game 15-7, but there was no loser.

That's because the fact there was a game at all was a triumph of all the roadsters. A week of snow and frosty temperatures followed by a soggy thaw had left the court a moonscape of semi-frozen slush and ice.

But unlike last week, when a poor turnout and feeble resolve scuttled the game in the face of a similarly slicked challenge, a brigade of shovels, bags of rock salt and even some intrepid chopping with sticks pummelled, scraped and cleared the court in a little over an hour. It was a heroic, but exhausting effort.

"It was nice toes the community pull together to clear off the court and play some hockey today," said Beckenbauer. "It was a real feeling of triumph. I think we were all winners out there today."

"It's kind of a nice feeling to take a look at your massive obstacle and then pull together as a group to take care of it," said Yak. "Any bad conditions you've just got to push through."

"It really shows the guys are committed to playing," said Chico. "We worked hard just to get a surface to play on, and that speaks volumes about the quality of the guys we have playing."

In fact, many of the players endured blisters, stiff fingers and soggy cold feet as a result of their pre-game work detail.

"Gripping the shovel your hands get pretty mashed up," said Yak. "You don't feel the ball as well, gripping the stick hurts, you get tired, you get frustrated."
Remnants of frozen slush also made foot precarious.

"When you're turning and stopping you definitely have to keep that in mind," said Beckenbauer. "You've got to set yourself and accelerate more gradually."
Even the goalies struggled.

"You keep things very simple," said Chico. "You expect guys to get the pass in and shoot more rather than stickhandle their way in as much as they might in better conditions."

And while it was cold and wet, and the roadsters sagged by their toil, everyone was smiling at the end of the game.

"It doesn't matter what the result is," said Yak. "You get to enjoy the rewards of your labor. It's just fun to play."

Posted by jaysuburb at 10:20 PM | Comments (1)

January 15, 2012

Sn'o shows scuttle game

A cold snap and overnight snowfall achieved what indifferent attendance hadn't yet been able to achieve this season. Sunday's game was cancelled when only a handful of players negotiated slippery streets in hopes the traditional pre-game shovel brigade would ensure a timely face-off.

But, said Lak Attack, the new generation of players seems to lack the same fire of the past that saved so many games in defiance of court and weather conditions.

"A lot of the young guys, they just don't have the same work ethic or commitment to the game and what it means to them," said the veteran sniper. "It's a different time now."

But that's their own loss, said speedy sophomore Franz Beckenbauer, the only roadster to show up Sunday wielding a shovel.

"It definitely brings the group together," said Beckenbauer. "It's a good old-fashioned Canadian experience to shovel off the rink and I'm going to miss that."

In fact, it was days like Sunday that, in the past, were often the most memorable, said Lak Attack. Not for the quality of game played, but for the fortitude and tenacity of the players to ensure it was played at all.

"These are the focal points that really defined the spirit of the game. They recalled what it was like to play as a kid and just have fun and I think that's been lost a bit."

It was just such an experience Beckenbauer was hoping to replicate. "It would have been nice to enjoy the sunny winter weather."

But he and the other players who presented themselves were philosophical about their disappointment.

"This is a minor setback," said Lak Attack. "We still do have a lot of good players and it's still a wonderful game."

Posted by jaysuburb at 05:25 PM | Comments (4)

January 08, 2012

Special Report: Going 24-7

It's the most revered position in Sunday Morning Road Hockey. It's also the most feared.
This week, roadhockey.net goes behind the mask and inside the head of those with the fortitude and courage to strap on the big leg pads and pull on the protective helmet to face the sting of the evil orange plastic ball.
On the way to road hockey infamy or ignominy, they'll also endure crease-crashing forwards, indifferent defenders, sizzling snapshots and looping backhanders. They'll have to outfox the dekes of Lak Attack and stand strong against the rapier blasts of the Colonel. They'll stare into the face death off Unabomber's stick.
And the following week, they'll come back for more. Hopefully.
To celebrate the monumental contribution of these crease gladiators, roadhockey.net present a special HOBO Films production of Sunday Morning Road Hockey 24-7:





Sunday's game was a double celebration. Not only was it the annual Shrimp Ring Bowl, held to commemorate the first game of the new year, but it was also the Living Legend's birthday. The league's founding father and most senior player became the first roadster with a career touching four decades; he started playing while still in his 20's, played through his 30's and 40's and Sunday he played his first game in his 50's.
Too bad there weren't more roadsters to mark the occasion as only six players reported. But with two of them goalies, the paltry posse played a spirited game of two-on-two.
Backed by some spectacular goaltending by Twizzler, Lak Attack and his teammate Weeble jumped to an early advantage over the Living Legend and a hobbled Yak. But the underdogs found their scoring touch late in the game to make it close 10-5.

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:44 PM | Comments (3)