February 17, 2013

Chico battling to get back

Chico is optimistic he'll be back between the pipes. But whether that happens this season, in time for this Stanley Stick championship series, will be determined by his doctors and the extensive rehabilitation regime they've tasked him with.

The shotstopping stalwart has yet to strap on the goalie pads this season after he injured his knee at a charity road hockey tournament in the pre-season. And while he managed to avoid surgery, the road back to the court has been long and frustrating.

"I just want to be healed as quickly as possible and get back to playing," said Chico in an email interview. "I've never had any kind of prolonged injury and it's been really hard not to just ignore the physiotherapist and surgeon."

The reliable rearguard had missed only a handful of games in his first two seasons, making his absence all the more difficult to endure.

"It's a big loss in my life," said Chico. "I've honestly avoided the (court) because I don't want to put even more pressure on myself to ignore the medical staff advice."

That advice has just embarked Chico on a program of speed walking for one hour every other day. He'll have to do that for two weeks before he's allowed to run. Then he'll have to strengthen his joint to endure the stops, starts and splays that come with his butterfly backstopping style.

Chico said he's at least four to six weeks away from even considering a return to action. And even then he's likely to ease himself back by playing a number of games on defence before strapping on the pads again.

That puts him perilously close to the Stanley Stick, which is scheduled to be played in late April.

"When I do come back, better watch out," said Chico, who's backstopped two successive Stanley Stick titles. "I want to be in the net when it counts for everyone. Even if I'm not the MVP for the finals, just making one important save that can keep my team in the game is what I dream about at night."

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:20 PM | Comments (10)

February 10, 2013

Commanding performance

Freed from the weighty burden of the goalie pads, and able to streak up and down the entire court, Colonel owned the first full game to be played in weeks. The irascible veteran scored 14 times in his team's 20-8 victory, tying Kid's longstanding record for most goals in a game to 20.

Ironically, it may have been Colonel's penance between the pipes that fuelled his offensive outburst. Strapping on the pads as the league weathered injuries to regular starters Twizzler and Chico, Colonel said he was able to study the moves of other players, look for the edge that would allow him to find open court.

"You get a bit of a chance to sit back a bit and watch other players," said Colonel, who scored 10 goals in a row, including all five his team tallied in the third period. "You learn a bit about their skill set that, when you play out, you can leverage to your benefit."

He did just that, seemingly scoring at will from every part of the court.

"Defensively, we just couldn't contain him," said Bam Bam.

As his side put the game out of reach, Colonel's linemates made it their mission to give him the best chance to break Kid's scoring record.

"At that point we were up quite a bit, so there was a lot of generosity to feed me the ball," said Colonel

"That opportunity doesn't come around very often and it's exciting for everybody," said Yak. "It's the kind of thing if you have the choice and both of you have good scoring opportunities, you're going to give it off just to see if he can get the record."

But early on, it didn't seem the Colonel and his mates had anything going their way.

Starting the game two-on-two against Bam Bam and the Living Legend, Colonel and Yak struggled, getting caught up court as the speedy Bam Bam drove the counterattack hard to the net.

"We started out slow," admitted Colonel. "I don't think we were ready for the two on two game. Yak and I were getting caught up court and the other team was burying us."

The late arrival of Holt seemed to right the listing ship.

"We started to do a good job of getting passes onto sticks," said Yak. "There were a lot of times we were making passes into traffic but they were always going tape to tape."

That precision was just too much for their overmatched opponents, who sputtered at both ends of the court.

"Every time we had a chance, we seemed to be gripping our sticks too tight," said Bam Bam. "We were missing some good scoring opportunities."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:05 PM | Comments (5)

February 03, 2013

Rain men

Before the rain started to fall, Colonel and Yak were raining shots at the net. Their bombastic attack paid off with a hard-fought 7-5 win in Sunday's half-court game.

With two players a side and Bing the swingman, both teams measured their effort by leaning into shots and digging for rebounds.

"You've got to know when to use your feet and run the ball, and when to just for the net and play for the rebound," said Yak.

But with Lak Attack on top of his game between the pipes, rebounds and extra opportunities proved hard to come by.

"You look forward to the shots coming because you know they're coming," said the backup turned game-saver. "The sooner you can stop some, the easier it is to get into your groove."

Playing his sixth consecutive game, Lak Attack was definitely dug in, coming up with big saves against both sides and leaving few scraps rolling around at his feet.

"Sometimes the game is like that," said Bam Bam, whose side battled back all game and pushed it into double overtime with a gritty effort.

But trying to contain the speedy Yak proved to be to much. The fleet forward set the tempo early by charging through the defence, decking the ball through defenders' feet then feeding the Colonel's big shot artillery.

"It's really important for the first couple of shifts that you don't blow your load," said Yak. "You've got to get out there and go hard."

But his opponents quickly learned to close their legs.

"You just try to cut his angles off," said Bam Bam. "I thought we did a good job defensively."

Denied his advantage, Yak started to feed passes to the point then charged hard to the net for rebounds floating around the crease.

"You've just got to keep it simple," said Yak. "If you don't shoot, you don't score."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:18 PM | Comments (4)