January 20, 2019

New game keeps game alive

If necessity is the mother of invention, the Sunday Morning roadsters are the sport’s Thomas Edisons.

With several players absent, the four who did report for Sunday’s game under bright — but cold — sunshine conjured a new version of the game that took full competitive advantage of their depleted numbers.

The result was a success, and provided new optimism that the game could survive its current malaise.

Whirling Dervish said the two-on-one half-court game in which defenders could rotate into an offensive role after three clears of the ball to the far end of the court or by scoring into the empty net opposite was a dynamic way for the roadsters on both sides to hone their odd-man rushes.

“It was actually surprisingly fun,” he said.

The tenor of the game changed markedly when Kid became more aggressive by helping his defensive partner of the moment in clearing the zone, essentially evening the sides by forcing the offensive team to forecheck or cut off those clearing plays.

“It gives you one more option,” said Nouvelle Guy of having a defensive ally.

Whirling Dervish said while the diminished lineup presented a fitness challenge, it also provided an opportunity for the roadsters to get creative with managing their energy.

“There’s definitely two games going on in my mind,” he said. “There’s the one that I think, and the then there’s the one my body actually plays.”

Dervish said finding the middle ground between those two extremes was the key to success. But he wasn’t always successful.

“I’m thinking all kinds of creative moves, but often my legs just abandoned me,” he said.

Nouvelle Guy said the chance to defend a steady diet of odd-man rushes could prove invaluable when the league’s numbers return to sustainable levels.

“You end up getting a lot of two-on-ones in the regular games, so this was just great practice for that,” he said.

But mostly the game offered a chance to keep playing on a perfect day for road hockey.

“It gives you one more option,” Nouvelle Guy said.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:30 PM | Comments (22)

January 13, 2019

Big D comes up big

As much as Sunday Morning Road Hockey has struggled this season, it hasn’t in net.

Big D became the latest player to strap on the goalie pads, and he overcame some shaky goals in the game’s first half to lead his team to a 10-9 win.

Big D joins the ranks of regular rearguards Joker, Kid and Lak Attack. And while the young plugger admits making the adjustment from running up and down the court trying to score to trying to prevent goals from being scored wasn’t easy, he was buoyed by the scoring prowess of his teammates, who were able to power his side back from an early deficit.

“It definitely helps to have some guys on your team who can score,” Big D said. “It gives you confidence.”

Veteran roadster Whirling Dervish said he was impressed by Big D’s poise.
“That kid was solid,” he said. “He’s got ice running through his veins.”

Staring into the bright, low sun in the game’s first half, Big D found himself occasionally caught out of position. But he didn’t shy from sacrificing himself to dive back and rob opposing shooters.

“Big D had no quit,” Joker said. “(He) stood on his head tonight and played a pretty good game.”

With each side playing a man short, defence was sparse, adding to the young goalie’s trial by fire. Whirling Dervish said his side tried to take full advantage.

“We were just trying to shoot anything at him really,” he said. “We were trying to get some rebounds and rattle him.”

Joker said he was impressed by Big D’s willingness to hang in there, even as shots rained in.

“You’ve just to be prepared for the shots because eventually guys are going to get tired and they’ll stop passing and just start shooting,” he said.

Once the young keeper found his glove hand and didn’t shy from smothering the ball at any opportunity, his side was able to claw their way back and squeak out the win.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:14 PM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2019

Past bring new hope for game's future

The assurance of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s future could come from its past.

Whirling Dervish returned to the concrete courts on Sunday for his first game in several seasons. And while the whirling may have abandoned him, the desire to see the venerable league continue remains strong, he said.

“This game is too great and has been going on for too long to die now,” Dervish said while catching his breath after a spirited game of half-court. “There may not be as many people out, but we’re hoping to change that.”

As the league has struggled through the first months of its 27th season, several lapsed roadsters have come out of retirement or off the sidelines to rekindle their fire for the game. Beckenbauer played for the first time in two seasons, and Elvis and Pig Farming Goalie returned for the first of what they said could be intermittent appearances.

Devish said he hopes other roadsters consider coming out of retirement or exile.

“Let’s see Lobsterboy, let’s see the Two Pauls, let’s see Sexboy and Lumberjack,” he challenged. “It’s a reason to get up on a Sunday morning and get out for a run.”

Joker said the allure of free shrimp and cocktail sauce at the annual Shrimp Ring Bowl to mark the first game of a new year also helped.

The veteran goaltender returned to the courts for the first time since he stormed off during last spring’s Stanley Stick finale in protest of some violent skirmishes that palled the championship.

He said his absence was trying, especially as he followed the league’s struggles to regain traction.

“It was super difficult, especially knowing the part I had to play in the difficulties,” Joker said. “It made me feel like I had to get out and see what I could do to save this game.”

Sunday’s game was the first in a month after the league’s fellow founding father, Living Legend, declared a hiatus in early December to allow players to consider the league’s future and their place in it.

Joker said it won’t take much to get the game back on track.

“Players just have to remember how things used to be and how they could be again,” he said. “Bringing out new guys is important, and they’ve got to know there’s going to be a game.”

Dervish said he intends to do what he can to make that happen.

“I’m looking to become a regular again,” he said. “I’m still hunting for the Stanley Stick.”

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:25 PM | Comments (7)