Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Win/Lose Game

It seems as though our team is really starting to gel at the right time. With another win and a strong defensive game, we are peaking at the right time with the Coupe de France less than a week away. We took down Morzine 4-2 on Saturday night, but may have lost our Captain Edo Terglav for a long period of time.

Early in the first period Edo made a pass and proceeded to skate a few strides, then out of nowhere took a violent hip check to knees. The worst part is that Edo had passed the puck about 3 seconds earlier and was totally unsuspecting as he was attacked low from the side. Having just jumped onto the ice on a line change, and seeing our captain lay motionless on the ice, I skated towards the scrum of players and was the first to reach the ever cowardly Morzine player. Instead of standing up for himself, he panicked and scurried behind the net for protection. By the time I got a hold of him, the rest of his teammates were there to protect him. Had this been in North America, there certainly would have been a fight, but in France you could get a 2 games suspension and fined 150 euros. So unfortunately, you have players on the ice second guessing themselves, wondering if the punishment would fit the crime. After the game Edo being pretty upset asked only that the Morzine player hit him straight on instead of going after his knees. Even if it was a late hit.

There is a video below of the hit, so instead of taking my word for it, you can see it for yourself


We had a 5 minute power play, I was in the box with a coincidental minor for roughing and by the time we had a whistle, there was 1:30 left in our advantage. We ended up scoring with about 15 seconds left, then again about 5 minutes later on another power play.

News on our captain right now is unclear, we have a big game Friday at home before we leave for Paris Bercy to play the final of La Coupe de France.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Return to Action- Mentally and Physically

Just finished up a bowl of Oatmeal after our 9am morning skate today and as I look out my 4th floor window, I see clear blue skies. In Briancon we get about 300 days of sun and as the year has gone on, I think I have been taking it for granted a bit. So from now on I will appreciate every sunny day we have here! What a great day for hockey we have as well. I am making my return back to the lineup after missing 5 games with a shoulder injury. We will be leaving for Morzine in 2 hours, a place where I have had some success in the past. In 2 games there, I have tallied 3 goals 1 assist (including the Shootout winner last year). Hopefully that trend will continue tonight as we face a pretty good team.

Over the last 3 1/2 weeks, though being hampered by my shoulder injury, I have been trying to do as much as possible to get my mind clear and my body ready for my return. I was on the ice immediately, just skating and avoiding pucks because the urge to fire some shots was just too strong. My focus was my skating, position specific movements and especially conditioning. It is tough to replicate game situations and keep your body in game shape during an injury but being on the ice everyday was a priority to make the transition back to the games a bit smoother.

Right from the start I was in the gym either riding the bike or doing unilateral training. Focusing on one side and trying to keep my strength on my good side, rather than lose strength in both due to the injury. Also, research shows that during unilateral training, there is an 8-10% strength transfer to the contralateral side. Any edge I could get I was going to take it! Plyometrics and speed training were also a focus and I actually feel a bit better on the ice right now in terms of acceleration and changes of direction.

Any hockey player will agree that watching your team play while you are unable to help them on the ice is one of the hardest things to do. You just want to be out there so badly to help your team compete and win. To deal with this tension and frustration, I began meditating. My mom has been telling me for years to try to meditate a little be each day, just to clear your mind and keep you in the present moment. Sometimes when things come from your mother, no matter what it is, you are just a little bit resistant to comply. It was as if she was telling me to clean my room. So, until about 2 weeks ago, I put it off and never listened to her. Since I have started meditation, I have found it to be helpful with dealing with stress and to avoid the constant clutter of thoughts in my head. For hockey players, the last thing you want to do is to be thinking on the ice. We want to be reactive. Even during practices this past week, I have seen a difference in my game and decision making. This may be due to the physical work I have been putting in, but I believe that it is the mind that separates two players with equal amounts of skill and work ethic. As hockey is just as much mental as it is physical, training the mind/body to work as one can only have a strong correlation in your game.

Also during this time, I took advantage of gaining my weight back. If you are unaware, early in October I became really sick with an intestinal infection. After being in the hospital 3 times in 2 days, I lost 15lbs (7kg). Since hockey is a demanding sport, trying to gain back that weight during the season is virtually impossible. With my normal playing weight being 200lbs (91kg), the highest I got back to was about 187lbs (85kg). Some people didn't even recognize me when I went back to Epinal during our December break. However, with less calories being expended during these 3 1/2 weeks, I continued eating the way I do (Constantly) and also started taking a weight gainer to see if I could put some mass back on. So what are the results????

I am tipping the scales right now at 195lbs (88.5kg). We are getting closer but I am happy with that!

I am excited to be back in action and looking forward to coming back even stronger than I was before. Mentally and Physically.

Stay tuned for the results tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Coupe de France, Theo Fleury and Positive Energy!!!

We made it one step closer to the Coupe de France last night with our win over Strasbourg in the Alsace region 5-2. This was the second straight game I did not play as I am nursing a shoulder injury that occurred in our league game in Amiens a week ago. I had scored to tie it 2-2 then right at the end of the period I took a crosscheck high in my back and it really messed up my shoulder. X-rays were good, and all the tests ruled out any muscle damage. So for the time being I am still in quite a bit of pain and still cannot shoot the puck yet.

So last night with our huge semi final game in Strasbourg, I jumped at the opportunity to join my teammates on the road, in any capacity I could help. Turns out we did not have any ice time in the morning for game day practice, so I was able to help out by setting up a workout for the team, comprised of ladders, hurdles and agility slats. This was a replacement for the practice so I had to make that clear because some of the guys do not enjoy our Speed Agility Quickness (SAQ) training, but it was imperative that we get our muscles activated and firing, while getting a good sweat in the process (as we would, had we skated).

Just as I was getting on the bus later that day as we headed to the rink as a team, I was told that I would be doing the "colour commentating" on the radio for our game. I thought, "well, I have done it twice before in University, and had lots of fun with it, but that was in English." I agreed anyways and served as the special guest commentator on Alpes 1. It was pretty funny actually because they did not have a set system where one would do the "play-by-play" and the other do the "commentary," so the whole game they both sort of just battled their way for control of the microphone, while I just laughed and waited for them to ask me questions. They were getting so negative, and started criticizing some of our players as we trailed 2-1, I finally had to step in and say something. Though it was all in French, I will paraphrase "Ok, well I think it is about time with shift away from this negative energy here and start giving our team some positive vibes and the support we need to win this game."

We scored 2 quick goals to take the lead 3-2. So it was all positive energy right? For sure :)

Whatever, I think I helped our team in the best way I could since I could not play, I got them ready with a workout in the morning, then I defended the players they were criticizing on the radio, then the surge of positive energy from myself/the radio guys, plus all of our listeners on Alpes 1. Positive energy is very powerful. Ok, maybe I am stretching it a little bit here haha, but whatever, just let me believe that I helped my team because being injured and watching without being able to help the guys on the ice, has to be one of the toughest things in hockey. Needless to say, the evening was interesting being on the radio, in a way it took my mind off of the final outcome desired and made me focus more on the process of getting there. And it was in FRENCH!!!

Usually I get a few movies on my iPod touch before a long road trip, and this trip was no different, I had 3 new flicks and was armed to go. However, I also brought along with me one of my Christmas presents that my mom sent over. It was Theo Fleury's new book "Playing with Fire." I started reading Monday night on the bus as we departed for Strasbourg, but then I could not put the damn book down! I rarely read books but this was just took a hold of me. Then as the day was getting stressful leading up to the game, I kept going strong and crushed 265 pages over the 24 hours. I have only about 30 pages left. Shocking, reading can actually be very fun and keeps your mind active.

Alrighty, so we are going to the Finals of the Coupe de France in a single elimination game against Rouen to be played in Paris Bercy in front of an estimated 13,000 people. I was a spectator the last two seasons there and I feel that will give me an advantage now as a player. What an opportunity this is, I am so excited and will be just living in the moment every step of the way. No nerves, no stress, I am just going to absorb all of this great experience and have fun with it. But I think we have the secret weapon..........shhhhhhhhh........... positive energy ;)