Sunday, February 28, 2010

American Pride

Entering the final day of Olympic competition there's only two events left. One of them is Men's Ice Hockey. How would have thought that the US team would have made it this far? Not many. In fact, a few newspapers felt that the US team would make a good showing in the opening games and then go home early. Well, not so!

As any member of HockeyNation we've been following this tourney very closely. Women's Hockey was not as exciting a tournament but the final was both exhilirating and heartbreaking. The women faced many opponents that were no competition whatsoever and to make it to the gold medal game was almost a given for the women. They lost but won a silver medal. It's sad to think about the process. When you win a bronze medal, your last game was a win. When you win a gold medal, your last game is a win. When you "win" a silver medal, your last game is a loss. It's almost sad to think of that huge accomplishment in terms of defeat but I'm sure that's how the US Women's Ice Hockey Team felt. Almost like, "it's great to be here but we still lost." I feel badly for them. I know I shouldn't but I still do.

During this tournament the Men's US team has been undefeated. That's a good sign. They are the underdogs. Another good sign. They beat Canada once during these Olympic Games in a game that was viewed by more people than any Stanley Cup Final...EVER!!!! I think that's a good sign!

Men's Hockey gold medal game is today. We will play Canada for the gold. Since we were the number one seed we, technically, will be the home team. I'm sure it won't feel like a home game for our boys though! The Canada Hockey Place will be a sea of red for sure. Here's an interesting Olympic hockey fact. The US team has won gold in the last two Winter Games ending with a zero (there have only been three). 1960 and 1980. Coincidence? I think not. Both of those were won over teams wearing red. Coincidence? I think not. The US won the 17-U and World Juniors gold medals this year...both over Canada. Coincidence? I think not.

So today, we will gather in front of the big TV along with the rest of HockeyNation with our Buffalo (Sabre) Wings and our American Lager and cheer USA!!!! USA!!!! USA!!!! Except for my son, who is convinced that one day he will play in the Olympics for Team Canada. Ah, the innocence of a six year old!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sweets for the Sweet

In the midst of the festivities of the Olympics and Sean's hockey game and Olympic Open House was a special moment only the mother of a hockey player can appreciate.

At the end of the game, Sean all garbed up in the goalie pads (again) held the game puck in his catching glove and tossed it into the air a couple of times to shake off the melted ice. He called me over to the door and handed me the puck. Not sure what I was supposed to do with it, I tucked it into my purse along with the puck the ref from the Rowan game gave him last night.

When he came off the ice and got undressed he said to me, "Mom, did you like your Valentine?" I looked at him with that I-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about look. He said, "the puck. Remember, I told you I was going to give you the game puck for Valentine's Day." sweet...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Let The Games Begin!

Well, after back to back home & home sweeps of the division-leading Devils and the just-ahead-of-us Canadiens the Olympic opening ceremonies began.

Sean was so excited about the Games that he stayed up to watch the Opening Ceremony. He fell asleep just short of seeing The Great One light the cauldron along with three other Canadian athletes. He wasn't disappointed in the least.

Today, he was in net for his game. Following his game we had lunch with two of our other hockey families. I have to say this is probably my favorite part of Sean playing hockey. The close knit fabric of being a hockey parent. The kids had such fun playing games while we parents kept an eye on them and enjoyed our own kind of fun! We laughed and joked and ate. Can't wait for the next get together!

Later on at the rink, there was an Olympic Open House. There were demonstrations of all the learn to skate programs and then several figure skaters showed off some of their talents. Then the hockey kids took the ice. They had some of the learn to play hockey kids passing with some of our cross-ice kids. Then they had a short exhibition game. Sean had his first shut out! He was making some incredible saves. He really thinks he wants to be a goalie. I'm hoping not.

After the cross-ice kids played, the big guys came out and did their demo. It's hard to imagine Sean playing hockey at that age still. It's hard for me to imagine Sean being any other age but 6. I know he'll get big one day but not too soon, I hope.

Then they had a variety of other events. There was a luge demo where the kids were pushed across the ice on sleds. Then they had a slalom. Kids had to slalom skate the cones. Sean was pretty quick even in the goalie pads.

At the end they had a medals ceremony and even a podium for the winners! So fun! I'm looking for ward to watching some of the the Games. We like hockey, obviously, but I find curling to be an interesting game. I wouldn't necessarily call it a sport but it looks like something you could play while drinking a few beers. Hmmm....

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Think I See a Fat Lady

I usually consider myself an optimist. But in the case of our playoff hopes I think it's almost over. We're hanging on to the eighth spot by our fingernails and we have a tough schedule coming up.

A Home and Home with the Devils and newly acquired Kovalchuk followed by a Home and Home with Montreal right before the Olympic break.

We'll have to see what happens with our new acquisitions over the next week and just wait and see what happens after the break.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hangin' On By a Thread

Our playoff hopes, that is. We're hanging on to the 8th spot as we speak but some key wins by other teams and losses by us (since we play NJ twice this week) and we could be out of the playoffs.

In other news, Sean decided to skate this week and not stay in net. Good. He scored two goals! I love it when he scores. I noticed another boy collided with him on the ice. THREE TIMES!!!! Jack doesn't think it was intentional but I'm not so sure. This kid is bigger than Sean, a little older than Sean and definitely plays more aggressive than Sean.

Oh, and there was a hockey fight in today's game. NOT GOOD! One of the kids involved was the coach's son, who also played the entire game while two other kids sat on the bench. Anyway, the coach separated the boys and sent them both to the bench. They were, however, allowed to come back into the game. If it were my son, he would not be allowed to return to the game. I would bench him myself!

There is no place for fighting in youth hockey. None. It's a delicate balance to cheer for the NHL teams, who fight but explain to your young hockey player that it's not ok for them to follow their hero's example. I hope we never have to deal with that although I'm sure we will at some point.

Sean just kept saying, "I didn't think it was funny." I'm glad of that.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gold Rush

Sean is really looking forward to the Olympics. Not the Games in Vancouver (well, them too). His rink is doing some demonstrations of Winter Games and he was selected to demonstrate hockey. He will be joining 5 other skaters and two goalies in a cross-ice demo.

The really great thing about this is that the event will also feature info and demos from other winter sports including figure skating, curling and luge! I think it really fits in with USA Hockey's ADM. Their tagline is "I am Potential." It also fits with their current ad campaign that features kids playing all kids of sports like soccer and baseball with the workind "I am Hockey." It's trying to emphasize that while developing a love of hockey, kids should also experience other sports and should take their time to specialize in one sport or one position within that sport.

I think that's a great model for kids. Sean unfortunately would disagree with me since his singular love is hockey. In all it's forms. Just today he was watching Women's Team USA playing Finland. He is learning all the penalties and the refs hand gestures for each.

I'm hoping he expands his horizons soon but like I told Coach Jeremy. This isn't something we're forcing on him...HE'S forcing it on US!!!!!