Rink Building Time

Winter is nearly a month early here.  The first snowfall stuck, and it’s consistently below freezing.  That means that it’s time to build the backyard rink.

The first year I had a tarp.  Last year I had boards.  I made sure to number them when I stored them for the summer months, making the setup a whole lot easier this year.  It’s more like legos… if legos had screws.  Better news is that lessons learned from last year were applied.

  • Layout of tarp on the most level part of the yard.
  • Layout of the board components and braces.
  • A bag to carry the screws and joints.
  • A fully charge power drill!
  • Tighten the tarp as much as possible to avoid folds/ripples
  • Set up before the snow

What took close to 6 hours last year was done in about an hour this year.  Including having an 8 year old on the drill this year.

 

Filling in the rink is the perennially painful part.  The most level part still has a near 1 foot drop from one corner to the other.  It takes a surreal amount of water to fill that in. A slightly different take this year is to wait until there’s snow, which generally auto-levels itself.  Then apply the old-school misting of water to build a foundation of ice.  The downside to this is that it has to be at least -10C for the water to freeze in a reasonable time and not melt all the snow.

Well, that’s not entirely true.  It can’t snow during this time (usually a few days).  You can’t stand on it for a while, let alone skate.  And it’s been snowing nearly every single day for 3 weeks now.  Not exactly easy to get rid of the snow to put more water… keeps breaking the ice.  But I’m about 75% of the way now, with 2 more nights of watering to go.

The tarp would be a whole lot more useful for a really level ground.  I could fill it 2 inches and let it freeze and be done in a night.  Some engineering work for next year.

If things do work out, I should be able to run the rink until mid-February.  Considering my kids were on it 5 nights a week last year, that’s a whole lot of use considering the effort to create/maintain it.

Plus, you aren’t really a Canadian unless you play on the outdoor rink, right?

New Toys

You know me, always with the big boy toys. Mind you, they tend to be practical rather than superfluous! No different here. Hockey toys. All of em from www.hockeyshot.ca

First up, a hockey net. Not just any net but a foldable net.  2 inch pipes, regulation size, full net mesh and hecka solid.  The beauty of it all is that it folds up to about 4 inches wide.   I can set it up in about 30 seconds, alone and then store against the wall in the garage and it takes up as much space as a shovel.  Best part, about 100$ and the quality of a 400$ net.  Great.  And yes, it does come with the corner pockets.  Great for target practice.  I need more pucks though!

Next up, a shooting pad.  You’ve probably seen these before.  A white plastic pad to take shots on as it mimics ice surface.  Well, I saw one that was 2 feet by 4 and really, all you can do is shoot on it.  I wanted something to practice stickhandling, so I opted for the larger size.  4 feet by 8 feet.  Yes, that big.  I can use a stick (minus tape on the bottom), regular pucks and the thing slides great.  A stick with tape drags a bit much though.  I need to practice with a slightly smaller stick as well, since on skates I’m a good 3 inches higher off the ground.  Still trying to figure that part out.  The good news is it works great.  Bad news is that my arms are not made for stickhandling.  After 15 minutes, my left arm was dead.

Lastly, I picked up some stickhandling toys.  First, Sweedish Wooden Balls.  Stop laughing.  They were like 3$.  They are lighter, so I use them for quick movements and repetitions.  2-3 minutes of it before a game warms up the arms.  Second, I picked up a Green Biscuit.  These things are wicked.  A tad lighter than a regular puck but they work on cement and don’t stick.  They glide like crazy on the shooting mat and exagerate any stickhandling you do, so you have to be more careful with your hands.  Looking forward to trying it out in the spring/summer outside.  For now, the mat will do!

So far, really happy with the purchases.  I’ll try and get 15-30 minutes a day on it and see what happens.  I know it will help my hands out, we’ll just have to see how much.

Russia

Well how about that?  Canada shows up and plays a real hockey game.  Hats off to Getzlaf and Perry for playing their TRUE style, bump and grind.  It was refreshing to see.  Still a few mistakes here and there and I wasn’t a fan of the 3rd.  When you consider Ovechkin had 21 minutes of ice time, no points and only 3 shots, something is going right.

Looking forward to the next game.

Couple Things

Part the first.  Insanity day 2.  41 minute program of cycle cardio.  Essentially you do specific move sets for about 2.5mins, then 30 second break and repeat 3 more times.  Then again.  The warm-up is a 12 minute non-stop cardio workout followed by a 7 minute stretch.  I got through that part fine.  If people can’t, they really shouldn’t be doing the program I guess.  Of note, 151 BPM average.  35 minutes tallied on my heart rate monitor for 400 calories.

I was able to complete 1 of the 2 circuits following.  My quads are just killing me right now and power squats were simply impossible after about 50.  I have yet to figure out how to properly stretch quads as everyone focuses on hamstrings.  Maybe it’s years of hockey but I’ve never hurt my hamstrings but my quads have always ached.  Anyhow, all that to say that I’m taking a few days off this intense program to rest up the legs.  Not that I have a lot of time mind you, with the floor renos this weekend!

Part 2.  Hockey.  Yes.  Iginla and Crosby are finally teamed up for most of the game and look what happens.  Go Doughty!  Getzlaf gets put on the checking line (hell, 4th line it looked like).  There are quite a few players who just should not be on this team and it’s refreshing to know that Babcock is taking the steps to make that clear to the players.  Show up or ship out. Oh and if anyone is asking if Crosby should have taken that penalty shot instead of Nash, hell yes.  Blocking lanes and taking shots from the point (where was that for 2 games?).  A strong passing game, outside lane zone entry, good cycles. Goalie didn’t play the puck every time it was within 10 feet.  It’s like the team woke up.  Now, there are still issue mind you but it’s reassuring to see that game as the game Canadians should be playing.

I Feel For Ya

After watching that hockey game, I really feel bad for some people.  First, Mike Babcock.  He is going to get thrown under a bus with the very interesting decisions he’s made so far in regards to lines.  When my wife is asking “Why is that guy on the ice now?”, you know there’s a million other people thinking the exact same thing.

Players who need to show up:

  • Brodeur – What an odd game for him.  The first 3 goals were just, head shaking.
  • Pronger – Well, he’s actually playing like I expect him to.  If he’s not hitting people, then he shouldn’t be skating.
  • Getzlaf – I had serious questions about him playing with his ankle.  Watching him skate the past 3 games, I feel the same way.  There is no reason for him to be getting the ice time he is getting.  None.
  • Nash – Cut a foot off your stick man!  The amount of shots this guy cannot take because he stick is tangled is retarded.  This isn’t the NHL where you’re skating against children.
  • Thorton – Retire and put people out of their misery.  All you can do is pass, you can’t skate or shoot or hit.
  • Perry – That open net goal for USA is going to break him.

Players who should be getting more ice time

  • Crosby – He’s the only one who looks to be skating most times.
  • Iginla – Only with Crosby.  I didn’t see him at all in the first two periods, then in the 3rd he’s back with Crosby and plays like a madman.
  • Doughty – Only D I see worth a damn past Neidermeyer.

I’ve had some serious questions with the team Yzerman built.  The past three games have not helped.  Most of the players seem to think it’s some sort of NHL game where they can skate 25% of the time.  The US has it on 100% of the time.  Every shift they are aggressive on the puck and their checks.  If they mess up, the skate to catch up with the play.  Effort.

Canada just needs to play some hockey instead of watching other teams play hockey.