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Old 10-01-2014, 03:08 PM   #1
FrogMan
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
One last season with the midgets, a real life coaching story

First thing first, no, not THOSE midgets! Hockey playing Midgets

My oldest son Andrew never wanted to learn how to skate when he was 5 so we didn't force him to back then. A few years back, at the ripe age of 13, he showed some interest to start learning, mostly so he could go on skating days with his school friends. We'd go to the local rink on Sunday afternoon and he would work at it in the middle of the rink, with the very young kiddos. A year later, he asked us if he could play hockey... as a goalie!

He's now 17 and entering his fourth season as a hockey goalie, just out of two years of a special hockey program in high school in which he practiced hockey for about hours four afternoons a week. I improved immensely during those last two years and it's always a pleasure for me to go an watch him play.

Categories around here go from Novice, Atome, Pee Wee, Bantam, Midget and Junior. Most categories have level from competitive (AA, BB, CC) to recreative (a, B and sometimes C)

His first year of play was his last year of eligibility for the Bantam category. He had a great year that year, the 2011-12 season, playing in Bantam B. His team ended up winning one of their two tournaments and qualifying for the regionals. Nobody could believe he had never been a goalie before, in fact even less that he had never played before. He was 15 when that season ended.

His second season saw him move up to Midget, a rough move up as it's a three year kinda category with kids as old as 18 at the end of the season. The level of play goes up one big notch from Bantam to Midget, especialy for goalies who are facing better shooters and kids with much better puck handling skills. He struggled mightily during preseason play but ended up having a good season, playing in Midget B. That was his first season as part of the afternoon hockey program and it's really when he improved quite a lot. It was also his only season to date where he had to share goalie duty after spending his first season as the only goalie on the team. But even then, the other goalie broke his ankle early in the season and missed all but the first 3 and last 3 games in the season. Andrew was the only goalie for the rest of the season.

His third season, last season, was a rough one. Again playing in Midget B, the season got off to a rocky start. He got kinda categorized as Midget B while the goalie who had broke his ankle and had barely played the season before got tagged as Midget A. We're not big complainers and in retrospect, maybe we should have whined to the hockey association but he was still happy to play hockey and was still part of the hockey program at school. That's probably what hurt the most since not only had he played more that the other goalie the season before, he was also on the ice 5-6 hours a week during school time, learning goaltending technique with goalie coaches. To top it off, up to maybe a week before the start of the season, his Midget B team didn't even have a coach. I was just too busy to get into it last year, what with having a dojo to take care of most evenings, and they ended up with another dad coaching them. It was sad affair. The coach didn't care about the team at all despite his son being on the team, and overall, the team was lacking in skills, at all positions but especially in the defenders spots and also, maybe because of the coach's attitude, the kids had a bad attitude toward effort during games and practices. I ended up with the habit of counting shots to kinda encourage Andrew and show him that despite the 7-3 or 8-1 losses, he couldn't do it all by himself. He faced a couple of 50+ shots game and numerous 35+ shots game. Actually, 35 was more like his norm... He was the only goalie on the squad and saw a lot of action but he ended up being frustrated a whole lot. Finally, I missed maybe one or two games on the whole season and even ended up on the bench as an assistant with the defenders.

Fast forward to this season, his last season of eligibility for the Midget category. Preseason camp started on August 23 and at first, it was supposed to be basic practices to get everybody back in shape with players assigned at random into three groups. He got assigned to group 3 which we soon learned was comprised of players that would eventually play in Midget B. He never actually got a chance to show his worth for a shot to move up to Midget A. While there were only 4 keepers for 2 A teams and 2 B teams last year, camps started this year with 8 goalies for 4 teams but one decided he wouldn't play this year leaving us with 7 for 4 teams. That meant one B team would have two goalies.

Training camp consisted in intrasquad games after the first couple practices. Players were being evaluated during those games.

Midget is a weird category, especially the midget B level. Guys want to play yet don't always put in the effort. Goalies usually pay for that. Think NHL All Star game where defense doesn't exist. In his first two midget season, Andrew would often come back home very frustrated after one of these intra squad games but this year, you could tell he had grown into his role, as if the game had slowed down in front of him. I remain convinced that if you put him behind some level A caliber defenders that know how to clear the puck and don't always leave him alone with breakaways and he could most definitely play at the A level. Up until two weeks ago, there were only two goalies assigned to the B level, Andrew and a young girl who's just coming up from the Bantam category. Poor thing seems afraid of the puck.

Fast forward some more to Thursday last week. With the start of the regular season looming large, players were still not separated into teams and one goalie had been cut from the A level. I watched Andrew split time with the other two and thought about how it would suck for him to not only play at the B level but also to have to share goalie duty with another goalie especially now that he's out of high school and wouldn't be playing hockey in the afternoon...

It's during that Thursday evening practice that I learned the reason why the players had yet to be split into teams. There were NO COACHES!!! NONE!

Sigh, it was 2013 all over again. This time though, the dad who coached him last year was unavailable since his son had been picked to play at the A level...

The two gentlemen in charge of evaluating players walked through the few parents in the stands and asked around: "hey, anybody interested in coaching this year?"

I texted this info to my wife as I was waiting for Andrew to come out of the locker room. Maybe she read something into my text message and replied immediately with this: "You would be so good at this! Question is, are you too busy?"

It twisted me inside. Maybe secretly I wanted to get involved. Was I any less busy than a year before? Probably not but things were in a better place with a good replacement instructor at the dojo if I ever had the need to. After all, I had only missed 2 games last year. To sit in the stands or stand behind the bench, would the latter really take THAT much more time out of my weeks???

I kinda talked about how that last practice had gone with Andrew on the drive home and then some more with my wife, about me giving my name when I got home. Just before going to bed, I asked Andrew if he'd like it if I coached him and his team. You should have seen his face. He lighted up instantly...

Thing is, I'm a freaking perfectionist. I don't like doing things unless I feel VERY good about it. It only took my wife telling me that I couldn't do worse than last year's coach to convince me...

So now, of course, I would not start this kind of thread if I had not given my name. So the morning after, i.e. last Friday, I called one of the guys in charge to offer them to take charge of Andrew's team with one BIG condition: I wanted Andrew to be my ONLY goalie. My first reason was very personal, I wanted Andrew to have fun and play as much as possible this season. My second reason was kinda simple. At this recreative level, we usually alternate between goalies, the same way we don't have a depth chart of attackers or defenders, but there are moments when you might want to use a specific player. I didn't want to be stuck having to choose between my son whom I think the world of, as would most dads, and another goalie...

They got back to me within 10 minutes and they agreed, Andrew would be my only goalie, and I was named Head Coach of the Commandeurs of Pointe-Lévy Midget B1!!!

This thread here is where I'll come back to whine, vent, rant, and hopefully share good moments of my team... Hope to see you around.

Season officially starts on October 5th and as of now, I'm the only coach for two teams. I'll report back with what has happened since last Friday...

FM
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Old 10-02-2014, 12:28 PM   #2
FrogMan
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Two practices were still on the schedule before that first game on October 5th: Saturday and Monday evening.

I had not missed many of the practices/intrasquad games so far this season. I fact I had been to all of them, missing maybe some 15 minutes at the start of a couple of them. Thin is, while I watched the games, I was sometimes fooling with my phone but of the time, I was analizing the work of the goalies, paying better attention to Andrew's play. I like to watch him play.

Teams got shuffled regularly during preseason and the guys in charge of scouting gave me a list of players with their jersey numbers as well as the evaluation they had made of all of them. That evaluation was in the form of a score from 1 to 4 with 1 being the best and 4 being the worst. I viewed that as the same as most rating you'd give players in a text sim...

One thing I learned on Saturday though, the third goalie, the one who'd been cut from the A level, had decided he would not even play this season if he was going to play at the B level. Not the first time this has happened and something I just don't understand, but heh, it meant I now had the dominant goalie of the two available. Even though they had deleted their goalie rating from the spreadsheet they'd sent me, it was obvious Andrew is much, much better than the girl.

So I sat in the stands on Saturday evening with my list of players and I took notes. Some players I remembered from previous scrimmages but some other I was just discovering.

The kids had pretty much split themselves into two squads and it was obvious about 15 minutes into the scrimmage that one of them was much stronger than the other. It happened that Andrew was facing them first. I could see him getting frustrated by the lack of help his side was providing him. One thing was clear, I wanted to give him some support when a draft would eventually happen.

Now that's the thing, come Monday morning, I was still the ONLY coach for two teams. I was getting antsy. The last practice/intrasquad scrimmage was scheduled to be on Monday evening and the next event would be the first game of the regular season.

I decided to play with the players list on my lunch time on Monday and submitted two possible lineups to be tested on Monday evening. Scouts agreed that we could test those lineups during the evening's practice. I had built the lineups to be as fair as possible, giving the other team better defenders to compensate for the quality difference in front of goals while giving my team somewhat better, or should I say more balanced offense. Not so much very high end but with less highs and lows in between players. If I was going to put some work into it while nobody was, I also made sure to put kids I knew on my squad, kids I wanted to work with.

I taped a lineup on the two locker room and kids went almost crazy. Actually, without knowing it, I had put friends together while simply trying to make balanced lineups.

The game went ok with the puck moving from one end to the other for the first 15 minutes. The other team even scored first on Andrew. I then had to leave the game to pick up my team jerseys and when I got back, "my" team was kinda getting away. We looked a bit strong but some of it was simply on the goalies. I saw a couple breakaways happen that Andrew stopped with nice saves that I know the girl on the other side would probably not have stopped. There are things you just can't account for when there's this big a difference between goalies...

Anyway, I went to the locker room after the game and despite one team allowing more goals, most kids were telling me that they liked the lineups... One kid came to me telling me he didn't really have much fun that evening, that most his friends were on Andrew's team and if the teams stayed that way, he doesn't know how he'd enjoy his season. He's one of the lowest rated forward in my book so I switched him up with a higher rated on my squad once I got home thinking that could help even things up a bit.

None of the two scouts were there on Monday to see the result of my work. There I was, trying to hold a draft by myself, yet still trying to be fair to both sides, heh. But time was flying, there was no time left to lose... Again, first game of the regular season this coming Sunday, October 5th, with no other ice time until them...

FM
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Old 10-02-2014, 03:09 PM   #3
FrogMan
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They'd told me over the weekend that the deadline to find a coach for the second team was Wednesday evening but I didn't feel like sitting there and wait. Since I was the only person to really take a look at my own lineups in action on Monday, I decided to report back to them.

Didn't hear back from them until late on Wednesday afternoon when they asked me if I could meet with them later on Wednesday evening. The guy thanked me for the thorough practice report and was telling me that they were meeting with the coach prospects for the other team and that we could set the squads right then and there. I was getting anxious, thought it would never happen.

Meanwhile, as I was teaching a karate class, my wife texted me that somebody else from our local hockey association wanted me to call them back. I did just before going to the meeting and he told me I had to register my team with the league by completing a form that listed all players with their jersey numbers, date of birth and so on. Thing was, I STILL DIDN'T HAVE A TEAM!!!

It wouldn't be long before we would correct that. I met with the scouts and the coaches of the other team a bit later and we sat down to look at players and lineups. The guys on the other side are two early 20's kid. I knew one of them since he was an assistant on Andrew's team last year. Not the brightest knife in the drawer to be honest. His friend has coached youth baseball and looked much more ready to control of a team.

We usually would have done a draft but we just didn't have much time and the other coaches didn't know the players much, other than looking at their ratings so we agreed that we would work off premade lineups, mine and the scout's.

The scout had put together a couple lineups before I'd done mine but while they looked about as fair as mine, they had quite a few differences, mainly taking away some of the middle of the pack kids I just wanted to coach because they were on Andrew's team last year and I knew were good kids.

The scout started with one switch I was hoping I could avoid but knew made just too much sense. He told me that given how Andrew is a much better goalie, we had to take the worst defender available on our team. The player I was giving up wasn't the best though so it didn't hurt me that much.

What followed got a bit crazy. He then offered the other team one of my best forward under the explanation that his dad was a former hockey coach in our association and could certainly helped them. I countered that I just couldn't lose one of my two top forward that way and not get anything in return. Way it was set up, their top forwards were older players, both in their last year of Midget. The scout seemed reluctant to split them up. Then ensued some back and forth about a whole lot of things and he suggested we exchanged my top two forwards for their top two forwards. Even though all four players were rated as 1 (the highest score for a player) I knew I was coming up on top in that transaction. But there was a problem. One of my top forward was linked to my current top defender. He'd told me on Monday that if we ever changed the lineups, they would like to stay on the same team since they are neighbors and will travel together to games. Now, I couldn't lose my top defender, another player rate at 1, for anything less, especially not after accepting the lowest rated defender, could I?

They agreed to give me their top rated defender in that kind of blockbuster deal. Like that, all the players rated 1 had changed side and for me, I was coming up on top. The defender I was giving away is a very attacking kind of defender while the one I was getting was a bit more of a stay at home defender, but I was happy with that.

Compared to my initial lineups, I ended up giving up a couple players I liked but getting similarly rated player that I didn't mind too much. Best final move of the evening was brought forward by one of the coach of the other team. Lookign at the bottom of my lineup, he asked me if I really wanted to hold on to a couple of brothers. Told him not too much but I knew the older brother since he'd played with Andrew for a couple seasons. The coach told me they were neighbors of his and he'd been their baseball coach for a couple seasons and would really like to have them on his team. The older brother is one of the two players rated 4 (the worst possible rating) while the younger brother is a 3. I agreed to swap up the two for is only 4 rated player.

That was sort of a strategic move on my part. Before the move, I was set to have 1 goalie, 4 known defenders and 10 forwards. Having 10 forwards on a hockey team is a nightmare to manage on the bench. You can make it less of a burden by forcing a forward to defense but by doing that, you often weaken your defense as well as make a forward unhappy. By giving up a player, I was going to a lineup of 1 goalie, 4 defenders and a perfect 9 forwards for three full lines. WIN!

I got back home, tired after a frigging long day, but happy I finally had a team. Sat down around the dinner table with my son to look at the team he'd have around him, he looked happy...

This evening, I will get on the phone to call the kids on my team. Can't wait, I'm just excited. Can,t wait to see if there will be any reaction when I'll talk to the kids. I especially want to hear from that defender rated 1 who goes from possibly playing in front of the girl as his goalie to playing in front of Andrew as his goalie...

FM
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:24 PM   #4
timmae
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Great read! I will be following... It sounds like you will be a great leader for the team!
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:12 PM   #5
FrogMan
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thanks timmae! Don't know if I'll be a good leader or not but I'll sure give it my all...

I realize I'm running late about reporting already but it's been a busy weekend so far. Been watching a bunch of online training session that are needed before I go and take part in a on-ice and in-class coach training session in order to get the certification that is needed for me to go through the season as the head coach...

And right now, I'm kinda freaking out. First game is in about two and a half hours... So much will be happening... Be back later to report about how it happened from Thursday and in the game.

FM
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:20 PM   #6
JonInMiddleGA
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You got this Frog.

You don't know it yet, but you got it.
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Old 10-05-2014, 05:25 PM   #7
FrogMan
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thanks for the vote of confidence Jon. I think you're right. Lots of stuff on my mind, not the least of which is meeting a bunch of 15 to 17 year old and getting them to play for me... Lots of stuff to report about but it would just be a jumble so I'll really be back later and try to write it in order, or at least in some sort of order

Loading the pucks, water bottles and jerseys in the car right now

FM
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:41 AM   #8
Icy
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Will be following, good luck!
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:53 AM   #9
Izulde
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What an awesome read thus far. I loved hearing about the strategy of team formation.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:17 AM   #10
FrogMan
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thanks guys, I'll try to update the thread today, going chronologically from last Thursday. A lot has happened since then and I really mean A LOT, including but not limited to us playing our first regular season game as a team. Not to tease too much but drama ensued, and is still ongoing...

FM
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:23 AM   #11
BYU 14
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Good stuff, will be following
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:22 PM   #12
FrogMan
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Thursday evening callbacks went pretty well. I didn't get much reaction except from three players. Honestly, what was I expecting from a bunch of 15-17 year olds other than some subdued "yeah", "mmmkay", "huh huh", right?

I guess the fact I'm an absolute unknown in the little world of our local hockey association played a big part in this. I mean, most of these kids have been playing hockey for almost 8 to 10 years while Andrew is only entering his 4th season and I have NEVER been around as a coach other that for a few games a year in the last couple seasons as a bench assistant, you know, mainly the guy who opens the door on one end of the bench. The three best reactions I got were from three kids who were on Andrew's team last season.

The first nice reaction was a quietly excited one but coming from that one kid, I knew it was positive as he's one of the quietest kid on the team, one I had pushed to have on my team not because of his talent but for his heart. He's not a bad player but he is especially hard working. The second reaction was an exhuberant one from a kid who'd missed a couple practices and because of it, had no clue I was even involved with the coaching of a team. His dad is a policeman and was an assistant on Andrew's team last season. I know his dad can only be an assistant kinda part time but I was looking to lock him up as part of my team of coaches. That kid always smiles and great me with a big "hi!" whenever we cross at the rink and when I introduced myself as "the dad of Andrew, the goalie" he recognized me but didn't quite understand why I'd call him at home. When I told him I'd be his coach this season, his reaction, quite instantaneous, was the kind of "really! You're gonna coach the team!?!" followed by a "That's awesome!!" that warms your heart and tells you you are doing this for the right reason. The third reactions was from a kid that had already told me, after that first Saturday evening practice, that he wanted to play for me. Andrew had told him in the dressing room. When I reached him, my simple question to him was "Alex, you ready to play hockey for me?" His reply was a resounding "Hell yeah!"

Within about a couple hours I had talked to every one of my players and had them committed to a little team meeting on Sunday, one hour before the start of our first regular season game. yup, we were to play, as a team, without having any practice time together. How crazy is that? Well, not so crazy, that's what happen when you're stuck at the VERY last minute. The good thing was, that first game was against the other Midget B team from our association, and they would not have had the benefit of a practice session either...

FM
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:15 PM   #13
FrogMan
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Saturday evening and Sunday morning were spent in good part watching some online training needed for me to get my coaching card. There is a one day training that's to happen on a Saturday either toward the end of October or the end of November but the online training part is mandatory. The first part was title "Respect and Sport" and was comprised of some 5 or 6 sections each with 5 clips between 4 and 12 minutes in length. While it had been sort of adapted to sports, it was more of a generalist teaching about being a good leader of activity. It treated of harrasment, intimidation, violence and such. I thought it was very interesting and felt I could use some of it as a sensei in my dojo. Most of it was pretty much common sense though, stuff that *I* take for granted, for example what not to do and how not to communicate with people you are leading. I got done with that on Saturday evening and moved on to the second online training.

That second online training is from Hockey Canada and is called Hockey University. It's geared toward teaching individuals how to become good recreation hockey coach. Again, some pretty interesting stuff although quite basic and not all applied to my situation. For example, I got a good laugh from their recommendation to kneel down in front of my young players when I give them instruction so I get to their level. You know, because during a practice, when I put my skates on, I'm soooo much taller than them. HAHAHAHAHA most of my players are about my weight and it's only because I'm 5'11" that I'm taller than them. Hockey players age 15 to 17 are pretty big in full gear.

I spent part of the afternoon putting together a somewhat formal first meeting speech for Sunday evening. I was taking this pretty seriously... (I still am btw )

FM
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:44 PM   #14
FrogMan
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sigh, it's been a crazy start of this week after a long weekend but don't despair, updates are coming... but mostly tomorrow...

FM
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:19 PM   #15
FrogMan
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Sunday was the big day, our first regular season game! As they usually schedule it every season, we played the other Midget B team from our association.

I'd asked the kids to get to the rink an hour before the game so I could give them their jersey and have a little team meeting maybe 45 minutes before the game, leaving them 30 minutes to get ready. I was kinda freaking out all day, overly nervous. I'm a usually pretty self-confident kinda guy and I teach karate in front of classes all the time but for some reason, the idea of meeting a bunch of 15-17 year olds that I would try to coach had something that stressed me out. How would they see me, the outsider they didn't know anything about who would coach them for the upcoming season?

First contact was ok, kinda shy to be honest. On both sides, heh.
When you get to the Midget age category, you are kinda dealing with kids who have got to be playing the sport because they should actually like playing it. As far as I could tell it wasn't the case for all of Andrew's teammates las season. I mean, Andrew just loves a day that has some hockey in it. On such a day, we see him giggle like a little kid, really and it would frustrate him to no end last year when he'd come back home after a game and there had been 3, 4 or 5 guys who just didn't care. You'd wonder why they actually signed up to play...

Going into this team meeting, one thing was certain for me, I was gonna ask them if any of them was forced to play hockey by daddy or mommy. Seemed pretty straightforward, no? And I think it worked. I want them to actually buy into the idea of coming to play, have fun but work hard, despite your abilities. I mean, I get it that it's Midget B and there is no lower level below it. None of these guys will make it to the NHL, that's a given, but this shouldn't mean they can play lazily and not backcheck for example. I wanted this to be crystal clear and will hammer down that point all season long.

Second point I made sure was understood was that I wanted us to have fun as a team but be serious about it, especially about guys keepeing their cool toward the end of games. That's one big difference we'd seen in Andrew's first two season in Midget compared to his one season as a Bantam, it was that games tented to derail more as the kids get older. I made sure to tell them that I would not accept that. On of my forwards asked me if it was ok to drop the gloves. I had to ask him to repeat his question. I didn't know if he was serious or not but I knew he would be one of my two best forwards. I told him not to look for trouble...

Third point I told them was that for me, it was important that they play as a team. I'd seen it too often last year that as soon as the team would drop behind by maybe a couple goals, every kid worked hard but they each wanted to go and score a goal by themselves. Passing would then disappear and we just sink more and more and get frustrated. I told them each player has a responsability depending what position they played. Forwards had to score goal, defenders to stop the other team from scoring. On top of that, I was expecting forwards to backcheck and come back to help.

Finally, I brushed off on practice sessions telling them that I knew many of them had jobs and would sometimes miss a practice here or there but I wanted them ro rwll me when they'd miss a practice. Communication would be key. I added that I wanted our practices to be fun and promised they'd touch pucks a lot and would get to shoot on goal quite a bit.
I found it kinda hard to get a read on the kids. Few spoke and nobody was really all RAH RAH RAH, if you know what I mean.

Our first game was next...

FM
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:36 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
That first game went well, maybe a bit too well. I knew going into the game that we probably had a better lineup than the other side, and it all started with the goalies. As I said before their goalie is a young girl, a first year Midget. She's not big and while she's got the right attitude, she's not up to Midget level yet, might never be. She looks afraid of the puck at times, tilting her head sideways a little when a big shot comes up. By comparison, Andrew is a frigging plywood board compared to her in the sense that he never wavers when a shot comes.

I will present our full lineup later on so you'll have names to know who's who but for now let's say that after the last roster changes, we ended up with the best two forwards. I just didn't know how dominant they'd end up being. We ended up winning the game 11-3 with 2:05 still to play in the game. They stop the game when there's an 8 goal differential.

That score makes it look worse than how it really happened. It was 4-2 after the first period with a couple gifted goals for us. Our first goal was a prime example of a gifted goal as it came on a long shot from an angle from arguably one of our worst player. On paper, he's our worst rated player (our only player rated 4) although I thought he played better than that rating.

They scored to start the second period to make it 4-3 and a couple players conceded to me that we were not really dominating them. We then got a power play in which we scored to make it 5-3, then scored again a few minutes later to make it 6-3 and they just collapsed and stopped playing. From there I told our guys to work on passing and not try to score at all cost but even then, the other side was offering little opposition.

I'm not a big hockey strategist. I didn't take this "job" to revolutionize how they'll play the game but mostly to make sure they'd have a season. There are some little things I can point out as I played some hockey in my youth but there are people far better than me to actually coach a hockey team. That kind of game was maybe perfect to get my feet wet as there was nothing to actually say.

The two top forwards combined for 5 of the 11 goals, one of them getting a hat trick as well as 3 assists while the other scored a couple goals. They had a hand on 8 of our 11 goals...

Honestly, while I was impressed with how these two played, I was also pleased with how my other guys played. Passes were crisper than I remembered them being last season. I thought maybe it was because I was at ice level but my wife told me the same from her point of view up the stands. The kids worked hard and the effort was there, more than it had been for most of last season. I saw backcheck efforts that resulted in broken up plays that last year would have resulted in a two against none in front of Andrew. I liked that. Sure, it's only one game but maybe my message could go through...

I met with the parents right after the game and told them the exact same points I'd told their kids.

I was looking for people to help me out too. I had two dads who offered their help as assistant before the game. One of them was that policeman I'd told about before and it's clear he will only be available every other weekend. The other is the dad of a first year Midget who was an assistant on his son's team last year.

I still needed a manager for the team. Purpose of a manager is to handle the paperwork around tournament registrations, collecting money from parents when needed, that sort of thing. My wife was ready to chip in and do it if I couldn't find anybody but I wanted to get this work out of the house because I knew if my wife didn't time to do it, I'd have to work on it and I really wanted to delegate it to someone else. During the meeting, despite explaining that I have my hands full with a full time job during the day and a dojo to run in the evening and that I was coaching just so their kids (and mine of course) could have a good hockey season, I got nobody stepping forward. As I was gathering my papers and was about to leave, one mom came to me, telling me she would like to help but had no clue what it implied. I breathed a sigh of relief. We got her in touch with the mom of another player who'd done the managerial position and she was all set.

Then the drama kinda started, not with my kids mind you... But that's for another time...

FM
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:13 PM   #17
Sharkn20
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Thanks for that Dinasty!! I will follow you!! I was the Coach of an American Football Team with players between 14 and 38 years and it remembers me when I decided to step up and took the rains! Anxious to get the up-dates!

I hope your team wins the league and read it, maybe some of them could jump to A category and get a nice scholarship!
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:09 PM   #18
FrogMan
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
I wasn't even home when I received an email from the assistant technical director of our hockey association asking me a sort of report on the game, how I thought it went and if I had any suggestions. He's one of the guys that evaluated the players and to whom I sent a list of lineups earlier in the process. He seemed to value my opinion after that first lineup suggestion.

I told him just I wrote above, that the score didn't indicate how the game went and that while we were probably stronger, the other team had stopped playing at some point, more precisely when the score got to 6-3. I added that we had scored on two power plays while succesfull stopping their only chance.

I wanted to avoid losing any players on offense so I kinda offered a switch of one of my decent defenders for their worst. That would give me the two worst defenders out of the six that were available at first. I also offered my fourth defender who in fact is a converted forward but who had done an excellent job for us on defense in the first game. That would give them a their fourth good defender while I'd have to scramble and convert another forward to defense and would leave me exposed with Andrew providing the most of my defense behind a patchwork line of defense. I thought it made at least some sense.

He didn't see it that way. He came back saying he'd only seen the first period of the game and that he thought their defense had done a decent job and that there were the same number of good scoring chances on both sides but we were leading 4-2 and looked comfortably in control. His point of view came down to the fact that no matter the strongest defenders you would put in front of that goalie, they wold usually need to outscore their opponents by much more than we would with Andrew as our goalie... He added that he thought we should give away our TWO top forwards. I knew these two were good buddies and pretty much came as a package but what came next kinda shocked me. The guy was kinda acting as the middle man, a mediator if you will, and he told me he told they should give me two average players for our two top front men. I was shocked when I read the two names he was offering me. One of them was a player rated 3 (remember that the other two were rated 1) that I had marked as "kind of lazy, not always giving his best" or in other words, not really my kind of player, and really not a scoring kind of forward. The other guy while rated at 2, was one I wanted no part with. He played with Andrew last year. He's listed as forward but is more of a defender but a very wild one, capable of good things but also often capable of crap inducing plays. Worst of all, he's only present 40 to 50% of the games and almost never there for practices. Almost the complete opposite of what I was looking for in a player...

Sigh, he wanted to strip my team bare and leave me asking Andrew to score goals after making the save!!!

I replied to him that a recreative Midget team like ours need at least one player capable of creating some sparkle up front. By stripping us of both these players while giving us almost nothing, we'd end up never getting out of our defensive zone and I was unwilling to put Andrew through this kind of season again.

When you are dealing with this kind of recreative level where dads are coaching and buddies are asking to play together, you get tied up pretty quick. One of their forward scored the 3 goals against us in that game. In the first lineups I had put together, he was on my side but ended up being switched by the assistant technical director because he said his brother would help their coaches with practices. During the game, the coach on the other side had 3 assistants but none of the them was the brother of that player so I tried a counter. Okay, I could give my top two players but would have to get their top for that samed kinda lazy rated 3 forward, but not the one who kept missing games and practices... I sent that reply on Monday around 3 pm.

The evening passed, then the morning on Tuesday and I sent an email around lunch Tuesday asking what was up since I'd not heard anything and we had a team practice that evening and a game coming up this Saturday.

I got a reply soon after that it had taken some time because he was thinking about my last comment. He replied that the brother of that forward was indeed involved with the team and would in fact put together and direct their practices. Sigh... He added he still tought BOTH top forwards had to change team. He offered me something different. Their other top forward, while not as dominant, was another forward rated as a 1 and had played all of the season in Midget A last year. I knew the kid since he had played with Andrew in his first year of hockey in the Bantam category. He would not give me really a sure thing as a firepower up front but it was much better. I could certainly use him as an achor in the middle of our offense and I knew he was a hard worker and a good kid. Thing was, he was anchored to their best defender since they both came to games together, the defender providing the ride to the forward. You see the puzzle there? Want this player but oh know, he comes with this one and this one cannot go. ARRRGGG!!!

The assistant technical director told me he'd send me both the forward and their top defender as a package as well as that other forward (not the absent one) for my top two forwards as well as my top defender. My mind went into overdrive, lots of things to think about there...

Remember that blockbuster deal that had happened when we set the teams up? Well, we were reversing it. I was coming out of it short of one 1 rated forward but otherwise not too bad. Given who was left on the other side, or maybe I should, who was left that I was even interested on coaching, that was probably as good as it would get so I approved the deal.

When the dust had settled and I averaged all the preseason ratings of my players (as given by evaluators of the association) I was coming up with 2.23 while the other side was coming up with 2.25. Remember 1 is good, 4 is bad. You want a rating as low as possible. Both teams were probably, on paper at least, as close to one another as they could be. With all the firepower they have up front, this meant they also had some lower rated players to deal with while we were more even from top to bottom.
Comparing the two defenders that just switched side, I'd say the one leaving us was more of a stay at home defender while the one coming to us was more a, I wouldn't say wild, but more of an offensive minded defender. He's much bigger and stronger than the one leaving us and I actually liked him more than the one leaving us during the first few pratices I'd seen. I thought he could actually help us clear the puck out of our defensive zone.

In between all these email exchanges, I got to see what our team would look like without these two top forward BUT also before the two new guys joined us as we had a practice on Tuesday evening. Nine kids showed up for this half ice practice with both top forward missing. I had the rest of them work mostly on individual abilities, i.e. passing in movement, shooting, skating. Smoe of the things I saw didn't encourage me much...

The whole move makes me nervous but I don't think I had a choice. I talked to my new kids yesterday and all three sounded happy to join me and our team. I try to tell myself we have a much more stable defensive four that we had last year so at least we'll be able to defend better and restart the offense from the back, something which was lacking last season and sometimes resulted in numerous shots on Andrew because we just couldn't touch the puck in a while. I know this new defender will cut many of those loose puck in the middle. I hope I can get my kids to buy into the whole 100% effort, pass and do not try to do everything by yourself and backcheck message. If not, we might be in for a long season...

But then again, the players we give up are two good scorers but also two wild fellas. The defender was a good kids though, and the three players we are getting are good kids. That opinion was reinforced after talking to them on the phone. As a whole, I like the look of our team, hopefully it'll work itself all right.

Next game is this Saturday and it will not be easy. Not so much because of the opponent we face, Alliés-2, since I know nothing other than the fact that they beat Alliés-1 5-3 last Sunday, but more because that top forward we just got also told me on the phone that he had already told his other coach that he is out of town this weekend. And another of our decent forward is also out of town. It's just too early in the season for me to have been able to rate and sign an affiliate (a Bantam player that could come play with us when players are missing, Bantam A players are allowed to play for Midget B teams are affiliates) so we'll have to do with what we have. Dear god, I'm becoming a coach, I'm thinking about how I could shuffle my lines to make up for missing players. It's fun now though. Wasn't so much during the fight to keep them from stripping my team.

FM
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:13 PM   #19
FrogMan
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkn20 View Post
Thanks for that Dinasty!! I will follow you!! I was the Coach of an American Football Team with players between 14 and 38 years and it remembers me when I decided to step up and took the rains! Anxious to get the up-dates!

I hope your team wins the league and read it, maybe some of them could jump to A category and get a nice scholarship!

Thanks for reading. Just to be clear, the level of players I deal with are really on a recreative level. Above A & B are AA, BB, CC and even Midget AAA that could lead you to Major Junior (the Canadian Hockey League, cHL) from which many kids are drafted for the NHL. Kids in Midget B are in it because they love playing the game. Sometimes with younger players, they are signed up because their parents just want them to get involved in a team sport and hockey is like a religion around here, but at about 15 to 17 years of age, kids should be playing simply because they like the game.

Also, about winning the league, as much as I'd like us to get a run for it, our teams are usually middle to bottom tier teams. There are 17 teams in the league and we play a 24 games calendar. Playoffs are usually split in two with the top half teams playing the Gold playoff bracket and the bottom half playign the Bronze playoff bracket. I'd be happy if we could stick to the Gold bracket.

The other thing that would make me VERY happy is making it to regionals. That would mean a top 5 or 6 finish. The number changes from year to year depending on the host city. More on that as we get deeper into the season...

FM
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Old 10-10-2014, 08:46 AM   #20
Sharkn20
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogMan View Post
Thanks for reading. Just to be clear, the level of players I deal with are really on a recreative level. Above A & B are AA, BB, CC and even Midget AAA that could lead you to Major Junior (the Canadian Hockey League, cHL) from which many kids are drafted for the NHL. Kids in Midget B are in it because they love playing the game. Sometimes with younger players, they are signed up because their parents just want them to get involved in a team sport and hockey is like a religion around here, but at about 15 to 17 years of age, kids should be playing simply because they like the game.

Also, about winning the league, as much as I'd like us to get a run for it, our teams are usually middle to bottom tier teams. There are 17 teams in the league and we play a 24 games calendar. Playoffs are usually split in two with the top half teams playing the Gold playoff bracket and the bottom half playign the Bronze playoff bracket. I'd be happy if we could stick to the Gold bracket.

The other thing that would make me VERY happy is making it to regionals. That would mean a top 5 or 6 finish. The number changes from year to year depending on the host city. More on that as we get deeper into the season...

FM

I hope to read your future travel to the regionals at the end of the season in that case
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:43 PM   #21
FrogMan
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
ok, time to put some name tags on those nameless players... I'll go position by position, starting from our nets and going up to the forward spots. Keep in mind that some of those player reports will be sometimes simply my opinion of how I see the player playing for us more than a factual assessment of the talent of the player. I've only paid good attention to them with the eye of a coach for a couple of intrasquad games, one real game and one practice in which many were missing.
Let's get this going, shall we?

Goalie

Andrew G, 3rd year Midget, played Midget B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2
Andrew is my son and will be the anchor of our defense. At the age of 17, this is only his fourth season playing hockey and I'm simply amazed at how much he has progressed over the last three seasons. He's very solid on shots from a distance, rarely giving up a bad goal on such challenges and is also pretty good on shootouts and breakaways. His main weekness might be his anticipation for lateral movement when a pass comes from the corner up to the slot (in between the two defensive face off circles) or from one side to the other, right accross the defensive zone but that's something that is very tough for most goalies to deal with. He regularly faced 35+ shots per game last season behind a pretty weak defensive line. He even had a couple games of 50 shots, one of them going up to 55 shots. He's a cool and mellow kid but has been getting a bit more vocal with his defenders, letting them know if an opposing forward is left alone on the periphery. Him only being in his fourth year of playing hockey, he still loves the game so frigging much, it's just a joy to watch. A game with hockey in it, be it a game or even simply a practice, is like Christmas every time for him. This year will be time consuming for me but I'm so happy to share this with him... There was no preseason rating for the goalies in the file they gave me, maybe because it was set that both goalies would simply be on different teams. After comparing their standards to rate a player a 1 which was usually a very dominant player or a player who had just been cut from the Midget A camp and seeing how Andrew was never invited to try out for the A, I gave him a rating of 2 for team average rating purposes...


Defenders

Charles-William (C.W.) B, 3rd year Midget, played Midget A in 2013-14, preseason rating: 1
I will refer to him as C.W. from now on. He comes to our team as part of the last blockbuster deal. My first impression of C.W. when I first saw him in the first intrasquad match my eyes of a coach was "holy crap, that kid can play!". He's a beast. I thinks that impression was also driven by the fact that they had rated him a 2 on the first list they gave me. I thought there's no way this guy is a 2 compared to the other 2 and the 1's... Tall and big with great skating skills and good hands. His size is nice to move people around but checking isn't allowed at the A and B level so it's not as big a factor as one would think, but it will still help him win battles in the corners. His passes are crisp and more often than not, right on target. He's shown a tendency to go forward quite a bit but not in a uncontrolled manner. I will work with that and make it known to others that I expect someone to stay behind if he goes forward, as long as he remembers that once the push is done, his number one priority is defense. Looking at his stats from last year, I saw he had only played 10 games out of 24 in the season and I learned he had an history of concussions. One I think from playing football and another from a bad fall in hockey. There's no checking at our level so he should be ok, and I will certainly be but that could become a concern...

Charles F, 1st year Midget, played Bantam A in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2
Charles is tall and kinda lanky and is more of a stay at home defender. He's got good basics for a defender, decent skating a good hands but will have to grow into playing with midget level boys. It's interesting but I was not impressed by him the first time I saw him, even downgrading him to below 2 in my notes but then, the second game he played much better and has been quite ok since then. He looks like a fairly quiet kid that will be fun to coach. this will apply to many other kids but him coming from Bantam A is a positive. There is a good difference in attitude between kids playing at the A level and kids playing at the B level. Kids at the A level know there is a level below to which they could be relegated so they often work harder in practices.

Vincent C, 2nd year Midget, played Midget B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 3
Vince played with Andrew last season and was part of that pretty bad defense I talked about. He's a very good kid but, similar to Andrew, has not been playing hockey for very long. Because of this, his game is lacking in several places. He's not very fast on his skates and while he looks strong and has a good build, he often ends up shooting or passing from the tip of his stick blade thus making some sloppy passes that can easily cut short by opposing forwards. He did improve between the start dna the end of last season though so we will keep working with him and try to make him better. He's definitely the weakest link in our defense but the difference from last season is that we had a couple more like him, not this season...

Christophe C, 1st year Midget, played Bantam A in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2+/1.5
Chris was ranked as a 2+ on the list they gave me and I thought this was about right. He played Bantam A last season and is probably a bit better than most players rated at 2 but not quite there with players rated at 1. For average purposes, I gave him a 1.5. He's not our worst defender by a long shot but he's also a forward converted to defense. He offered to play defense at the start of the second intrasquad game we had and that was quite ok by me since there were only 6 defenders on the list of players for the two teams. He's overall a pretty solid player with good hockey basics, good skating, good hands with the puck although not a super strong shot but a pretty accurate passer, that is when he actually passes the puck... He's shown the tendency to keep the puck to himself and try to get it from our end to the other end. While it's nice from time to time, I will want him to understand that every time he turns the puck over in the neutral zone, it's usually Andrew who will have to save his @ss at the back... He looks like a nice kid but I've heard odd stuff about him, and his dad who was the Bantam A coach last season but was kinda pushed out of the way. When one of my assistant was rounding out the parents for our meeting after the game, he told him he would come "if he felt like it". Err, what? oookay. I'm sure he'll be a good player for us though and we could use him up front at some point, depending on how the offense performs, or maybe to simply shake things up a bit...

For now, I'm thinking of playing C.W. with Vince and Charles with Chris. It was pretty much that way in game #1 with Vince playing with the other defender that switched team. That other defender wasn't as impressive physicaly and less of a threat offensively so there's a bit of concern for when C.W. will push forward but we gotta try something at some point...

FM
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:04 PM   #22
FrogMan
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
Forwards

Antoine G, 2nd year Midget, played Midget A in 2013-14, preseason rating: 1
Antoine is a good kid and had 5 goals and 5 assists in 24 games at the Midget A level season. He played with Andrew back in Andrew's first season. Every team play two out of league tournaments a year and they won one of their two in that season when Andrew was named MVP of the tournament finals. He's a good working and was a had working player back in Bantam but I must admit I was kinda surprised when he was picked to play Midget A last season. He will fit well into our team but I don't see him as a goal scoring machine. I can't remember one time he was really a menace in the first game we played, when he was on the other side, but at some point, none of their players looked dangerous. Hopefully his hard work will be contagious and others will work alongside him. I plan to have him play center but he will miss our next game...

Samuel G, 1st year Midget, played Bantam A in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2
Sam was set to be my third center but with one player missing in game one, I had him play as a winger on the third pair and only kept two centers that rotated with the three pairs of wings. With the top two centers leaving, he moves up to #2 on teh center depth charts. He's another good kid who played at the Bantam A level last season, so with Charles and Chris. A bit like Charles, he will have to learn to play with bigger boys but I think he can learn. He had 9 goals and 5 assists in Bantam last year so he could be one of our good threats around the net. His dad will be one of my assistant this year.
The next three forwards are middle of the road kinda kids, talent wise. All three played with Andrew last season and all three were kids I really wanted on my team.

Alex Fo, 3rd year Midget, played Midget B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2
Alex is a weird one. He started as a player when he was really young, then went to be a goalie, a very good goalie at that, for some seasons then came back to be a forward last season. He was a a goalie during Andrew's first two seasons when he played in Bantam A in his last year of Bantam and in Midget B in his first year as a Midget. He told Andrew last year that he was tired of the pressure of being a goalie but still liked to play the game. He's even more of a weird one because, while it shows he has not skated as much as other players and is a bit slower, he has a heck of a slap shot. And the thing flies high fast. Not always accurate but it can get to top corner in a hurry. I'm thinking about eventually pairing him as a winger for Antoine on our first line. If you go and read back the callback post, he's the "Hell yeah!" kid. He missed the first game but I knew there was little chance he could make it. He contacted me via Facebook yesterday and told me he was sorry he couldn't call me to let me know he would miss the game but that he was really anxious to meet his new team. I thought it was refreshing as it's not really the kind of commentary you get from some of those 17 year old...

Max D, 3rd year Midget, played Midget B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2
Max is another good kid with a hear as big as the rink. He seriously loves playing the game and I can count on him to be present for any and all team activities. He's not really a pure scorer but I know my message that hard working pays off will go through to him. He skates well and always give his all. In the first game he had one heck of a backcheck save when on of our defenders turned the puck over on the other team's blue line and they threatened to go on a breakaway. He got back to the other team's player and slowed him down just enough so that the defender was able to make his way back and cut the pass across the ice. I'm almost expecting similar play from him from week to week. He will miss this week's game though, a rare occurence, as he won some tickets to a racing event or something like that. His mom has take the manager's position.

Gabriel O, 2nd year Midget, played Midget B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 2
Gabriel is a sweet kid who since last season, has always greeted me with a big "Hello!" and big smile every time I see him at the rink. I wouldn't say he's one of the most talented on the team but he's got a good heart. Sadly, he had a tendency to disappear at times last season. Still, he notched 2 goals and 2 assists in game 1, playing with one of the two top scoring centers. He too will be a fun kid to coach this year. His dad is the policeman I talked about earlier and will be one of my assistants this season although on a part-time basis. He also is coming back from kne arthroscopy and can't skate so he can't help me out during practices, at least for a few more weeks. Gabriel is the "That's awesome!!" kid from the callback post.

Frank C, 1st year Midget, played Bantam B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 3
Rated at 3 on the list, I kinda liked what I saw from Frank in intrasquad games. I'd say I would possibly rank him as a strong 3, not quite 2 but a top of the pack 3. He scored a goal in game 1 by being at the right place at the right time. Like many others in the team, I thought he's worked hard so far. He might be a little less talented but with no obvious holes in his game. I mean, he's not a fast skater but he's not a lousy one either. Same with his puck handling skills or his shot. He still had 8 goals and 7 assists in Bantam B last season...

Alex Fa, 2nd year Midget, played Midget B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 3
Just like Antoine, this Alex played with Andrew back in his first season at the Bantam B level. He's grown quite a bit taller since then, with long arms and legs but not much weight to carry around. This sometimes gives the illusion that he's lazy and well, he sometimes is. I'd like to see him skate a bit harder, work a bit harder, but overall he's not a bad kid, not a goofy head. He's played some defense in camp but he made me cringe more than anything. Still, he knows the basics of playing defense and he would play mostly at the right spot if I needed to bring Chris forward late in games to try and score a late goal.

David F, 1st year Midget, played Bantam B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 3
I know very little about David other than this note I took about: "Alex Fa clone". That's note really the kind of note you want. To me, that meant he's sometimes lazy, not always giving it his all. An example of something I saw from him a few times is if a pass was a bit out of his reach, he would let it go and not even try to stretch to try and get it. I want them to try for it and when they lose the puck, I want them to backcheck. I have made every kid know that it will happen that they will lose the puck and cause a turnover, I know that, it's part of the game, but YOU CANNOT STAY AND LOOK AT EVERYBODY ELSE FIGHT TO GET IT BACK. Skate back and help them! I hope it was only because it was preseason and that he might surprise me.

Loïck D, 1st year Midget, played Bantam B in 2013-14, preseason rating: 4
Last but not least, I had no clue what I was getting when they put Loïck's name on my list of players, other than the fact he was rated 4. I mean, he missed the two intrasquad games I saw as a coach and his name meant nothing. There are only three players rated 4. Him, another forward on the other team, and the little girl goalie on the other side. The other forward I knew about, the goalie girl was easy to rate as a 4 but him, I had no clue whatsoever what made him a 4. Andrew told me he had a green jersey to start the season, mmmmkay, maybe. Then he told me he had deflected a puck behind him as he played defense in one of the first intrasquad game. Oops... Gotta say I was pleasantly surprised about what I saw from Loïck in game 1. And no, I'm not really talking about him scoring the game opening goal, or the fact he added an assist later on but about how hard he skated. The kid can fly! Ok, maybe he's got a little less stick skills and his hockey flair is a bit missing, but he showed me great heart during the game. If I can get him to use his skates to backcheck, we could always have at least one of the forwards helping out at the back... He's a quirky kid and from what I gathered, good friend with David and Vince. Playing hockey with your friends it good...

So, that about rounds it up. Next game is tomorrow afternoon, 3pm when we'll play an out of town home game. Yeah, there's not enough ice time on our the two rinks in our town, our association has to lease some ice time about 20-25 minutes away. At least we will not be playing as a home team against the team from the city in which we play. It has happened before...

FM
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:23 PM   #23
timmae
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Awesome read bud... Make sure you keep communicating with the players. I played basketball when I was younger and the coach just told us to play 5 of 5. He'd switch lineups without much discussion and we never really knew what we were doing well or what we performed poorly at. At 15-17 they understand and can deal with a lot... just be real with them. Offer praise and criticism to the amounts you feel are necessary but definitely offer both. Oh yeah, go kick some butt... winning always helps!
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:10 AM   #24
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question... what is a "green jersey"?
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:31 PM   #25
FrogMan
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Originally Posted by timmae View Post
Awesome read bud... Make sure you keep communicating with the players. I played basketball when I was younger and the coach just told us to play 5 of 5. He'd switch lineups without much discussion and we never really knew what we were doing well or what we performed poorly at. At 15-17 they understand and can deal with a lot... just be real with them. Offer praise and criticism to the amounts you feel are necessary but definitely offer both. Oh yeah, go kick some butt... winning always helps!

thanks! I'm fairly talkative on the bench. I will compensate much of my lack of tactical work with good encouragement and constructive criticism. I don't really have a good grasp of which kid plays well with who just yet but I will eventually try to set lines with kids that have affinities playing together although I believe in keeping lines about even. This is still recreative hockey and I don't want the bottom three forwards foreced to play together because the strong kids don't want them because it will suck for them.

As a karate instructor for the last 6 years, I've dealt with all sorts of people, from 4 and a half years old to older, retired, people. Yeah, it's not a team sport per se, but kids who are interested in the sport they are doing usually respond well to how I communicate. I don't want to put any kid down but will try to get them to up their game. If I can get them to buy my message of hard working, we could have if not a successful season, at the very least a satisfying one...

FM
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:33 PM   #26
FrogMan
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Originally Posted by timmae View Post
question... what is a "green jersey"?

lol, it's just what it is, a jersey that is green in color

When training camp started, all kids were told to bring their own jerseys. That was before intrasquad games. Loïck's jersey was green back then. After a couple practices, all kids were given a reversible jersey (one side blue, one side grey) with the same number on both side but for some reason. First time I'd ever seen this kind of jersey and I thought it was pretty clever if you want an easy way to separate your players into units. Anyway, there weren't many green ones and for some reason, l¸ick wasn't given a reversible one right away and played one intrasuqad game with the blue team in his green jersey. By telling me his jersey was green, Andrew helped me try and remember who the kid was.

It wasn't anything like a red jersey for a "no contact" player...

FM
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:37 PM   #27
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Game #2, home (away from home) vs Alliés-2

There are two hockey rinks in our city of Lévis but even with that, with all the teams from initiations to Junior, including a Midget AAA team, our hockey runs out of ice time. Practices are usually booked on evenigns during the week and we're usually okay to at least get a half ice hour of practice every week but on weekends, it happens from time to time that we are playing a home game away from home. At least this one was on neutral ground as we were playing a team about an hour away from us on a ice that is 20 minutes away from our regular arena. It's happened before that we played as the home team on another team's home ice. As a former referee, I tend to give referees the benefit of the doubt but with them usually being sent by the local association (as per the arena's location, not who is the home team), they would often know more players from the physicaly closer team than players from the actual "home" team on that day.

As I said in my previous post, Max and Antoine were missing for that game. Going in, I knew this would cause a hole in our offense. I greeted welcome to the 2 new players to join our rank, C.W. and David. The 2 kids looked happy to get on with the team. Got to talk with C.W. a bit before the game and he told me from his one practice with the other team that he had realized that they would need to score A LOT of goals to win. He said they practiced shootouts toward the end and goals would go in a plenty. Talking with him reinforced that I thought bringing him in was a good move. He didn't say anything he said in a derogatory way or anything, all humble and kind of matter of fact. A good kid. David is a bit low profile. Got to talk with his dad after the game and liked the vibe I was getting from both the kid and his dad.

Alliés-2 had won their only game before meeting and just like us, they'd played their counterparts in their city, Alliés-1, beating them 5-3. This gave me no clue whatsoever if they'd be good or not. The Alliés teams can sometimes be pretty good or pretty bad. Last year, even though this is not permitted in the league, they had one pretty strong team and one pretty bad team. One of these Alliés team beat Andrew's team 11-0 despite the fact that the league rules call for a game stoppage if the score differential comes to 8 in the third period. This meant 11-0 after TWO periods.

Anyway, my message to the boys before the game was simple: work hard, backcheck, pass the puck, have fun, no bitching. Ok, lots of words but a fairly simple message...

Going into the game, our lines were as follow:
defense
c.W. with Vincent
Charles with Chris

forwards,
Sam at center, flanked by Alex Fa and Frank
Alex Fo at center, flanked by Loïck and Gabriel
David was alone on third line

Given how we had 7 forwards, the lines got jumbled after one go through. I played with two centers and told them to rotate a new winger on every go through.

We came out with good hearts and good intents but a bit disorganized. It's simply something that will have to work itself out through playing games and practicing as a team. I mean, I know some other associations had their teams set at least three week before us. This means they've been practicing as a team for quite a few more weeks than us. Still, we were only down 1-0 after the first on a goal that came while we were down a man because of a penalty to David. A fluke kind of penalty too. Offside called but with a weak whistle. Maybe a second passed and David kinda flipped the puck toward the their goalie. Referee called him for unsportsmanlike conduct and looking at David skating toward the penalty bench, his body contact told me he really had not heard the whistle.

We went down another early in the second period trying to fight our way through a two mean disadvantage. 3 on 5 is hard to survive and we gave up a goal only 20 seconds into the second penalty. After that, we had a much better second period, much more intense and had a couple good scoring chances hitting the post once. Kids were trying hard and I liked what I saw. Down 2-0 afetr two periods, I reminded the kids to keep working hard that we'd had chances and if we kept shooting on goal, one would eventually go in and it's all we would need to be in the game, one goal.

I felt myself gaining in confidence as a coach as the game went on. I'm not real tactical, I mean at the team level, but I can see if a player needs to individually correct something or if he does something good. I will not devise big team systems but will always reinforce hard work and good passing. At the Midget B level, these kids want to play. For many of them, to strictly have to play a specific system would probably be counterintuitive. But as the game went on, I could feel the kids listening to me and keeping their head held up even though we went down a couple more goals after 3 and a half minutes in the third period. One of them was a goal on which Andrew appeared a bit weak but overall he'd kept us in the game with many nice saves. Down 4-0, I kept the message constant: work hard as a team, that is all I'm asking. We scored our first goal straight from the face off after their fourth goal to make it 4-1 on a nice piece of play from Loïck to Alex Fo.

The rest of the third period was spent mostly on their end of the ice but we were never able to get another one in. They scored a fifth goal from a long shot with too many of our guys standing in from of Andrew. All the guys admitted that they gave Andrew no shot at making the save on that one... That goal came with abotu 4 and a half minutes to play and I ketp hammering the point home that I wanted them to play hard to the last buzzer. I kept telling them to see these last 4 minutes as a buildup to their next game. If we finished soft, we'd set us up for a soft start. I think they bought it and they kept playing hard until the end...

Final Score:
Commandeurs-1: 1
Alliés-2: 5

Seeing how one of my assistant wasn't at the game, I secured Alex Fo's dad as another one for the season. He never goes on the ice for practices but is usually present for most games and he was an assistant on Andrew's team last season so his input after the game was useful as we both had the same basis for comparison. He and I came to the same conclusion. Despite the loss, we had just seen a game better that maybe 80% of last season's games. My main message to the team after the game was that I liked what I saw out there and that I was certain we would only get better. Kids looked disappointed to have lost but not destroyed. Overall vibe seemed that they thought they had a shot at winning this game. I openly told the guys that me being vocal behind the bench like that is pretty much what they'll get all season long. Asked them if that was all right with them and got all sorts of united "yeah", "that's cool" and "all right" from the boys. We will build on that loss. We will lose games worse than that but I'm pretty sure that by the end of the season, we'll have also caused a few surprises. Call me an optimist.

Individually, I thought no player really stood out badly from the game. Andrew had a very solid game and apart from one bad goal (4th I think), he kep the other team at bay, stopped most everything thrown his away and forced the other team to work hard to get their goals. I got a few good comments from parents regarding his play after the game. Vince had probably his best game in the two seasons I've seen him play. 4th in the defenders depth chart on our team and possibly ranked 6th out of all the Midget B defenders, I think he's growing into his game a lot. He's showing a kind of confidence I had rarely seen from him. His skating is still his main weakness but I saw him lift his head up and send some pretty nice passes, something he wouldn't do much of last season, sometimes just dumping the puck to get rid of it.

Chris asked to speak to me right after the game. He told me he was not comfortable playing defense after all. The kid's got good hockey skills but I had to remind him a few times during the game that his first priority was to come back and play defense. I mean, I have no problem if he takes the puck forward if he sees an opportunity, or that he challenges an opponent out of his position but once caught forward, if the other team is pushing toward our goal, he has to come back skating as hard as he can since his main job is to be back there.

I was already thinking of putting him back up front after losing our two main centers. He's a creative player and I think he could feed others as well as feed off others in front of the opposing net. Alex Fa had already told me he'd played some defense and while he would be a definitive downgrade at the back, the upgrade that Chris would bring up front would be bigger and quite welcomed. Alex is not a bad kid but he sometimes seems a bit lost on the ice. It's probably not something I can teach to a 16 year old but I will always ask him to give me everything he's got. Anyway, Chris didn't really demand to play offense and he said he understood it might not be possible but that he'd like it better to go forward. I told him I'd see what I can do.

I think the two Alliés teams will be strong contenders this season. Alliés-2 their Sunday game while Alliés-1 won their two games since losing to Alliés-2 on the opening weekend... Attached is the league table after two weeks of activity. Don't ask me why but they refer to every team but the ones from our association by their mascot name but for us, they go with our association name, Pointe-Lévy, shurg... Since I use a lot of easy copy/paste from the league website to my spreadsheet, I decided to use their names... Pointe-Lévy Fém-1 is indeed an all-female team but they are actually junior in age. Since they only have girls on the team, they are allowed to play down in Midget B. Even playing down, they are not very good and usually lose all their games when playing against the Midget boys. I've been told that they also play in a Junior all-girl league and they are dominating that league. I guess playing against boys serves them as good practice for their regular all-girl league play...

It very early in this season of 24 games and I'm not too sure I can see trends just yet but there are some suprises already. The Sénateurs association usually have two VERY good teams and to see one at the bottom like that seems abnormal. Sénateurs-2 beat Sénateurs-1 8-3 this weekend so they might have to rebalance them a bit like what we went through, especially after Sénateurs-1 lost their opening weekend game 6-0. Rapides and Seigneurs are usually pretty strong teams too while Éclaireurs and Husky are usually at our level. Éclaireurs-3 being in 3rd place is a bit high since they won some very close games against another Éclaireurs team and an Husky team, nothing that proves anything to me.

As you can see, Pointe-Lévy-2 won their second game, 8-3 but it was against the girl team. Andrew and I went to actually see that game, catching the last two periods. After one, it was only 2-1 for the boys and it remained 3-2 for most of the second period until the girls collapsed in the third and the boys started putting some past their goalie. I wasn't too impressed by how the guys who moved from our team to theirs looked to be honest. I also learned during the game that Pointe-Lévy-2 lost the service of their numbe 2 defender for four weeks because of some odd surgery to remove some cysts. That's a hit for them...

It was the first time I actually took the time to go see another Midget B game that didn't involve Andrew's team and to have him come with me was utterly cool. Grabbed some Tim Hortons drinks (coffee for me, hot chocolate for him) and we sat down on the side and commented on the game as it went on. A very cool son and dad moment that kinda made me wish I'd taken on this coaching thing three seasons ago...

FM
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:39 PM   #28
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For the record, here are the results from week 1

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Old 10-14-2014, 12:41 PM   #29
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And here are the results for the game in week 2

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Old 10-14-2014, 12:42 PM   #30
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I like putting in the scores as a grid, helps me see which team did what against which team so here goes. Guess you should be able to figure it out but it goes from left to top. For example, Alliés-1 lost 3-5 against Alliés-2 but won 7-6 against Rapides-2 and 8-7 against Sénateurs-2...

FM
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:35 PM   #31
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Monday was a pretty busy day for me. For us up North, it was Thanksgiving but we don't really celebrate it with a big family gathering. Still, I got home at about 2 after having lunch out with friends, then spent a couple hours getting the backyard ready for Winter and then had to sit down and put together a practice plan for a team practice in the evening.

I had a mini meltdown as I was going through drills and drills for the practice. Felt seriously overwhelmed, simply freaking out not wanting to look like an idiot in front of these kids. It was going to be our first full ice practice after having one half ice practice last week.

I concentrated most of the drills on working on individual skills, mainly puck handling, passing and shooting. My thought was that if I get them to pass the puck around, they'll develop at least a bit of a sense of how they move and their timing will get better.

Felt nervous stepping on the ice but it went away after one drill. We got a good group of kids. They want to have fun but not stupid fun. I told them my usual message: give me what you got, push hard, apply yourself.

They did and the practice was a lot fun, I think for them as well as for me.

I approached Alex Fa to play defense as the kids were warming up on the ice and he was open to it so I had him work on defence for the drills that needed a defenceman. Since I was a denfenceman in my youth, I have a better idea of the basics for the position and when we did some 2 on 1 drills I tried to help the kids. One thing I want them to do, especially on a 2 on 1 going down to our goals, is to pay attention to the guy who doesn't have the puck and leave the shooter to Andrew. Andrew can handle a shot one on one but if the other guy goes out wide, this will him having to do a miracle save. I also want them that getting the puck out of our defensive zone is the priority. Kids at that level of play have a tendency to try and get cute with the puck sometimes. This leads to defensive turnovers and you can only survive a certain number of times giving the puck back to your opponent inside your defensive zone. I want them to know that after 3-4 times being uneffective at trying to get the puck out, I have no problem with them dumping the puck down the other end even though this might get called back and we'd have to play a face off down in our defensive zone. At least with a face off we'll be able to regroup and start anew.

Quick survey in the locker room and with my assistant after practice tells me it was a well spent hour on the ice. Kids told me they liked getting to touch the puck a lot. Had no reason to freak out heh, is just how I am...

Next game is this upcoming Saturday at 9 pm so a pretty late game. We are playing Éclaireurs-1 this week. Their association's territory covers the center to east edge of the city of Lévis while ours covers the central, most populated portion of the city and the west side of it. There's also a third association in Lévis, Husky, which get their players from the most eastern eadge of the city. The city of Lévis merged many smaller towns together a few years ago and that's one of the reason why things remain kind of separated that way to this day.

The Éclaireurs teams have one very old hockey rink as their main home ice but it's not enough and similar to us last week, they often end up playing home games away from home. It will be the case this weekend as we will be playing away on one of our two home ices. Will feel weird...

Looking ahead at that Éclaireurs-1 team, it's a game we have a great shot at winning. They are 1-1 so far this season after beating the girl team only 3-1 and losing 6-2 against another Éclaireurs team. I plan on reminding the kids that we can win this game but we need to play as a team and to work hard all game long. This will remain my theme all season long.

In other news, I'm learning stuff about this coaching thing all the time. I learned yesterday than the team needs to have TWO registered coaches on their rank. I have through the first two parts of the process of becomming a registered coach which were online video trainings. I'm now booked for a full day of training that will happen next October 25th. That day will include a theoretical portion as well as a practical session on the ice. I'm actually kinda looking forward to that day. From what I learned during the online video session, I should get a handbook with drills on that day. This will help me put together practcie sessions.

One of my assistant also need to be registered. I don't know for how long the registration is godo but you don't need to take the class every season. The registrar of our association gave me 4 names of dads who had been registered in the past but none of them showed the tiniest bit of interest to get involved with coaching their son's team. That's kinda sad. One of them even told me point blank that he would "never ever give one minute of his time to coaching" after a bad season last year. Sigh... Noe of the three dads who came forward and offered to help are registered coaches but the good news is one of them agreed yesterday evening to go through the registration process.

The other good news I learned last weekend is that every team is allowed one tracksuit for one of their coaches. It's usually for the head coach but if he's already got one, from having coaches in a previous season, he can transfer the privilege to an assistant. No need to say, I don't have such a tracksuit. I picked it up Wednesday and it looks pretty good. Dark blue windjacket and sport pants. I'll look real sharp on our next practice, next Tuesday.

FM
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Old 10-20-2014, 03:03 PM   #32
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Game #3, away vs Éclaireurs-1

I had a good feeling about this game as I thought that this Éclaireurs-1 team was one we should be able to compete with. Both teams were going into this game with a 1-1 record. They'd won against the girl team but only by a score of 3-1 while they'd lost their other game 6-2 against another Éclaireurs team.

Alex Fa was set to make his debut on defense while Chris would be playing his first game as a forward, a much more natural position for him. He is a good all around hockey player. Alex Fa on the other hand could possibly be a weak link on defense.

Loïck had called me on Friday and he told me he would not be at the game on Saturday. He's a hard working kid but only one piece of the puzzle. As such, it wasn't as big a loss as when Antoine and Max were missing for last week's game.

Going into the game, our lines were as follow:
defense
c.W. with Alex Fa
Charles with Vincent

C.W. is our strongest defender and it was only normal for me to pair him with Alex. Vincent had stepped up his play big time in the last game and I could see him and Charles make a decent pair.

forwards,
Sam at center, flanked by David and Max
Antoine at center, flanked by Alex Fo and Frank
Chris and Gabriel formed the third pair of wingers

The plan was to reuse the same two centers but with different wingers.

Pregame speech was kept simple: work hard, pass the puck, backcheck. Reminded the kids that working hard didn't mean trying to do it all alone. Do your job. I also told them I really thought that this game was a real possible "W" for us. I also told them I believe that EVERY game is a possible "W" for us going into the game.

This was a very close game. From the warmup, I kinda got the feeling that their goalie was a bit shaky. I told them to shoot, shoot, shoot. Test the goalie early on. We didn't qutie do that but we had a couple chances and the game went from end to end for a while. Andrew wasn't too tested early on, mostly shots from a distance and where he had a clear view of the shooter.

We survived a two minute penalty about two third of the way throught the first period and really hustled toward the end of the period, putting one past their goalie just as the buzzer sounded. It was close enough that the timekeeper could stop the time before it expired yet still clear enough that the goal was allowed to stand. 1-0 for us after one.

Second period was more end to end play with us mounting more and more pressure toward their end as the game went on. There was a scuffle close to our net after one of their forwards tapped Andrew's mit with his stick as Andrew covered the puck. Gabriel kinda lost it and without actually getting into a fight, he hit an opponent on the helmet and was called for 4 minutes for "Blow to the head". It's the second time I've seen this kind of call this season so I'm thinking it's probably a notice to the officials to call hits to the head with heavier penalties.

While I don't condone this kind of behaviour and I did talk to him afterward, I liked that he stood up for his goalie.

A weird play happened on the other end only 30 seconds later in which one of their player got a 2 minutes penalty, again after the whistle and Charles followed him to the bench. He was part of the mini brawl and I thought the referee had penalized both of them which would have resulted in us still playing 4 against 5 but the other team only put four on the ice. This went on for maybe 25 seconds where we played 4 on 4, until there was a stoppage of play and the ref told Charles to get out of the box. He was never called for anything! Apparently one of the linesmen told him to "get to his bench" meaning his team bench, not penalty bench.

We only got to play a few seconds before Vincent got called for an unfortunate stick to the helmet of an opponent. It was unintentional but I understood the call. A player is responsible for his stick and it's an almost automatic call with there's a hit to the helmet of another player with the stick. We went down to three on four with still a bit more than two minutes to go on Gabriel's four minutes and about thirty seconds to go on their two minutes. This meant we'd have to kill almost 90 seconds of 3 on 5...

But we did it, we killed those penalties and got to the end of the second period still ahead 1-0. By then, Antoine was out of breath and he asked me to go to the wing and take a turn every three. I had subbed Sam from center duty in the middle of the second period, putting Chris in his place and I went with Max as a backup plan for Antoine for the rest of the game.

We really started to put pressure on them during the third preiod and if not for a lack of converting shots on goals from our part, we could have easily been up by 2 or 3 goals before the middle of the third. I liked what the kids gave me then. We had a couple shots hit the post pretty hard.

We got our own chance at 5 on 3 with about 4 minutes to play in the third period as they were also called for a four minutes for a blow to the head. They pretty darn caught us napping though as they played what I'd call the hockey hail mary pass where one their lone forward skated to the center of the ice just as one of their defenders lobbed the puck out of their zone and over the head of our own defenders who were at their blue line. Charles skated real hard and was able to get close to the forward with the puck and he tripped him, pushing both himself and the forward on Andrew who fell back in the net but the puck stayed just outside the goal line. Still the ref's arm was up, signaling a penalty. I was kinda nervous it could be a penalty shot as the guy had as close to a clear breakaway as you could have but no, Charles was simply called for two minutes. I reminded the guys that they would be desperate and would try this again. Our kids played it safer, ending the game 4 on 3 and saving Andrew's shutout.

Final Score:
Commandeurs-1: 1
Éclaireurs-1: 0


A pretty good game for our kids. They pretty much gave me what I was asking from them which was teamwork and hard work. 1-0 is not the kind of score you see very often at the Midget B level. Given the usual level of talent around, with some fairly good players that are just a hair not good enough to play at the A level, and some others who would probably benefit from a C level but have to play at the B level, there's usually a breakdown or three during a game that results in few goals.

We don't give a "game puck" every game but I made a show of giving Andrew one in the locker room for his shutout and the kids seemed appreciative of how he kept us in the game. He faced a couple of breakaways but didn't get as many dangerous shots as he got the previous week. I told them they all had a part in that shutout as it was a team win.

Andrew is not very tall but he's got a pretty good build. Strong as a an ox, I was pretty happy he was our goalie on that play where Charles and the opposing forward crashed on him. Had that been the little goalie girl from the other Pointe-Lévy team, that was a sure goal.

Alex Fa showed a lot of heart on defense but he also made a couple mistakes that could have proven costly. A couple times he did some blind passes across the ice that got cut and resulted in turnovers that could have proved costly. I definitely counted on Andrew to bail us out when this would happen and he did. One thing I liked about Alex though is that he played hard, much harder than I'd seen him play in preseason. In my notes I had written something along the lines of "a bit lazy, gives up on plays too easily". It definitely was not the case on Saturday. He hustled and went after the guy who had the puck. He just needs to get some games under his belt and learn when it's safe to make a long pass and when it's not, and when it's not, it's more often than not just as good to dump it in the zone and let our forwards chase it down. I also made sure to go and cheer him up a bit after his couple mistakes, make sure he forgot the play and moved with the game. As with a defensive back in football, you will get burned and you will cause a costly turnover at some point as a defender, it's part of the game. Try not to repeat the same mistake too often and move on to the next play.

C.W. has showed me that he is extremenly positive and he supported Alex during the whole game. I'm pretty sure Alex will grow this season.

Following this win, we find ourselves in 7th place in the standings with some teams having played one game more than us. Most headers are pretty self-explanatory except maybe the "FP" one. It stands for "Fairplay". To encourage fairply, every minor hockey game in Quebec plays under a rule called "Franc Jeu" which states that every team gets an extra point in the standings if they keep they number of penalty minutes under a certain number. This number varies from category to category. For the Midgets, you lose your fairplay point when you are penalized 21 or more minutes in a game. We had 12 minutes of penalty in this game, giving us our third fairply point in as many games. As you can see, some teams are worse than others at keeping their fairplay point (see Alliés-2 who have already lost two out of four) and over the course of a season, I've seen some team lose as many as half of their 24 fairplay points. Twelve points can make a big difference in your rank at the end of the season...

After three games, Andrew is rocking a very good 2.67 goals against average that gives him the third best average in the league.

Speaking of losing a fairplay point, Andrew and I again spent part of our Sunday evening scouting the other Pointe-Lévy team as they played a team we will play next Saturday, Alliés-1. I was curious to see how they would fare against a better team than the girls team. They had a good first period, quickly jumping ahead 3-0 after one period. That's when the wheels came off. They were called a penalty at the start of the second period and within five seconds of the start of that penalty, a shot for far away had found its way behind their girl goalie. A pretty bad goal.

Then one of the two centers that moved from our team to theirs, the one who'd had a hat trick in our very first game before moving out, completely blew a fuse after the whistle. There was an offside called against Alliés-1 and teh guy who had the puck weakly shot it toward the girl goalie of Pointe-Lévy-2. The center didn't like it and confronted the other guy about it, pushing him twice in the chest before almost taking off his helmet with a two hand push right under the chin. The referee ended up giving him a four minutes penalty for blow to the head as well as a ten minutes misconduct penalty. The ten minutes doesn't mean they'd be one man down for ten minutes but he would not be back in the game for the duration of the penalty. They survived for part of the first 2 minutes but gave away a second goal and just like that it was 3-2. Alliés-1 would end up scoring eight unanswered goals before the game was over, on their way to an 8-3 win. From being ahead 3-0 to losing it 8-3 is pretty bad, any which way you see it.

The little girl was weak on maybe 5 goals, it made me sad for her, as a dad. But that's pretty much how their season will play out I think. They will have to score a lot of goals and never let down even when their efforts seem all for naught because she's letting the other back into the game. Our guys could not lower their effort on Saturday because at some point, they were not only fighting for the win but also to keep Andrew's shutout alive. It'll give me some grey hair but I can live with that.

FM
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Old 10-20-2014, 03:05 PM   #33
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Here are the scores of the games played in this 3rd week of play. The red one has yet to be transmitted from the local team to the league. Delays happen sometimes.

Kinda surprised by the 6-5 win from Husky-2 over Seigneurs-2. The Seigneurs association is usually pretty strong while the Husky one has ups and downs but mostly downs.

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Old 10-20-2014, 03:07 PM   #34
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and here's the grid of scores with the scores that are available as of this morning...

FM
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Old 10-20-2014, 03:25 PM   #35
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Congrats on the win, FM. But the real question on everyone's lips is...


How did you look in the new track suit?
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:16 PM   #36
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shutout... sweet!
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:32 PM   #37
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Congrats on the win, FM. But the real question on everyone's lips is...


How did you look in the new track suit?

hehehe, thanks, I think I looked good in it

Only wore the jacket tough, but they kinda made me feel as though I actually belonged behind the bench. I'm feeling more confident as the games go on and the kids seem to be buying the message. Hopefully, they'll still buy into the whole "work hard as a team" when the going gets rough and we lose two or three in a row, because there will be stretches like this...

FM
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:35 PM   #38
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shutout... sweet!

It was pretty sweet. Andrew's first hockey coach three years ago gave him a puck with white tape all around the outside edge for every shutout he'd had that season. I think he had 2 or 3 or maybe more. Once back home, Andrew would write the date and the final score of the game. The coach of his next two seasons didn't do anything like that but Andrew kept a puck from every one of the shutouts he's done. Last Saturday's shutout was up the pile the moment we got back home. Shutout #9 in his four year career

FM
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Old 10-20-2014, 09:58 PM   #39
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mandatory pic of me in my tracksuit

There was a coaches clinics about goaltending this evening. Interesting but probably more geared towards coaches of much younger players. Nothing in there that Andrew doesn't know about. Sure I should spend more time coaching and training him in our team practices but I'm alone or with only one assistant and we're keeping the team moving. He'll be fine the way we are now...

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Old 10-22-2014, 12:28 PM   #40
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We had a pretty good practice session yesterday evening. Interesting fact for the Midget B level, there was only one player missing at practice, and he had called me beforehand to let me know he had to work really late.

This may not look like a reason to celebrate but to give you an idea, last season it wasn't unusual for Andrew's team to have a practice where only 7 skaters and Andrew would show up for a practice and his team had 16 skaters compared to this year's team which has 13 skaters.

It's pretty depressing to work hard and try to set up a practice plan for only 7 skaters. Not sure I've explained it but I often differentiate players between "skaters" and "goalies". In our case, we've got 13 skaters and Andrew as the lone goalie. It's always easier for me to look at how many fellas other than Andrew showed up.

As I said, pretty good session where we worked again mostly on individual skills, i.e. skating, puck handling, passing and shooting. My thinking is that working from the ground up on the pyramid of skills will help us in the long run. Sure, there'll be moments where we will look disorganized and out of sync but if the kids get to put their passes right on the stick blade of their teammates, we will have a better shot at doing a whole lot things better, from breaking out of our zone to creating scoring chances at the other end.

We also only had half the ice to work with as one of the Midget A team was using the other half. It's a byproduct of too many teams in the association and not enough ice time available for practices. Most competitive teams, i.e. BB and CC, do get full ice practices while the recreative teams often have to make do with half ice practices. Many people complain about it but I don't mind, really. For now, Even if all the guys showed up, let's say I split them in two groups of 7 as I only have one assistant on the ice with, there's not much more we could practice. Maybe some team work stuff but for now I'm quite content with just getting the kids to touch the puck as much as possible. And the kids are responding well to that so far.

Looking forward to Saturday's game, we cold possibly be down two forwards. Loïck could miss a second game in a row and probably not his last since he said he often works in a restaurant on Saturday night. Boggles my mind why he would sign up to play hockey when most games are either on Saturday or Sunday nights. I guess he just loves playing the game... Frank's mom had already told me last Saturday that there was a good chance he'd miss this week's game because they are celebrating his grandmother's birthday. He reminded me of it yesterday when I surveyed the group about possible absentees. Funny thing is that just as we were leaving the ice, he came around to me as I was gathering my things. He told me that, well, he didn't know how long dinner would last on Saturday. That sometimes these things do last long but that if he had a chance to make it to the game, even though he'd cut it real close, he asked if it was still ok that he came. I told him I understood it was a special occasion and that of course, if he could make it the locker room on time for the start of the game, or maybe with only 5-10 minutes to spare, of course I'd allow him to play the game. I thought it was really interesting that he was trying to keep his optiosn open. I'd like to believe that it was the effect of being around the team during practice that made him want to make sure he possibly could play the game.

In a semi team related news, Andrew was asked to be an affiliate for the Midget A1 team, the one with which we shared the ice yesterday. For our team, this has little implication other than allowing me to explain how the affiliation of players works.

Every team in minor hockey can have affiliated players but one player can only be an affiliate to one team. What is an affiliated player? It's a reserve player that gets to play on a team that's at a higher level. It can be a higher competition level withing a same age group (e.g. Midget B playing as an affiliate with a Midget A team) or a a older age group (Bantam player affiliated to a Midget team) There are rules regulating where you can pick your affiliates. Basically, a recreative team (single letter caliber, i.e. A & B) can affiliate players from other recreative teams. Midget A team affiliates players from Midget B teams but they could go down to get them from a Bantam A team. Midget B teams usually get their affiliates from Bantam A team but they have to wait for the Bantam CC team to make their choice, i.e. protect their own affiliates. They have priority since they are at a competitive level. A Midget B team could also affiliate a Bantam B player but it doesn't really make a lot of sense since usually the better Bantam players will be playing at the A level. I couldn't affiliate a Bantam CC though, since he's at a competitive level and we're recreative. Hope this makes sense.

I have gone to watch a couple Bantam A games in the last three weeks and have spotted a couple players. Once I'll have decided which players I'd like to affiliate, I would then have to make sure the Bantam CC team has not already affiliated him and then check with the other Midget B team to see if they also wanted that given player. If so, it would become a negotiating game with a bit of give and take where you I might to let go of some if I want some other. I have already told the other Midget B's coach that I was giving them first shot for an affiliate goalie, since there's a better chance they might need one than I would.

Going back to Andrew, and goalies in general, since goalies are a special breed of players, the rules are a bit different. A goalie can be affiliated to two teams playing at different levels. For exemple, a Bantam A goalie can be affiliated with the Bantam CC team and also with a Midget B team. Same goes for Andrew. Not only was he asked to be an affiliate for that Midget A team, he was also told that the Junior B team (there's only one) wanted to make him an affiliate since even though he doesn't play in Midget A, he's a third year Midget and they seem to think his age and maturity and level of play (borderline A in my book) combine well if he ever was needed for a game at the Junior level.

Of course, this means virtually nothing in terms of possibility of playing at a higher level since both the Junior B and the Midget A team have two goalies on their roster and are not required to dress two for a game. Basically, if one were to miss a game, they could play the other and not really need Andrew to play for them and they'd need him only in a sort of extreme case where both goalies would be missing a game. Still, he's on their list and sometimes a team can ask their affiliates to come and practice with them something which I'm sure Andrew would like. More ice time the better for him.

FM
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Old 10-22-2014, 12:50 PM   #41
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I'd also think it'd be a positive motivating factor, that higher level teams are interested in having him on their reserves. Not that he needs it, of course. But every little bit helps.
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Old 10-22-2014, 03:04 PM   #42
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I'd also think it'd be a positive motivating factor, that higher level teams are interested in having him on their reserves. Not that he needs it, of course. But every little bit helps.

Oh, I absolutely agree, it's a big boost on the ego, of both the son and the dad! Not that the son really needs it but the dad doesn't mind the attention paid to his son.

He was seriously miffed when he was passed on for last year's Midget A's selections. I sorta knew this year, with the many good goalies coming up from the Bantam level, that last year was when it was played for him and playing at the A level. He would have liked to have a shot this year but from the start of training camp, it kinda was clear to me that he would never even get a shot. It played into my getting involved with his team, especially after the crappy year he had last season. We joked a few times last year that he was making miracles behind a bunch of cones playing defense. I think it kinda had an effect on his enjoyment of the game and I felt bad about even making the joke. Subconsciously, I wanted to make this year an enjoyable one for him. Most if not all my decisions so far have been made with that in mind, from how I put the team together, the kind of kids we have, to how I'm managing the kids, to how I'm structuring the practices. Coming back home from team practices last year, asked about how he felt about practice, I remember him saying just too often that it was "just a Midget B practice, guys don't care, they just fool around". It made me sad cause I knew he was showing up to, yes, have fun, but also work hard while having fun.

That's one thing I'm very happy with the team so far this season. Sure we're very early into the season but even at that point last season, there were already signs of some kids just not caring about hockey. By February, the coach was pretty much cancelling practices left and right.

FM
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Old 10-22-2014, 10:58 PM   #43
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Huhoh, just learned this evening about an unknown absentee for this Saturday's game. Gabriel's mom called me and told me she kinda screwed up. She though we were B2 instead of B1 and that she had booked something for her and her son out of town on Saturday and they won't be back until Sunday morning. This is, that's bullsh*t because both us (B1) and the other team (B2) play on Saturday evening. heh...

Oh well. So now this means we could potentially be without three forwards if both Loïck and Frank can't make it to the game. We have 9 on the roster. Three missing isn't all bad but would mean we'd play with 2 lines of forwards and can't afford another unplanned missing player or else we wouldn't even have two full lines and would have to play with 3 defenders, not really a perfect situation...

FM
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:47 PM   #44
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Game #4, home vs Alliés-1

7th place (us) vs 2nd place (them) going into the game but only three points separated the two teams with us having a game on hand over them. I didn't want to give the kids false hope but I reminded them before the game that they had beat Pointe-Lévy-2 8-3 last week but were behind 0-3 after one period. They also showed the worst goals against average of the top 12 teams going into this game.

Loïck wasn't sure if he'd be able to be at the game but he called me on Friday to say that he would. That left us with two missing forwards, Gabriel and Frank, with Frank leaving me the possibility of maybe making it real close to gametime.

No change with my defender pairings:
Charles and Vincent started the game and C.W. and Alex Fa were the other pair.

C.W. teased Alex a bit, asking for not too many passes across the middle. Quick look toward Alex told me he kinda laughed but still felt bad/nervous about last week's mistake(s). I told him in front of everyone, jokingly, that it was only because C.W. was a bit lazy and didn't to skate any extra length.

As gametime approach, with no signs of Frank showing up and down two forwards, I decided to go with 2 pairs of wingers and three centers, each of them skipping a turn every time they'd come back to the bench.

Winger pairings were same, or similar as last week:
Alex Fo with Loïck
Max with David

The three centers were Antoine, Chris and Sam. I told every center that since they'd have a minute more to recuperate that I wanted them to really go all out on every shift. I reminded everyone that this Alliés team was bigger than the other Alliés team which beat us 5-1 a couple weeks earlier but that they were also much slower. I wanted our guys to pass the puck, work hard, and skate around them slower fellas...

Couple things happened before and during the 3 minutes warmup. The way our home ice rink is set up, our players get on the ice from the end of our defensive zone, but the coaches have access to the bench through a tunnel that comes up between the local team bench and the marker's/penalty box. The visiting team gets on the ice through that same tunnel, but their bench in on the other side. This meant that before the game, as I got to our bench before the zamboni got off the ice, I had to walk thourgh a group of their players. their mood was VERY joyful. Of course, they'd destroyed the other Pointe-Lévy 8-3 the week before. Their mood changed as the game went on...

What happened during warmup is that we didn't look ready. Weak or unprecise passes, guys not looking ready to start playing... I tried to wake 'em up as they got to the bench but withing 50 seconds, we were down 0-1 on a long shot against which Andrew looked weak and also unprepared. Changed lines right there and whipped them up a bit and it got better after that. But still, I'll try to get them more ready and remind them of that slow start for our next game.

We got back on even terms about half way through the first on a nice pass play from Max to Sam who put it past their keeper from the slot. We kept putting more and more pressure right after that and I could feel that we had rattled them a bit. David gave us a 2-1 lead around the 10th minute on a great individual effort when he brough back the puck from behind net only to slip it between their goalie's pads. They scored again before that period was over to make it 2-2.

After only scoring only twice in two games since the big trade, it felt good to see the kids put two in in only one period.

We started strong in the second period but had a very week middle of the period. Guys trying ot do too much alone or not looking where they were passing the puck leading to it staying in our zone for way too long. What had to happen finally happened and we went down 2-3 after 12:30 in the second but we showed great resiliency and started picking up the pace shortly after that and evened it up 3-3 just a minute later. That goal was the result of a mistake from Alex Fa. There will be some and I'm not mad at him, for one simple reason. The kid was playing with A LOT of heart and hustle. He just got pressured on a play that should have been routine and he fell while trying to turn. He looked devastated as he layed on the ice as the puck went behind Andrew. I've see too many players with a bit more talent than him do stupid things and just not care about the result. The fact he cares and feels bad he let his teammates downs speaks volume to me. 3-3 was the score after 2 periods.

Between the 2nd and the 3rd period I reminded our boys of what we were getting done. The guys on the other side were freaking out a bit, we had survived a lull in the second period but we could stay with these guys. And we started real strong getting ahead 4-3 after only 30 seconds.

We kept playing well but got a big hungry around the 4 minute mark when, during a power play, one winger tried a wild pass across our defensive zone that was cut in the middle, leaving a guy alone with Andrew. He score to tied the score again, 4-4. It hurst when you're one man up and you give up a goal like that. Kids knew it when they got to the bench too. It was David, Max and Antoine on the ice and I told them that was just a bad "ghost" pas to nobody in particular.

For the second week in a row, we had to kill another 4 minutes for blow to the head. This time it was Antoine. When I asked him what happened and why, he said they other guy had hit him in the balls with his stick. Hrm, ok... Still, we survived it and with less than 2 minutes to play they got a penaly of their own. I did what I usualy don't do during a game, this being recreative hockey and all, I put a power play unit on the ice. I decided to go with Antoine, David and Chris. Up until then, David had 2 goals and an assist while Chris had a goal.

Put a dang lot of pressure on them but were unable to convert...


Final Score:
Commandeurs-1: 4
Alliés-1: 4


VERY happy with that score. Even happier to see us finally score some goals.

David was a beast on offense, working real hard and creating chances. We finished the game down a couple players. C.W. who has a history of concussion went into the board head first ni the middle of the third period, giving us a MAJOR scare. It body checking is not permitted at the recreative level (A or B, any age level) but some contact playing the puck is allowed. C.W. and the other player were skating side by for the puck when C.W.'s skate wobbled and he fell forward, hitting the board with the top of his head. He stood on all four for a little moment but was able to stand up on his own and skate to the bench. He looked a bit distraught when he sat on the bench. He told me quickly that his neck hurt, not his head. Within mayb 45 seconds of him sitting on the bench, his mom was by our team bench looking nervously. His neck was stiff he said but he knew was his concussion symptoms were and he assured me it wasn't his head. He hadn't seen his mom and she had gone back to the stand but I could see her looking toward our bench. At one point, C.W. said "hey, could you tell my mom that my head is all right?". I thought it was so sweet and I flashed her a thumbs up in the stand. He looked ok when he left the locker room after the game but I called them yesterday to get some news. I talked to his mom who told me she was sure it wasn't a concussion. She said he started throwing up in his last big one. She said they applied ice and heat to his neck overnight and that he had a very good night of sleep.

The other one was Alex Fo who took a hard shot on his right thumb at the beginning of the third period. He shook his hand right as the puck hit his hand and spent most of the third period with some ice on his thumb. He was able to move his thumb and eventually asked to go back into the game toward the end of the third period. His thumb looked swollen after the game but he was able to move it a bit.

FM
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:20 PM   #45
timmae
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A rough crowd those midgets!! Great end result for the kids... fix a couple of those mistakes and they'd have taken it!

When are you going to post a team photo?!
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:03 PM   #46
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Here are the scores of the games played in this 4th week of play.

Pointe-Lévy-2 lost their game 5-2, against what I'd say is a pretty low rank team. They also lost their fairply point and I learned last night that it was again that same center who blew a fuse last week, the guy who was switched from our team to theirs, that again just lost it yesterday. Not knowing beforehand, I might have just traded away a ticking timebomb... We play their opponent, Husky-3, in our next game this coming Saturday and we play the girls team on Sunday. Realistically, we could be 4-1-1 after this weekend.

Éclaireurs-2 had a great goals against average going into this week but came crashing down to earth, losing a crazy battle 10-7 aginst Seigneurs-1. The two Rapides teams are coming back to the top of the standings, where we're used to see them. Other than the girls team losing 9-3, there were no big blowouts. Sure a couple of 10-7 games but it stayed close...

The one game without a score from last week remains without a score. No clue what's happening with that one.

FM
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:03 PM   #47
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Here are the standings after 4 weeks of games. We remain in 7th place but within shooting distance of FIRST place. Really? Us? Close to first???

To give you an idea why it sounds weird to me, Andrew's team started 0-3 last year before winning their first game against... the girls team. We never were anywhere close to being in contention of anything. Now, we next play a team, Husky-3, that, on paper, has not proven anything. Their one win came against Pointe-Lévy-2 with three losses and a 3-3 tie against Husky-2. That's our game on hand over the current first team place. We could be sitting atop the standings with one win and with a second game, against the girls on Sunday, we could be in pretty good shape.

One thing I also see after this week, it's that its looking to be a pretty hard fought season. There are no unbeaten team after only four weeks.

Andrew's goal against average is tied for best in the league with 3.00 goals per game. Our offense ranks 10th in the league but it's probably a bit inflated since it's got that first win of ours, 11-3, pushing our numbers up quite a bit.

FM
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:05 PM   #48
FrogMan
Hattrick Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
Here's what the grid of scores looks like after 4 weeks. If your curious, here's our schedule up to November 16th:
11/01, Husky-3
11/02, Pointe-Lévy Fém-1
11/09, Husky-1
11/15, Éclaireurs-3
11/16, Rapides-2

I'm trying not to look too much ahead but that's a very favorable stretch of four games we got coming up for us. These four teams combine for a record of 5-12-2 at the moment...

FM
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Last edited by FrogMan : 10-27-2014 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 10-31-2014, 03:02 PM   #49
Sharkn20
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Congratulations for this last one score!!
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Old 10-31-2014, 10:25 PM   #50
FrogMan
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pintendre, Qc, Canada
Thanks Sharkn20

We had a good practice session on Tuesday. I'm getting more and more comfortable leading these practice session and I'm coming up with ideas of drills which is nice.

We play tomorrow at 12:30 against Husky-3. They won 5-3 over Pointe-Lévy-2 last week and are really team we should be able to compete with if not beat. Max told me after practice that he will probably miss the game since he works on Saturdays. He said he'd try to get replaced but wasn't too confident he'd be able to.

Then this evening, Sam left a message as I was trick or treating with my youngest son. He missed practice on Tuesday after getting some plantar warts treated on his feet. At the time he had told me his feet were swollen. He told my wife this evening that they're not healing as well as they should and they got bleedy later in the week. Arg, now, that's not too good. Max and Sam out means we lose two solid forwards.

Good news is C.W.'s neck was back to normal and he had nothing to his head. Alex Fo also missed practice but not because of his thumb but because he was working so I guess his thumb was all right.

We play again on Sunday but against the girls team this time. That one doesn't make me nervous at all...

FM
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