by Ross Vennare…
You want to know the best part about being a goalie?
I don’t know…taking the blame for a goal when five of your teammates leave you to hang or being called every name in the book for letting in a softy which you should have had?
Goalies are the strangest birds and if the goalie doesn’t bring his ‘A’ game with him, it’s a trickle-down effect right down the line. A goalie with confidence is also important weather he is playing good or not so good because when you ’stay with it’ and don’t give up, your game will come back and your teammates will respond accordingly.
Sometimes you get a goalie who lets in a few bad goals and then plays like a pylon the rest of the way and it can be very frustrating to the players on the team who are doing their best to get back in it. It’s almost better to have a sixth man on the ice than have someone stand in the net who can’t stop a puck even if it was shot by Stevie Wonder.
How about not having a goalie at all?
When your goalie phones you and gives you a lame excuse for not being able to show up for the next game or you get to the rink and he’s not there, it’s never a good situation. If your goalie has put a few bad starts together and your team needs to win the next game, you may ask your goalie to stay home or tell him the game is canceled.
That’s when you call HolyMolyGoalies.com!
HMG is providing goalie rental services to hockey clubs Canada-wide. Weather it’s beer league hockey, shinny or the Ottawa Senators are looking for a change, our goal tenders are situated in every region of Canada and waiting by their phones for the next call to play. Some of the goalies are looking for real jobs so if anyone is hiring you can give them a ring too!
HMG at your practice.
HMG provides goal tending lessons to minor hockey and adult goalies looking to improve their skills. Visit our website for more details as you can book a goalie in your area. One-on-one and group sessions is available as well as personal goalie consultants. This means a goalie coach can work with you in practice and attend a few games to monitor your performance.
Find out more.
If you want to find out more about HMG or have a job opening for any of the goalies in the daytime, visit HolyMolyGoalies.com
by Ross Vennare…
The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo along with forward Alex Steen in exchange for Lee Stempniak of the St. Louis Blues.
Stempniak currently has 13 points in 14 games so far this season and is expected to continue his point streak when he steps out on the ice in a Maple Leafs uniform. The Maple Leafs have made a good trade in moving Colaiacovo away from their blue line and shifting Steen to a Western conference team. What about Lee?
The Maple Leafs are not going to get what they expect from Lee Stempniak right away and are going to be disappointed with the transaction. He is not going to get a ton of points for this team and is not going to do much more than Steen did. Remember when Jason Blake arrived and the expectations he faced?
Both Jason and Lee are held to 3 goals each and are finding it tough to get pucks past the red line. They are doing a great job in setting up their teammates but not doing enough to help their teams win. Blake has already been a healthy scratch twice this season, most recently on November 11, against the Calgary Flames.
Jason responded with a pair of assists to help lift the Leafs over the Oilers on November 13, but has not been doing the kind of job, scoring goals, that he has been expected to do. He managed only one goal against the Bruins on November 17, but the Leafs did not win that night. He has had too many off-nights to remain a Toronto Maple Leaf.
If anyone should have been traded, it should have been Jason Blake. Alex Steen has not done much to contribute this season but is still developing as a young player. He may never, and probably will never be a star in this league, but he has good hands and speed to give opposing players a challenge.
Blake is not going to get any better as a player and is on the downfall of his career. The fact that he is still a Maple Leaf and Steen has to clean out his locker today just goes to show you that the Maple Leafs are making wrong choices. It is choices like this that put playoff hopes even further away than they already are and the development of young players to waste.
The fact that Brian Burke still hasn’t singed on with the Maple Leafs as a general manager is surprising and if he decides to take over this club, he is going to have many disappointing and late nights with the stress levels taking over his old and tired body.
Jason Blake is already feeling like he can’t do any more than he is already doing, even though he skates hard, gets in the faces of his opponents and takes a little punishment for it. He can’t do anymore and he won’t be effective on this team, this season. It was time for him to go but the Maple Leafs kept him over a young and developing player. He is not a hero in this town and will not be recognized as one of the greats.
The Maple Leafs do not need to sign hero’s but they should not keep a older player who has no upside to his diminishing career. If anything, they have been doing a great job and ruining careers rather than developing them. They honor players who have never achieved anything more than win a popularity contest and make their fans believe they are doing a great thing.
There is nothing great about losing in a winning market such as Toronto and the fans have lost on another trade that sent one of their developing forwards to a under-developed team. Another chance at making this team better has been ruined, so has another player.
Newcomer, Lee Stempniak, is not going to be a hero in this town either and is going to be another ruined player that the Toronto management and media will destroy.
Read it from Ross
by Ross Vennare… Two days ago I was driving home after officiating a high school tournament and for some unknown reason, I was thinking to myself, ‘how many games away is Colaiacovo from getting injured again?’
I’m not sure why this thought crossed my mind but I always wondered if there would ever be a season where Carlo could stay injury-free.
Some say that thoughts are powerful and guess what, Carlo is hurt. On Thursday morning, he blocked a shot with his left foot during a morning skate and did not return to the ice.
Are his boots made of wicker?
He is not expected to miss any games but may want to make an appointment with his team trainer and see why he’s getting injured so often.
I personally don’t think this guy is tough enough for big-time hockey and needs to grow some guts if he wants to have a long career. A player like Tim Horton would have shaken that off without a wink.
Head coach Ron Wilson agrees. “I don’t anticipate him missing any time,” Wilson said. “But the big thing with Carlo and I tell him every day, ‘you’re not in very good shape and that’s your fault. And it leads to all the other issues that you’ve had in the past.’”
Read it from Ross
by Ross Vennare… We are about a month away from the start of the hockey season and already teams are participating in early-bird tournaments. It is easy to prepare yourself when you guaranteed a spot on the roster and you are in the line-up every night. How do you prepare yourself when you are the back-up goalie and don’t know when you are going to see your next game?
Going into the season as a back-up goalie, at the rep level, is difficult and expensive at the same time. It is not fun knowing you are not going to get much playing time and you are hoping that the starting goalie plays horrible every game just so you can have your chance to show what you can do. When I was the assistant coach the West Mall Lightning back in 2004, we had two goalies that split the duties the entire season. Both goalies saw an even amount of games and both goalies had fun coming to the rink every game and practice. Not every team is like that and not every goalie is going to play an even amount of games.
What do you do if you are the back-up goalie and not seeing much playing time?
Well, I would suggest talking to the coach prior to signing with a club to make sure that you are not going to be a bench warmer. With the cost of equipment, ice time, travel and taking time away from your homework to travel to the rink 3-4 nights per week, it is not worth it if you are going go sit on the bench on game nights. If you are in a situation where you are not playing well and the coach is going with the better goalie, you have a lot of work to do. At the rep level, coaches are all about winning with whoever is delivering the results. If you are not producing, you are going to sit. Good goal tending is the key to a winning hockey club.
Things to work on if you are a back-up:
Recognize your weakness.
A few seasons ago I was training a house league goalie who’s aspirations were to make it to the rep level. His parents hired me to attend his practices and develop his skills. I attended his games to see what kind of goalie he was and what kind of style he played. I noticed that he was letting a lot of shots through because he was going down way too early. I knew exactly what to work on come practice time.
Break it down.
At the weekly practices, I had a breakdown of all the drills we needed to work on. I knew I was not going to change his goal tending style over night, but by breaking down big drills into small ones, I would break old habits and create new ones. With hard work and encouragement, his GAA improved dramatically. The next couple of games I went to see, his mother was amazed to see how many more pucks he was stopping - she thanked me!
Do it again.
Just because you have a good game and you come out with a win, it doesn’t mean your work is done. You still have to practice the basic skills and continue to build good habits. Good habits are a direct result of the actions you take towards your skill development. If you are determined to get better and make it to the big club, doing the same basic drills over and over again until it becomes second nature will be a huge payoff in the end.
If you are a parent, this is what you can do to help your child.
I know you invested a lot of time and money in your child and want to see results. It’s easy to criticize your child in the car on the way home and give them heck for not playing well. Leave that to the coach. Chances are your child knows he/she had a bad game and has some work to do, but don’t criticize because they will only lose interest in the game.
Encourage your child to get better - take some shots on him/her on the driveway. Put the fun back into it and they will strive to get better. It’s the simple things that make all the difference.
Reward your child after a good game! Take him/her out for an ice cream and let them know you are proud of them. Not only are you encouraging your child to win, but you are making winning fun and will help them achieve success in later life.
Just remember, Domink Hasek was once a back-up. You too can DOMIMATE!
check out Ross on his blog Ross’ Hockey
by Ross Vennare… The Toronto Maple Leafs finally got rid of Bryan McCabe. What’s next?
I’m not going to get into much discussion about this because it’s kind of old news and I really don’t care. I’m just going to say a few things about this team.
I remember when I was just ten years old, a defensman who wore number two (2) for the Maple Leafs. His name is Sylvain Lefebve. He was one tough SOB who made the opposition think twice about getting in front of the net or going into the boards with him. Add Jamie Macoun to that mix and the Leafs were the second best defensive team in the league during the 1992-93 season. Now, they are just about the worst.
The Maple Leafs made a fatal mistake when they traded Jason Smith away after he punished his opponents
to help his team advance to the third round of the 1999 playoffs. Ever since he left, the blue line turned red. Tomas Kaberle looked like the only defenseman that teams were actually worried about. The way that guy stick handles and moves the puck, he could be easily mistaken for a power forward. He is able to skate the puck out of his own end and create a good play under any circumstance.
He’s a guy you can use in any given situation and he will never, ever disappoint. There is a reason why he has been here since he played his first game against the Detroit Red Wings to open the 1998-99 season at Maple Leaf Gardens. Ten years later, he is still here and currently sports the ‘A’ on his sweater.
The Leafs are going to have to start watching the flashbacks on Leafs TV and see what worked for them in the past. Take out the old VHS tape ‘The Passion Returns’ and see how guys like Todd Gill kept the dogs away from ‘The Cat.’
If this team is going to have any hope of making the playoffs, they’re going to have to make sure that Vesa Toskala is not overworked and make his job easier. Don’t make the guy make the second and third save because you’re too busy chasing your shadow around. Show some guts and get the hard hat and the hammer out - make ‘em pay! Commit to defense, express yourself on offense.
That’s all for today, folks!