6 October 2001 * LATER
So much has happened since I last wrote (only this morning!) that it's hard to believe it's still the same day... and we have another game left to play. After writing about last night's game and then eating breakfast in the hotel restaurant (I really liked the do-it-yourself belgian waffle, but not much else on the buffet), Al & I went over to the rink to see if the Kings were practicing. They were, and it was a lot of fun to see them working on drills.

We couldn't hear much of what the coaches were saying, but they had a whiteboard just like ours on which to diagram the drills. We couldn't read the diagrams from the stands across the rink, but I recognized some of the stuff we'd worked on at our last practice: breakouts, dump and chase, etc. Of course, they were about 80 times faster than we are. :-/ We also saw a neat drill where a skater had to try to deke the goalie (it was basically like a penalty shot), and if he missed, he had to pick up his own rebound and carry the puck back to the next guy in line. Seemed like a good drill for learning to look for the rebound.

We had noticed four different jersey colors on the ice and first thought that some might be defense and the others offense, but it became obvious after a while that the colors denoted lines. Not knowing any Kings players, however, we couldn't tell which line was which. Al guessed that Red was line 1, since in football the guy you're not supposed to hit wears red. We found a guy who became a rabid Kings fan in the past year, and he confirmed Al's theory and decoded the rest of the colors for us: Red was the first line, Gray was the second, Black was the third, and Purple the fourth.

After the practice was over, Al & I drove to Santa Monica to buy red socks (I felt my Spitfire t-shirt needed red socks to go with it), surfboard wax (for my stick—Leslie tipped me off that it helps keep the snow from sticking to the tape, and it makes the tape last longer), and sports tape (for my knee bandage). Once we'd collected all the items on the list, we headed back to El Segundo, where we at a late lunch/early dinner at Sizzler (I had the salad bar). We then went to the hotel to grab my gear and headed to the rink.

I was checking the board for our locker room assignment when Craig, the tournament director, ran over to tell me to tell my team to be in uniform and ready for team photos upstairs 10 minutes before the game. That meant 10 minutes from now. I found locker room 10 and told the people who were there about the photo. The consensus was, "if I'd known that, I would have been here earlier!"

We all managed to get dressed in time, but the Heartbreakers got done a smidge faster—which meant that once again our opponents had extra warm-up time. It didn't matter much to me personally, since I didn't do the whole warm-up anyway; I decided to save my knee for the game. I had told Trevor that I thought I could play two periods, and among me, him, and Michele, we determined that periods 1 and 3 would be best. Shauna would float through line 1 the first period, play on line 2 the second period, and then float through line 2 the third period.

When I stepped onto the ice for my first shift, I felt like I'd walked into Chaos. Everyone was all over the place... and to make matters worse, both our jerseys and the Heartbreakers' had a significant amount of white in them, with black and red accents. It was nearly impossible to tell who was who. I got a breakaway at one point, but I couldn't deke the defenders (who were just standing in the faceoff circles in their zone) because of my knee, and I couldn't see anyone from my team to pass to, so I ended up losing the puck in one of the defenders' skates. Michele told me later that she was in the zone with me, but I never saw her. Bummer!

It was a while before I felt like I even remotely knew what was going on out there, and even then I wasn't entirely comfortable. Cynthia and I agreed that it was mostly a positioning problem on the Heartbreakers' part: we'd be in position at the point, for example, but the person we were supposed to be covering wasn't there. Same thing would happen when we were on O—all five of their players would collapse in, leaving the points wide open, but there was no way to shoot through 8 players. (The few times our D tried, they always hit someone.)

My knee burned quite a bit as I played, but I was so busy trying to keep track of what was going on that I didn't really care. In fact, by the third period I was pretty fired up—we were trailing 5-2, the penalties were going against us, the clock was allowed to run while our opponents argued several calls (can I just say for the record that I HATE RUNNING TIME?), and I'd taken a couple shoulder checks. I wanted to hurt these girls (on the scoreboard, where it counts).

what the heck is going on down there?

Vikki on the bench

hey! is that a camera?

yes, they really are leaning that much.


Up until then I hadn't had too much trouble getting over the boards, thank god; the main thing that hurt was taking big strides to try to book down the ice. Well, when I got angry, I felt no pain. I skated like a demon. Not that it did any good, mind you; I didn't manage to score any goals. :( I noticed that Pauline was driving in quite a bit from D in the third period, and correctly surmised that she was pissed too. We didn't think we should be losing, but we were—and we did. 5-2 was the final score.

We've only got a couple hours until our next game; I hope to get in a whirlpool for my knee and take a nap before heading back to the rink.

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