Goaldiggers Win D III Championship
Posted by: Lindsay Aspegren on Fri Dec 21st 2012 1:45pm
The Goaldiggers beat the Ice-o-topes 4 -2 to win the D III Championship on Wednesday night at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. Once the door mat of the league, Diggers management turned their once struggling squad around with a series of shrewd off season moves and inspired play from new comers and veterans alike. Diggers stalwart defense man Mike Bott who was there when the Diggers suffered through a nearly win less season in 2011 noted that his team used to be "known as underachievers for a reason." In 2012, time have changed. A highly confident Diggers team went into the playoffs as the top seed with 31 points and 0.705 winning percentage. As second line center Ryan Waddington said, "who needs luck with Lisa in goal." After routing North Coast in an easy 3-0 victory on Sunday in Ann Arbor as a result of stellar play on both side of the puck, the final game was largely a coronation. The Diggers now expect to dominate D II for years to come.
Coasties Rake Leafs Out of the Playoffs
Posted by: Hugo Braun on Thu Dec 13th 2012 11:01pm
North Coast has moved on to the semi-finals after eliminating the Leafs in a shootout at about 12:30am Thursday morning. Mucho Grande, Dave Grand, opened the scoring with a beautiful goal, deflecting a wrist shot from Havi, Dave Haviland, into the the net with the shaft of his stick. The score remained 1-0 until the middle of the third period when the Leafs tied it up with a screened and tipped shot from the point. North Coast regained the lead when The Big Fella, Kurt Reigger, sprung Hammer, Gregg Hammerman, on breakaway. Hammer calmly picked the top left corner with a quick shot. The Leafs again tied the game with under 3 minutes to go on a weak shot that deflected off a defenseman's skate. The game went to a shootout after a scoreless overtime left the score 2-2. Mad Dog, Craig Hysong, and Hammer scored on the Coasties' first two attempts and that was all it took as Superman, Ed Pokryfky, only allowed one Leaf's shootout goal.
Superman was the unanimous pick for Mighty Good Player of the Game, with a large number of difficult saves during regular time in addition to his outstanding shootout performance.
Helmet? Check. Shoulder Pads? Check. Cup? No Thanks.
Posted by: Lindsay Aspegren on Thu Dec 13th 2012 10:49am
By SAM BORDEN
Published: December 8, 2012
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Protection is a perpetual buzzword in the N.F.L. N.F.L. players protect their heads. N.F.L. players protect their quarterbacks. N.F.L. players protect their home field.
Strange as it might seem, however, N.F.L. players do not protect — in any way, apparently — perhaps their most sensitive possession.
“In my life, at every level, I have never worn a cup,” Giants tight end Martellus Bennett said this week. “I don’t know anyone who has. I think most guys like to hang out and be free.”
Linebacker Mark Herzlich paused for a moment, then shook his head. “A cup? No,” he said. “I think maybe I wore one when I was in Pee-Wee football. But not since. My mom made me wear one back then. I’m not even sure I had anything to protect, really.”
Giants quarterback Eli Manning laughed — for several seconds — when the subject was posed to him. Then he composed himself and recalled that his only interaction with groin sanctuaries in football was when one of his teammates in eighth grade wore a cup. Manning reported that it was “uncomfortable.”
“I mean for me, not him,” Manning said. “He was the center and so he was snapping the ball to me all the time. Having the cup there, it hurt my hand.”
Snickers and smiles aside, damage to players’ delicate zones has recently become something of a more pressing, if not altogether painful, topic in the N.F.L., as there have been several high-profile incidents involving foot-to-groin contact. Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh drew scorn, and a $30,000 fine, for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin last month.
Then during the Giants’ loss to Washington last Monday, defensive tackle Linval Joseph was kicked during a scrum, enraging him to the point that he nearly stamped on the offender before restraining himself.
“I can understand that,” Bennett said of Joseph’s reaction. “Getting hit there is like drunk driving: all it takes is one time for it to be really, really bad.”
So given that even the “slightest graze can feel like you got crushed,” as Justin Tuck said, why do football players — who wear equipment covering their arms and legs and knees and elbows and shoulders and hands and wrists — not embrace the possibilities when it comes to their most sensitive area?
Answers run the gamut. Many players cited a feeling of restrictiveness that comes with trying to run while wearing a cup. This is not surprising; after all, Bike Athletic, the company said to have invented the jockstrap in 1874, did so as a “support for the bicycle jockeys riding the cobblestone streets of Boston,” according to the company’s Web site. It stands to reason then that the demands of an athlete always on the move — a running back or wide receiver, say — would be different from a cyclist’s.
Still, it appears that offensive and defensive linemen, who are essentially falling all over one another on every play, might be helped by a cup. Yet they seem to pass on it as well. “We’re running, too,” defensive tackle Marvin Austin said. “It’s not the same as the other guys, but we’re sliding and shifting all the time.”
Austin shrugged. “Hey, do you see horses wearing cups?” he said. “No. They’re running all the time, and so are we.”
The veteran guard Chris Snee said he was more concerned about potential movement of the cup during play. Continually bending over to get into a three-point stance involves a certain amount of “folding,” he said, which could turn painful if a cup was involved.
Manning noted this possibility as well, and also mentioned the disastrous potential if a cup shifted before a player bumped into another player. “You know, it’s supposed to be centered, obviously,” Manning said. “So, if it goes to the side and then you get hit and it presses into. ... ” He trailed off.
“Well, that’s not good,” he said.
Center David Baas bemoaned that this was even as issue at all, pointing to the code among players that dictates — in explicit, albeit unwritten, terms, Baas said — that groins are off limits. “Some people always ruin it for everyone else,” he said.
Despite the recent rash of undercarriage incidents, Joe Skiba, the Giants’ equipment director, said there had not been any players inquiring about traditional cups or banana cups or even something called the Nutty Buddy, which claims to be a revolutionary design.
In fact, Skiba said, he could only recall one player ever asking him about a cup, and it happened this year. Near the end of training camp, defensive end Osi Umenyiora approached Skiba and inquired about the possibility of wearing a cup.
“I was in a drill with J.P.P., and we came around and slammed into each other and I went down bad,” Umenyiora said, wincing at the memory of the contact with Jason Pierre-Paul. Seeking to avoid any further damage, Umenyiora dabbled with a soccer-style cup. It was the first time he had worn one. “You have to protect what’s important,” Umenyiora said solemnly.
But even Umenyiora’s foray into the world of safety occupied by baseball and hockey players everywhere, not to mention boxers, did not last long. After just a few weeks, Umenyiora returned to his free-form existence. “I know it’s risky,” he said. “I just felt like I couldn’t move.”
Asked if he would recommend the experience to his teammates, Umenyiora shook his head, and so it seems that the status quo will remain in the N.F.L. when it comes to this particular issue.
“We know it’s not ideal,” said Austin, who then pointed to his legs and noted that he and many other linemen weigh more than 300 pounds. “We’ve got protection,” he said laughing. “You’ve just got to hope your thighs are big enough to do the job.”
A Primer to the Hockey Beer League: Making the Most of the NHL Lockout
Posted by: Lindsay Aspegren on Fri Nov 02nd 2012 1:36pm
Roy MacGregor, The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 29 2012, 11:01 PM EDT
It is, admittedly, an acquired taste, but for those who cannot get through another dark week of this black fall without seeing a hockey game – free of charge, of course, just like on the television – the opportunities are virtually endless.
Just walk down to the neighbourhood rink around dawn, or on most midafternoons, or on any night after children’s bedtime and you will find a game of sorts.
It will be, well, different. But it will still be hockey. Sort of.
There will be no scoreboard to tell you who is winning or who needs to score before the Zamboni roars out 10 minutes to the hour, no matter even if the greatest game ever played (by these players) is tied.
There will be, in some circumstances, such a variety of colours, socks never matching tops, that you will need to accept on faith that one team is dark and one is light. In more organized play, one team will have one pure colour, one another – in best situations with socks to match.
There will be no referees to make the calls, leaving you to decide which team shouting “Offside!” and which team screaming “Up yours!” is right.
There will be no other fans to let you know when to cheer or boo. You will be entirely on your own – likely the first fan this group has ever had if you don’t count the guy who was having an affair. And even she stopped coming the moment he finally moved in with her.
Consider this, then, The Desperate Fan’s Guide to Beer League Hockey.
There are different rules here than in the NHL. And there are certain things that any fan walking into a local rink needs to understand before the game at hand can be truly appreciated:
One goaltender showing up is worse than no goaltender showing, especially if some idiot thinks the goalie should switch ends after each goal. Worse is having to hit the goalposts or crossbars of an empty net to count a goal and worst of all is an empty jersey hung from the crossbars. Forty years of beer-league statistics have shown that, invariably, the empty jersey or the goalposts win.
If you see unhappy faces on a bench, count the forwards. Players despise it when an extra player shows up and has to be worked through the lines. Far worse, of course, is being that extra player being worked through the lines.
The most important person in the rink will not wear a “C” or an “A” but will be carrying a shovel. While NHL players are allowed to skate out while the Zamboni floods the ice, beer-league players are forbidden to so much as drop a puck on the ice until the Zamboni is entirely off and the guy shovelling off the dropped snow decides to close the doors. Those foolish enough to skate out early will face the wrath of the Arena God.
The most valuable player in beer-league hockey is not the rock-solid stay-at-home defenceman, but the fireman, medic or, in the best possible circumstances, the doctor who knows how to work the defibrillator.
It helps to be able to tell which players have played organized hockey and which players have not. Those who have never played have their heads down all the time and have no sense of position. Those who have a sense cannot forget what it felt like to be cold-cocked at centre ice or what it was like having the coach rip into you when you weren’t where you should have been when the other guys scored.
Equipment can be a helpful indicator of skill level. Brand-spanking-new equipment and skates usually mean “never played.” Elbow pads over jerseys means “shouldn’t play.” No visors and half-visors suggest both vanity and a certain level of skill. Players who do not seem to own hockey socks but play, instead, in sweatpants or even rags are usually the most skilled.
Each game, without failure, will have a river-rat player. He is the guy who can skate all over the ice, hangs on to the puck endlessly, rarely lifts his head and passes only once he runs out of room. He can’t get used to boards.
The most annoying player on each side is not the Matt Cooke – Ken Linseman – Claude Lemieux type player who trash talks and trips. It is, rather, the guy who never comes off the ice. He does not realize when his linemates are – he may not even know who they are – and he believes his stamina is limitless, so long as he coasts.
Fights sometimes happen. They’re real, as in really embarrassing.
Almost every group will have one player – often grey – who still thinks he has a chance in the June entry draft. He is usually fairly good, compared to what else is on the ice, but only 1 per cent as good as he thinks he is.
That quick little player with the ponytail who actually seems to know what’s going on, who skates better than anyone else and who passes selflessly – good chance it’s the daughter of one of the old farts, home for a study break.
Though the Zamboni is out, the action is far from over. The new fan to beer-league hockey will follow the team into the dressing room. Where the real effort involves taking off the skates.
And the best competition – in those shrinking jurisdictions that still allow such luxuries – will be over who can claim first that extra beer.
Yaks Yak Up a Victory
Posted by: Mike Braun on Thu Sep 20th 2012 12:05pm
At first glance, it appeared that North Coast fell to Yaks in a very close 1-0 game last Sunday. However, all was not as it appeared.
During the first period, a number of North Coast players noticed a Yak player who had previously been removed from our league for being overqualified. In fact, he had also been removed from Tier-II the previous week for the same reason. North Coast pointed this out to the zebras, but despite their efforts to get confirmation from either Yaks or Cube officials, they were unsuccessful, and the Yak was allowed to play.
The player in question has been an occasional sub goalie for North Coast, and he had planned to play in net for Yaks. When another goaltender showed up in the Yaks locker room, he didn't want his late night trip to the Cube to go to waste. Thus, his and Yaks decision to let him play defense.
In a clear demonstration of his intention to keep the monkey business out of our leagues, new league manager Abe Colwell later declared the game a forfeit. It's not the way we want to win, but we'll take it.
Plus, it was Yaks.