BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL

March 6, 2015 • 8:33 AM

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL

It was a mirror image of last week. I felt good as I drove to the rink on a grey and slightly drizzly Sunday with Rush’s Snakes and Arrows as the soundtrack. The album’s centerpiece track “The Main Monkey Business” had me the perfect mood heading into the rink, and it all felt good and upbeat as we dressed and headed out. Last time we played Top Shelf we were shout out 2-0 in the season opener, and once again fell behind 1-0 on a freakish deflection of a shot that was heading wide, but we quickly got two back courtesy of Hunvey and Adam. Then early in the second I sent an off-balance, Hail-Mary shot towards their net from about 45 feet out and that hit a couple bodies and trickled into their net after their goalie didn’t quite snag it in his glove. It was a freak goal, to the point where the Top Shelver covering me slammed his stick onto the ice in frustration. But as the wise Pittsburgh-area hockey coach Hugh Hachmeister has always said: Good
 things happen when you shoot the puck.

It was a mirror image of last week. Last week the hockey prosthetics I use (the socket and the terminal device) worked beautifully and perfectly. At its best, they become a fully integrated part of me and I don’t even think about the fact that they are there, I just do: stickhandling, passing and shooting just like everyone else. I guess I’m always aware of it on faceoffs no matter what because that’s the arm and the “hand” that’s down low doing the work, and there’s a second or two of conscious thought about which move to make in a few seconds’ time. But occasionally things go wrong, and tonight they did – the prosthetic socket has a really tight fit, like a vice, to the point where I can really only wear it for a couple hours at a time, and it has to be like that to give me the control I need to handle the stick. But if it’s not on there just exactly right, it can potentially rub the skin raw and even pop off, and that’s what
 started happening about halfway through the game. It was heavily wrapped up in tape so it wouldn’t have splayed onto the ice with the stick still attached, but nonetheless it kept coming off after every faceoff and every shot. It would also take a good 10 minutes to go into the dressing room to take everything off and re-don it while covered in sweat, so it’s damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t. But maybe next time I will because of what happened today.
It was a mirror image of last week. Once again, we blow a 2-goal lead and it’s tied 4-4 late. Then I lose a critical faceoff in my own end with 1:30 left in a tie game and have to readjust the arm again and the puck is passed by me and the open guy slams it home and we’re down 5-4. I win the ensuing faceoff at center ice and the arm comes loose again, but I surge forward and sneak between their defenders and get myself a clear breakaway, at which point I muff the backhand because the arm is loose and their goalie makes the easy save. This time it was us taking the late loss. Chris had an incredibly pissed-off look on his face, and he was right. Konstantin could only watch from the bench after his pre-game meal made him sick and had to sit, which really hurt us because up until then he was doing a great job creating chances and being in the right places. At least when this happens to us there aren’t 18,000 people cheering about it, and on a lighter
 note, at one point during the game Dan’s trademark throw-his-body-into-the-path-of-an-opposing-player-who-might-score move worked again, as it usually does.

Sometimes looking in the mirror doesn’t yield a good result. Afterwards it was the double whammy in the dressing room as we had to sit there and pick through the details of how we blew another 2-goal lead, while also finding out that my left arm now has a spot that’s rubbed raw and bleeding. Fantastic. No workouts of any kind for at least a week while it heals. Just what I needed.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall / The face you’ve shown me scares me so.” – James Young
 

 

 

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