Musicians, athletes, goalies, and stress

Musical athletes

If you want to train musicians, you need to learn how they train goalies.

Similarly, if goalies want to improve their game, they need to learn what musicians do.

There are important points of departure; musicians can’t take the athlete’s ass-kicking attitude too far. Just try going out with an “eat my dust, you chuckleheads” attitude and play Massenet’s Meditation in a believable way. Good luck with that.

But as similar as musicians are to athletes, that similarity is greatest for goaltenders in any sport. I know this seems like a weird parallel, but it’s true. All of this “mental practice” and “centering” stuff that musicians are just now discovering is stuff that those guys have been doing since the 1950s, over and above even other athletes. They are in fact so far in advance of other athletes and performers that the rules of the game have been altered to keep them from being too overly dominant, precisely because they have been taking the mental aspects of their very mental arena seriously for four decades.

Goalie paranoia

Okay, so if you’re from a certain east coast town known for cheesesteaks and guys who didn’t know enough to not fly kites in thunderstorms, you are probably familiar with the Goalie Curse. To wit: Why the hell has it been so long since the Flyers had a really spectacular goalie who they could rely on in the clutch? They’ve had them in the past. Hell, the first guy they ever signed turned out to be one of the best in history, and he subsequently became one of the best goaltending coaches in history after retiring, cranking out two Vezina-and-Conn-Smythe-winning acolytes in very short order.

But … what since then?

Taken together with the absolutely maddening Cup Drought and the fact that the city is still stinging over Pelle Lindbergh’s death almost 30 years later, and you get a whole lot of hockey-crazed folks who are on a hair trigger every time their goalie sneezes or picks his nose.

Anyhow, we have to knock it off. Or else we’re going to start giving some truth to the suspicions that Philadelphia is the Goalie Curse — that our paranoia has resulted in a city that no goalie can successfully work in.

Not only that, but let’s face it. We don’t have to wait for our current lovable, too-quotable space cadet to rebound in the coming season. Am I the only person who watched the last third of the last season? Am I the only one who recalls him rebounding then, posting shutouts, and his save percentage shooting through the roof?

He rebounded. It’s happened. We’ve got ourselves a goalie, people. Calm down. *eyeroll*

In other news, I seem to have unearthed a nice, melodic way of approaching the chord progression of the canon-y thing. It’s turning out okay. 🙂

Like the photos

Fun to page through — although I remember an interviewer quizzing a certain someone about this save.

“Did you go down by accident?”

” … yes.” *smile*

“Was it hard to get back up again?

“Yes.” *bigger smile*

Nevertheless, a shutout is a shutout, even if the opposing team helped by being particularly nice. 🙂 I imagine they were consciously telling themselves while out there, “Jesus Christ, just don’t score on him … “

Just to state it out loud

I love you guys. You worked so hard and were so valiant in the process. You lost your captain and one of the top defenseman in the game in mid-season, and still look how far you went. You were wobbly for a bit, and then straightened out and got damned deadly, but a team can’t just do without someone like Chris Pronger and not feel the lack.

Orange will always be my favorite color. Enjoy your summer, and come back loaded for bear.

The Sophie’s Choice of NHL Hockey

Giroux or Hartnell for the cover?

Ultimately, although it exacted an emotional toll to not vote for one of them …

I had to vote for Scott. He has an awe-inspiring gift for driving the Penguins absolutely batshit. There’s the “Hulk Hogan” thing, the comment about how their old home rink was a scary dump full of rats

A small piece of me wept when I didn’t vote for Claude, but when it comes to the Pens, Hartsy gets under their skin worse than a bucket of chiggers. Talent like that needs to be rewarded. 🙂

You know, I never really hated the Penguins.

Since I was a kid, I always sort of considered them like the Flyers’ little brother — if they beat someone else, I can be happy for them, as long as we beat the crap out of them. But those days might be over.

Mocking, fights, coaches ejected for screaming fits, headhunting … and a grown man dressed up for Let’s Make A Deal and a Flyer who publicly found him terribly amusing

Good lawd.

But they still need to come on strong from the first period and stop letting the other guys score first. I’m thinking of this in the context of a comment that sports psychologist Don Greene made about the Superbowl, that the first quarter always sucks due to nerves. I just wonder if a visit from this guy wouldn’t help the rookies get their feet under themselves faster. It would explain their tendency to fall back on matinee games as well.

Ah, well. Pens lost. I’m happy. And to be honest, if they are trying to stoke a fire with these unneeded, nasty hits, they’re going to get one. They will lose, or the Flyers will make them wish they had. There is only one team in the NHL that can take that dragon for a walk safely, and it’s not Pittsburgh. I guess what it all boils down to is this:

Broad Street Bullies: Fight, then win.
Pittburgh Penguins: Lose, then fight.

This kind of win can be hard on both sides.

Flyers crush the Leafs

You always have to score as much as you can, whenever you can, in hockey. The game is too fast to do otherwise. One bad bounce and your own goalie or leading scorer can be gone, so you can’t ever let up or “go easy.” (Bryz is out because of a bad bounce in a warmup, too. It’s just a less serious injury.) Besides, the other team knows if you’re doing it, and it’s insulting. But it can be tough to keep pounding in this sort of situation.

It’s obvious that this is a symptom of massive back-office churn and score-settling for the Leafs. Being that bad for one season is a problem with coaching and the players. Being that bad for seven seasons in a row, though? That’s a problem the root of which is considerably further upstream. It seems that everyone wants to “save” them, and everyone has their own idea of how to do it. And when a cluster of millionaire men each has their own idea of how to do something, all that results is fighting over the bones and taking the opportunity to settle personal scores.

And meanwhile, the team takes the hit. No hockey player wants to play golf in April. They want to win. But with a massive lack of back-office vision and leadership, it’s not going to happen.