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Hardest thing to do in hockey?

Morning, Wilderness. I thought I'd try and start the offseason off with a slightly different type of poll. Yes, I know some teams are still playing, some of us are looking at prospect pools and potential offseason moves, draft choices and whatnot, and still a lot of us are just thinking of what we're going to be doing this coming summer. What with the lack of ice and all. (Not that there was much to be had this winter..)

Now that hockey is over I have been catching up on all of the lead up to the start of the baseball season. While watching a game at a bar with a buddy of mine last week, I saw a somewhat routine baseball play: a guy come in and pinch hit. I thought to myself, that'd probably be pretty tough to do. You don't know the groove of the game, haven't seen any pitches from the pitcher yet.. Then I thought it'd also be hard to be a reliever. You're the guy counted on to come on in get outs in most pressure situations. If you screw up, your team likely loses. That sucks.

Later that week in my pickup broomball game, I swapped playing time with a buddy of mine in net (we both do regular duty between the pipes but neither of us had an urge to play a full 1:30 that night). I ended up playing the second "half", and somehow our team managed to score more than I allowed in. My friend was pretty good in the first half and our side built a nice lead (no thanks to me, other than being a tall, lumbering distraction that sometimes stepped into a passing lane of our opponents). Then I came in, completely unfocused on my task at hand, and proceeded to get lit up. A couple of the shots were off of deflections, but I still couldn't seem to find my groove. Eventually towards the end of the night I felt like I was finally in the mindset to do what was asked of me. Thankfully it was just pickup, but still it got me wondering: what is the hardest thing to do in hockey*?

*Ok, fine, yes I was originally thinking broomball, but with the Gopher game coming up and end of the regular season looming, my mind shifted that question over to hockey. Just because 3 year olds can out-skate me doesn't mean I don't like hockey.

Right then I had my mind made up: backing up a goaltender mid game. I think it'd be the toughest thing to do to come into a game and have to find a groove. Yes in a normal instance you're put in for damage control and to stop the bleeding. Not much is expected out of you other than "please get this over with". But still, the other team has scored a crap ton of goals, and are thirsting for more. You are their new challenge, their new target. Maybe your guys have got a couple back and your team is now in this thing again. Also, what of the times when you come in off an injury/equipment failure? You've been sitting on the bench for 37 minutes and oh good, now you have to go out and stop shots. Hope you're still warm from the morning skate!

So what say you? What do you think is the hardest thing to do in hockey, Wilderness? (Or the six of you who'll read this?)

Be as creative as you can think of. Think of anything that takes either a second or an entire season. And maybe offer an explanation or anecdote. Some of you have actual hockey playing experience. Maybe you'll have a better idea of what goes on. Maybe you're an armchair GM. Here are some thoughts to get the puck moving:

Taking a penalty shot?

Stopping a penalty shot?

GM an NHL team?

Coach a team?

Be a team's #1 netminder?

Backing up a goalie who's just been pulled?

Equipment manager?

Actually producing on the power play?

Writing an SBN blogpost about the MN Wild?

Zamboni operator?

Cheering for the Corsi Oilers?

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness

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