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Highlander Tales Episode 17

Episode 17: Road to the playoffs with new faces

A couple months have passed since the team’s adventures in space. Spaceman did have a meeting with Space Patrol concerning what occurred and currently in suspension for involving incident earthlings and handing out patrol morphers to space citizens without permission. He helps Hockey, Bishop, Pique, and Clarence on mastering their ranger abilities. Pyro offers a token to the Space Patrol thus he leaves to join office leaving the Highlanders without him. Frenchie has recruited new players on the roster who are Johanna, Jeremy, Walbily, and Zsigmond that will help Highlanders for the playoffs. He brings the team down to the ice to introduce the new Co-GM.

Frenchie smiles “Afternoon team we are doing good today right? Nice, I am glad we have done well in the season as we finish out. We need a new GM since Pyro left us. So I found a new person who you know well, Spaceman.”
Spaceman blinks “I do like who?”

Then the man arrives in a suit as Spaceman frowns. The man cross his arms as he walks around the team. Everyone gets on guard.
Ruggsy nods “My name is Ruggsy and I am Lieutenant of Space Patrol. Due to events that happened a few months ago. I took it upon myself to become field supervisor and help protect this side of the galaxy while I am your assistant GM. This gives me the chance to observe you all, especially you rangers.”
Pique blinks “Rangers?”
Ruggsy smirks “Do not play dumb Pique Boo. I know about the ruckus that happen months ago and even now you all play the hero. So I am here to keep a close eye out. Calvin, you are officially no longer suspended but under my watch, Now that business is settled, I will be your new GM for ice hockey and will aid you kids in your adventure to win it all!”
Frenchie sips his water “So, any questions?”

The team remains quiet allowing Frenchie to review some game plays and exercises he wants the team to do to prepare for the coming playoffs. He believes these drills will help them be ready for the challenges coming ahead. Being that this is their 2nd season and possibility to win the cup is great. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win as he is a master strategist. The Highlanders’ focus intensifies for determination and anticipation.Their silence is a testament to listening to Frenchie’s instructions as they head off to begin their drills.

Ruggsy reads the playbook “Clearly you have a good set. I hope I can be just as impactful as Pyro was.”
Frenchie grins “I think you will be fine and welcome to earth! I think it’s good that you are around so you can help with other things. I already forbade them from using their powers while on the ice.”
Ruggsy nods “Good because they are a target. Now anyway my bots are out observing the other teams.”
Pres spits his drink “Wait you have bots? Spy bots?”
Ruggsy nods “Well yes they are part of our equipment for SP but being that I have a cover job. I might as well put those boys into use before they go around causing havoc out of boredom. So I should be able to get some analysis when they come back.” 
Cycro blinks “High tech at that?! We might win this thing, Frenchie.”
Frenchie nods “Indeed!”
Meanwhile Demir works on exercises with the defense sector which he is glad it has expanded beyond just he and Jacob. Clarence, Johanna, Jeremy, and Bodhi are filling the missing gap. The pair did settle their patch on the way back to earth. He does acknowledge Jacob’s potential and he wants to spend time with the Frenchman because the next time they meet on ice is on opposite sides when they got pro. He will be with Montreal and Latvia while Jacob will be with Seattle and France. The Italian captain understands that soon they will be rivals. 
He grins at the defenseman “Alright team, we are going to work on improving our strengths. Time is ticking and I want our defense to be tight and that's better than Nevada and Maine.”
Bodhi grins “Dude did we like to beat them? Jacob gets calls from…”
Demir sighs “Yes Bodhi but playoffs are different so we need to improve so we can beat them. Clarence, you need to work on negation. You let play pass too often and it should not happen.”
Clarence frowns “Some of them are fast!”
Jacob pats his back “Well you need to get faster so hit the treadmill after this.”
Demir nods “The same can apply to you Bodhi! You need to work on your speed and blocking as well. We cannot let the Bishop do all the work. 
Bodhi frowns “Ok..”
Demir looks at Johanna “Jo, need to beef up your offensive game and I know you rather stay by the goal but there are times that we need to step and hit the puck into the net.”
Johanna nods “Is it really necessary? We have so many forwards..”
Jacob nods “Sometimes it’s a game changer. Don’t worry, I can help you with that.”
Demir looks at Jeremy “You need to work on your defensive skills. It’s good that you can read the ice but knowing and applying are two different things. So that will be our agenda for today!”
Johanna blinks “Wait about you and Jacob?”
Demir grins “He and I spent time working on our abilities throughout the last 2 seasons. Now we want to focus on you guys. Any aid we need will be from Patriotes or Argonauts. Besides I am leaving after this season and Jacob here will be your leader of the defense going forward.”
Jacob nods “You and Benji taught me well. So let’s have some fun guys!”
The defensive team begins their exercises that Demir setup with Frenchie’s guide. Demir helps Jeremy with his defensive tactics by providing multiple scenarios in terms of defense and offensive plays. 

Demir hold stick “We will start with scenario 1 which is backchecking and puck retrieval. Jeremy, when you lose the puck in the offensive zone, don’t just stand there watching. Get back to your position and focus. It’s essential that we maintain possession so this is when speed becomes important to force your opponent to the board in order to steal the puck. Then make space for your teammates to make their play as you prepare yourself to cut off passing lines to create a chance for turnover.

Demir sets up drills emphasizing quick transition from offense to defense, focusing on proper positioning and aggressive backchecking. Jeremy spends 30 minutes doing this drill. He sees his errors and starts to rectify them. After that they take a water break as Demir prepares for the next drill.

Demir says “Next up is forechecking and defensive zone coverage. Remember Jeremy, defense is a team effort. Forechecking is about disrupting the other team’s breakout. You need to be aggressive so use your stick to make them pass badly.”
Jeremy nods “So when I am in the zone, I need to focus on my man right?”
Demir grins “Exactly negate his ass at all cost! Look at Jacob for example, he does crazy and risky stunts with his body to block shots but it works. Which is a crucial part of defense.”

Demir uses 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 drills to simulate defensive zone situations. He used samples of Frenchie’s plans as a guide. Jeremy gets placed into different situations to practice proper positioning, stickward, and blocking shots. He fell a few times but got up and focused on the drill as he began to feel the improvements. They continue this for an hour since Demir wanted Jeremy to comprehend the drill and have more practice. They take a snack break to rest before continuing onward with more drill scenarios.Through these tailored scenarios, practice drills, and constructive feedback. Demir helps Jeremy develop a more comprehensive understanding of defense strategies that will assist him in his hockey game. 
Meanwhile Jacob and Johanna skate over to the goalies as Bishop finishes going over some practice drills with Zsigmond. Looking at his friend, Bishop can tell it’s that particular drill he wants to do. So he grab his water to drink.

Jacob waves “Hey guys mind if we cut in. I want us to help Johanna to enhance her offense skills and also help Zsigmond protect the net better too.”
Bishop grins “The classic catch and fire. It’s an speed fireball man…”
Jacob shrugs “Blame Mia for teaching me when she locked me up in order to get revenge over my prank of spilling flavor water. Now she regrets it because I block her at every turn.”
Bishop laughs “Oh yeah Ottawa 3 but Maine 0!” 
Johanna smiles “So how does this drill go?”
Jacob grins “Simple…”

Jacob sets 12 puck down allowing  Zsigmond to get into position to defend the net. Jacob hits the pucks super fast with power. At the rate and might he went, Zsigmond struggled to defend against them all. He only was able to block 4. 

Zsigmond frowns “That’s outrageous!”
Jacob nods “You are right but to block shots like is important. You Jo, should work on hitting the shots at multiple angles. Sometimes it is on us to score as the forwards won’t always be available. Frenchie doesn't have us be playmakers.”
Johanna nods “Alright, I will try..”
Bishop sips “Keep your head straight Zsigmond! You need to be the best damn wall that you can be man.”

The two rookies begin the exercise together under Jacob and Bishop’s guidance. Johanna starts to hit the puck and skate around to improve her ability to anticipate her shots but forcing on pinpoint accuracy and deceptive moves. Her offensive prowess gives Zsigmond ample opportunities to hone his reflexes and anticipation skills. Her precise shots test the limits of his ability forcing Zsigmond to quickly adapt to different angles and respond with lightning speed.

Jacob looks at Bishop “Bishop, is that really water?”
Bishop grins feeling chill “It’s new flavor water Jake.”
Jacob shakes his head “Don’t let Cycro catch you.”
Sometime later the team leaves home as Frenchie helps Ruggsy move into his new office. 

Frenchie frowns “Is it really bad?”
Ruggsy smiles “It’s manageable but don’t my presence worry you. After all, I am your co-GM. My spy bots have returned but I will let them rest before checking their films. I can tell this is going to be tough playoffs based on my readings.”
Frenchie nods “Yes but I am confident in them. I took a huge gamble and so many people bet against me. Now here I am!”
Ruggsy grins “It will pay off I trust me..”

Easton: Oh gosh the playoffs are here and it’s my first one too!
Demir: Looks like we are up against the dinosaurs.
Peyton: I don’t know about you but I think something is different and we got this!
Easton: What about the others?
Demir: Matters not now let’s show the world we are brand new Highlanders!
Peyton: 1,2,3… here we go!

Next time: The playoff season begins!

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