Journey to the Cup Part I

Well I am back home enjoying my summer, albeit a shorter version this year.  All the excitement and festivities have wound down after being a part of the Stanley Cup winner Pittsburgh Penguins, giving me an opportunity to sit down and write about my experience with the team during the incredible run.

As most of you know I signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins following the college hockey season.  I was sent to their American Hockey League team in Wilkes Barre.  While I was their I practiced with the team as a third goalie as well as backing up the last game of the season.  I was also with the team during their first round playoff win against Bridgeport.  Following that series I was called up to Pittsburgh to essentially do the same thing with the Penguins, be a third goalie and give Marc Andre Fleury a break from practice when he needed it, and get some extra work in with goaltending coach Gilles Meloche.  I really couldn’t believe it when they told me at first what the plan was, I was just excited to be getting some experience in the American League let alone be a part of the Penguins playoff run.

So I got to Pittsburgh a few days before the team faced Washington in the second round.  It was a little nerve wracking meeting the team, guys like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malking, Marc Andre Fleury, guys who as college players we watch on tv and think about what it would be like to be in their shoes.  Then you are sitting next to them in the dressing room doing up your skates just like they do.  People ask me what are these guys like and this and that, and I tell them they are just regular guys like anyone else.  It is a great group of guys and they welcomed me in to the team right away.  I think this is one of the main reasons that we were able to win is because of the team concept that was clearly evident throughout the locker room.

I was brought up at just the right time, just in time to watch Sid and Geno go up against Alex Ovechkin in the NHL’s dream match up.  What a series it was.  To go down 2-0 was a little disheartening at first, but the team never wavered.  They all believed we were going to come back and we did.  I had been to 1 NHL playoff game before, in Vancouver, but the noise and energy levels in Washington and Pittsburgh were incredible.  The intensity was like nothing I had ever seen before, everyone was doing whatever it took to win.  The whole city of Pittsburgh was on board as well.  I stayed in a hotel across the street from the rink for the duration of my time their and every game night the lobby and hotel restaurant were packed with fans getting ready for the games.  The series turned out to be a classic going 7 games, and while there was a lot of travel back and forth, this wasn’t college anymore so we weren’t taking the Peter Pan!  Nothing against the Peter Pan busses but it’s not exactly a chartered plane. 

After that incredible series win it was time to head to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, and I will continue on with that hopefully tomorrow.

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5 Responses to “Journey to the Cup Part I”

  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading your take on this great sport.
    Thank you for continuing your blog, even though your course ended.
    And GOOD LUCK in the NHL!

  2. terrence Says:

    Congrats. I went to grad school at NU and spent a fair amount of time in Matthews arena. I happy to hear you hit the big leagues. As an Islanders fan I was broken hearted when they signed a goalie from BU, and I had been pulling for the Pens for the last 3 years. I hope you have a long career with the Pens!

  3. bag o' pucks Says:

    Hey Thiess, great story and the Pens fans are glad to have you on board. I have a question that I hope you don’t construe as getting up in your business, but all of us cap geeks can’t find anywhere what your entry level cap number is! So, if it’s not too much to ask, what is you cap number for your two-year deal? Thanks much and looking forward to more stories as you prepare for your first pro campaign.

    • inthecreasewiththiess Says:

      hey no problem i believe that is something that just recently went up on some cap websites as also alerted to me by my cousin who got that changed so hopefully you can find it there!

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