Archive for July, 2009

Cup Journey Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 by inthecreasewiththiess

Well as alerted to me by my wonderful Aunty Gwen at a recent family gathering my “tomorrow” has turned into a few weeks so I’m back after a trip to boston, some family time and getting back into the rigors of training to finish my Stanley Cup story. 

After round 2 versus the Caps it was on to face Carolina.  I was watching game 7 of Boston Carolina with great interest as I wanted to make a return trip back to Boston and watch us play in the Garden, the scene of some not so memorable games for NU hockey but nonetheless would have been fun to go back.  As it turned out it was the Hurricanes that we would need to get past in order to play for the Cup.  My favorite part of being able to follow the team along with just being  a part of the Stanley Cup journey was going to the different rinks.  The “rock the red” in Washington was impressive, and Carolina was probably an even louder building which made for a great atmosphere.  I’ll talk more about Detroit later but I was a little disappointed in Games 1 and 2 at the lack of enthousiasm that seemed to be there, but they ramped it up for Game 5 and 7.  The Carolina series was over quickly and one of the things I took away from that series was that the guys were happy to have won the Eastern Conference and they enjoyed it in the dressing room but after that the focus was turned squarely on the Cup and unfinished business.

I know that there were a lot of Red Wings fans among the extra guys as they played the Blackhawks in the Western Final, we wanted to get on with the Cup.  The Wings did their part and we were able to start the Final relatively quickly.  Never before had I seen so much media just converge in a dressing room before after practices and games.  Walking into the rink it was like a whose who of media members, Don Cherry, Ron Mclean, Barry Melrose, Pierre Maguire, Matthieu Barnaby, Darren Dreger, anyone and everyone was there.  Going down a quick 2-0 after back to back games was disheartening, but something that we had gone through in Washington.  On the plane back there was no hanging of heads, guys were still playing their video games and card games, we had done it before and we just had to take care of business at home.  It was a sight to see before game 3 outside Mellon Arena of fans trying to get spots just to watch the game on the big screen outside, what an atmosphere that was.  My dad also made the trip out for game 3 and 4 so he was able to watch and enjoy those 2 great hockey games.  Now the momentum was back on our side after 2 huge home wins, but was quickly snatched back after a game 5 loss on the road again.  So it was back to Pittsburgh relying on the home town fans to rally the team once again, which as the case in another classic hockey game.  As a spectator you could not ask for two other teams that play the game the right way, the hockey was second to none.  Now it was time for game 7, this was it.  I was probably more nervous the day of that game than when I actually play.  Normally we skated after the team on game days but us black aces had the day off, they just wanted the team to prepare and get ready for the biggest game of their lives.  Normally we would have a suite or press box, somewhere to watch the game from, but being game 7 we were out of luck.  So 4 of us went up and were standing on stairways in the rink trying to get a glimpse of the action.  After the second period we were up 2-0 and so we headed down to the dressing room to watch the third on tv and hopefully start getting our equipment on for the celebration.  Just as we started lacing up our skates Detroit scored and we all looked at each other, not too sure what to do next.  We ended up finishing getting dressed and huddled around the tv as the agonizing seconds ticked off.  Finally the buzzer sounded and after the handshakes we went out on the ice to be a part of the celebrations.

As I write this I still can’t believe what went on that night, I was actually on the ice celebrating a Stanley Cup victory, having Sidney Crosby pass me the Stanley Cup for my chance to hoist the trophy.  From that point, to the dressing room celebrations to the parties at Mario Lemieux’s to the victory parade are experiences I will never forget.  I learned an awful lot being on the inside of watching a team win a championship and what it takes to do so, and how much it meant to guys like Billy Guerin to win that trophy. 

And now after all that it is time to get back at it and try and repeat the feat.  I have been at home training and getting ready for the Development Camp next week in Pittsburgh which should be a lot of fun.  It is a week long camp filled with testing, skating, along with some fun activities to get to know some of the other Penguins prospects.  Once I get back I will share on how the week went.

Thank you as well to those who have commented from Northeastern and some Penguins fans who have found the blog, hope you enjoy it.