Chairman How's Glorious Army
Significantly Lowering the Bar Since 2008.

Apr
27

I’ve been starting at this screen for about fifteen minutes now, title done, nothing else written. There’s a whole lot of “if only” thoughts running through my head. There’s a whole lot of frustration that wants to overcome the rush of two great months that ended much too quickly.

I know I can’t let that frustration win. It’s pointless. It’s much better to remember the good than stew in the bad. I know that. But, I guess when things don’t go your way, it’s easier to let the bullshit spew than it is to talk about the good times.

Well, fuck that.

Thanks, Iiro Tarkki, for giving this fanbase something to believe in. You have a bright future, so much talent. I know you’ll go far.

Thanks, Kyle Palmieri. I don’t think we’ve seen the likes of you come through here, to be honest. We’ve had guys who were close, but you’re a one-in-a-million player. You gave us a lot to cheer about, often when there wasn’t anything else to yell for.

Thanks, Luca Caputi. What started with a fascination with your name turned into a legitimate appreciation for your talent, your drive, and the spark you brought to the bench and to this fanbase. You weren’t the flashiest, but you were by far one of the most hardworking. You got results, time after time. You were one of the major forces behind this team’s turn around. I’m only sorry we didn’t see you play in this series. I still feel you could have made a difference. I’ll probably miss you the most, and I wish you well.

Thanks, Rick Schofield. You were the first–and only so far–Crunch player to ever follow me on Twitter. It made me feel very appreciated and lucky whenever you’d respond or RT anything I’d say. Your game improved so much over the course of the season. You were definitely our unsung hero. You killed yourself, night after night, and had a work ethic that just wouldn’t quit.

Thanks, Nick Schaus. As our first player announcement here on the blog earlier this season, your presence on the team evoked a bit of pride in all of us here. Your positive attitude and desire to excel will take you far, I can tell.

Finally, thanks, Jim Sarosy and company. From conversations during games; phone calls and e-mails about teams, players and jerseys; barbs on Twitter; giddy exchanges fueled by adrenaline and caffeine…it’s the people who are behind these organizations that make the bad times tolerable and the good times amazing. I dare anyone in this league to find a better front office than the one we have in terms of passion, dedication, and attention paid to fans and season ticket holders. I may bust on the organization from time to time, but the front office will always have my respect and admiration for what they do and what they go through with us. Not above us, but with us.

It always feels weird when these series end on the road. It just stops. You don’t really expect it to. You don’t get to say that final goodbye to your guys, your players, your team. It’s just over. It’s weird, especially this season. There aren’t any playoff heroics to remember, nothing Crunch fans will still be talking about in four years. But, to be fair, not every season gets to have those moments. The lack of them doesn’t reflect poorly on this team. For two months, times were good, and that’s what I’m grateful for tonight. I really thought I’d be seeing the War Memorial again this season. I’m thankful for the good times we had, but I’m sorry they had to end so soon. Good luck, boys, with whatever happens next season and with whatever comes next. Always remember, when people ask you, where you got that extra bit of grit from.

And, as always, go Crunch.

Apr
27

Alex referenced the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs in her earlier post and it got me thinking about Cory Scheider.

Schneider, now 26, was the backstop for Manitoba that season and has since made a name for himself as the preferred goaltender of Vancouver Canucks fans (and now coaches). That’s saying something when Roberto Luongo, the first goalie to ever sport a “C” on his sweater, is still on the roster with another decade and $47 mil remaining on his contract (which could change this summer).

A good friend of mine is an editor at an ESPN.com associate website that covers NCAA hockey and loved to point out Schneider’s record in “big games.” Namely, the NCAA Championship in both 2006 and 2007. Schneider took the loss in both as the net-minder for Boston College. He allowed just a combined four goals on 67 shots in those two games, but Michigan State and then Wisconsin took home the hardware. Impressive numbers for Cory, but no dice for the team.

The following season Schneider led Vancouver‘s AHL affiliate in Manitoba to the Calder Cup Playoffs, where they met a red-hot Syracuse Crunch club.  Schneider played well in an overtime loss in the series opener before leaving game two with an injury.

Manitoba would come back to win that game in overtime and crushed Syracuse 5-2 in game four to even the series again at 2-2.  But the Crunch won an overtime thriller in game five to reclaim home ice and finished off the series two days later at the War Memorial with another overtime victory.  For the series, Schneider had a 1.92 GAA and .938 save percentage over six games.  Impressive numbers for Cory, but no dice for the team.

The next season, Scheider had a cup of coffee with the Canucks before leading the Moose all the way to the Calder Cup finals. He would finish the postseason with a 2.15 GAA and .922 save percentage in 22 games, but Hershey won the Calder Cup in six games.  Impressive numbers for Cory, but no dice for the team.

Following a few appearances in Vancouver’s run to the 2011 Stanley Cup final, Scheider cemented himself as a full-time member of the NHL roster in 2011-12.  He started 28 games, recording 20 wins along the way as he helped Vancouver claim the President’s Trophy.  Following two home losses to eighth-seeded Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs, Schneider was tabbed as the starter for the rest of the series.  With so many memories of postseason disappointments motivating him, this happened:

Schneider stopped 97 of the first 100 shots he saw in the series.  That was the 101st (and last).  Impressive numbers for Cory, but no dice for the team.

So what does this have to do with tonight’s game four against St. John’s?  Not a god damn thing.  I just hate Cory Schneider and all things Boston.  Carry on with your day.

Apr
25

I was chatting with MJ about the shit-show of  a game that’s currently gasping its final breaths in St. John’s. I mentioned that I seemed to remember getting spanked by the Moose once during that round one series in ’08, and that certainly all is not lost because we know how that series turned out.

A few keystrokes quickly revealed that we did, indeed, get spanked once by the Moose during that playoff series. The final score was, eerily enough, 5-2. (Tonight’s game ended 5-1)

The date of that game?

4/25

If this team has been good at anything this year, it’s been learning from their mistakes. They’ve also, as MJ pointed out, done really well at playing their best when everything is on the line. Let’s hope a renewed Crunch shows up Friday night. I’m not ready to see this all end yet.

Apr
20

You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.

This quote was taken from Disney’s interpretation of the story of Jimmy Morris, the baseball hopeful turned science teacher turned baseball star. The movie is called The Rookie and Morris is played by the rather delicious Dennis Quaid. I don’t know much more about the real story behind Morris, but this quote keeps running through my head as I think about this round one battle against the IceCaps that starts tonight.

Why?

Because of the way it was said, and because of the feelings it reflects.

The quote comes during a pivotal point in the movie. Morris is out on the road with the minor leagues, playing a shit schedule in sketchy areas. The path between games is long and traveled by bus, and he’s got at least 15 years on anyone else on the team. He’s missing his family, he isn’t sure why he’s chasing that good ol’ baseball dream anymore, and he’s beginning to think he’s a fool.

I’d be shocked if any of this doesn’t ring a bell with most of you in some way. The majority of us here are minor league fans. We know what it’s like, even if we’ve never played. We follow the schedules, we moan about 3-in-3′s, we imagine how exhausted the players must be. We also might know what it’s like to question a dream, a team, a chance, an opportunity. I can at least guarantee there isn’t a Crunch fan reading this now that can’t relate to that.

Morris gets an epiphany and goes into work the next day feeling pretty good about things. With that classic Quaid grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye, he looks to a teammate and says those words. He says them in a manner that just simply portrays how lucky they are to get to play their sport. A person watching can’t help but feel the pride and “rightness” that Morris is feeling in that moment. It’s what he’s meant to do, and he actually gets to do it.

I hope every person on the Crunch this morning woke up with a similar thought.

“You know what we get to do today? We get to play hockey.”

Good luck out there, boys. We’re behind you. Chase the dream. Do your best. Never forget how lucky you are to be playing the best damn game in the world.

GO CRUNCH!

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