One Down… Down One. Andrew Gordon Speaks!

RMNB Presents: Gordo's Take

Andrew Gordon, RW

Andrew Gordon: "I expect to win. I am expected to win."

Andrew Gordon is the right winger on the Hershey Bears’ top line.  His 71-point output this season (37 G, 34 A) has been crucial to the Bears’ epic offense  and generated some serious NHL buzz.  Along with Keith Aucoin and Alexandre Giroux, Gordon participated in the most prolific line in the AHL this year.  His hard-nosed, straight-to-the-net style reminds us of a player 13 years his senior: Mike Knuble. The 24-year-old, Halifax native recently missed four games to a lower body injury but has returned for the Calder Cup Finals.  Andrew joins Russian Machine Never Breaks to reflect on last night’s game-one loss to the Texas Stars and beyond.  Let’s hand it over to Gordo:

Hi, everybody! Before I get going, I would first like to take a quick second to thank all of you who are reading this. The fact that you are interested in what I have to say is flattering, and for that I thank you. This being my first blogging experience, I’ll ask that you to bear with me (no pun intended). I try not to read much of what’s written in the media, so I’m as surprised as anyone to see me joining forces with them! Anyway…here goes nothing! Thanks again!

I’ve find myself in unfamiliar territory here tonight. After hosting the Texas Stars in game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals we let the game slip through our fingers and find ourselves down 1-0 in a series for the first time since the Eastern Conference Finals against Providence last year. Our home record this year has been so strong that losing in our building had never even crossed my mind to this point. We won 24 in a row at home at one point this season, so letting a game slip past us this deep in the playoffs isn’t a good feeling. I think this feeling in my gut comes from an expectation I have built up inside me over the past couple years: I expect to win. I am expected to win. There isn’t any other option as a Hershey Bear. Has it made me a sore loser? Maybe a bit. But I have built up such a hatred for this feeling that I will work myself into the ground not to feel like this again.

It’s a strange thing when you think about it. 100 games and 28 teams later, only us and Texas are still alive. In a week and a half, only one of us can win. I remember in October when we first started this trek back to the finals thinking “We have to do this all over again? I feel like we just finished!” But once things got going there wasn’t an option. We had to win. That’s what the Hershey Bears do. When you win 60 games in a year, every loss is magnified because it’s such a foreign feeling. Although we have only lost one game, I feel like the world is crashing down.

Maybe this is a little adversity that we need to bring our game to another level. Winning is never easy, but boy is it worth it! I feel like winning last season has built a thirst to be a champion in me. I have tasted what it’s like to be a champion and now I don’t want to have any other feeling. Seeing as it’s still fairly early in my career, it’s impossible to know how many more opportunities I will have to hoist a cup over my head at any level. I would hate to be so close and watch another group of guys take that feeling right out from under me.

I believe that winning doesn’t come easy, and like most things has to be learned through experience. You have to lose and see how that feels before you can really understand the emotion that waits on the other side. When I was fresh out of college, I had the pleasure of joining up with the Bears on their cup run in 2007. It was quite the experience, but the one thing I remembered most was being in the dressing room after they lost in game 5 to Hamilton and seeing how the guys reacted. I was coming off a 40 game schedule and a one-game-knock-out NCAA tournament and had no idea what it took to get that team to the place I found them that day. I learned quickly the next season what the pro life is like and how it can wear on you both physically and mentally.

I remember seeing the faces of guys like Mike Green, Dave Steckel, and Tomas Fleischmann, who would later go on to start fantastic careers in Washington. These were guys who spent significant time (if not all season as Mike did) in the NHL, and had the NHL right around the corner waiting for them. Yet, there they were standing in front of me devastated and in tears over what just happened. It was hard to really understand until you have gone through it for yourself. Then, I was an outsider looking in, and only two seasons later I was in their same position. Playing in the finals after nearly 100 games, countless hours on the bus and hundreds of ice bags, bruises and blocked shots. You start to wonder if it was all for nothing? Without that championship ring on my finger…what was it all for? Sure I might get a contract for the next season out of it all. But when my playing days are over and I’m telling stories about the old days, will they be tales of glory and a happiness that can’t be explained? Or will it be a sad story of a team that should have, could have, but didn’t?

Together we have 6 games to decide which story we want to tell all those years from now. It’s not going to be an easy road. But then again nobody said it would be.

As part of my sign-off, I have decided to leave each entry with a quote that I feel relates to what I have said…or at least what I’m feeling but couldn’t find my own words to say it. I’m not a writer, but I’m trying here!!

“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” -Lou Holtz

Thank you all for your time!  See you Saturday!

Yours in hockey,
Andrew Gordon

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  • Your Nation’s Capital

    Andrew, it’s very nice of you to take the time to do this on a day that’s still pretty painful.

    I went back and counted, and your team has played exactly six games in the last 34 days. You personally only played about 1.3 of those games.

    Here was the schedule for The Hershey Bears in the month of May: http://bit.ly/BearsMay2010

    That makes it unsurprising to me that the team looked a little rusty(?) last night.

    But it is no matter. You and the Bears have given all of us a lot of pleasure this year and I’m happy I get to see you play in person tomorrow.

    Good luck and go Bears.

    Regards,

    Emily

  • Your Nation’s Capital

    PS Forgot to mention – nice hit! Heh.

  • http://twitter.com/efdbrian Brian

    Nicely written, Gordo. For a blogging virgin I think you did a fabulous job explaining what it must be like to be in your shoes. It’s one game. Although it wasn’t a good game you guys all know what it takes to get the job done. 10,000+ people will be there Saturday to be loud and proud behind each and every one of you.

  • http://www.irockthered.net/ IRockTheRed

    Andrew,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! As others have said, it is only one game, and I know in my heart of hearts that you guys WILL get past that one loss, despite the devastation you’re feeling now. Don’t let it get to you. The Bears know how to win; winning is what Bears do!

    You have the most infectious smile on the Bears roster, and I look forward to seeing you just enjoying playing as much as I can tell you do, from warmups all the way through the game, but most especially when you put the puck in the back of the net, as I know you can – and want to do.

    I have this to say about your comment, “Although we have only lost one game, I feel like the world is crashing down.”.

    Failure is not falling down. Failure is not getting back up again after you fall down. I know this team can and will bounce back, and I’m looking forward to a great game on Saturday!

    Thanks so much again!
    ~Sal :-)

  • T-man

    Gordo,
    Thanks for being so accessible to the fans and for taking the time to relate your experience in a way that we can understand the emotions. Last night’s loss was a tough one to swallow. I’m curious that when you are experiencing these thoughts, how much of the fans chanting and cheering help to add to the adrenalin of the situation? We’re here for you guys and we want to see you win the cup.

    T-man

  • Dee

    Thanks Gordo for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings. You and your teammates have given all Bears fans an incredible season of hockey to enjoy and take pleasure in seeing the successes and the team’s determination to fight back when you are behind in a game. I have faith that you will find your way back from the loss last night. Good luck and keep smiling! Enjoy the journey. GO BEARS! wooooooooooo! thanks again

  • bearsbearsbears

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write this, Gordo! Especially after what ended up being not such a great night. There’s plenty of time to bounce back and there are thousands of Bears and Caps fans out there who have complete faith in you guys to win the Cup again. You guys have this!!! Please keep up the blogging. Everyone’s a critic and everyone has their opinions on how the team and particular players played and what they should have done differently, etc., but it’s really great to have some insight into what is going on in the actual players’ minds and hearts. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see the Bears maul those Stars tomorrow night!!!! B-E-A-R-S!!!!!!

  • Taylor

    Wow, this guy is absolutley perfect. Can’t wait to see him making it big in the NHL.

  • TrepFan

    Great job on the blog Gordo!! Only one game does not a series make! You guys got this! The Hershey Bears fans are so proud of this team and can’t wait til Saturday to celebrate when the win comes our way this time! Best of luck and keep on playing your game. Welcome back!

  • Emmie

    Thanks for taking the time to write this after last night, Gordo! I am sitting here in my Hershey Bears shirt and I am confident that you guys will be able to overcome this setback in your otherwise fantastic season. If I see you here on the Caps any time soon I will be right there cheering for you! You are great to the fans :)

  • http://facebook Roberta

    Gordo,
    I didn’t realize how articulate you are. Your fans feel the emptiness of the loss also. We are behind you guys and yes, we too expect you to win. Texas is tough be we are also tough and very talented. Stay motivated and do the job you know how to do, SCORE!! GO BEARS!!

  • Mollars Only

    Well said! Nice to hear your thoughts, keep ‘em coming :)

  • http://kidsindiscipleship.org/member/680/ Velva Teele

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Thanks Again. Great.

  • deann

    Great article! Very well-written. I’m sure the Bears will rally tonight and be in more familiar territory.

  • Marcus

    Great to see two former SCSU men in the AHL finals. Go Gordo and Stevo. Best of luck to you both!

  • HersheyIsHockey

    Thank you for what you and the BEARS have done this year and the past few years. i have no doubt you boys can come back and win this thing. keep on believing!! Go BEARS!!!!

  • Bob

    Ever read “The Game”? He did good, you did better. Watching from the stands is great, but this oportunity of seeing the game from behind the visor is golden. Thank you.