On August 5, 2010, In Andrew Gordon, By Russian Machine Never Breaks
For those of you who weren’t able to make it to #rmnbparty, we announced that Andrew Gordon will be blogging with us again this month. August is traditionally the slowest month when it comes to NHL Hockey news, so it’s a great change of pace to hear from Gordo about his mental and physical commitment to training through the summer. This is where players build the strength, speed and skill to compete in the upcoming season. Below Andrew talks about the mental toughness he’s developed to get him through. Photo by Kathryn Hedrick.
Hi Folks! Just when you thought you got rid of me, I’m back with a summer blog! The guys at RMNB and I thought it would be interesting to try and put into words a bit of what’s going on in my life (and in my head) since the season wrapped up a few short weeks ago.
I’ll start right up where my last entry left off: the post cup celebration. This season’s win was a much different feel than the first time. I remember a much deeper feeling of relief as opposed to the rush of excitement that I had as the buzzer rang in 2009. Don’t get me wrong, I was still on cloud 9, but as the heavy favorites going into the season, and again in the playoffs, the win was more of a weight off our shoulders than a celebration of our accomplishments. We were expected to win, and we did, so our job was done. No miracles or underdog stories. Just a job properly executed.
The 2009-10 Hershey Bears celebrate back-to-back championships and their 11th championship in franchise history. (Photo by Kyle M.)
It was only one week ago that the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup in a 4-0 rout. It was their second championship in as many years, their third in five years, and the eleventh in franchise history. Andrew Gordon writes to share his thoughts on the championship, the celebration, and what happens now.
Life has a million ways to make you feel good, and a million ways to make you feel miserable. In my 24 years, I have found only one way to feel like a champion (make that two ways now). It’s a feeling that all players at all levels try to put into words but can’t ever find the exact way to express it.
It’s a combination of happiness, excitement, relief, satisfaction, fulfillment and complete bliss all mixed together and topped with a touch of “thank God it’s over.”
A championship win is so much different than a regular-season win because there is nothing left to accomplish after it’s over. There is no refocusing for your next opponent. No pasta meal waiting for you before tomorrow’s game. No more playing through injury or sickness. It’s all over, and you have nothing else to think about. It’s as if half of your brain suddenly has nothing to do, so it just shuts down and lets the 8-year-old in you run wild.
In the championship moment, nothing matters except the guys around you. I know there was some intense crowd noise as the buzzer sounded in Hershey, especially compared winning on the road in Manitoba, but I don’t remember hearing a sound. It is like I blocked out everything else in the building except the pile of players huddled around the crease. As you fly over the bench, all you want is to be there with the boys, celebrating what you have just accomplished.
When my career is over, I might not remember the score of the game, but I’ll always remember the feeling of jumping that bench (and falling on my face, if you watch the tape) and sprinting towards the rest of the guys.
Last night was the Hershey Bears Calder Cup party at Giant Center. RMNB could not attend, but our spies are everywhere. From the aperture of Kyle Mace comes a parade of Bears images. Let’s take a second to appreciate Alexandre Giroux‘s aviator sunglasses, maniacal beard, and spraying bottles akimbo. The man is one bass solo away from joining Motorhead.
Tonight, we had the pleasure of having our own Hershey Correspondent Kyle M. down on the ice as the Hershey Bears celebrated their 11th Championship in Franchise History. And boy did he get some great photos.
Below the jump, check out Bryan Helmer hoisting the Calder Cup, the Bourque family celebrating Chris’s MVP Award, Doug Yingst getting a champagne shower from Michal Neuvirth and Francois Bouchard losing his dang mind. The overriding theme of these photos is “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
The Bears’ 4-0 blowout of the Texas Stars is a fitting punctuation on the team’s 60-win season.
In this, the team’s eleventh Calder Cup championship-clinching game, the Bears’ did everything right. Michal Neuvirth was sterling in net; the team owned puck possession, second chances, and shots on goal (36); and the scoring came from depth– namely the blueliners. John Carlson‘s first-period sweeper was Captain America’s second GWG of the series, and his second championship goal of the year. Karl Alzner rounded out the first period with his own tally through Brent Krahn‘s 7-hole. Patrick McNeill had goals in both the second and third periods. And let’s not forget that Chris Bourque, who led the AHL in playoff goals, rightfully claimed the MVP trophy.
When Captain Bryan Helmer hoisted the Cup and passed it to his teammates, he ended one of the most dominating seasons in AHL history. The Bears ’09-’10 season contained 342 goals (no other team had 280) and a stunning 24-game winning streak at home. In this series the team overcame a two-game deficit, won three games on the road, and tonight delivered a decisive knockout blow. There is no shortage of acclaim for the Bears.
The bearded horde of Hershey has earned the right to shave, but even moreso the right to party. May the law officers of Dauphin County look the other way until dawn, because the Chocolate and White have finally won.
After losing the first two games of the Calder Cup Finals at home, the Hershey Bears are now one win away from raising the Calder Cup for the eleventh time in club history, and in back-to-back years. Holy Schnikes!!
But despite Hershey’s 3 game sweep of Texas at Cedar Park Center, the Stars can still draw confidence off Games 1 and 2 where they frustrated the AHL’s highest scoring team. Which Bears team will show up Monday for Game 6? The one that tried to play fancy, stick around the perimeter and let it’s emotions get the best of them, or the one that played simple, went hard to the net and kept its cool?
Today, Hershey held a 45-60 minute practice at Giant Center and Bears first line center Keith Aucoin hoped it was the latter:
Alexandre Giroux’s overtime goal has put the Hershey Bears ahead (3-2) of the Stars for the first time in the Calder Cup Finals series. From his seat on the Bears charter jet, right wing Andrew Gordon sets the stage for the series’ completion in Hershey. He discusses the vibe in the dressing room, disparities in travel between the NHL and AHL, and predicts some excellent hockey to come.
We finally arrive to the point in the season that we have been waiting for all along. After taking tonight’s game in Texas, we return home with a 3-2 series lead, and more importantly, a chance at the championship. They say the fourth win in a series is always the hardest one to get, but considering the battles we have just fought in games four and five, I don’t see how it could get much tougher. Both teams seem evenly matched through five games. One favorable bounce here or a tough call there has made all the difference, but a win is a win, and we have found a way to win three games in their building. Our confidence is high.
John Carlson’s third period goal lifted the Bears to a pivotal win over the Texas Stars. The series is now tied at 2-2 with only one game remaining in Texas. Andrew Gordon reflects on the meaning of last night’s win, a few differences between the NHL and the AHL, and the tribulations of team sports.
Tonight is a new night, and we can all breath a little easier. Going down 3-1 is pretty much the same as going down 3-0 in my opinion, so tonight was as much of a must win as Monday.
When we left Hershey, our focus was winning our way home. We wanted to take a minimum of two games in Texas to assure there would be at least one more game back in Hershey. After learning from our experience in the first two games, we felt we would me be a much different team if we could return home for game six. We have achieved that little goal through these two games in Austin, and with a third game still to play we may be able to return home on the verge of a Championship! That’s a drastic shift from the attitude last week.
Above: Hershey celebrates their Game 4 win. Top: John Carlson does it again. This time, he redirects the GWG Home on a Bears PP. (Photos by Chris Knight, The Patriot-News)
Tonight could have gone very differently. Despite rediscovering their offensive mojo, the Hershey Bears could not generate a lead over the Texas Stars. With the end of regulation looming, the Bear shook off the threat of a do-or-die game 5 with Captain America John Carlson’s razor-sharp deflection past Stars goalie Matt Climie. An empty netter from Alexandre Giroux sealed the deal, and now we’re facing a unique prospect: the Calder Cup will be awarded in Hershey. With the series finally tied, the only question remains who will claim it.