Let’s flashback a little, shall we?
It’s March 23rd. Albany had just dropped a 2-1 decision to Norfolk, at the time the Admirals’ 19th win in a row. After the game myself and a few friends were hanging out in downtown Norfolk looking for a place to get a postgame meal. We spot Stephen Gionta, Tim Sestito and Peter Harrold on the street, also looking for a place to wind down after a tough loss. If I had gone up to them and said, just think, two and a half months from now you’ll be battling for a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, they probably would have looked at me like I was crazy, drunk, or both. (Side note: I was outside a bar when they passed by, so it could be possible.) Funny how things start happening, doesn’t it?
2 wins short of Lord Stanley’s Cup. Don’t think anyone predicted the Devils, a #6 seed in their own conference, to get to that point, especially after a 3-0 hole to start the series. But then Adam Henrique was clutch in Game 4, just as he was when he eliminated both the Panthers and the Rangers with game winning overtime goals. Then Marty came up huge in Game 5, showing everyone why he is Marty Brodeur. Then came Game 6, Steve Bernier’s boarding major…and the momentum switched to the Kings side. Nonetheless, it was still a fun playoff run to watch, just wishing it was a better result.
A big thank you to the entire Devils organization for making the last two months exciting. Even though it wasn’t as successful here as we wanted it to be, it’s a pretty good feeling to see your team captain, who didn’t even get a callup till the last week of the regular season, go up and become a major factor during the playoff run. It’s going to be an interesting summer, with so many vital members going into free agency, and seeing who stays, who leaves, and who from Albany may just get their chance to crack the lineup next year, and maybe become the next Henrique.
And of course I should congratulate the Kings (and their REAL fanbase…I’m sure they’re out there) on winning their first Stanley Cup. I don’t think anyone expected a #8 seed from the West to go on a run like these guys did. I’m sure Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix are still trying to figure out what happened. Special congrats to the newest former River Rat to get his name etched on the Cup, Willie Mitchell. Only took 12 years since he turned pro (I still remember the first day I met him, in April ’99 at a Booster Club function) and 3 NHL stops to finally reach the big stage.
Now that it’s officially the offseason the next question is, what will I doing during the summer to keep myself occupied as I wait for the fall? Other than any free agency updates, schedule hints, and most likely a draft update, there’s a few things going on for me:
1. First and foremost, baseball season. For those new to the blog, from about mid to late June through Labor Day I’m most likely to be at Joe Bruno Stadium for the Tri-City Valleycats, a Class A New York Penn League affiliate of the Houston Astros. I do a lot of pictures (mostly on Facebook, but may possibly put together a Flickr or Tumblr album for the season depending on what I feel like doing), but no live tweeting of games like with hockey (but I may have a few thoughts here and there). So expect an onslaught of all things Cats starting June 20th (the first home game) and lasting through the first week of September. And of course my random thoughts as I watch Yankee games on TV.
2. I started a Biggest Loser type program through my company just after Memorial Day. The basics: form a team of 5 and try to lose weight properly through diet/exercise over a 12 week period. Not revealing what I weigh, but so far I’m starting off well, down 6 pounds after the first 2 weeks. And thanks to a eating right workshop I attended through my health insurance I’m really cutting back on snacking and watching my meal portions.
3. Catching up on my reading: right now it’s the Hunger Games trilogy I’m working on. I started the first book while on my trip to Norfolk, currently in the middle of Catching Fire (the second book). Hoping to have it finished by the fall.
4. Road trips, of course! I already have one mini vacation planned…I’ll be up in Lake George (an hour north of Albany, and about 15 minutes from Glens Falls) for a part of 4th of July week. I still have to plan out my two Yankee Stadium trips, which probably won’t be till late July/early August. And I’ll be hitting a few Cats road games, in Hudson Valley (the stadium is in Wappingers Falls, an hour or so south) and Burlington, Vermont (meaning a ferry trip across Lake Champlain), and possibly out west to Auburn (just outside of Syracuse).
5. Despite all my summer activities, starting the countdown to 12-13. Especially if the Capital Region gets hit with a heat wave. 3 months till Devils-Rangers preseason at the TU Center!