Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider has one of the best seats in the house for the Stanley Cup Final. As a backup, the native of Marblehead, Mass., gets to watch every second from the end of the bench, soaking in the tension in nearly the same way a fan would. He made an appearance in Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals, playing well before leaving during the third period with an injury against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Schneider is one the best young goaltenders in the League, and he'll be sharing his experiences throughout this series against the Bruins with NHL.com in his blog, Cory's Story.
Ready for Game 7
06.15.2011 / 2:00 PM ET
Life was a lot different for me at the start of this series. I could come off the ice, take off my equipment, shower and go home without having to talk to a lot of reporters. But as the series has progressed, I've gotten more and more attention from the media.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people come to me with questions about Lu on game days when he chooses not to talk to reporters then, which is his right. I've been told that it's when no one wants to talk to you that you're in trouble. I'm happy to do everything I can to support Lu as a backup, and if that means answering questions about him and defending him, that's what I'll do to help.
I think Lu is more ready than anybody for Game 7. He's had to take the most flak and had to sit there and listen to people mock him and insult him and point fingers at him. It's not easy to do. I don't care how much you get paid or if you're a pro athlete or not -- no one likes that stuff. It fuels him. It drives him. It makes him want to be better. We've seen it before in gold-medal games and Game 7s that he answers the bell in big moments.
Now that I'm done defending Lu … I'm just excited for tonight. It's going to be fun -- a lot of fun. It's a little unfortunate that this series has gotten some negative attention because of some things happening on the ice and off the ice, because it's taken the attention away from the product and how great a series it's been.
We talked on the bench during Game 5 about how energized our crowd was. There have been times during the playoffs where the crowd has been a little nervous, where they've sensed impending doom. To be honest, that makes us nervous. It's not easy to play like that. But we've been talking about how during the whole Final that the building's been rocking. Game 5 was just non-stop noise and every single play, bump and hit got a great reaction. We were really impressed with the fans and how they delivered in that game and we're going to need that and more tonight.
I know some of you have asked if I'm ever going to start a Twitter account. I've thought about it, but I think Twitter is more useful for the media and that type of stuff. I'm not that important that people need to know what I'm thinking all the time. I'll just keep those thoughts to myself or answer them directly when asked. I'm not going to share thoughts no one else needs to know about. Maybe I'll join and follow a couple of hand-picked guys secretly.
No solace in Game 6 appearance
06.14.2011 / 1:42 AM ET
I said earlier in the series that I didn't want to get into a game during this Stanley Cup Final because that meant something was wrong with Roberto. It was a quick hook for him tonight, but you could see it snowballing a bit with four goals coming so quickly. Sometimes you have to make the switch just to give the guys a jump or change the pace of the game. After the last couple games in this building, I was sort of ready for it because maybe just to avoid an onslaught or get Lu ready for the next game. For whatever reason, he's not as confident in this building.
Even when we were down 4-0, there was a lot of confidence on the bench during that timeout. We have the most potent offense in the League during the season. If they can score four in a period, we're capable of it, too. It was the same in the locker room after the first period. There was no yelling or throwing of chairs. We genuinely believed we could come back.
But those four goals were the game. We had a chance early where the puck hops right over Hank's stick, then they get four in a row. It's just how it's been in this building. We know we have to be better in Game 7.
I felt pretty good in there. You have to be ready no matter what. I'm not sitting back like a fan trying to watch the game. I'm trying to stay into it and be prepared. I wanted to stop the bleeding and try to get some momentum back. When I came in, I couldn't hear what Lu was saying to me, but someone told me he said to keep the door closed. That's what I tried to do. There's no joy for me in getting to appear in a Stanley Cup Final game in front of my friends and family. It's a loss.
What happened here doesn't matter. It's not soccer. It's not aggregate score. They've done their job in their building and us in ours. We're clearly different teams in our own buildings. This is why you play 82 games to get this home-ice advantage. This is what all that work is for.
That push at the end of the game could help us in Game 7. We'll take whatever we can get -- scoring, getting the Sedin twins on the board, a power-play goal. It's all stuff you can build off. We were a post or a bounce from making it interesting in the third period.
When it comes to all the Luongo/Thomas chatter and talk leading up to this game, it doesn't matter. Who cares? I'm sure they don't care what we say and we don't care what they say. What happens on the ice is all that matters. If you need that extra motivation for Games 6 and 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, I don't know what you're doing here.
We'll fly back to Vancouver tomorrow. I'll check in with you guys on the morning of Game 7.
Talk is cheap
06.12.2011 / 4:21 PM ET
When it comes to the talk about Roberto's tires and Timmy's tires, my thought is it's Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. We said what we had to say, they said what they had to say. I don't think either team cares at this point what the other one is saying. I worry about hockey. I think both teams are plenty motivated that I don't know what an extra few words are going to do for either side. They have to play their role and say what they need to say, we need to say what we need to say. At the end of the day, we need to beat each other on the ice and that's where we'll leave it.
From what I've seen, Roberto's been a lot better this year when it comes to all that stuff. He's been not as reactive about what's being said about him. He kind of lets it roll off his back and uses it to motivate him. He sort of says, "Screw you guys. Watch this." He's not happy about how we played in Boston, but at the end of the day, we didn't play very well either. A lot of their goals were fluky -- off sticks, off bodies, broken sticks. It happens.
Our team plane didn't get here Saturday until about 9 p.m., so there wasn't a chance for me to see any friends or family. I just grabbed a quick bite and crashed in the hotel. All the rain didn't help, either. Today we've got a team dinner. I think they're going to just keep us pretty locked up for the game tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get to see a couple guys, maybe wait till after tomorrow night if everything goes right.
When it comes to tickets, I've been buying up everything I can to get my family into Game 6. I'll probably end up spending about $4,000 on tickets for tomorrow night. It's about $500 a ticket for the lower bowl at TD Garden. At home, we can get tickets for free, but there's no help on the road. Stanley Cup Final tickets are in high demand, as you might imagine.
I know the fans in Vancouver would love for us to win the Stanley Cup back home, but at this point we just want to win. You never want to extend a series longer than you have to and give the other team another chance at it. I've got a lot of friends who are excited about potentially spending a day with the Stanley Cup, but they've all been really good about not bringing that up with me with the series far from over. I think we'll be ready for everything tomorrow.
06.11.2011 / 6:21 PM ET
Today is a travel day. We'll board our charter here in a bit and head to Boston. It's a bit of a long flight, but we're used to it because of all the travel we do during the regular season.
After the game last night, we were pretty excited. It was nice to comeback and play a game that we know we can play, and we didn't change a whole lot, so it's pretty amazing how small adjustments can lead to a lot of change.
The mood in the room afterward was good, guys were obviously excited in the room, but I also think it was kind of unfinished business. We haven't won anything, but we've put ourselves in a position to win and I think we're a little more excited and optimistic to head back to Boston and try to get it done.
After the win and taking a 3-2 series lead, you can kind of feel that you're close. We're one game away and this is what we work for all year -- an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup. We have one, if not two, chances to get it done.
After the game, I laid pretty low, took it easy and went back to my place. You could hear the city from wherever you lived and just kind of enjoyed that, but that's behind us now and we got to fly back to Boston and be better there.
My parents weren't in town because it wasn't a clinching game, so they decided to stay at home in Boston. Sure enough, we'll have that chance to win on Monday so they're going to meet me at home.
Back home in Boston
06.08.2011 / 2:05 PM ET
The last two days have been pretty hectic for me. Coming home to Boston has been really special, but it also leads to a lot of added activities. I went out to dinner Wednesday night with a bunch of friends and family and had a great time. Of course, most of my friends are from Boston, but they're honorary Canucks fans for the Stanley Cup.
I had to get tickets for 14 people for Game 3. When it was all said and done, I had to spend about $3,500 on the tickets. I was more than happy to do it. If you told me six months ago I'd have to shell out that kind of money, I'd definitely be excited about it because it means I'm going to be playing in the Stanley Cup Final in my hometown.
Game 3 was really tough. As a backup goalie in a game like that, you start to think that maybe you're going to get in there. When it got to 4 goals, 5 goals, I started glancing down at coach to see if he was going to give me the nod. But Roberto really wanted to stay in there. It was still a four-goal game and he's really competitive. Once it got to 6, 7, 8, I was almost happy to still be on the bench.
It's not that I don't want to play, but I know if I'm on the ice at any point in the series that means something is wrong with Roberto, and we need him at his best to win.
As a Boston College guy, it was a little weird to practice at Boston University on Tuesday. I was actually a member of the Little Terriers as a youth player, so it wasn't my first time practicing there.
I'm really expecting us to bounce back tonight. I only had to buy eight tickets tonight, but hopefully those honorary Canucks fans will get to celebrate a win with me.
06.05.2011 / 7:51 PM ET
After a six-hour flight, we arrived in Boston. We landed and went straight to the rink to speak to the media, but there was no practice. That's pretty standard following a cross-country flight.
I sat with Andrew Alberts
on the plane. He had a couple of episodes of Pawn Stars that we watched that were pretty good. As we were landing, we finished watching I Am Number 4. It was pretty terrible. We vaguely remembered the previews where everyone was slowly walking away from explosions with no expressions on their faces. We knew it was about aliens so we thought it would be cool. It wasn't that good.
The first movie we watched was Hall Pass. It was actually pretty funny. It's gotten bad press, but there were a lot of laughs in there, especially for the married guys. They said if you're married, it's even funnier.
Last night after dinner in Yaletown, me, my girlfriend and my dad walked around Vancouver a little bit just to soak in the atmosphere and feel the energy and excitement. That was a lot of fun to see. It was nice to leave town on a good note. It's funny to be reminded that it was a Saturday night and people have lives and it's not just a game day. During the playoffs, you get in a rhythm of game day, non-game day, so can lose track of the days.
My dad and girlfriend left this morning at 5 a.m., so they woke me up to say goodbye. I woke up at 8:30 and was at the airport by 9:30, so it wasn't too bad. It'll be nice to get back to a more normal routine on game day with the 8 p.m. local time start. We've gotten used to those early starts out west.
On a day like this, you kind of lose a day in the air. We'll have a team dinner tonight and go out to a restaurant. After that, it's straight back to the hotel. Maybe a few guys will go to the pool or hot tub to loosen up their legs. After that, it's just time to get to bed and get an early night's rest.
We made it happen
06.05.2011 / 1:56 AM ET
-- Didn't really see much tonight. Pretty dull, unentertaining game, I think. No one here got their money's worth. The fans should probably get some refunds. Another Alexandre Burrows
overtime goal? Let's get something original.
Of course, I'm just kidding.
We were a little frustrated in the locker room when we were down a goal after two periods. We knew we could play better. Everyone stopped moving their feet. They got pucks behind us, and they were dictating the play. We took a few penalties. But we knew that we got back to how we played the game before. There was no doubt we were going to get that tying goal. Once we tied it up, we knew we could make it happen.
Before overtime, guys were positive in the locker room. Some of their big players logged a lot of minutes, so we wanted to work them down low. If you get this far in the playoffs, you just believe in one another.
The goal happened so fast. All of a sudden, I saw Burr walking in. With Tim Thomas
coming out so far, in my head I was screaming, "Don't shoot!" Sure enough, that was one of our scouting reports on him -- to try to pump fake it and get him out of the net. He did a great job to never give up on the puck. He's been doing that all year for us. He's definitely getting his due now.
We have to get out of here pretty early tomorrow. My father's flying home to Boston, as well as my girlfriend. They have really early flights. We'll probably grab a bite to eat. I need to pack some stuff for the flight. It's a great opportunity to pack some stuff so I don’t have to ship it. I'm going to try to stuff my suitcase with some things and drop it off at my parents' house.
My buddies from home have never really played hockey, but they never really followed the Bruins. They're just excited for me, and I can't wait to see them when I get back. The Bruins were kind of lackluster when I was growing up. They weren't really the team to beat. A lot of guys gravitate toward the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics.
My friends are excited about the resurgence, but I think they'd rather have a party with me this summer.
Tough day at practice
06.03.2011 / 4:05 PM ET
Practice was tough today. A lot of pucks were going in during that 3-on-0 drill, so I was kind of frustrated at the end. You just have those days when guys are making good shots. Sometimes everything that can go in does go in. You deal with it, but today was a particularly tough day. We've done that drill plenty of times and I've made plenty of saves. I'm more mad myself than anything. I need to mix in a save or two.
After Kevin Bieksa
scored on me, he wiped out while skating backwards. It may have seemed funny to people looking on, but I thought he was hurt. I was just making sure he got up all right. After that, though, it was funny.
As a backup who doesn't get to play all that much in the playoffs, you have to try to find a way to contribute any way you can. Practice is a time when I can help the guys get better when they want to stay out for extra work. In that sense, that's my role right now -- finding a way to help the guys get better. It's tough because you have to be ready at any moment. At the same time, you're into it and as caught up as the players are. Sometimes even more.
Occasionally, when guys come off the ice during the game, I'll let them know if I see something that can help them. I don't want to sit there and be a back-seat driver and tell them how to do things. But every now and then, they'll ask me what I see in a goalie. If they make a move or take a shot, they'll ask me if that was a good idea or a bad idea. There's always some dialogue about what may or may not work out there.
In the regular season, there was one time when my advice worked out, but I can't for the life of me remember who it was who took the advice. Someone asked me a question, I answered them, then they went out and scored. I've predicted goals before where I tell guys between periods they're going to score and they've scored. It wasn't a Sedin or Kesler. It was someone like Jannik Hansen
or Raffi Torres
. I like to think I'm prophetic in that way.
On the nights before games and game days, we're staying at hotels to avoid distractions. A lot of guys have kids, so I think the team just wanted guys to have some peace and quiet. It simulates what life is like on the road where there's nothing to focus on but hockey. Some guys want to be around their families, but I think there's some peace and solitude in staying in the hotel that helps get them ready. We've had a lot of success doing it, so we're sticking with it now.
The atmosphere in the city has been amazing. There's been so much support. I've gotten a few drive-by shoutouts that are always fun. You could even tell the difference in the level of support from last series to this series. It's not so much people stopping me for autographs or pictures as much as it is people yelling out my name as I walk by. They might not even realize it's me until they walk past me.
All the comments on my blog are really great. Maybe I'm in the wrong profession. Maybe I should start a blog or become a writer. I was a finance major at Boston College, so I had to write some papers every now and then when I had to. It certainly wasn't my strong suit. But it's nice to know everyone is enjoying this.
Keeping it low-key after Game 1
06.02.2011 / 3:58 PM ET
After last night's game, the mood in the locker room was so much fun. To have Raffi Torres
get that goal as our only guy with Stanley Cup experience made it really special.
But after that, I just kept it low-key. I went out to dinner with my dad and my girlfriend and back home to relax. Even if you're not playing, it's pretty emotionally exhausting just to go through a game like that. All I wanted to do was get a good night's sleep before practice today.
Before bed, I watched some highlights of the game. I listened to the analysis just to see what they had to say. That's always fun to do after a win, but when you lose it's not as much fun to watch that stuff. When that happens, you have to just turn it off.
A lot of people from back home got in touch with me after the game -- a lot of texts and calls about the exciting finish. It was cool that so many people back East stayed up late to catch the end of the game and it was nice to see how happy they were for me. A couple of people sent me texts that said, "Look alive!" because apparently I was getting a lot of camera time on the bench. They were telling me to wake up. Other than that, it was all good stuff.
Tonight, it will probably be more low-key stuff for me. Things are pretty busy today for everyone with the media after practice, but after that, I'll spend some more time with my father while he's out here. We'll grab some dinner and check out the city of Vancouver for a little bit. With all the stress of the Final, it's good to keep things relaxed.
Reflecting on Game 1
06.02.2011 / 1:07 AM ET
With a 5 p.m. start, it was a pretty hectic day.
Last night was the first time when it hit me that the Stanley Cup Final was here. With the eight days off between rounds, you don't really think about it a lot. Last night, I started to get excited. I felt butterflies. You think about it a whole lot more. You get excited to go. You could definitely tell it was right around the corner.
Sleeping wasn't a problem for me. I'm actually a pretty good sleeper so I sleep a lot. Once I'm asleep, it takes a lot to wake me up. I can sleep through anything. At the rink this morning, there was some nervous energy, but some excited energy.
There's not much time between the morning skate and game time when it's at 5 p.m., but you have to get the nap in there. We stayed at the hotel just to get guys away from the distractions. I had a meal there after practice, went back to my room and made some phone calls.
I grabbed a 90-minute nap and went right back to the rink. It's a pretty short day.
As a backup, it's far more nerve-wracking to watch than it is to play. When you're playing, it's pretty hectic but you feel confident and calm in the net. Tonight, I was talking to guys who didn't dress for the game. They're in the lounge just biting their nails. It's really hard to just sit there and watch, but I've got a lot of faith in the guys out there.
We were really coming in the third period. It took two periods to get our legs and get our timing down. I thought in the third period we were really pressing the action. To score in the last minute is incredible. Everyone was thinking if it went to overtime, it could be a long night. It was special to get that goal from Raffi.
I didn't have any family from back home in Massachusetts at the game. My father made it out to the game. None of my buddies did. It's a pretty expensive trip out here. I'll just wait till we get back to Boston to see my friends.