(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, provided some insights into the Binghamton Senators' playoff run during a series of blog posts over the past two months for ottawasenators.com readers. Now he offers up some final thoughts about the B-Sens claiming their first Calder Cup crown).
When I think about us winning the Calder Cup, it’s still surreal to me. That’s probably the best way to put it. You can’t really believe you achieved something like that, knowing what you went through. When you think about it, we had to fight and claw our way into the playoffs and we didn’t clinch a spot until the third-last game. Against Manchester in the first round, we got down 3-1 in the series and then, in Game 6, they had a penalty shot in overtime. If they would have scored, we would have been gone. So if you look back at all that and realize what we accomplished ... it’s so hard to understand it. Every now and then, you just shake your head and think ‘wow, we won the whole thing. We won the Calder Cup.’
When the game ended on Tuesday night, so many thoughts are going through your mind. To be honest, all you’re thinking about is jumping on the ice, throwing your gloves in the air and taking it all in. Five seconds left, there’s a faceoff and we see the puck roll out of our end and all of sudden it’s ‘oh my God, we actually won.’ It’s so hard to describe. You just can’t describe the emotions that fill you up on the ice. At that point, you don’t even really realize what you’ve accomplished. You just won a game and it’s big. Then afterward, you’re presented with the trophy and the hats and it’s almost overwhelming, the emotions you feel at the time.
It’s hard to describe the way I felt when it was my turn to hoist the Calder Cup over my head. You just feel so content with how things turned out. I know that sounds weird, but you just feel so good and content because you realize how hard you had to work and you realize how hard the team worked and what we went through. Then you just tell yourself ‘I deserve this. It feels good and I worked hard for this and I want to take advantage of this.’ It was just incredible. For people who aren’t sports fans, I know it’s hard to contemplate — to them, it’s just a little cup. But what the Cup symbolizes is why it means so much to everybody.
When we got back to Binghamton the next day, we were greeted by some fans at the airport. Then we went to the hospital to visit Stirls (assistant coach Steve Stirling). You could tell he was very, very happy. The guy had gone through quadruple bypass surgery, so we knew we didn’t want to get him too excited because he was trying to rest and we didn’t want to disturb that. But he had a smile on his face from ear to ear and he was up and talking with guys and cracking jokes. I’m sure for him, it means a lot because it represented a culmination of how much hard work that he and Kurt (head coach Kleinendorst) and the rest of the staff put into it. I’m sure it was a very special moment for him.
We knew the city had a parade planned for us if we won and I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about it. I didn’t know how many people they would get out for it on such short notice. But I have to admit it was 10 times better than what I expected. There were so many fans there. They were all cheering and rowdy and they were so supportive. When we got back to the rink, they were chanting the whole time. I’ve got a lot of videos on my phone and a lot of pictures. It was such a fantastic day.
Now that the season’s over, I’m, going to take some time to rest and recuperate. I’ll be in Chicago for most of the summer and then I’ll be home in Newfoundland for a couple weeks in July. It’s more about recharging the batteries, but you want to enjoy the summer, too, coming off something like the season we just had. After a win, our coach always likes to say ‘enjoy it until your head hits the pillow.’ But in his speech at the end of the season, he said ‘now we can enjoy it for the rest of the summer.’ And I think that’s one of the biggest things to remember. We should take advantage of this and be proud of what we’ve accomplished. That’s something I definitely think I’ll make sure I do this summer.