(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some post-season insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).
We're in Manchester for Game 1 of our playoff series tonight and I have to say it'll definitely be different than college hockey playoffs at Cornell, where it's usually a best-of-three or one game, winner takes all sort of scenario. I haven't played in a best-of-seven since junior, so it's been a little while. But it's going to be that much more intense. It's also important to remember that one game will not make or break anything, so you've got to pace yourself and also realize it's going to take four wins to take the series.
Already, everyone is really excited in Binghamton about all of this. A lot of people are coming up to me on the street — and other guys have had people come up to them — and they're saying 'thank you for getting back into the playoffs. We're really excited and we can't wait to watch you play.' Definitely, the atmosphere is up and it's a fun time to be a part of the community because we haven't been in the playoffs here for for six years.
Any time you get some NHL experience, it's really important because you get to play against better players and you get to experience that life. So I think my time in Ottawa this season is only going to be helpful in the playoffs because everyone steps up their game in the playoffs, whether it's in the NHL or AHL. Getting the chance to play against the best players in the past few months has definitely been helpful for me in the last part of the season.
For those of us who are back in Binghamton, it's good that we get to keep our season going. You'd like for Ottawa to keep playing, too, but it's definitely a benefit for us to keep playing. Everyone loves to play hockey and play the games and this is probably the most fun time of the year. Everyone talks about playoffs being the best time to play because you work so hard to get there. So you want to take advantage of what you worked toward.
It's hard to say how many people back in Newfoundland will be checking out our games through the playoffs, but I know my parents will be following it for sure. A few of my friends have sent me texts, wishing me good luck in the playoffs. That's the most important thing, getting the most important people back in Newfoundland wishing the best for me. Hopefully, we can get a few more people back home jumping on the bandwagon.