Sunday, May 23, 2010

Championship Memories 2010

Wow - I'm finally getting a few minutes to sit down in front of the computer and make a worthy post-Kelly Cup championship blog entry.

My earlier analysis played out - the grizzled, experienced, battle-tested Cyclones came through. The adversity they faced - in the wake of not being a star-studded team - truly prepared them to be champions. I have to admit, in each of the four rounds, I thought they had a good chance of being knocked out. Thank goodness they proved me wrong!!

I'm still just stunned that they took Idaho in 5 games. And, if you think about it, it's more like 4 1/2 games since the only Idaho win required them to go to OT. I just think that Idaho fell into that syndrome of the regular season and playoffs being too easy to get wins causing lack of preparedness for the finals.

Not that they were not a tough team - because they were very tough. The total commitment of the Cyclones in games 4 and 5 won the mental battle and the series. They absolutely stuck to the defensive system; they stuck to the plan on offense; and the did all the little things that champions do: diving to keep the pick in the zone or knock it off a a Steelhead's stick, sacrificing the body to block shots and deliver checks, skating 100% every shift, and just believing in themselves.

It's cliche but it's true - the playoffs are a battle of attrition won on the mistakes of the other team. The deeper into the playoffs, the more this holds true. The Cyclones made a few mistakes, and Idaho took advantage; but by and large the Cyclones played perfect hockey. By perfect, I mean they played the game they needed to play.

Commitment really is the operative word here. Being on the inside, but basically a part-time outsider, I have a "fishbowl" view of the team and the arena. Everyone there is thoroughly committed, from Kristin Ropp the VP and General Manager of the building down to the changeover guys and cleaning crew. "Down" is a poor word to use, because these are the folks who make the building tick.

While everyone else was celebrating the win Friday night, the cleaning crew had a record crowd to clean after (not to mention all the confetti) and the changeover crew had to stay the night removing glass, some boards, and covering the ice in Pro-Deck in preparation for WWE to load in first thing Saturday morning. Then, after wrestling, they had to turn the rink back over to ice for team and staff pictures Sunday morning.

No rest for the weary is truly the way these guys live. Commitment - everyone there knows the reason they play is to win the championship. Among the staff, it is unspoken or less-spoken, but it is there. We all know it. I just try in my own way to be as committed; I think I measure up (I sure hope so). I really appreciate the opportunity they give me doing the ice work for the Cyclones.

Much praise to the Cyclones players, coaches, staff, and most of all to the fans who make it all possible. Despite a general lack of respect in the mainstream media, we true Cyclones fans have everything to be proud of as the only contemporary CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER team in Cincinnati.

These were things that needed to be said and stand on their own. I'm planning an entry in a week or so about the oddities of keeping ice in 70+ degree weather as well as posting some camera-phone video of the winning moments.



Blogger boosted98mitsu said...

CONGRATS!! Thank you for the picture! Can't wait for the teams to meet up in 10-11. if you make it to the Sov. Center next year for a road trip make sure you come see me in section 101! Again Congrats!!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Guido said...

Thanks! I might have to make a road trip!

11:05 AM  

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