Wednesday, June 11, 2008

That Was A-Ma-Zing

The Chicago Wolves won the Calder Cup last night; defeating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 5-2. I attended the game and all I can say is, "wow." I hope that everyone can experience that kind of electricity and elation. I will never forget that game. I taped it, as well, and will guard it with as much vehemence as I guard the 1985 Bears Super Bowl victory tape (along with the Super Bowl Shuffle).

Jason Krog, 32, ended the season with 38 playoff points and 112 regular season points. He scored a hat trick in last night's game and assisted on the first goal (why is this man NOT in the NHL?). Nathan Oystrick tallied the first goal on the power play and Brett Sterling scored the last goal after being out for several games with a bruised bone in his foot. By the time Sterling scored with a little over two minutes left, Pavelec was jumping up and down with his arms up during game play; the entire bench was jumping up and down in unison; the entire crowd was standing and the noise was deafening. When the buzzer sounded, a flurry of helmets and sticks flew to the ice as the bench mobbed Pavelec – just ten feet in front of me, where I stood screaming.

Confetti littered the ice as Darren Haydar hoisted the Cup and pasted it over to Joel Kwiatkowski. The confetti posed a lot of problems for the players, but they didn't care. Gherson and Pavelec where amusing as they walked a little shakily through the mess with all of their goalie equipment on. Kulda kissed Kwiatkowski at one point. Martins spent time playing with his daughter. Valabik embraced Pavelec and they jumped up and down with million dollar smiles on their faces.

Their journey to this spot was tough. Ondrej Pavelec was hit in the throat with the puck three different times (he doesn't care very much for the plastic neck protectors) and was once caught completely opened up to stop a shot when the puck was suddenly redirected to nail him where the sun don't shine (that took him some moments to recover). Anderson was hit in the face with the puck. Joe Motzko experienced a nasty high stick and ultimately had to sit out for the rest of the playoffs. Brett Sterling suffered a bruised foot bone and numerous crosschecks and hard open ice hits (boy's only 5'7''). Boris Valabik was often targeted and received numerous hits and challenges. Andre Deveaux received a blatant butt-end to the face from Penguins' Nathan Smith – when Smith was sitting on the bench, I officially hate that man – and a hard check that knocked him out cold. Colin Stuart had to crawl, disorientated, off the ice on one occasion because of a hard hit. These boys wanted it.

Their journey here, though, wasn't without some amazing feats. Darren Haydar broke the all-time AHL playoff points (121) and goals (53) record. Jason Krog came out of the victory with the MVP award and with the most points this playoff series with 38. Ondrej Pavelec, 20, accomplished two shutouts (would have been three if he hadn't jumped and knocked a goal into his own net with 7 seconds to go in the third period during an Admirals game) and ended the playoff run with a 2.34 goals-against-average and a 0.921 save percentage. Boris Valabik had the most penalty minutes this postseason with 71 (Andre Deveaux was close to him with 67). The Coach, John Anderson, has lead us to our second Calder Cup in six years. Joel Kwiatkowski had the most goals from a defenseman this postseason with 10, and they were all slapshots from the point (man has wicked aim). Arturs Kulda, 19, had a breakout year as a defenseman and ended the playoff run as a +12 with 1 goal and 5 assists.

The Chicago Wolves: a true team and your Calder Cup Champions!

Cross Posted: My Tribe


Q-girl said...

I am so glad they won - I am especially proud of Ondrej and Guillaume who I got to watch growing up in the QMJHL. Awww they are all growed up and winning big boy prizes.

Isleschick said...

I remember when Krog was on the Isles heh.

Ms. Conduct said...

I'm an Aeros fan and the rivalry with the Wolves is one that gets us foaming at the mouth every year, but it was especially brutal this year. All out war on ice. Great, passionate hockey. So, while during the season I pretty much hate the Wolves, it felt good to see them win it all. They're clearly a quality group of guys. Even Deveaux, who took the bulk of our abuse in Houston. :) And I'm all the more proud that we beat them the last 3 times we met this season. ;) Anyway, congrats Wolves. That was a well earned victory.

Amy Lynn said...

G-girl: I'm so proud of them as well. It's kind of depressing at the same time because I want to see them in the NHL...but then again, I want to be able to watch them play all season.

Isleschick: I really think this was a breakout year for him...he won, I think, 4 awards this season alone.

Ms. Conduct: Yeah, Deveaux definitely likes to mix it up a little. But it seems with guys like Valabik and Deveaux we've created more enemies (Aeros included) this season than friends. I pretty much expected a fight every game because of those two guys.