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.
VANCOUVER -- 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 3:58pm ET
VANCOUVER -- 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 1:07am ET
VANCOUVER -- 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.