(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 insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).
We’re in the Calder Cup final now and it’s incredible. When you think back to the beginning of April, we were just trying to make the playoffs. There were some pretty incredible times just to get there. Now we’ve put our best forward, grown as a team and made it to the Calder Cup final. I think we’ve definitely exceeded everybody’s expectations, but right now, you reset your goals and we want to win a championship.
I think it was fitting, thinking about our record in the playoffs so far, that we had to go to overtime to finally finish off Charlotte in the Eastern Conference final. That was our fifth overtime win in the playoffs and I think we’ve taken pride in our overtime play. When we came in after regulation, everyone was just saying to themselves ‘we’ve been here before. It’s not a big deal and we know we can win.’
We ended up sweeping Charlotte, but I don’t think that was indicative of how they played. They’re a very good team and I think, at times, we just had good puck luck and we played well at the right times. Of course, I want to give us credit because I thought we played well, but that was a very good team we faced. I definitely don’t think the 4-0 result was indicative of their play in the series.
You never go into the playoffs thinking you’re going to get knocked out in the first round. Everyone wants to give themselves the best opportunity to win a championship and I think the fact we made the playoffs and we were okay ... that was our goal at the time, but now we’ve got another goal and that’s to win a championship. You focus on one series at a time but always, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking ‘we could win this’ because we felt all along that we had a really good team.
We’re waiting to see whether we’ll face Houston or Hamilton next, but I’m really not paying too much attention to it. Both those teams have to be really good because they made the Western Conference final. Whoever we play, they’ll be very talented, but only time will tell who it is. To be honest, it’s not worth occupying your time thinking about that stuff. You don’t want to focus on them, you want to focus on yourself.
I’d like to be starting the final on Tuesday or Wednesday, but that’s not going to happen. It’ll just mean a few more days off, so we'll just try to make the most of it. If the series started tomorrow, we’d try to take advantage of the fact we’d be playing with a lot of momentum. But with it probably not starting until next Friday, we’ll take advantage of the fact we’ll have lots of rest. Whatever your situation, you’ve got to make the best of it.
It’s been a really great week for me, with what’s gone on down here in Binghamton and also signing a new three-year contract with the Senators. I received a lot of congratulatory e-mails from friends and family, so that’s been really nice. It was just nice to get that out of the way and know where I’m going to be. I’ve been dealing with that for a couple of weeks, but now it’s one less thing to have on my now. I’m really happy that I’ll be part of the Sens organization and their rebuilding program.
I was very, very happy with the contract. Honestly, my first reaction was ‘I’ve got to call my parents.’ So I called them, we discussed it and they were happy with it. There was a big party back in Newfoundland that night, that’s for sure. My agent and I were really pushing for the one-way deal. Not that I don’t like Binghamton, but it was more a case of there's a great opportunity for me up in Ottawa. I really love the city and I think it’s the best place for me to be right now for my career.
The one-way deal does give you a little more security in terms of your salary, but everyone knows the business of hockey — you can be traded and lots of things can happen. But honestly, I think being on a two-way contract this year kept me on my toes a little bit. Next year, I want to make sure I keep that mindset because anything really can happen. At least I know I’ll be with Ottawa for most of the year, unless something drastic happens. But it is nice to know I have a little more security now.