Comets Tales: #101

by Don Laible

May 31, 2015 May 31, 2015 5:00am


12 hours from now, hockey fans in the City of Utica, and surrounding Mohawk Valley, will be listening to or watching Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Comets vs. Griffins, 9 months since both teams gathered for pre-season camp.

This is the 101st edition of Comets Tales. No quotes, just commentary.

Over the past two seasons we have spoken with just about everyone that has dressed in the Comets’ locker room, and then some – Travis Green, his staff, and those behind the scenes who make the organization go (there is still one individual that I haven’t had a sit down with and remain highly anxious to tell their story).

Equipment staff, trainers, front office staff, the Frozen Dome Classic, and this year’s All-Star Weekend, were other people and events that I chased down. There are so many interesting people seen about The AUD who are in some way connected with the team that have a ‘wow’ factor that I think others have found intriguing, as much as I have in telling their story.

So, for the past few days I have been wondering, who’s next? What subject or who with the Comets haven’t I featured? There are stories planned for the off-season, so for today, I am stumped. Or so I thought. I am as superstitious as they come. There is no rabbit’s foot in a pocket of mine, but I feel extremely comfortable going about my day, my work, in a specific order.

What you see of Comets Tales are written every Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 5:00am. Regardless of the time a game during the season ends, notes are prepared, research compiled, quotes checked, and my laptop is fully functional at precisely the stroke of 5:00am. I awake by 4:30am, and off we go.

Some times, what you’re in search of is as obvious as can be, or so you think. Earlier this week, as I’m studying the Comets’ roster, looking it over so carefully, desperately wanting to find an angle, something, to get the light bulb to shine – who could I speak with for others to learn from. My goal, like all scribes, is to present a product whereas the readers will say – “I didn’t know that.”

Well, I shouldn’t have been pressing so hard for who to bring to readers for the 101st edition of Comets Tales. The story continues to write itself. I shouldn’t have been racking my brains for a who, but a they. The Comets, in total, are doing my work for me. Today is Game 5, the tiebreaker is upon us in 12 hours.

The mere fact that the Comets are skating past Memorial Day (Memorial Day!), and guaranteed to be suiting up for at least one game in the month of June – there’s THE story over the past two seasons. The Comets are writing history as we speak, with no pen, nor computer required.

After a 0-8-1-1 start last season, the boys are 91-50-11-5.

Thanks to the team’s play, area businesses will surely benefit today. Places such as Tony’s AUDelicious behind The AUD should experience cramped quarters. Comets fans will swarm local Utica establishments to watch today’s pivotal game 5 from Grand Rapids. Thousands (me included) will choose to follow the action, as Brendan Burke tells the story, over the radio waves.

Comets pride is evident throughout the Valley. Social media, in particular, continues to offer as much information on the team, as any level of Comets’ fans could digest. There are a lot of bumper sticker moments and quotes, most over used, but the #BuiltForThis motto is spot on.

Some area hockey fans have to be reminded that the success of the Comets is really happening. Just as every NHL, MLB, NFL,and NBA club are told, and have hope for come training camp, they are taught to believe that they could go all the way. How many really believe or buy into this? Usually, after a quarter of the season has been played reality sets in on a team’s limit for success.

But, for the Comets, the here and now on the last day of May 2015, reality is standing up and saluting them. Let someone, anyone, pinch you. This is really happening. Biega, Sanguinetti, Markstrom, Baertschi are all names that we have become familiar with and attached to, are now the extended family members who many will be rooting for today – possibly harder than we ever have.

The Utica community deserves the Comets just as much as the players are rewarded for going to work as a Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate. Again, who would have thought this possible, truly possible, way back when the team had its season ticket party at the Utica Zoo on October 8?

Maybe the team will be writing the 102nd Comets Tales,too. One could only hope – but I’ll still be awake at 4:30am come the weekend…habits are difficult to let go.

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