I apologize for the slight delay in posting but I have finally just found myself with a computer at my disposal.
Where to start with all this? It was certainly a colorful event despite the lack of 94 buds in attendance and I may as well try to give a brief recap of the opponents I faced in the tournament.
AJ (TB) vs. Peter Pese (NYR)
Did I ever get an incredulous look/laugh from Peter when I selected this matchup. He obviously jumped all over NYR and proceeded to jump out to a 1-0 lead within the first 20 seconds after Messier 5 holed Young from the side of the net. At this point Peter started to lecture me about Tampa being terrible and how their goalie is the worst. He even asked why in the world would I pick such a matchup. I shrugged my shoulders and proceeded to show him why by scoring 6 unanswered goals in quick succession. I think Peter had a bit of a following as many people came to check up on him during the game, I managed to find out he was the one who actually won the 6 man tournament last year at the expo. After putting the finishing touches on him he didn't stick around for his loser bracket game. Not sure if he thought it was a single elim. tournament or if he was just that deterred by his performance. Later on Evan, Chaos, and I caught wind that Peter and other guys who entered the tournament last year were none too pleased to see that ringers like us had been invited. Guess I should have never picked such an OP team like TB, oops.
Result: AJ 9-3
AJ vs. Eric G.
I don't remember the teams selected here. I wanna say NJ vs. NYI? Maybe Quebec? I dunno, Eric G. was a good bud. He tried his best the entire game, made no excuses and was a really good sport. The game just went my way from the beginning but Eric did manage to avoid the shutout. Kudos to him for that.
Result: AJ 8-1
AJ (Buf) vs. Evan (Van)
It seems challonge had a wild hair up its nose and decided to put me and Evan on the same side of the bracket. Looking back, I should have redrawn the bracket but it was the first time I had used challonge and I wasn't quite sure exactly how it worked. Never the less Evan and I clashed here and I decided to pick two highly skilled and competitive teams. I wasn't gonna try and pull any TB shenanigans here, I got way too much respect for Evan's game. My good friend Dale Hawerchuk carried me through the first half of the game with an early hat trick which bought time for Mogilny to work through his early game struggles and find a way to produce later on in the game when Evan had try and mount the comeback. Having Fuhr as the last line of defense helped keep things under control when Evan was able to create some really good scoring chances. A lesser goalie may have struggled under the pressure and caused this game to be much tighter.
Result: AJ 6-1
AJ (PIT) vs. Dennis (Det)
I was very tempted to pick Detroit in this matchup as Dennis looked like a true gamer with his Tecmo Super Bowl shirt while making it to the 94 semis. I decided to go with Pit anyways as I felt that if nothing else I could CB check to keep things close. Turned out I over thought it as I got hot early and jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first. Dennis did everything he could to try and keep himself from getting mercied but it just wasn't meant to be as Pit was absolutely clicking out there while the Detroit AI felt it was prudent to give up breakaway after breakaway. Dennis got the short end of the stick with the AI and I really felt he deserved better, I think the 10-0 score doesn't do him any justice. He's a great bud too, he and his friend whom I will get to next were the two people who were most interested in joining the site. I really do hope to see them around soon so we can help get them started and get some good games in online.
AJ (EDM) vs. Scott S. (HFD)
Scott gets my vote as the most online ready non forum guy at the tournament. He had one timers, it looked like he had some dekes, he had a decent grasp on defense, and he had a very respectable manual goalie. To be completely honest, I wasn't ready for his manual goalie and was thrown off a bit by this, even by the end of the game I still had issues solving it as I just couldn't get a good feel for his mindset in such a short time frame. Scott grinded it out and if it wasn't for a big Craig Simpson performance (4 goals) then I may have been in much more trouble. Great guy, very savvy, eager to learn how to get better at 94 and Tecmo. If he manages to find his way online I think he could be a very respectable player once he gets past the adjustment stage that most every player goes through.
Result: AJ 5-1
AJ (STL) vs Evan (TOR)
Both Evan and I managed to avoid being upset during the tournament to set up this battle of online buds. The matchup was courtesy of Evan after much deliberation. While I'm not quite sure what the thought process was, I would guess that Evan was looking to limit the fire power somewhat and grind out a low scoring game with some tactical play. Evan got off to a great start and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. I brought a goal back but Evan quickly recouped it and was up 3-1 before Chaos opened his big trap and jinxed Evan. By the end of the second I was able to get Hull going a bit and bring the game to a 3-3 tie. If I remember correctly, Evan managed to strike first blood in the third to establish a 4-3 lead putting all the pressure on me. Hull answered with a huge slapper from just inside the blue to bring it to 4-4. One more Hull shot later and I was up 5-4 with just a couple minutes to go. I did everything I could to keep Evan out of the prime scoring areas as he pressed hard to force the game to overtime. With about 15 seconds left I finally got my insurance goal as Evan had sold the farm at this point to try and tie the game. Chaos ribbed me a bit for scoring at that point but I wasn't gonna leave anything to chance, Evan was playing too well and there was too much on the line! This was a great game worthy of a final, Evan brought his A game and very nearly forced a winner take all situation.
Result: AJ 6-4
In the pictures posted above you can see the slick Brian Leetch jersey donated by the expo and the equally as impressive hardware which Evan and Egg donated to the tournament. That Leetch jersey was so slick and it fit me like a glove but I figured it'd be best to leave it where it would be best put to use, in New York. The trophy on the other hand, I was more then happy to take home, that bad boy is going on the mantle...which oh yeah, I need to buy a mantle.
All in all, I think the turn out (aside from forum people) was amazing. We had 26 players including a couple of youngsters who may not have even been half as old as the game, that is nothing to balk at. It was a bit more laid back of a tournament but we kind of expected that and the format we decided to go with turned out pretty well. Hopefully we get a couple of new buds out of all this and make the community stronger.
Having Raph there would have helped build our profile all the more. Being the world record holder and the best player in the community (imo), he would have only helped us draw people into playing 94. I also would have loved to have had the chance to take him down in live play but that time will have to wait as I will do my best to attend more events in the future. I absolutely love attending all these events, I get to see forum people and different parts of the world doing this, what's not to like?
Speaking of people, Evan, Egg, and Chaos made this event one to remember. Egg and Chaos took one for the team by opting to stay on the sidelines by making sure the event ran as smoothly as possible, which it did. Chaos also did me a major solid by opting to pick me up and drop me off in NYC as this tournament was about an hour away from the city. Without him, making the event becomes a much bigger headache for me. Hopefully next tournament we can get something closer to NYC but that can be tricky due to the $$$ involved in that. I wish I could spend some more time on the East Coast each year, we got some really good buds and budettes out there.
I'm doing my best to make Green Bay happen, if any forum people want to go, hit me up and maybe we can plan some things together.