Poor Cory Schneider must feel like he’s caught in his own personal Groundhog Day, doomed to live an endless loop like Phil Connors in the movie about the creature that can supposedly predict an early end of winter by not seeing its shadow. In the movie, no matter what Connors did whether it was good, bad or ugly he couldn’t get out of his timeloop until he finally let go of all his vices and embraced life. Perhaps it’ll take something extraordinary like that for Cory to finally get out of the endless loop of losing he’s in.
Although for most of this season and the end of last year, Cory made his own trouble, last night against the Islanders – upon his return to the lineup after two months on IR and in exile – was a jump from the bad old days of this year to the bad old days of three years ago where Cory would somehow find a way to lose despite terrific play and brilliant stats. There’s literally nothing you could pin on Cory last night. He stopped 27/28 shots in the hockey game and 3/4 in the shootout, only giving up a breakaway goal to Matt Barzal in the first period after Blake Coleman headed to the bench from the box and failed to pick up Barzal lurking. And after a shootout of doom reminiscent of 2013-14, Josh Bailey finally beat Cory with the Isles’ fourth attempt of the skills competition. Since the Devils went 0/4 in the shootout, that was all the Isles needed to get the extra point.
At least Cory can take something positive out of last night even if he’s now 0-16-3 in the regular season since the end of 2017, yes I’m visiting moral victory town for a moment but the last time Cory stepped on Prudentian Center ice he was booed and jeered out of town for two months after a hideous three-goal first half of the first period against Vegas. Last night he was getting his name chanted by fans who were trying to will him over the finish line and finally break his eighteen-game regular season losing streak. Instead, this worthless shell of a team managed to let him down, with plug Kevin Rooney of all people scoring the only goal of the night early in the first period. And while it was obvious coach John Hynes was going to back his player publicly, compare this clip with the last postgame Cory played where a reporter asked if they were considering waiving him.
By all rights this season Cory should have had at least two wins, even with his poor play in the other games – the game in Anaheim where the team scored three ‘own goals’ on him, and last night. As much as I think Cory’s shot and will never again be the goalie people thought he was a couple years ago, it would be nice to see him once the win jinx is finally over. Even actually earning the team’s only playoff win last year didn’t erase it. At least assuming Cory plays against the Wild tomorrow there’ll be something to watch in the Saturday matinee at the Rock, besides the umpteenth chance to watch Zach Parise get booed, several years after his own angst-ridden departure from New Jersey in the wake of the team’s run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.
Maybe on another night I would have been at last night’s game or even done a blog on it afterwards, but given the team’s position in the standings and an expected rout by the Isles it was an easier decision to cash out my tickets for a credit even before it became obvious my rec league dodgeball team would be playing a final last night. Amazingly we won against a better team, and one who had several friends and former teammates on it for my first league win after multiple seasons playing, and just in the nick of time too before our three best players all left us for different reasons.
After that, I thought maybe it was an omen that Cory would finally break his jinx. So I was annoyed when I found out how the game concluded. Results might not mean much to the fans but gosh almighty, it would have been a big boost to Cory. I wasn’t quite as annoyed as my buddy Rudy though, since he actually called me from the arena starting a mini-rant, then hung up after a minute when he said security was looking at him funny. I couldn’t help but chuckle a little at that, even if last night was no laughing matter for Cory or his teammates who are still desperate to get him off the schneid.