Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 21, 2015 · Page D1
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October 21, 2015

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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page D1

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Rochester, New York
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
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Page D1
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The pre-game ceremonies get underway at Utica’s Memorial Auditorium around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, before the Rochester Americans play the Comets in the heart of the Mohawk Valley. T here will be a video montage recapping the Comets’ run to the Calder C up finals last spring, followed by the raising of their North Division and Western Conference championship banners. N ow the enemy, Cal O’Reilly still might be tempted to peek out at the ice from the visiting dressing room, at least for a brief moment, to relive the memories. O ’Reilly was the Comets’ captain a nd led them in scoring, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. He was one of many heroes on a team that captured the hearts of the city. And since the final game was barely f our months ago, the pages in the scrap- b ook of the mind will be turning one by one as O’Reilly climbs off the Amerks bus and enters the arena. “Obviously with the year we had last year, it will be cool to go back,” he said o n Tuesday. “It was a great year. It’s a h ockey town and it was just crazy the whole playoff run.” Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth is hoping familiar surroundings will jump-start O’Reilly’s offensive game. T he veteran centerman doesn’t have a point through four games, and the Amerks are coming off a pair of listless weekend losses in St. John’s, Newfoundland. “The top guys, obviously, need to p ick it up and they know it,” Cunneyworth said. “But it’s not just them. We ask the same of everybody.” O’Reilly gets it. Now in his 10th pro s eason, he was signed as a free agent over the summer to a guaranteed $700,000 contract to provide depth for t he Buffalo Sabres and to be a focal point of the Amerks attack. In his five full AHL seasons, he has led his team in scoring twice and finished second the other three years. In between he played 113 NHL games for the Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh P enguins. D oes he put pressure on himself to produce? “For sure,” O’Reilly said. “I’m a leader on this team. I play a lot of m inutes.” Of course, the Amerks have only played four games, not 14. A year ago, h e had two assists through four games and his plus/minus rating was the same as it is this year: minus-3. “ I’m not looking too much into it because these things happen,” he said. “ But it starts tomorrow with being one of the best players on the ice.” After a pair of home victories on o pening weekend, including 2-1over Utica on Oct. 10, the Amerks weren’t good in St. John’s. They lost 5-2 and 6-2. “ We ran into a team that worked hard, harder than us,” Cunneyworth s aid. “These guys are all professionals. They know when they’re dropping the ball a little bit.” KEVINO@gannett.com AMERKS O’Reilly takes center stage Attention on Amerks’ c enterman as he squares off against former club KEVIN OKLOBZIJA @KEVINODANDC GETTY Cal O’Reilly was the Comets’ captain a nd led them in scoring. He was one of many heroes on a team that captured t he hearts of the city. Cal O’Reilly Position: C Age: 29 Plus/minus: -3 NHL games p layed: 113 Democrat and Chronicle Wednesday,October21,2015 IT’S TIME FOR LOUISVILLE COACH RICK PITINO TO STEP DOWN PAGE 6D Well, I’m here. Drove from Buffalo to Toronto Monday night and flew overnight on British Airways direct into Heathrow. Can’t sleep on a plane, and didn’t. So I wrote a story and watched two movies — Entourage and True Story, plus a couple episodes of Curb Y our Enthusiasm. Man, great in-seat e ntertainment options, yet there was no W i-Fi on this big ol’ plane. Found that a bit odd. W hen I arrived in London, it took a full two hours to finally get to the hotel. Half-hour going through customs, during which a couple Bills fans recognized me, which was funny, then off to find my luggage and exchange currency. From there, Heathrow Express to the Padding- t on Station, then a cab to the Marriott. It w as 1p.m. local time. Sleep. See ya tom orrow. Post cards from London NEW YORK - Way before wild cards and “ Moneyball,” before instant replay and inter- league games, before the Chicago Cubs had endured seven painful decades without a single s tinkin’ pennant, the dubious drought was more akin to a mid-life crisis: 39 years old. It was 1984 and apparently anything was p ossible, according to George Orwell. Even at Wrigley Field. E specially at Wrigley Field. A s summer heated up and the sun finally shined on Chicago, the old town was all abuzz a bout its baseball team on the North Side. Ryne Sandberg and Rick Sutcliffe had the Cubs steam- i ng toward their first winning season in 12 years, seemingly primed to stop those two infamous streaks at long, long last. T he most recent championship: 1908. The last World Series appearance: 1945. “Once we were on a roll, I thought we were g onna win the whole thing!” said Hall of Fame AP Mets players Dwight Gooden, left, and Keith Hernandez celebrate with teammates after a 10-0 win over the Cubs in 1984. METS, CUBS: THE ’84 RACE NY challenged,but Chicago won NL East MIKE FITZPATRICK ASSOCIATED PRESS SeeRACE,Page5D 2015 ALCS 2015 NLCS

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