There are any number of accomplishments you can point to when talk comes around to Cory Schneider's best performance this season.
The 23-year-old from Marblehead earned a cornucopia of accolades on the ice, highlighted by his winning the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the outstanding goaltender in the American Hockey League. Schneider led the league in goals-against average (2.04) and save percentage (.928), setting new team records in both. The First Team AHL All-Star also set a new Moose record for consecutive wins (10), earned another team record in total wins (28), had five shutouts and guided Manitoba to 50 wins and 107 points, tops in the circuit.
Then there's his work on the guitar.
Schneider and his roommates, Manitoba center Alex Bolduc and defenseman Zack FitzGerald, all bought themselves acoustic guitars last season to help pass the time, and since then have been honing their finger pickin' skills whenever possible.
"I'm learning 'Under the Bridge' right now," Schneider said of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' classic. "I'm not exactly ripping off power ballads, but for a guy who just picked it up a little over a year ago I'm not bad. It's amazing what you can learn (about playing guitar) online."
Any comparisons between Schneider and contemporary axmen like Dave Grohl or John Frusciante, however, will have to wait.
That's because the Moose begin their second round playoff series tonight at home in Winnipeg against the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Griffins, and Schneider is being counted on heavily to guide Manitoba onto the next round — and beyond.
The Calder Cup is the AHL's equivalent to the Stanley Cup, and Manitoba is one of the favorites to win it this spring. But Schneider realizes that all of his individual awards and the team's success during the regular season won't mean much if they don't perform up to expectations now that the postseason is in full swing.