With the exception of Saturday night the weekend was pretty lousy for the Bears. After getting run out of Philly on Friday the Bears played a great playoff like game on Saturday before coming out flat against the Penguins on Sunday.
I am slightly concerned about this. Not saying last night's game or Friday's game for that matter was hugely important but against rivals late in the season with playoff positioning on the line for all three games I would have hoped to see more intensity.
Right now my biggest fear is the Bears coming out flat in game 1 of any series and finding themselves in a 1-0 hole without putting up much of a fight. Or coming out flat in any game during the series.
Hopefully the veterans on this team can get the guys up and ready to play but too many times this year this team has come out sluggish in the first period. If you do that in the playoffs you will have trouble winning games.
Obviously it was a tough weekend. First you close down the Spectrum, then you have what amounted to a playoff game at home, then to finish the 3 in 3 you get a (somewhat) meaningless game with the Pens. Last night's game was not terribly important but still....the Pens were finishing up a 4 in 5 and they looked pretty good.
I am not saying they played bad because we have seen much worse this season but I also didn't feel like they were ready to play against a team that was resting many of their best players. Hershey played most of their best players (minus Graham Mink) and it didn't seem like they were able to keep the intensity throughout the game.
Basically I feel like they could have been better.
Like Saturday night. What a game that was! From the opening faceoff until the final whistle it felt like a playoff game. The crowd was phenomenal (although a touch quiet in the 2nd and 3rd but still good) and the Bears played great all night. Even with the referee trying to help the Phantoms it didn't matter, the Bears wanted that one more than anyone else.
But like I said before I am concerned about the sluggish starts. Remember that Philly had nothing to play for on Saturday and they still almost won. And on Sunday, the Pens had minimal to play for and yet they won.
I am not saying I am really worried about the Bears not winning a series because I believe they are winning the Calder Cup. BUT I am concerned that they will be playing from behind in a series and some games because they struggle to come out ready to play.
The playoff schedule is up at AHL.com for 7 of the 8 series. Which series is missing? You guessed it....Phantoms/Bears. Word on the street is the schedule will be out today but until it happens you never know. But I will have it here as soon as it comes available.