With the Olympics going on and all the NHL teams on a mandatory break expect to see lots of scouts and executives at Hershey games for the next few games. The NHL trade deadline is coming up on March 3rd and you better believe the Bears players could be targeted. Not necessarily the big names Giroux, Aucoin, or Bourque, but maybe the players like Osala, Bouchard, and Gordon. Those players are still developing and could be included in a trade or two in a couple weeks.
That is all good news for Steve Pinizzotto. Pinner practiced on the top line with Coiner and Giroux yesterday and is expected to play there for the weekends games. Coach Mark French has decided that even though Hershey is winning there is no reason to stick with the status quo.
Some might argue that you don't fix what isn't broken but I actually think this is a good time to try some different things. It keeps some guys from getting complacent and keeps them doing everything they can to keep their spot.
Andrew Gordon, the former top line right winger, will join a line with Kyle Wilson at center and Andrew Joudrey at left wing. It isn't like Gordo hasn't been producing either, he has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games.
I think it is just a way to see what else could work going forward. Maybe a way to find a little more balance down through the lines.
It will be interesting to see Pinner get his shot at the top line and scoring some goals. He is surely up there on that line to protect Giroux and Coiner a bit but he can also score some too. Back in 07-08 he scored 15 goals and 17 assists in 40 games for the South Carolina Stingrays. And just last season he scored 4 goals and 6 assists in 11 games for SC. He just hasn't had a chance here in Hershey to put up goals. He does what he is asked to do and he does it very well...personally I am glad he is getting his chance to show what else he can do to help the club win.
Tonight Hershey kicks off a very busy stretch of games. They visit Adirondack tonight before returning home for Lake Erie on Saturday and Albany on Sunday. After that they have 5 games in 7 days next Wednesday through Tuesday. Combine the weekends and you have 8 games in 12 days.
That stretch will test this teams depth and focus. It is a great test for the stretch run and the playoffs. Overall the Bears play 27 games over the next 51 days to finish the regular season. That is a lot of games in a short period.
record ~ 41-10-0-2 84 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
most recent game ~ 5-2 Win vs Lowell, 2/14
last 5 games ~ 4-1-0-0
road record ~ 18-7-0-0
goals for ~ 229
goals against ~127
power play ~ 22.2% (1st)
penalty kill ~ 90.2% (1st)
record ~ 25-25-2-2 54 points
standings ~ 5th in East Division
most recent game ~ 4-3 Win @ Binghamton, 2/17
last 5 games ~ 2-3-0-0
home record ~ 13-10-2-0
goals for ~ 130
goals against ~ 157
power play ~ 11.9% (29th)
penalty kill ~ 83.1% (13th)
last time teams met - Hershey won 4-1 in Hershey on January 3rd.
Players to watch:
RW Steve Pinizzotto (13)- Taking the right wing on the top line gives the grinder a chance to prove how good he can be in the offensive end.
C Andrew Joudrey (23) - One of the most important players on Hershey's roster due to his great defensive play is approaching his career high of 11 goals this season. He has 9 goals and 11 assists so far and now he joins a line with Kyle Wilson and Andrew Gordon...he like Pinner is getting a chance to show what he can do.
G Braden Holtby (1) - With the scouts watching he will be the only of the 3 young stud goaltenders in action for Hershey/Washington right now. Don't think the Caps wouldn't trade one of their young star goalies for the right player either.
RW Stefan Legein (9) - All he does is score goals! Seriously. He is leading the Phantoms in goals this season with 21 but he is only 5th in points because he has only 5 assists in his 52 games.
LW Mika Pyorala (22) - He has only played 9 games for the Phantoms this season but he appeared in 36 for the Flyers too. He has 3 goals and 4 assists in those 9 games including 2 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games.
LW Krys Kolanos (36) - After scoring 30+ goals in his last 2 seasons he has slowed a bit this season with only 9 goals in 27 games but 3 of those goals (and 2 assists) have come in the last 3 games.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!