- Caps/Bears signed Keith Aucoin for 2 more years. This honestly surprised me as Coiner surely could have tested the free agent market and possibly gotten lots more money. But he wants to know where he is going to be and is happy in the organization. He is also going to get paid a good bit of money to play in Hershey with the added benefit of knowing the Caps like him as a player and probably will call him up at some point.
- Bears clinch playoff berth and then division. Last night the Bears clinched the East division for the 3rd time in 4 years. They have a 21 point lead over 2nd place Albany and have a 18 point lead over 2nd place Worcester in the entire Eastern Conference. That makes the Bears magic number 8 to clinch the Conference. Any combination of points for Hershey or lost by the Sharks gives the Bears the Conference Title and home ice through the conference playoffs.
- Bears struggle last weekend. Hershey went 1-1-0-1 last weekend with their one win coming in OT as well. Springfield (the worst team in the league) and Worcester beat the Bears in their own buildings while the Bears did manage to beat the Phantoms Friday night on the road. Last night they rebounded by beating the bottom dwelling Senators before a second straight 3 in 3 weekend.
- Osala in Albany. At the trade deadline Hershey/Washington sent LW Oscar Osala to Albany/Carolina and at the time I expected O to get some substantial time in Carolina so they could see what they had. But so far he has played 6 for Albany and only 1 for Carolina. And he is producing for the Rats as well with 4 goals and 2 assists in those 6 games. He will be back in the building this Friday night as Hershey hosts 2nd place Albany.
- Hershey adds depth to blue line. With John Carlson likely remaining in Washington for the remainder of the season and with multiple injuries (albeit minor) on their own blue line the Bears borrowed a PA native to fill a hole. Grant Lewis is from Upper Sainte Clair in Western PA and was loaned to Hershey from Chicago/Atlanta where he had played in 26 games but was not going to be included on the clear day roster due to a very deep defense in Chicago. Surely he will play but probably not everyday and barring injury not very much in the playoffs either.
- Next 5 of 6 games at home. Starting tomorrow night the Bears play 5 of their next 6 at Giant Center. The one road trip is Saturday night when they head to Syracuse. It is mainly division rivals with a rematch against Worcester thrown in next Friday night in what could be a Eastern Conference Finals preview.
- Another signing. Almost forgot this one but it could be huge going into the next 2 seasons. The Caps/Bears signed RW Dmitri Kugryshev (and yes I spelled that correctly without looking it up) to a 2 or 3 year deal (I think 3 but I can't remember). The Russian wing has played the past 2 years for the Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL where he had 74 points (34 goals) in 57 games and currently has 87 points (29 goals) in 60 games this season. Once his junior season is over he can come to Hershey.
- Who will Hershey face in the playoffs? Wilkes Barre (4th in East) and Bridgeport (5th in Atlantic) are tied currently for the playoff spot with 73 points and an identical winning percentage. My guess is the next tiebreaker is overall wins which puts the Baby Pens in the playoffs. This is the most important race for Hershey to watch so we will update here regularly.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Time to catch up
Lots of news since I have last posted so let's do some bullet points: