Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Training Camp Underway in Hershey

Yesterday the 2010-11 season of Hershey Bears hockey kicked off as training camp started up. There aren't a ton of bodies in camp yet as many of the players remain in Washington.

The biggest story moving forward is the 3rd line center battle in Washington. The outcome will directly affect the Bears so it deserves some attention.

So far all 3 candidates (Eakin, Johansson, Perreault) have looked very good. They have scored goals, recorded assists, and have fit in each place they have played. It is still anyone's guess to who will win the job to start the season. And I have a guess too or maybe more of a theory.

Assuming Fleischmann starts at 2nd line center (which appears likely) there is only 1 spot open in the starting lineup. There is also room for one extra player on the roster that last week I thought would go to Hendricks or Andrew Gordon but now there are rumors that it could be one of the centers.

I don't see it happening. If it did though it would likely be Cody least for a few games. I believe the Caps would have 10 games to see what they have in Eakin and still send him back to juniors for the year...I think. If that is the case I could see them giving him a few games. If it works out and he shines then he stays on the NHL roster this year. If not, then they send him back.

But I don't see them risking Hendricks and/or Gordon on waivers just to keep Eakin for a few games.

I still think MoJo will be the #3 center on opening night and Perry will be back in Hershey to start the season.

As for the Gordon/Hendricks that Hendricks officially has a contract (a one year 2 way deal) this is actually a position battle...I think Gordon is still likely to get it. And the main reason is waivers. The chances are better that a team takes a shot at Gordo instead of Hendricks and that is not something the Caps are going to take a chance least I don't think so.

The Hershey roster could look drastically different come opening night. If Gordo does make the Caps two thirds of the top line from last season would not be in Hershey this year.

But fear not Bears fans as this won't be a repeat of 07-08 either. In 07-08 Hershey was coming off a 2nd consecutive Finals appearance and the roster that year featured many young unproven players like Gordon, Joudrey and Wilson. The main 'veteran' leadership and 'star' role (and I use those terms VERY LOOSELY here) was Joe Motzko. Oh and the million dollar man Ben Clymer was also there.

This year....

Willsie, Hendricks (assuming the above happens), Greentree, and all the returning Bears (Pinner, Coiner, Bouch, and others) and young new Bears (Kugryshev, Hauswirth, Gustafsson, Kashirsky) will still make this a very good year.

The talent level in Hershey will still be very high and as long as the goaltending holds up we could be watching live hockey at the Giant Center well into spring again in 2011!


Hershey released their 3rd or alternate jerseys this past week. Some of you might have already seen 'leaks' of these jersey's online but they were officially unveiled earlier this week...

While it isn't the 'traditional' skating bear logo that we all love it is closer. Definitely expect to see some of these in the GC this season. And it could be as early as this weekend...if you are a season ticket holder headed down for the ticket night festivities tomorrow night these jersey's WILL be on sale.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

So I just read this and was wondering two things ... one, do you know anything about how too many veterans "destroyed" Rochester? Two, do you think if a Hershey veteran got injured this season that they might bring Helmer back?

Anyway, here's what I found -- what are your thoughts about this?

Still can't believe he won't be a Bear this year. :(


Defenseman Bryan Helmer, who captained Hershey to two straight Calder Cups, remains an unsigned free agent. But Helmer counts as a roster veteran, which is a reason why he wasn’t re-signed while non-vet O’Neill potentially could garner a spot on the roster.

“The veteran thing is key,” French said. “We saw last year on a very good Rochester team that having too many veterans basically destroyed that team.

“I don’t think there’d be much question that if Bryan didn’t carry veteran status that he would be back here.”

GM said...

My guess is that some players weren't happy about not playing at that affected the locker room and in turn the team. If you have too many vets it can create tension over playing time which could hurt team chemistry.

I don't think Helmer will be back in Hershey. And honestly I don't think it is the worst thing. Helmer is a good player but he is getting older and slower each year. 08-09 for him was much better than 09-10. If you assume that he continues to drop in production then his 10-11 season won't be near as productive as the previous two.

He is a great leader and a great locker room presence but with all the other vets (who are similar players and leaders) there was less need for a defenseman who at times struggled last season.