Let's start with the news of the day. Mathieu Perreault was recalled by the Washington Capitals today. He will replace an unknown player in the lineup.
At this time it has not been announced which player will be placed on IR with an injury but one will be soon.
This is not good news in my opinion. With the departure of Tomas Fleischmann last week we knew that a call up could happen at any time. All it would take is a minor injury and someone from Hershey (likely Gordon, Beagle, or Perry) would be called up to Washington.
The reason this particular call up is bad news is that Washington is auditioning for an everyday 2nd line center. Marcus Johansson has been filling the role of late and while he has played well there is some thought that he might not be ready for the role full time.
For a team that is expected to compete for a Stanley Cup a 2nd line center is going to be a vital piece of the puzzle. So expect different players to get extended looks.
Including Perreault. I am a big Perreault fan and think this could be the beginning of the end of his days in Hershey. His offensive skill is undeniable and his defensive game is improving. The Caps aren't looking for a defensive center though. MoJo, Steckel, Gordon, and Laich can all fill that role. And Beagle would be the main call up for that position.
No, the Caps are looking for an offensive minded center that can help keep the scoring balanced on the team. I think Perry has as good a shot as anyone in the organization right now.
This wouldn't be such a big loss if Aucoin was healthy but he isn't. As of right now the Bears center situation looks like Willsie, Beagle, Joudrey, and Bruess. Not saying those players can't get the job done but they aren't as nearly the pivots that Aucoin or Perry are.
Hopefully Coiner returns to the lineup soon and good luck to Perry in Washington. As a Bears fan I hope to see him back in Hershey soon.
Bruce Boudreau won't commit to how long Perry will be in Washington, saying that he is there for one game as of now, but he is going to be given a chance to win the 2nd line center job and I think he can.
Now let's discuss this past weekend's games....
On Friday there was an article in the paper about Hershey's desire to balance the scoring out over the four lines. Willsie was being moved to the 2nd line to allow Bouchard to move up and play with Perry and Gordon on the 1st line.
The thought is to spread out the scorers and hopefully some of the touch would rub off on other players.
So far it has worked.
7 goals this weekend. None from Gordon, Perry, or Willsie. The only goal scored by the top line was by Bouchard on Satruday night.
The goals were scored by Kugryshev, Pinner, Lacroix, Rome, Bouchard, and 2 from Beagle. That spans all 4 lines. That is the definition of scoring balance and depth.
It is good to see Kugryshev get in on the scoring again. He had some success at the offensive end in juniors scoring 63 goals over 2 seasons in the QMJHL. Getting him involved offensively and giving him ample time on the top lines and power plays will only pay dividends for the Bears this spring.
The Bears looking for more scoring is kind of a joke though considering that even with all the pieces from last year missing and Aucoin missing the last 10+ games they are still #2 in the AHL in scoring with 89 goals. Only Norfolk has more with 99.
But you can never have too much depth. When the playoffs come and top lines start seeing top defensive pairings and start having trouble scoring with consistency it will be good to know that your 3rd and 4th line players can score if called upon.