Well the games were meaningless so we can't really judge the effort in the 2 games but Hershey didn't really compete with Wilkes-Barre and/or Syracuse this weekend at Giant Center. Losing 2 straight by a combined 8-3 can't be good going into the playoffs...can it?
Well...who knows. I guess we will find out sometime over the next 2 months. But I can say this...last years team lost their last game. So did the 08-09 team.
Over their last 5 games Hershey went 3-2-0-0 this year. Same as last year. In 08-09 they went 2-2-1-0. In 05-06 they went 2-2-1-0 to close the season. Those were good seasons!
Over the past 6 years the only years Hershey went into the playoffs playing really good hockey (based on record anyway) would have been 06-07 when they were 5-1-0-0 over their last 6. And again in 07-08 when they entered on a 3 game winning streak and a 4-0-1-0 in their last 5.
Those years didn't end that well.
Maybe there is something there....or maybe not. Who knows.
This year's Bears team enters the playoffs healthy for the first time in months. A couple players have minor injuries (Dmitry Orlov and Matheiu Perreault to name 2) but most of the team is healthy.
That includes defenseman Lawrence Nycholat who played his first game since January 27th last night against Syracuse.
Basically what I am saying is that Hershey finally has the lineup that they had for much of their dominant run in November through January. Gordon, Aucoin, Souray, Nycholat, and Holtby are in Hershey and healthy (quick knock on wood) for the most important time of the year.
Will that translate into another run at the Calder Cup and playing hockey into June?
I think so.
There will be much more in the coming days about the matchup with Charlotte. The Checkers and Bears split the season series 4-4 with each team going 2-2 in the other teams building.
It should be a good series.
Taking a look around at other matchups sees that Norfolk won their last game of the season to move into 4th in the East Division.
Congratulations Norfolk...you earn a trip to the #1 overall seed in the AHL!!
While Binghamton, who finished 5th in the East Division, makes the jump to the Atlantic Division to face 2nd seed Manchester Monarchs.
If I had to choose...I would rather be in Binghamton's spot.
And that is a team that I think could make some noise. They are expecting plenty of talent back from Ottawa and now they get the equivalent of the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference in the first round instead of the #1 overall team.
Not saying that Manchester isn't a good team but based on the statistics available (and general opinion) the Baby Pens were the class of the league this season.
And yes...it sucks to say that!
As I mentioned before I will have plenty more on the Charlotte/Hershey series as we lead up to Game 1 on Thursday night in Hershey. The entire series schedule is viewable on the right side of this page. You can view schedules for all the first round matchups here.