This is Hershey's 4th trip to the Southern Tier in 2011-12. So far they are 2-1 and all 3 games have been close contests. Combined the Bears have scored 12, the Senators 10 in the 3 games in Bingo.
This is what would be referenced as a trap game in many sports. You don't hear that too much in hockey, but they are there. A game against a team that is out of the playoff conversation. A game against a team that you have handled (at least on home ice) this season. A game against a middling team before a game with a better team.
The Bears have enough veterans to stay focused and get the win, but don't be surprised if it is much closer than you would hope for. In fact, the Bears last visit to Binghamton ended in a 4-3 loss for Hershey.
Fortunately for the Bears they are close to clinching a playoff berth. 4 points. 4 points and the Bears would clinch a trip to the playoffs. The seeding will still be in question, but the postseason trip will be official.
Which, unfortunately, is a lot more than you can say for the Bears NHL affiliate. The Washington Capitals are now on the outside looking in at the NHL playoffs. They sit 9th in the conference and still have a shot, but last night's deflating loss to the Sabres was pretty crushing.
While I am a Caps fan...I am a Bears fan first. And to be honest with you, it's better for the Bears if they miss the playoffs. Sure I would love to see the Caps make the playoffs and go on a terrific run. But if they aren't going to go on that run (which seems unlikely considering the horribleness of last night) then I would just as soon see them miss the playoffs and send all Bears back to Hershey.
Braden Holtby will likely be on his way back as soon as Tomas Vokoun is healthy (which should be soon). There was a chance that Braden could win the #1 job up there, but last night did everything but help that cause. He likely would have had to be perfect to earn that opportunity and well, you know how that went.
Dmitry Orlov will be in Hershey as soon as the Caps season ends. No questions about it. He is on the clear day roster and the Caps will be looking for him to get some work. He strikes me as a carefree, laid back kind of guy so I am guessing that while he will surely be disappointed in the end to the Caps season, he will be excited about coming to Hershey and competing for a Calder Cup.
So, will he be back? He is on the clear day roster so they will surely send him down. The question is...does he have to clear waivers and, if so, will he.
Earlier this season we established that he would have to clear waivers. He hit all the thresholds there so yes he would have to clear waivers...during the season.
So, will Keith have to clear waivers once the Capitals season is complete? It does not appear so, but I am only pretending to be an expert on this....
The "Playing Season Waiver Period" shall begin on the twelfth (12th) day prior toBased on that comment, straight from the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, once the Capitals season is complete...either April 8th or after elimination from the playoffs...their playing season is complete and waivers would not longer be in effect.
the start of the Regular Season and end on the day following the last day of a Club's
Awesome, but what prevents teams from sending multiple players to the AHL? The clear day rosters. Only players identified on the clear day rosters or 'in-house' rosters are eligible to play for their respective AHL teams after the rosters are set. Which was one week after the NHL trade deadline.
Again...I am not 100% certain that I am correct, but it would appear to me that once the Capitals season is over, they can send Keith Aucoin to Hershey without subjecting him to waivers.
We may find out if this it true sooner than Caps fans were hoping to.
In other news:
- Injuries aren't getting better very quickly for the Bears. Graham Mink, Jacob Micflikier, and Christian Hanson still aren't practicing. And now Patrick McNeill isn't either. Andrew Carroll is expected to play tonight though.
- The Caps signed defenseman Cameron Schilling to a 2-year entry level deal yesterday. He is reporting to Hershey on a tryout contract and will be with the team the rest of the season. Cameron just finished up his season with the NCAA's Miami Redhawks. He is listed at 6'2" 197lbs.
Schilling isn't a flashy player, but is a rock on defense. He's got pretty decent size and though he doesn't put up huge numbers, he can move the puck. He's the type of player that doesn't draw a lot of attention, but would make a very solid pro hockey player.
I would expect Schilling to get a look here over the next couple of weeks and then likely participate mainly with the Black Aces during practice and working for a roster spot in 2012-13. This is perfect timing for the Bears considering that with Patty not practicing the Bears have only 6 healthy defenseman. Now they have 7.
- Bears viewing party tonight! I was hoping to make it out, but unfortunately won't be able to. The good folks over at Sweetest Hockey on Earth have partnered up with ABC27 to bring this to you. Everything starts at 6:30 at Fire Alley restaurant in Hershey. Have some food, win some prizes, and watch the Bears!