Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bears Power Play is Better With Graham Mink (Obviously)

Ok, let’s start with some information that you already know…the Bears have a good power play. League leading. Converting on 30.2% of their chances. That is over 8% better than the team in 2nd (Texas at 22.1%). 

Graham Mink has 11 power play goals this season.  Tied for 1st in the league.

But you probably knew that too.

The Bears have scored 2 or more power play goals in 17 games this year. They are 13-0-2-2 in those games.

Big deal, obviously if you score 2 or more goals with the extra man you are more likely to win.

Fair argument.

Mink has been in the lineup for 14 of those 17 games.

Ok, that is something new and somewhat interesting, but Keith Aucoin, Chris Bourque, Christian Hanson, and Jacob Micflikier have been in the lineup for at least that many as well. So what?

Mr. Mink has only played in 28 games this season. In half of those games the Bears have scored 2+ power play goals.

And remember, the Bears win 76.5% of their games and earn 88.2% of possible points when they score 2+ power play goals.

Translation…the Bears are more likely to score power play goals…and in turn win, when Graham Mink plays.

Graham has only played in 33% of the games this calendar year.  The Bears have only converted on 23.8% of their power plays this calendar year.

Ok, so maybe you still aren’t convinced. Let me say that this isn’t the Richmond Effect (although even that took a big hit this past weekend…he was in the lineup for all 3 games), the Bears are not automatically a better team just because Minker is in the lineup.
But the power play is definitely more explosive.

By a show of hands how many of you thought the power play looked bleak this weekend? Wow, that’s a lot of hands. Ok, I agree.

Now, which player was missing on Saturday and Sunday? Yes, that would be one Graham Mink.

Did you know that…

In games where Graham Mink does NOT play the Bears have scored 15 power play goals….in 14 games. And they are still converting on 24.2% of their chances. Which would still be good enough for 1st overall in the league, but a full 6% less than their current numbers.

In games where Mr. Mink DOES play…28 of them to be exact…the Bears have scored 43 power play goals. That is 1.54 per game which is almost half a goal per game than when he doesn’t play.

33.1%. That is the Bears success rate on the power play WITH Mr. Mink in the lineup. That is almost 9% higher than when he is not in the lineup.

The Bears power play, and in turn the Bears as a team, are more potent with Graham in the lineup.

Anyone who witnessed the debacle that was the Bears power play this past weekend knows what I am talking about.  (Ok, it wasn't that bad, but it didn't seem to be clicking...almost like something, or someone, was missing.)

To recap today’s lesson:

Graham Mink = More Power Play Goals = More Hershey Bears Wins = Happiness For All

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bears play...and lose 3 in 3

I was going to do some research today to figure out the last time a Hershey team lost all 3 games in a 3 in 3 weekend.  The good folks at Sweetest Hockey on Earth beat me to it.

April 2005.

The last time the Hershey Bears lost all 3 games of a 3 in 3 was under the Colorado Avalanche. 

Thanks to ABC27 I was able to see all 3 games this weekend.  The unfortunate part of that is, had I only seen 1, I would have seen them all.

The Bears played the exact same on Sunday as they had on Friday.  It was like 3 nights was just one game. 

Friday was the first period which saw the Bears lose on a late (6 minutes to go) shorthanded tally by the Binghamton Senators.  Then after a 21ish hour intermission (and 3 hr road trip) they lost with another late (2 minutes to go) goal, this time by the Monarchs.  Then another 19ish hour intermission they came out and laid an egg and lost yet again to Manchester.

Honestly, it was the same team all three games.  And I am pretty sure it was a completely different team that had played previously in Hershey. 

The goaltending...average...AT BEST.

The defense...way to aggressive at the offensive blueline.

The offense...too much passing.

The goaltending was weak all 3 games with the best performance coming on Sunday with Braden Holtby in net.  (He also played Friday).  But in all three games there were goals that should have been saves.  The goaltending deserves a fair share of the blame, but they weren't the only problem.

The defense routinely pinched in in the offensive zone and in turn routinely got beat the other way for odd man rushes.  Many of these odd man rushes led to goals for the Senators and Monarchs. 

The forwards couldn't shoot the puck.  And when they did shoot the puck they generally missed the net.  The opposing goaltenders were good, no doubt, but the Bears always wanted to make the extra pass looking for the perfect shot/wide open net. 

Don't get me wrong...I enjoy the nice passing.  And most of the time I think it is a necessary evil, but this weekend, last night especially, there was simply too much of it.  Shooters were passing up shots left and right in an effort to look for "something better".

It was just a bad weekend for the Bears.

All teams go through spurts of bad games and bad luck.  This, in my opinion, is just that.  It was a 3 game weekend after a 1 in 10 days stretch that apparently surprised the Bears. 

They will rebound.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Keith Aucoin on Record Setting Pace

A few weeks ago, as I was perusing the site, I noticed that Keith Aucoin was leading the AHL in assists and points.  And not only leading...destroying the competition.

Which got me thinking...I wonder what the record for most assists in a season is...

It is former Bear George "Red" Sullivan in 1953-54.

Coiner is on pace to SHATTER that mark.  If Keith can keep up his current pace he would finish the season with 109 assists!  20 more than the previous record which has been held for almost 60 years.


Which got me thinking...if he is going to have that many assists, how many points will he have?

Assuming he keeps up his current pace of 1.68 points per game he will finish the season with 126 points.

Is that a record?

Yes and no.

The AHL record for points in a season is 138 by Binghamton's (and onetime Bear) Don Biggs in 1992-93.

But, the Bears all-time record for points in a season is Tim Tookey, who had 124 in 1986-87.

So, as it stands now you are watching the player that could set a new record for points in a season by a Hershey Bear. 

And if the right pieces fall into place he could make a run at the AHL all time mark...he is currently on pace to fall just 12 points short.

There is another record he is approaching...remember back in 2008-09, Alexandre Giroux recorded a goal in 15 straight AHL record...Coiner is approaching something similar. 

The record for most consecutive games with an assist is 17 (owned by two players actually).  Currently, Aucoin has an assist in 13* straight games, leaving him 4 short of tying the mark and 5 short of setting a new one.

What a season for #11!!

And what a career.  As of today, Keith Aucoin sits at #16 (top active player) on the AHL's All-Time Scoring list with 771 points in 10+ seasons.  Of the 15 players above him, only one has averaged more points per season (through 2010-11) than Aucoin.  That player....Bruce Boudreau. 

If Aucoin continues on his current pace this season and records the aforementioned 126 points, he would climb all the way to #7 on the All-Time spot behind Mike Nykoluk. 

Bears fans...we are watching one of the greatest players in the storied history of the AHL.  Enjoy it.

*(No, the healthy scratch status from the other night did not ruin this run based on the information I can find. If you remember back in 08-09 Giroux actually missed games during his streak while on recall to Washington. And, the AHL's daily report stat sheet still lists Aucoin's streak as current.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bears win 5th in a row

What a game last night!  And not the Saints-49ers game either.  Although that was quite a game as well.

After my guests left at the end of the Saints/Niners NFL game I switched over to the Bears game, which thanks to the new agreement with Blue Ridge Cable, I actually get!

It was 4-2 in the 2nd period...Senators.  It stayed that way for the entire 2nd period and a little over 8 minutes into the 3rd.  And then the Bears decided to quit toying with the Senators.

Hershey scored 3 goals in a 1:42 span midway through the 3rd period to take a 5-4 lead and added an insurance marker with about 2 minutes to go to pick up the 6-4 win. 

Dany Sabourin got the start last night and allowed 4 goals on 11 shots including 3 goals in about a 1:30 span late in the 1st period.  Braden Holtby started the 2nd period and made one of the more ridiculous saves you will see late in the third period.  The puck trickled by him and in a last ditch effort he swung his stick around and cleared it out before it crossed the line.  Seriously...sick.  If video of it becomes available on YouTube I will try to add it to the site so you can see for yourselves.

In the end Holtby made only 9 saves in 2 periods of work as the Bears dominated the final 40 minutes of the game.

Coming into Thursday's second game in Charlotte the Bears had won exactly ZERO games when trailing after the 2nd period.  

Now they have 2 wins.  They trailed entering the 3rd period in both games and responded by scoring a combined 7 goals in the 3rd period of those contests.

For a team that entered Thursday's games being outscored 45-41 in the 3rd period on the season, that is rather impressive.  If they can maintain this type of play throughout the second half of the season, they will be pretty tough to beat.  Many of their loses this season were the result of them beating themselves instead of being beaten. 

Eliminate that and the sky is the limit.

The Bears are now officially into the 2nd half of their season and have entered it on a roll.  They have won 5 straight and have recorded points in 10 straight games (8 of them wins). 

Of their last 5, none have been blowouts either (4 were 1 goal games - 2 in shootouts).  They have worked for all of them.

One of the things we will all have to get used to is the sitting of veterans.  With all 6 (7 if you count DJ King) true veterans healthy, one has to sit every game.  For a while it was Danny Richmond, then someone in Hershey read SHoE's Richmond Effect and started playing him all the time.  Then it was Graham Mink, but that got unfair. 

So now they are all taking turns.  On Wednesday night Chris Bourque missed the game, Thursday it was Mink again, and last night, against all odds, Keith Aucoin was the healthy scratch last night.  I would expect all of the guys to get some games here or there the rest of the season as well, barring injury of course. 

It isn't all bad either.  This will give guys a chance to rest up and take care of minor injuries as well as keep their bodies fresh for the playoffs.  I can assure you that this team is not interested in padding personal stats, setting new records, or dominating the regular season.  The only thing they all care about is winning the Calder Cup this spring. 

If they play like they have been...they have a legitimate shot.

PS - while the players don't care about setting records, we fans do.  Check back in a couple days as I tell you about some of the records that have a chance to be rewritten this season...including one that is almost a guarantee.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Is Danny Richmond the key to the Bears season?

Recently over at Sweetest Hockey on Earth they made an observation about Danny Richmond and how when he is in the lineup, the Bears are a better team. ShoE called it the Richmond Effect

Basically, the theory is that Hershey is a better team when Richmond is in the lineup.

At first I didn’t even want to consider it. I thought they were nuts and there was no way one player, that was barely playing (their post went up a little before Christmas), could possibly be having that large an impact.

I took a look at some simple, basic stats after that post and thought maybe there was something to it. And since the article went up, the results have continued. So, now I present it to you with some statistics to make the point.

First, let’s just break it down by record so far this season:
  • w/ Richmond – 12-2-2-1
  • w/o Richmond – 9-6-2-2
  • Overall – 21-8-4-3
Just by looking at the records you can see that there might be something to this. Sometimes records don’t tell the whole story due to the method at which the AHL (and NHL for that matter) give out points. As in, some losses are better than others and a team is rewarded with a point. (One of the dumbest rules in sports by the way.)

So, the Bears based on points percentage (percentage of points earned):
  • w/ Richmond - .794
  • w/o Richmond - .579
  • Overall - .681
Wow. So with Richmond the Bears earn about 22% MORE points in the standings. Not too bad.

Ok, but maybe the Bears have played weaker competition when Richmond has been in the lineup…

Point’s percentage of Bears opponents (as of 1/9/12):
  • In games w/ Richmond - .564
  • In games w/o Richmond - .534
  • Overall - .549
So, yet again, the Richmond Factor still holds up. The Bears have played a tougher slate of opponents with Richmond in the lineup then when he is on the bench.

Is there something else that is influencing it and making it seem like he is the missing link? Maybe per game scoring explains it…
  • w/ Richmond – 4.2 goals per game
  • w/o Richmond – 3.5 goals per game
  • Overall – 3.8 goals per game
Ok, that’s goals for; maybe they are giving up more goals against, resulting in the need to score more in order to win…
  • w/ Richmond – 2.8 goals allowed per game
  • w/o Richmond – 3.1 goals allowed per game
  • Overall – 2.9 goals allowed per game
So far it seems that the Bears are better in every important category when Richmond is in the lineup. Hmmm, maybe this really can be true.

Let’s keep looking though…there has to be something we are missing.

Maybe your argument would be, a lot of those games probably came early in the season and since the team is playing better of late, everything is evening out. This is a relatively true statement as the Bears started out good, went into hibernation through November, and have come out to feed since December 1.

But is their success of late because Richmond has been getting more opportunities?

Through the first two months of the season Richmond played in only 8 of a possible 20 games (40%). Since December 1 he has played in 9 of 16 (56%).

And the numbers are just as supporting…take a look:

Since December 1, 2011 the Bears by record:
  • w/ Richmond – 9-0-0-0
  • w/o Richmond – 3-2-1-1
  • Overall – 12-2-1-1
Point’s percentage:
  • w/ Richmond – 1.000
  • w/o Richmond - .571
  • Overall - .813
We already knew the Bears have been good since December 1, 2011, but did you realize that when Richmond doesn’t play, the Bears are barely above .500?

And the opposition over that stretch? It is pretty much the same. Overall the Bears opponents had a point’s percentage of .563 since December 1. The difference with or without Richmond is less than .010.

Scoring since December 1:
  • w/ Richmond – 4.6 goals per game
  • w/o Richmond – 4.1 goals per game
  • Overall – 4.4 goals per game
  • w/ Richmond – 1.9 goals allowed per game
  • w/o Richmond – 3.6 goals allowed per game
  • Overall – 2.6 goals allowed per game
Wow. This might be the biggest factor I have seen so far. When Richmond has played in games since December 1, the Bears gave up almost 2 fewer goals per game. That is substantial.

So, wait. You are telling me that a guy who has, so far this season, no goals, 2 assists, and a +3 rating is the key to the Bears this year?

Overall the numbers are pretty convincing. The sample size is still relatively small though. The Bears have only played 16 games since December 1 (9 with Danny, 7 without) and have only played 36 on the year. By the end of the season the sample size will be large enough for the coaching staff to have to strongly consider making roster decisions based on the information.

Danny Richmond, picture by Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth
 Maybe you believe the theory, maybe you don’t. Either way, the statistics at this point in the season are strongly in Richmond's favor if you want to believe it.

Personally, I am not entirely convinced....but I am getting close.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

AHL Suspends Rechlicz

Absurd.  That is the simplest way I can explain what the AHL did today.  They suspended Phantoms Tom Sestito and Oliver Lauridsen 1 game each for grabbing Hershey's Joel Rechlicz while on the bench.  Good for them.

1 game. Weak, but ok, I understand.

Wrecker got the same.  A 1 game suspension.  Wait...WHAT?

To help understand this, let's recap what took place on Saturday:

Player A is standing on the ice after getting checked, watching other players start to fight;
Player B, ON THE BENCH, grabs Player A and starts pounding on him;
Player C, ALSO ON THE BENCH, assists Player B in pounding on Player A.


The player standing ON THE ICE, minding his own business gets the same suspension as the player who WHILE ON THE BENCH began punching him. 

Oh, now I understand.  Wait, no I don't.

Ok let's try want to suspend Wrecker for pulling the linesman back to the melee...fine.  But didn't you kind of do that on Sunday when he was suspended for accumulating 3 game misconducts (2 in this game) on the season?  But fine.  Suspend him again.  1 game.  Done.  Accepted.

But to hand out equal suspensions to Wrecker, Sestito, and Lauridsen is absurd.

This is a ruling that I just do not understand. 

Pardon the language, but this pretty much summed up my feelings.

And apparently the other Phantoms didn't get noticed, but I can assure you that they were taking swings at Danny Richmond while he was pinned against the boards at the Adirondack bench.  The AHL's video surveillance is obviously not up to par with the NHL so they likely didn't catch any of the punches, so no suspensions were handed down.

But I can assure you that the Bears know who the culprits were.

The Phantoms return to Giant Center on Friday, March 16.  Get your tickets now.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rechlicz gets rare 3rd period shift...chaos ensues

First let’s get the scores and game outcomes out of the way…

The Bears lost the Outdoor Classic 4-3 in overtime on Friday night. Then they returned home for a 5-2 victory over the Phantoms Saturday night. And they finished the weekend with a 4-3 shootout victory last night.

For the weekend Hershey gained 5 of a possible 6 points and the Bears are now 4 points up in the East Division and are also 2 points up in the Eastern Conference (St. Johns has played 2 fewer games though).

Now, on to what happened during the game on Saturday night….

It was, simply put, one of the crazier things I have seen at a hockey game. The entire game was physical and the animosity was evident from the opening whistle. Despite not being division rivals and a further distance between them the Phantoms and Bears still don’t like each other very much.

The guy sitting next to me mentioned pretty early on that the game had a certain KHL feel to it.

And coming off a high emotion game like the Outdoor Classic made for some very intense hockey Saturday night.

If you weren’t there it can be explained as simply as this…

Keith Aucoin got into a scrap. And Jacob Micflikier tried to take down a guy a foot taller than him.

Aucoin’s scrap was crazy as it came against Phantoms captain Ben Holmstrom who was wearing a full cage. The general rule in hockey is that if you are going to wear a full cage you better just stay out of the action and not get into any scrums. Holmstrom didn’t follow this un-written rule throughout the game and in the 3rd period it boiled over and Aucoin went at him.

After the linesman got between the two players you could see Aucoin grabbing for the full cage on Holmstroms helmet. It also appeared that he was trying to get his leg across Holmstrom's throat, much like a WWE wrestler might do.  He was upset.  He didn’t quite get the facemask, but he made sure to let Holmstrom know what he thought the whole way to the penalty box as he kept signaling to Holmstrom about the full cage he was wearing.

Amazingly enough…that wasn’t the most exciting, enraging battle of the night.

With about 3 minutes to go Joel Rechlicz, getting a rare 3rd period shift, laid a solid hit on Phantoms tough guy Tom Sestito. Neither player went down but you could tell it was a big hit. The two talked all game long, including during pregame warmups, but Sestito wouldn’t drop the gloves with Wrecker…at least not in a legal, on the ice fashion (keep reading).

Sidenote...has anyone else noticed that when Wrecker comes off the bench he just seems to be out there skating around like an amped up lost puppy?  I am curious if he understands the Bears system or if he even attends practice.  Maybe when the team starts discussing and practicing strategy he just goes to the back and works on some boxing.  He is great fun to watch play, don't get me wrong, but I understand completely why he doesn't play in the 3rd period.  Anyways...back to the original story.

After the hit by Wrecker, Sestito went off for a line change. Shortly thereafter another Phantom, can’t recall who, came in and laid a nice check on Wrecker. Impressively and somewhat unnecessarily considering who it was, Andrew Carroll came to Wreckers defense and dropped the gloves with the Phantom (guessing it was Tyler Brown but I am not certain).

Then Zach Miscovic started throwing punches with a Phantom.

At this point it was still somewhat controlled. At least compared to what was about to happen.

During all of this Wrecker is standing about 3 feet from the Phantoms bench kind of in shock as there is fighting going on around him and yet he is not involved. And then Sestito grabs him from the bench and they start fighting.

Yes, Tom Sestito and Wrecker were fighting while Sestito was on the Phantoms bench. Unfortunately for Wrecker this was not a fair fight as other Phantoms, including Oliver Lauridsen, a 6-6 defenseman, joined in to help the apparently incapable and gutless Sestito.

Now, we have all seen Wrecker make gestures to the bench and lunge at them (when they jump back in fear it is unbelievably funny by the way), but this was a little out of hand for a hockey game.

Here...this is the best video I have seen from it.  I originally saw the video over at The Chocolate and White.

Danny Richmond, who is no stranger to throwing punches himself, came over to try and help since there were now Phantoms on the ice and on the bench getting involved with Wrecker. Richmond squared off with Cullen Eddy (I assume anyway...based on the scoresheet), and the two started going at it.

This is where it got kind of disturbing and incredibly frustrating for Bears fans and players alike…

Eventually Richmond was pushed up against the boards at the Phantoms bench. The Phantom on the ice (again assuming Eddy) had him pinned with his face towards the bench while other members of the Phantoms were taking swings FROM THE BENCH. 

The problem here was that the Miskovic and Carroll scraps had the ref and one of the linesman occupied and the other linesman had tried (unsuccessfully) to get Wrecker off the ice.

So Richmond is getting beaten upon by a handful of Phantoms while there is no one around to help him.

The Bears bench at this point was going absolutely nuts. They were slamming sticks and yelling at the officials for one of them to get over there and help out.

One Bear got close to helping out as he, there was a #2 on his jersey but I couldn’t see the other number (my guess either Kane or Hanson), did sit up on the boards, but managed to control himself and not jump off to go help.

In fact, I am thoroughly impressed with the control Coach French had over the guys on the bench. I think everyone in the building and surely every single player on the Bears bench, wanted someone to jump off and help Richmond. But that would have resulted in a suspension which, despite their depth, the Bears would not have wanted.

I think, and I said this to a couple people, that if Steve Pinizzotto would have been on the team he likely would be suspended right now. (At the time I didn’t know that Pinner was actually in attendance, which was kind of funny once I learned that.  Gotta wonder how much he wanted to be out there right then.) I also think that if Wrecker or Carroll would have been on the bench then one of them might be suspended as well. Although if Wrecker was on the bench, none of this would have happened.

And what if Braden Holtby had been the goalie? We either would have had a goalie fight at center ice or Braden would have been in there helping Richmond. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your opinion, Dany Sabourin was the goalie standing in the crease for this game.

Enough of that discussion....back to the action:

Once Wrecker realized what was going on with Richmond, he literally dragged the linesman, seriously it was like watching a guy do sprints with a parachute on his back, down towards the Phantoms bench in an effort to help Richmond.  He is strong on his skates, I will definitely give him that.  There is a lot of drive in those legs.

By the time Wrecker got down there the Phantoms had mostly let Richmond up and he was able to get off the ice.  It appeared he might have been a little banged up, but he played Sunday so apparently nothing to bad.

Finally things calmed down and everything was sorted out.

In the end, one 3rd period shift for Wrecker resulted in 108 penalty minutes and 5 game misconducts (Wrecker got 2. Seriously, Wrecker got kicked out of the game TWICE!!).

All told the game featured 154 penalty minutes. Wrecker was responsible for 45 of those.

Honestly, I am guessing Wrecker had 3 shifts (he got a 10 minute misconduct late in the first for something, not sure what) during the entire game. There is no way he was on the ice for more than 3 minutes in the game.  And he got 45 penalty minutes and kicked out of the game TWICE.

15 penalty minutes per shift/minute on ice.  Efficiency.

Apparently someone liked Wreckers performance so much that they paid $3,400 for his non-worn (during game play at least) Outdoor Classic jersey!! (Aucoin’s went for $4,000…other prices available at

See, I told you in the title…Wrecker gets 3rd period shift and chaos ensues.

I am expecting to see some Phantoms suspended by the AHL this week for the activities on the bench. Hockey lets a lot of things go, but leaving the bench during an altercation and getting into an altercation from the bench, are two things that aren’t taken lightly.

Rechlicz was suspended for Sunday’s game against Rochester, it was an automatic suspension handed down for accumulating 3 game misconduct penalties on the season. Otherwise I don’t think any Bears will be suspended. Wrecker would have been the lone option since he did fight a Phantom on the bench, but considering Sestito clearly started it, I can’t imagine the league penalizes him anymore.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bears head to Philly to play outside

Tonight the Bears will take on the Adirondack Phantoms in Philadelphia.  In a baseball stadium.  Seriously.  The Bears are visiting a team in a city that they don't play in anymore and playing in a stadium for a sport that is currently hibernating.

Which is quite awesome actually. 

This past Monday the NHL put on the annual Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philly.  In the interest of giving more fans and players the opportunity to experience the spectacle (translation...make more money) they have hosted multiple other games at the venue since then.

A couple college games, the Flyers/Rangers alumni game, and a game with police officers were all held there throughout the week. 

Tonight it is the AHL's turn and it honestly will be a cool event. 

It's an important opening game to a 3 in 3 weekend.  The teams will follow up the game tonight with a game at Giant Center tomorrow before the Bears host Rochester on Sunday.

The Phantoms have lost 4 of their last 6 games, but are currently sitting in 2nd in the Northeast Division.  Unfortunately for them, that also translates to 9th in the conference and out of the playoffs.

The Phantoms beat the Bears back on October 29, 2011 in Glens Falls, New York...their actual home.  Not much can be drawn from that game though since it was so long ago.  That was at the beginning of the Bears low point this season when they couldn't win back to back games and couldn't beat anyone except for Binghamton.

The Bears come into this game having won 10 of their last 13 and haven't lost to team from outside of Norfolk or Wilkes-Barre since November.  They outscored their opponents a combined 58-33 in the 13 games.  (Thats an average of 4.5 goals for and 2.5 against in the month). 

Keith Aucoin had 4 goals and 19 assists in December.  Chris Bourque had 7 and 13.  Jacob Micflikier had 4 and 12.  Ryan Potulny had 7 and 12.  Graham Mink had 5 and only 9 games.  Matthew Ford had 6 and 10.

That's pretty impressive.

Did you realize, cause I hadn't, that the Bears have 5 players...FIVE...averaging more than 1 pt per game?  Aucoin, Bourque, Micflikier, Potulny, and Mink.  And Ford, Kyle Greentree, and Cody Eakin are averaging at least .79 per game. 


Now if the defense and goaltending could just catch up to the offense.  Get this....they are!

Braden Holtby had his best month of the season going 6-2 with a 2.36gaa and a .918 save %.  Dany Sabourin went 4-0-1 with a .217gaa and a .928 in December.  In October he had a .935 save % in 4 games so that was technically better in that category.

Overall the offense is dominating right now and the goaltending is getting there.  The second half of the season could be really fun.