Midway through the Washington Capitals’ playoff run during the 2008-09 season, Pittsburgh’s love for the smooth sounds of Yanni forced the Caps and the Penguins to play Games 4 and 5 in back-to-back nights in two different cities. The Pens, amped from watching footage of Yanni Live at the Acropolis, were able to win Games 4 and 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. While most Caps fans used more colorful language, Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis stated that this occurrence was “a shame” and that Mellon Arena acted against “against NHL rules.” Very interesting unfortunate, yes -but the Caps’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, might be headed for a similar predicament.
The Bears’ Calder Cup Finals opponent will be determined tonight when the Texas Stars head to Ontario to face the Hamilton Bulldogs as the Western Conference Finals come to a close. The AHL the finals follow a 2-3-2 format, with home ice being awarded the 2-game bookends and the lower seed receiving the 3 game stand.
The rumor around Chocolatetown is that the Bears will play at home on June 3rd – but that’s all that can be determined as the Giant Center will house the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from May 26th through the 31. Additionally, if they end up facing Hamilton, Copps Coliseum has a “Walking with Dinosaurs” showcase from June 2nd through the 6th, and Military Tattoo 2010 on June 12th and 13th. If Texas advances, Cedar Park Center has events booked Saturday the 29th and Saturday the 5th for High School graduations.
Back-to-back games are not uncommon for the AHL, even in the playoffs, but it would be interesting to see how the league works to adhere to its format while scheduling around the Circus and Dinosaurs. A consolodated schedule would greatly benefit the Bears, who have been able to rest and prepare since Saturday’s 3-2 Overtime defeat of the Manchester Monarchs in the Eastern Conference Finals. Hershey’s hard work also rewarded the Bears with a 12 game break between series as they swept the Albany River Rats in the semi-finals.
It’s fair to assume that the league has worked out scenarios for locations and dates of the remaining games, however they will not be announced until some time after the Bears’ opponent has been decided. When they are, we will be sure to deliver you all the information you need as Hershey presses for its AHL-record 11th Calder Cup.
[h/t to our Hershey Correspondent for the tip]