[Ed. Note: Rock the Brock will be a reoccuring post from Brock Kerchner, co-host of the Old Barn Hockey Show on 1460 The Ticket in Harrisburg, PA featuring a weekly chat on all things Hershey Bears. Also note that we’re a little late getting this up for Brock… sorry, Brock.]
2 on the Bus– Friday night the Bears headed to the home of the AHL offices, in Springfield, to play the Falcons. The Falcons are top dogs of the Eastern Conference in the early stages of the season. Springfield took the lead midway through the first but Captain Boyd Kane would find the answer minutes later. Dejavu of the first period as Springfield went ahead in the second period but Matt Pope would tie the game just 2 minutes later with a rebound goal on a wide open net. Both teams would battle with chances at both ends for the rest of regulation and overtime sending the game into the first shootout of the season for Hershey. Both teams struck in the first round of the shootout but then the goalies held the fort until the 7th round. Stanislav Galiev put a nifty shot on the twine and Braden Holtby stopped former Bears Captain Andrew Joudrey for the win. Holtby was once again magnificent all weekend. Saturday night was in Bridgeport to a full crowd after free tickets were distributed all weekend to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. This is the first game were I saw the Bears take some mindless penalties. The game was called tight and got chippy in the 2nd frame but Hershey seemed to lose their composure. The Bears gave up four 5 on 3’s and Holtby had to be amazing to keep the score close. The final was 3-2 Bridgeport. The Bears at 4-4-1-0 travel to Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Friday before facing St. John’s and Portland at home.
NHL Winter Classic Cancellation-It is official. NO NHL WINTER CLASSIC at the Big House. The Original Six matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs has been canceled for 2013. The NHL guarantees it will play the next Winter Classic there (Will that even be in 2014?) This is a huge blow to the PR department of the NHL. The Winter Classic has been a huge avenue by which new fans were finding the NHL. It sure won’t be this year! I thought this announcement might be the final nail in the coffin of the NHL season but judging by talks yesterday and today it might have actually awakened the negotiators to try and compromise in the lockout talks. I will believe it’s over when they drop the puck.
Cabin Fever Cure-Let’s be truthful; By mid-January with no hockey and stuck inside the house with your family, things are going to get ugly. Here in Hershey we will have the cure: The AHL Winter Classic Jan.19-20. Hershey vs our rival Wilkes-Barre Scranton Baby Pens. An alumni game on Saturday that will see plenty of former NHL/AHL names including some who played for the Capitals back in the day. Sunday will be the grand champion of the 75th Anniversary Season. A game at Hersheypark Stadium in the shadow of the Bear’s first home, the Ice Palace, and Hersheypark Arena. The setting could be no better. Hockey being played outdoors. There is no better atmosphere and I am sure the honor of winning this game will not be taken lightly by either team for pride’s sake. Get your tickets now and ensure the safety of your family by releasing the feelings of no hockey and being cooped up at home for months. The action on the ice will keep you warm in your seat. Tickets are selling at a steady pace. Don’t delay.
Bear Force One–I know, I know. You have Air Force One and Marine One, etc in DC. The Bears typically get the bus treatment but on rare occasion they get to live like the big boys. Typically when the Bears get deep in the Calder Cup Playoffs or are headed to St. John’s Newfoundland (1,500+ miles) Bear Force One gets the call. It isn’t a specific plane that is owned by Hershey but whatever plane Hershey does charter is given the moniker of Bear Force One. There is no doubt that a charter will help you get just a couple more of those crucial hours of sleep then flying commercial during a playoff series. It is a no brainer in the NHL but a rarity in the AHL and another reason why so many want to wear the Chocolate and White sweater.
Red Rockers-This is something I don’t have much experience with. I am really trying to get a grasp on my thoughts on this whole thing. I have seen them from a far at a Caps game. I have seen them up close at a Bears game when they visited. I am just not sure of my thoughts on hockey cheerleaders. I am very curious as to what Caps STHs think. They have the most experience with them. Do they pump up the crowd? Are they in the way to see the game? Are they a distraction? Do they keep the game entertaining? I really have many questions about them. They are very nice to talk to and I am sure are great people. I am certainly not trying to portray anything negative either. I am just like a school kid who isn’t sure about the new kid in class. I am curious on how they fit into the game. I doubt Hershey would ever institute them but I know other AHL buildings have dancers or cheerleaders. Does it work?