Storm Clouds in Hershey?

The turmoil in DC seems to be subsiding, at least for now.  After a 3 game win streak wrapped around a non-eventful trade deadline day, it looks like things are slowly getting better.  Granted, there’s still turmoil.  Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik are still sitting in a spot previously reserved for Michael Nylander and Tyler Sloan.  The Caps have yet to present a full, 60-minute effort.  There are empty seats in the Verizon Center.  People aren’t winning free Lasik.

Head north on 15 to Central Pennsylvania and turmoil is present there as well.  The Bears aren’t winning anymore.  They’ve lost five straight and have only earned the mercy point in one of those five.  In the 12 games the Bears played in February, they’ve won four.  The team in the AHL East Division that just a few months ago looked to be “the team to beat” has become “the team to get points against.”

Sure, the Bears are without playmaking stud Keith Aucoin.  Captain Boyd Kane served a 3 game suspension in that span.  Christan Hanson had to undergo wrist surgery.  Joel Rechlicz has been recalled a time or two.  But injuries and line-up absences aside (because that’s a way of life in the AHL) – is there something more?

Has the state of things in Washington made an uneasy sweep to the minor league affiliate in Chocolatetown?

Read on.

If only they were really that happy in Hershey.

The following players on Hershey’s Roster are under contract with the Capitals:

Michael Carman

Kevin Marshall

Tomas Kundratek

Cody Eakin

Braden Holtby

DJ King

Garrett Mitchell

Ryan Potulny

Zach Miskovic

Christian Hanson

Joel Rechlilcz

Sean Collins

Patrick McNeill

Chris Bourque

Jacob Micflikier

Dany Sabourin

Kyle Greentree

Eleven of those players will either be an RFA or UFA this summer.  With the way that things have been going in the big club, do you think they feel comfortable with their future (and whether or not they’re a part of the Capitals’ future)?  Could that be part of the cloud that is hanging over the Hershey Bears right now?  How can they push for their goals when they’re not so sure that their goals match those of the Capitals?

Many of the key players from recent Hershey rosters have moved on.  Sheldon Souray started for the Stars last night, scored a goal, and cracked Fleury’s mask.  Hershey seemed to have been a good stop for him on his journey back to the NHL, but stories like Souray’s aren’t the norm.  Alex Giroux has been with two organizations since his most recent departure, and now finds himself spending more time in the AHL’s Springfield than with Columbus’ Bluejackets.  Same for Andrew Joudrey.  Andrew Gordon made a push with Anaheim, but was then assigned to Syracuse.  After a few months with the Crunch, he was dealt to Vancouver and assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.  Steve Pinizzotto left the organization this past summer to join Vancouver.  He made quite an impression in the preseason action that he saw with the Canucks, but was injured during a preseason game and is still on the IR.  If he were healthy, would he be in Chicago with former teammate Gordon or still up with Vancouver?  Kyle Wilson is another guy that took the jump to try to stick in the NHL who’s still only seeing occasional tastes of the show.

The AHL trade deadline is March 6th.  Will the Bears take the opposite approach of the Capitals?  Does Doug Yingst feel confident enough in his roster to make the final push?  With Washington’s “non-movement Monday” leaving Aucoin as a question mark for Hershey and Hanson on the IR, it looks as if moves have to be made – but are the pieces the Bears need to complete the puzzle available on AHL deadline day?  There aren’t many Keith Aucoin types of guys out there as it is, and the Sjogren ship sailed across the Atlantic months ago…

The only thing that is certain in Hershey right now is uncertainty.  Hopefully, as the sun begins to shine a little brighter in DC, the clouds will start to burn off in Hershey.