On The Road Again-The Hershey Bears will become much acquainted with the inside of their bus over the next 5 weeks. To finish the regular season, Hershey faces 11 out of 14 games on the road. The highways of the Northeast United States will be their home as they rack up over 3,800 miles. Tonight they will face the Connecticut Whale who are tied with the Bears at 68 points in the Eastern Conference and hold the final playoff spot. Hershey holds a game in hand and sits in the 7th spot in the Conference. Both teams have short win streaks headed into the tilt. Hershey will need to continue to get points if they plan to stay ahead of a number of teams close behind them in the playoff race. Saturday the Bears will play Manchester and then Sunday off to Worcester for a game. Manchester and Worcester are in desperate need of points in the playoff race as they sit just outside the bubble but within reach. The Bears need to play with urgency over the final 5 weeks or the teams fighting to make the playoffs could put the Bears in the rear view mirror.
Washington West-It seems former Hershey Bears/Washington Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau is turning back the clocks somewhat with roster moves in Anaheim. Sheldon Souray, played for the Bears back during the 2010-2011 season and was signed this past summer by the Ducks after a year in Dallas. He has certainly been a rock for them so far on the blue line. Former Bear, Kyle Wilson was acquired on March 11 and assigned to Norfolk. He has 2 goals and 2 assists in his first 5 games with the Admirals. And just last week, former Bear/Capital Dave Steckel was acquired from Toronto. Dave Steckel is a big body that could help the Ducks on the penalty kill and on faceoffs. It seems Gabby and Woodsie like familiar faces around.
Bears Blue Liners go to Washington–This week Dmitry Orlov became the 12th defensemen to suit up for the Washington Capitals this season. The list of Hershey Bear defensemen who have suited up in the red this year continues to grow: Tomas Kundratek, Steven Oleksy, Dmitry Orlov, Cameron Schilling. Tom Poti even played a game in Chocolatetown for a conditioning stint. Philipp Grubauer backstopped the Capitals for 2 games this season as well while Neuvirth was unavailable. The Washington playoff picture has a lot to do with Hershey’s expectations as they fight to stay in the playoff race and to play deep into June. All this movement to DC plus a trade last week that saw Bears defensemen Kevin Marshall traded to Toronto for Nicolas DesChamps. With the defense being the foundation of Oates’ system, Hershey is hoping for a healthy defensive corp in DC to help Hershey maintain their defensive stance.