Hockey Blog: Hershey in Calder Cup Final / Pens, Red Wings on Brink of Stanley Cup Final Rematch

May 26, 2009 | Ed Frankovic

Hershey Defeats Providence to Advance to Calder Cup Final

The HERSHEY BEARS announced today in conjunction with the American Hockey League that the club will face the Manitoba Moose in the 2009 Calder Cup Finals.  The announcement was made today by BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.

The BEARS won the 2009 Eastern Conference Championship Monday with a 5-2 win over the Providence Bruins at Dunkin Donuts Center.  Manitoba, the 2009 Western Conference Champions, defeated the Houston Aeros 3-1 Monday night at MTS Centre to advance.  HERSHEY will make an American Hockey League record 21st trip to the Calder Cup Finals, while the Moose will be in the AHL’s championship round for the first time.

The schedule for the 2009 Calder Cup Finals is as follows:

Game 1:            Saturday, May 30             at Manitoba        8:30 p.m.          MTS Centre

Game 2:            Tuesday, June 2              at Manitoba        8:30 p.m.          MTS Centre

Game 3:             Saturday, June 6            at HERSHEY        7:00 p.m.          GIANT Center

Game 4:             Sunday, June 7              at HERSHEY        5:00 p.m.          GIANT Center

*Game 5:          Tuesday, June 9             at HERSHEY        7:00 p.m.          GIANT Center

*Game 6:          Friday, June 12               at Manitoba        8:30 p.m.          MTS Centre

*Game 7:          Sunday, June 14             at Manitoba        8:30 p.m.          MTS Centre

Comment: Coach Bob Woods and the Bears have had a great season. There is great depth in the Washington Capitals farm system as evidenced by the success of the Capitals, the Bears, and even at the ECHL level where the South Carolina Stingrays are playing the Alaska Aces for the championship (series tied 1-1 with the next three games in Charleston).

NHL Playoffs Update

As predicted here on Friday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins won game three in Raleigh on Saturday evening to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their best of seven series against Carolina. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and company continue to roll. Eric Staal has been missing in action for the Hurricanes and for Carolina to have any chance he needs to show up big time tonight in game four.

The Red Wings, depsite playing without injured players Nicklas Lidstrom (2009 Norris Trophy Finalist for best NHL defensemen), Pavel Datsyuk (2009 Hart Trophy Finalist for NHL MVP), Kris Draper, and Andreas Lilja manhandled the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday (6-1) to take a 3-1 series lead. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is out with a lower body injury for the Hawks so they turned to former Caps goalie Cristobal Huet (signed to a 4 year, $20+ million dollar contract last summer) in net and he was awful. Given the rapid development of young goalies Simeon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth (not to mention 2008 4th round draft choice Brandon Holtby looks like a potential future NHLer in net as well), I’m guessing Caps GM George McPhee is really feeling better about not signing Huet last summer. The Caps also still have goalie Jose Theodore under contract for next season (he has one more year at $4.5M).

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