Tag Archive | "hershey"

Tags: , , , ,

Hershey Advances to AHL Finals

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Ed Frankovic

For the 4th time in five years the Hershey Bears are going to be in the AHL finals after a come from behind, 3-2, overtime victory versus the Manchester Monarchs. The Bears win the series, four games to two, and will defend their 2009 Calder Cup title against either the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens farm team) or the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars farm team). Hamilton, after a 3-0 win in game five of their best of seven series in the Lone Star State on Saturday night, leads Texas three games to two with game six set for Copps Coliseum in Canada on Monday night. If the Bulldogs don’t close things out on 5/24, then they have another shot at home on Wednesday, May 26th. 

It is not clear when game one of the AHL finals will begin, but complicating matters is the fact that the circus will be at the Giant Center from 5/26 to 5/31. Making things worse is that the Bulldogs rink is booked from 6/2 – 6/6 so if Hamilton does advance, then the AHL league office will have their work cut out for them in trying to schedule this series. By the way, this would be a Capitals-Canadiens rematch and it is quite possible that if Philadelphia knocks off the Habs then defenseman PK Subban will be back with Hamilton for the AHL Finals.

As for Saturday night’s big Bears win, well it required another late rally by the Chocolate and White. Hershey was outshot 24-13 through two periods and trailed 2-0 but they came out on fire in period three getting a goal from Alexandre Giroux at 7:37 and then a floater through traffic from Patrick McNeill at 14:09 to send this one to the extra session. The Bears fired 13 shots on Monarchs goalie Jonathan Bernier (28 saves) while Michal Neuvirth (32 saves) faced only eight in period three.

In overtime, Boyd Kane scored 7:06 in to run Hershey’s OT record to 7-1 in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs. It also brought out the famous John Walton line (Hershey play by play voice) of “Good morning, Good afternoon, and Good night Manchester!” I was able to catch the 3rd period and the overtime on radio since I could not make it to the game in person due to a family commitment. I highly recommend the Walton Bears broadcasts if you can’t view the contests live.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: For those who might have missed it, I joined Stephen Pepper and Russell Waxman of Japers Rink Radio (@JapersRinkRadio) on Saturday morning for a 15 minute segment on their weekly hour long show. The topics were Caps and Bears hockey. Here is a link to the show, which also features Ivan Carter of CSN’s Washington Post Live.

Comments Off on Hershey Advances to AHL Finals

Tags: , , , ,

Hershey Wins Game 5 in OT, Take Series Lead

Posted on 20 May 2010 by Ed Frankovic

The Hershey Bears, who blew a 2-0 lead in game three and then were shutout in game four in their AHL Eastern Conference Finals best of seven matchup with Manchester, just needed to find a way to get a win against the Monarchs on Thursday in order to reclaim the series lead. Well, it wasn’t pretty, and it was tough on the heart, but Francois Bouchard knocked home the rebound of a Mathieu Perreault shot 10:38 into overtime to give the Bears a 3-2 win and the same margin in games. Game 6 is at what surely will be a sold out Giant Center on Saturday night in Chocolate Town. If Hershey can’t close the deal then game seven would be Sunday at 5pm at the Giant Center, as well.

Here are some highlights, thoughts, and analysis on what could be deemed an Instant Classic from New Hampshire on Thursday night:

WOW, what a game! After a scoreless 40 minutes that were dominated by outstanding goaltending at both ends of the rink, the Monarchs appeared to take control on two occassions after scoring power play goals. The first Manchester tally came after Greg Amadio was called for interference just four minutes into period three. Bud Holloway lasered one from the right wing circle by Michal Neuvirth (27 saves). #30 had no chance because Patrick Wellar screened his own net minder. But the Bears answered with a goal by Kile Wilson at the 11:41 mark. Boyd Kane carried the puck down the left wing boards and he fired it on net. The puck hit the Monarchs defender and then what appeared to be Wilson’s skate, before going by Jonathan Bernier (32 saves). Manchester would complain, but the goal stood.

With play tightening up the contest appeared headed to overtime, but then Alexandre Giroux, who struggled in the three tilts in New Hampshire, took a costly goalie interference penalty at 15:56. 90 seconds later the Monarchs appeared to be on the verge of taking control in this series when, after a wild sequence, Jacob Muzzin blasted one in by Neuvirth. The Bears had several attempts to clear but Manchester kept the biscuit in and made Hershey pay.

Things looked bleak but Coach Mark French’s crew managed to get an offensive zone face-off with just 1:08 to go and the Bears called timeout. Hershey won the face-off and Keith Aucion fired a cross ice pass from the left wing circle to Alexandre Giroux at the right point and #12 then slid one to Chris Bourque in the right wing circle. #17 then wristed one by Bernier with Bouchard screening in front. A wild Hershey celebration ensued with just 50 ticks remaining in regulation. However, just before the first 60 minutes were up, Holloway hit the post and that gave the Bears their chance to prevail in OT.

As I said, both goalies were superb and it is hard to say who was better, but I’ll give the nod to Neuvirth, who could not be faulted on either Monarchs tally. #30 was just sensational on several occassions, including one sequence where he made a great first save on Andrei Lotkionov then dived to stop Holloway with the rebound on the doorstep in the second period. Manchester had a good game plan of trying to throw as much traffic as they could in front of Neuvy and it nearly worked, although the Monarchs only scored with the man advantage (2 for 3 on the power play).

As I blogged after games one and three, Bourque continues to be the best player on the ice, in my opinion. #17 had a goal and an assist and was +2. Whenever he was out there the Bears seemed to carry the play. He and Perreault (1 assist, +2) create offense well together. I attribute that to their superior skating ability, outstanding hands, and excellent hockey smarts. I think both guys will get good looks and have a chance to make the Caps out of training camp in September.

Now to Bouchard. It was good to see him make things happen around the net, something I saw him do well back in February when I was up for a Hershey-Albany tilt during the NHL Olympic Break. #22, who was a Capitals second round pick in 2006 and turned 22 years old on April 26th, is starting to fill out physically (6′ 1”, 190 lbs) and the winger is using that additional size to notch some hard working tallies.

The pair of John Carlson (+2) and Karl Alzner (+1) had a game that was more reminscent of the two opening contests of this series at the Giant Center after what I will call an average performance in game three. They were both on for the game winner. In fact, Carlson was the one who made the play on the right point to start the sequence that led to the winning tally by Bouchard. #4 fought off two Monarchs to keep the puck in and get it to Bourque. #17 then fed it to Perreault near the point in the middle of the ice and his blast could not be handled by Bernier. Bouchard then skated in off of the right post and banged it home to bring on the familiar call from the great John Walton (Hershey’s play by play voice): “Good morning, good afternoon, and good night Manchester!”

I have a feeling Walton will be saying that again on Saturday night and that would put the Bears in their second consecutive Calder Cup Finals. Stay tuned.

Comments Off on Hershey Wins Game 5 in OT, Take Series Lead

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bears Win Game 1, 4-2 (Updated with Quotes)

Posted on 12 May 2010 by Ed Frankovic

The Hershey Bears defeated the Manchester Monarchs, 4-2, in game 1 of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals at the Giant Center on Wednesday night. Bears goalie Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 shots, including three breakaways, en route to his seventh straight playoff victory this post season. #30 was the Calder Cup winning net minder last season for the Bears and looks capable of duplicating that feat again this spring. Here are the period by period highlights and analysis followed by some post game quotes and thoughts:

End of 1st Period: Bears 2, Monarchs 0

So much for the nearly two week layoff hurting Hershey! The Bears came out flying scoring just 16 seconds in on a Sean Collins point blast with assists from Chris Bourque and Mathieu Perreault. Then after a poor power play by Hershey, plagued by two Alexandre Giroux giveaways, the Monarchs received a man advantage but Neuvirth stood tall. The shots were 5-2 Manchester after the Bears penalty kill, but then Hershey turned it up. When the Bears received their second power play they made the Monarchs pay as Keith Aucoin sent a nice cross ice pass to Giroux, who one timed it on Jonathan Bernier. The Kings 2006 1st round pick (#11 overall) gave up a huge rebound into the slot and Andrew Gordon banged it home to make it 2-0. Hershey would dominate the rest of the stanza, outshooting the Monarchs 13-7. Bourque had a super period and was all over the ice. Steve Pinizzotto and Kyle Clifford had a spirited bout by the benches late in the period and both received five minutes for fighting.

End of 2nd Period: Bears 3, Monarchs 0

The Monarchs came out with much more energy and a solid forecheck to start period two but they could not solve the Bears defense. Both Karl Alzner and Patrick Wellar made separate solid defensive plays to break up any scoring chances and when Manchester did get shots through, Neuvirth (15 saves so far through two periods) was there for Hershey. With just under 14 minutes left in period two the Bears started taking over again and just past the game’s midway point Pinizzotto made a great play in the neutral zone to steal the puck, then went around the Monarchs defender and skated in two on one on Bernier. “Pinner” froze the Manchester goalie and beat him up high, short side to make it 3-0. The visitors then got a golden opportunity to get on the board as Hershey got caught in a bad change allowing Andrei Loktionov to get a clean breakaway on #30. Neuvy, however, stopped him with a super pad save. The Bears had a late 5 on 3 power play for 22 seconds but could not convert. Lots of guys are standing out for Hershey tonight including the Alzner-John Carlson pairing plus Bourque, Perreault, and the physical impact Pinizzotto is bringing to this tilt (not to mention his highlight reel tally). Shots are 22-15 Bears after two.

End of Period 3: Bears 4, Monarchs 2

Hershey played a sloppy 3rd period but managed to hold on for the victory. Neuvirth stopped Bud Holloway on a shorthanded breakaway to keep it 3-0 after Carlson was caught at the left point. #30 then gave up a softie to Loktionov from lower right circle to make it 3-1 with 7:28 remaining. Less than two minutes later Boyd Kane stole the puck in the neutral zone, waited patiently while Alzner jumped up into the play, fed King Karl with a nice pass when #7 opened up, and then Alzner beat Bernier blocker side to make it 4-1 with 5:42 remaining. The Monarchs would add a goal from Gabe Gauthier off a good Oscar Moller pass to make it 4-2 with 3:50 remaining. Gauthier was left all alone in front of Neuvrith for some reason. With 2:35 to go Collins was sent off for cross checking but the Monarchs surprisingly didn’t pull Bernier until the last minute allowing the Bears to close the deal.

All in all it was a good effort from Hershey in their first tilt in 13 days to get a big win to open this series. They were sloppy, at times in the third period, and the power play needs to take more advantage of its opportunities (1 for 5) but overall Hershey looks like the better club. Many of the players stated afterwards that they were excited to finally play again and that is why they had such a good start. However, they pointed out that in the third period they lost their legs and as a result the Monarchs outshot them 11-6. The final shots tally was 28-26 in favor of the Bears.

The official three stars for the contest were Pinizzotto, Neuvirth, and Bourque. It is hard to argue with those selections but Alzner also stood out along with Carlson. In addition, forward Andrew Joudrey played a very nice game going +2 and he was excellent killing penalties (Manchester went 0 for 3). Kane (1 assist, +2) performed well assisting on Alzner’s goal and he was also the other forward on Pinizzotto’s two on one break in which #13 shot the puck to notch the third Bears goal.

Here are some more thoughts and quotes on the Bears victory:

Neuvirth outdueled Bernier and #30 credited his success on the breakaways to some extra practice work.

“You know I took over 50 breakaways yesterday at our practice. Maybe I was right to get the extra work on the breakaways. I am glad I did it. I was perfect on the breakaways,” added the 22 year old Czech goalie.

Alzner was also very complimentary of his goaltender.

“We talked about [the three breakaways], he’s unbelievable. He’s good in practice when we go against him and you could tell he was on today. He was sliding over at the right time and he was staying square to the puck. It was exactly what we needed from him. We don’t want to do that anymore but it is nice when he comes up big,” said the captain of the 2008 Canadian World Junior Championship squad.

Neuvirth did a good job of not commiting first on the breakaways and he was solid all game. The first tally on him was from a bad angle and could be considered soft but he clearly did not see it.

“I don’t even know where it went through. Archie [goalie coach Arturs Irbe] told me it went short side under the glove but I got to get those and make sure I stop them on Saturday night,” added #30.

As I mentioned, Alzner and Carlson were so dominant and there were numerous shifts where they just appeared to be at another level than the others on the ice. Carlson, who was super down the stretch with the Caps, seems to be even more aggressive in the AHL when paired with King Karl and there were several instances where he was almost like a fourth forward on the ice as he helped create lots of offensive chances for Hershey. It is ironic though, that on one of the rare occassions when Alzner jumped up in the play, the Bears scored. 

“We don’t talk too much about jumping into the play or anything like that. If he has a chance, I know he is going to go. If I have a chance I’m going to go but I’m going to make sure I let him know to stay back because I’ve found that I’ve learned alot from him this year on just getting my timing better on jumping into the play. So when he was [in Washington] that is what I was doing a lot more. We just have to watch each other because [Manchester] has a great transition game,” said #7 on how he and Carlson handle adding offense from the blue line.

Manchester clearly appears to be the weaker team but Alzner was quick to point out that he thinks the Monarchs are dangerous and there are things Hershey will have to do to continue to be successful in this series.

“Once they get into the swing I’m sure they are going to be cycling real well. They got a lot of guys that can move and can play really well one on one. So we have to be careful that we are not over-commiting.  I know that there were a few times when I went in for a hit and they stepped around me, so we just have to be careful down low and keep the pucks on them,” finished #7 on what he sees are areas for improvement in game two on Saturday night at 7pm at the Giant Center.

Comments Off on Bears Win Game 1, 4-2 (Updated with Quotes)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Hershey Wins 11th Straight to tie Club Record

Posted on 09 January 2010 by Ed Frankovic

The Hershey Bears returned to Winnipeg Friday night for the first time since last June, when they knocked off the Manitoba Moose in game 6 to win the Calder Cup AHL Championship, with a 10 game winning streak on the line. Well, it took 7 rounds in the shootout but the Chocolate & White prevailed with a 2-1 exciting victory to make it 11 straight. Hershey goes for a club record 12 wins in a row on Saturday night against the same Moose team.

The first period started with both teams feeling each other out and it wasn’t until about 7 minutes into this one that the first shot on net occurred. For the next several minutes the Bears would dominate and Canucks hot goalie prospect, Cory Schneider, made some very good saves on Keith Aucoin and Chris Bourque. It wasn’t until the Moose received a late power play that they got something going. Braden Holtby made solid glove saves on Michael Grabner from the top of the left circle and then a deflected point blast by former Montreal d-man, Mathieu Schneider, to keep this one scoreless after the opening stanza. Shots were 8-6 in favor of Hershey after one period.

The second period started with a bang for the Bears as Keith Aucion did a super job of tipping the puck to Alexandre Giroux on the left wing at the offensive blue line and #12 then slid the puck directly across the slot to Andrew Gordon, who quickly buried it by Schneider top shelf just 13 seconds in. The teams would trade chances with both goalies making good saves but the Moose would finally get on the board when Bryan Helmer badly misplayed the puck and former Cap Matt Pettinger jumped on it in the neutral zone. Pettinger would go in alone on Holtby and beat him five hole to tie things up.  Shorlty thereafter defenseman Karl Alzner, who was just sent back to the Bears after 14 games with the Caps, sprung Mathieu Perreault in on a semi-breakaway but Schneider denied him. However, the zebras awarded Perreault with a penalty shot in what looked to me like a two minute minor. The 2006 6th round draft pick of the Capitals would make a nice move to the backhand but he didn’t get the puck up and Schneider flashed the left pad to stop him. After two periods the Bears had a slight 22-20 shots advantage.

Period three saw more back and forth action with the Moose getting the only power play of the final stanza when Holtby shot the puck over the glass. But the Bears penalty killing unit was solid and the game remained tied. In the final five minutes Hershey had some good chances but Schneider, who had a stint in the NHL in 2008-09 when Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo was injured, stopped Giroux in close and then defenseman Patrick McNeill from the point. At the game’s end, Gordon almost won it for Hershey but a Moose defenseman batted his shot, that appeared to be heading in, to the corner with his glove.

In overtime, the action went 4 on 4 and it was exciting end to end hockey. The best chance went to Greg Amadio who found himself all alone with Schneider but he could not beat him and off to the shootout this one went. Kyle Wilson, Giroux, and Francois Bouchard scored for the Bears on their first 5 attempts while the Moose answered with 3 of their own. Marty Murray of Manitoba actually had a chance to win it in the bottom of the 5th and he tried a backhand move that had beaten Holtby a couple of times before but #1 made a sparkling glove save. John “Game Over” Carlson then missed and Holtby got even with Pettinger stopping him to keep it going. Then Gordon, who had the only Bears goal in in regulation, went top shelf to put the pressure on Manitoba. When Matt Pope went in and was stopped by Holtby, Bears announcer John Walton let loose with his signature “Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening Manitoba!” and the winning streak is still alive.

Here are some thoughts and analysis on this one:

Holtby (30 saves) was the game’s #1 star and he played well against a veteran Moose team. The Caps 2008 4th round pick in the NHL draft was very positionally sound, controlled his rebounds, and was only beaten on breakaways. He gave up the regulation goal to Pettinger and then the first two shootout tallies via similar backhand moves but credit the younsgter for adjusting and stopping that move later in the shootout when the game was on the line. GM George McPhee has to be proud of the way this young goalie is developing.

The Alzner-Carlson defensive pair was simply dominant. When they were on the ice the Caps Bears seemed to control the puck the whole time much like the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings used to do. Manitoba has a veteran team with former NHLers in Pettinger, Mike Keane, and Marty Murray so it is not like they were facing a bunch of young guys they have already dominated in junior hockey. I have a hard time not seeing this pairing in the NHL next season for Washington.

Blue liner Schneider, who was waived by the Canucks on December 29th and will turn 40 this June, seemed like he was on the ice all night. They don’t keep ice times in the AHL but he had to play at least 30 minutes in regulation alone. I guess the Canucks don’t have much in the AHL they are trying to develop because the 1993 Stanley Cup winner with the Habs ate up a lot of playing time that could have gone to potential d-man prospects. Defenseman Evan Oberg is on recall to Vancouver with Kevin Bieska out three months due to severed ankle tendons.

Goalie Schneider (33 saves) was the game’s second star and he will turn 24 in March. He would likely be in the NHL if not for Luongo. I have seen him play Hershey three times now and he has been really good in every game. I can’t help but think some other NHL team would want him to be their starter because he looks better to me than some guys I’ve seen on other clubs.

Up front for Hershey, I saw what I expected, alot of jump from Chris Bourque, but he did make a bad giveaway in front of his own net, some good grinding by Steve Pinizzotto, energy and scoring chances from Aucion and Gordon, good hands and passing by the slower Giroux, and a nice skating game from Perreault, although Mathieu did not play as well as I had hoped he would. Noone stood out but when you score only one goal that is to be expected.

Comments Off on Hershey Wins 11th Straight to tie Club Record


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Washington Wizards Training Camp Opens (Tuesday Richmond, VA), AHL Hershey Bears Home Opener vs. Norfolk Admirals (Saturday 7pm from Giant Center in Hershey, PA)

10-U2 (Tuesday 7pm from FedEx Field), Fells Point Fun Fest (Saturday and Sunday 11am)

Jimi Haha’s other band-Jarflys-will be at the Fun Fest. I know that in comparison to U2 this doesn’t even register as a blip on the radar screen, but indulge me. They’re really good.

That being said, the greatest band on the face of the planet is in Washington, DC Tuesday night. Dan Snyder has already offered The Edge the opportunity to take over as head coach. He declined, as well he should. I was going to go to this show, but I’m reasonably certain no one has ever gone to FedEx Field and still had the will to live. Plus, there’s NO chance it will be as great as the night Bono and the boys came to Baltimore Arena/First Mariner Arena back in 2001. Which is amazing it itself, as that sentence I just said involved the words “great” and “First Mariner Arena.” But I digress. If you don’t think “Where The Streets Have No Name” is one of the greatest songs in the history of recorded music, I do not respect you as a human being.

9-NASCAR Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods (Sunday 1pm from Kansas Motor Speedway live on ABC)

As if NASCAR could get more exciting…..they’re going to KANSAS!!!!!!! YOWZAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was hoping to write something witty and interesting here about NASCA……Christ, I couldn’t even finish that without busting into laughter. I’ll pick Bill Elliott to win this one.

Do the NASCAR people KNOW that football games are played on Sundays?

8-CONCACAF Champions League: DC United vs. San Juan Jabloteh (Wednesday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on Fox Soccer Channel), MLS: DC United vs. Chivas USA (Saturday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on The Comcast Network)

Am I excited about either of these soccer matches? Of course not. Is this an excuse for me to introduce you to an American soccer WAG? Of course.

This is Bianca Kajlich, wife of Landon Donovan…..


Who says the USA doesn’t know a thing or two about The Beautiful Game?

7-High School Football: Kenwood @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm), Broadneck @ Glen Burnie (Friday 6:30pm)

Have we seriously lost to both Joppatowne AND Parkville this season? What the hell, Gators? How in the hell am I supposed to take solace in Maryland’s failures if you guys are equally failing? (Editor’s note: NO ONE is failing at a Maryland-level right now. You know, BESIDES the Orioles.)

Anyway, for those of you headed to a high school football game this weekend; please remember that NO MATTER what they look like…..


6-WWE “Hell In A Cell” (Sunday 8pm from Newark live on Pay-Per-View), “A Decade Of Smackdown” (Friday 8pm MyNetwork 24)

I can’t think of a single reason why ANYONE would want to watch this PPV Sunday night…..I mean, other than…..

But, you guys don’t seem like the type to get excited about violence and high-flying excitement. Nah, me neither. A night at home watching “Desperate Housewives” will be just fine for me.

Come to think of it, maybe I could be convinced……..


5-NHL: Capitals Home Opener vs. Maple Leafs (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

I will admit, it is difficult for me to root for the Caps as they play in Washington-and I dislike Washington a LOT. That being said, I can get behind them Saturday night, as everything about Canada is weird. Of course, nothing about Canada is weirder than Donnie Dumphy……

4-MMA-UWC 7: Redemption (Saturday 7pm from Patriot Center), UFC: The Ultimate Fighter: Kimbo Slice vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (Wednesday 10pm SpikeTV)



You’re in my prayers, Ray.

3-Golf: Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship (Thursday-Sunday from Baltimore Country Club. Live on Golf Channel Thursday & Friday 1pm; Live on NBC Saturday 1:30pm, Sunday 4pm), PGA Turning Stone Resort Championship (Thursday-Sunday 3pm from Verona, NY live on Golf Channel), Navistar LPGA Classic (Thursday-Sunday 8:30pm from Prattville, AL live on Golf Channel)

I actually think the Champions Tour has really done a hell of a job marketing their stop in Baltimore. But I will admit that I think there is one thing they have failed to adequately promote about the final major championship of the year. That would of course be the pure, unfiltered sex appeal of Tom Kite…..


I mean, either you want to sell tickets or you don’t.

2-College Football: Clemson @ Maryland (Saturday noon from Byrd Stadium live on ESPNU), New Hampshire @ Towson (Saturday 3:30pm from Unitas Stadium live on AM1570 WNST and Comcast SportsNet), Air Force @ Navy (Saturday 3:30pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS College Sports)

This creates a fundamental problem for me. You see, no matter how bad things get; I’m not going to turn my back on the Terps. But when it comes to the Tigers…..well…..they DO have this……


And in honor of the Academy showdown Saturday in Annapolis, this still doesn’t suck…..

1-Ravens @ Patriots (Sunday 1pm from Foxborough live on CBS), 2 Rings For O.J. (Tuesday 7pm M&T Bank Stadium)

You know how I feel about the event to celebrate O.J. Brigance’s 40th birthday. Please go honor him appropriately. But as far as our trip to New England this weekend is concerned; I have a couple of things that I would like to accomplish before the weekend is over.

1-Tour this place, enjoy 3-400 Octoberfests afterwards


2-Exclaim this very loudly at Fenway Park


3-“What’s Our Name?” Everybody knows it’s “Ravens” here…


4-See this as I’m leaving Gillette Stadium…..


Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……


Comments Off on Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 23 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

Please get over to BCF.org to buy tickets to next Tuesday’s “2 Rings for O.J.” event to honor O.J. Brigance. WNST is in no way affiliated with the event, but we firmly support everything we can do to honor the great O.J. Brigance.

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

Best of Tuesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker to call Sunday’s game for CBS

Tom Clayton says Flacco, Matt Ryan continuing ‘meteoric ascension’ amongst QB’s

G.Q. says Sleigh Rider ‘Best Bet’ today at Laurel

Ed Frankovic says Caps assigned 6 players to Hershey

Nestor Aparicio says WNST.net now Alexa rated amongst top 100,000 most visited websites in world


The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Dave Trembley particularly short with media following loss

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jeremy Guthrie takes hill tonight at Rogers Centre against Scott Richmond, Toronto

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Markakis missed just second start of season

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Brian Roberts tied Berkman’s record for doubles by switch hitter with 55th

Toronto Blue Jays Official Site’s Jordan Bastian says Aaron Hill won game for Jays with walkoff double

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Danys Baez, Jim Johnson struggled before Sarfate took loss out of pen for O’s

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Trembley going with Michael Aubrey at first to improve defense

Examiner Jay Trucker says Jay Gibbons’ contract finally about to come ‘off the books’

The AP says Shawn Camp got win for Jays in relief

Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin says Edwin Encarnacion homered for Jays in win

Toronto Globe and Mail’s Robert MacLeod says Jose Bautista scored winning run for Jays in 11th

CBS Sports’ Larry Dobrow has Birds 26th in power rankings


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens traded Burgess to Patriots for 7th round pick

The Official Site says team signed veteran TE Tony Curtis

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh ‘happy’ to have Kelley Washington contribute at WR, not just on Special Teams

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens bounced back from long road trip to San Diego

The Official Site’s Sarah Ellison says Deion Sanders thought Ray’s tackle 2nd best play of weekend

The Official Site says Flacco enjoyed trip to San Diego

Cleveland Browns Official Site says Browns waived Martin Rucker, Marquis Floyd; added Anthony Madison, Greg Estandia

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Tony Curtis gives Ravens TE depth while LJ Smith recovers from hamstring injury

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Gaither uses cooking to build team ‘camaraderie’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Kelly Gregg’s knee ‘going good’

The Sun’s Mike Preston calls Chargers QB Phillip Rivers ‘a child’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Browns were going to claim Prescott Burgess off waivers

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Burgess, Lardarius Webb each made solid special teams plays against Bolts Sunday

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Kelley Washington decided he’ll no longer do “The Squirrel”

The Sun’s Edward Lee says LJ Smith thought he ‘had a shot’ to play in SD, but couldn’t have played ’50,60 plays’ if Todd Heap had been hurt

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Rex Ryan learned to stop going to prevent after leaving Baltimore for Jets

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says McGahee learned not to have ‘hard head’ from ’08 season

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Tony Curtis nearly made Eagles roster out of Training Camp

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi says Ravens now ‘more dangerous’ with Flacco as QB

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi says Browns added CB/ST Anthony Madison, TE Greg Estandia to roster

Akron Beacon Journal’s Patrick McManamon says Brady Quinn ‘needs time’ to develop, but Browns ‘desperately need a win’

USA Today’s Jim Corbett says Ravens turning into ‘balanced championship contender capable of overtaking’ Steelers

USA Today has Ravens 2nd in power rankings

Fox Sports’ Adrian Hasenmayer has Ravens 10th in power rankings

Fox Sports’ Adam Schein says Ray Lewis’ tackle ‘ultimate blend of athleticism and brains’

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has Ravens 5th in power rankings

Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver says 52 not thinking about Rex Ryan, last year

NBC Sports has Ravens 5th in power rankings

ESPN.com has Ravens 1st in power rankings

ESPN.com’s James Walker expects Prescott Burgess to help New England

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens fans can’t claim ‘disrespect’ after team lifted to #1 in power rankings

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Cam Cameron’s stock ‘rising’


The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Kenny Tate, Terrell Skinner each had to play 80+ plays Saturday against Blue Raiders

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph sticking with Da’Rel Scott despite two fumbles against Middle Tennessee

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps might have to face backup QB Jabu Lovelace

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terrell Skinner thought Terps wouldn’t have to go back on defense at end of MTSU game

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Fridge thinks Terps have found ‘hard luck’ early on

The AP says Don Brown’s defense ‘in transition’ still

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Ralph expects Da’Rel Scott to resume role as featured back Saturday

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says Ralph reported Terps making mistakes in games that don’t occur during practice

The Diamondback has Terps 11th in ACC power rankings

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Adrian Cannon has just 10 catches when thrown to 21 times thus far this season

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says James Franklin thinks Terps would have blown out Raiders if not for turnovers, missed assignments

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda say Middle Tennessee State game had smallest crowd at Byrd Stadium since 2002

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Da’Rel Scott still 2nd in ACC in yards per game

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps would need to beat Rutgers, Virginia, Duke, Boston College, Wake Forest to reach bowl game

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell thinks Dan Hawkins, Charlie Weis should be on hotter seat than Ralph

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Maryland, Rutgers battling for recruiting presence in Washington, Baltimore, New Jersey, etc.

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Chris Turner facing Rutgers safety Lefeged again after Lefeged’s hit on Steffy forced Turner into action for first time

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph had no update on injury status of Bruce Campbell or Jamari McCullough

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Eric Franklin to be 7th true freshman to play in ‘09

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says James Franklin wants ball in Torrey Smith’s hands

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Terps got off to similar start in ’08

Newark Star-Ledger’s Tom Luicci says Rutgers coach Schiano reported freshman QB Tom Savage might not be good to go Saturday after suffering head injury against Florida International

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps can’t go into Rutgers showdown off back to back losses

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps, Virginia, Boston College make it unlikely ACC will fill bowl tie-ins

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says Ralph knows Terps in ‘tough situation’ going into game against Scarlet Knights (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Claire Knudsen says DE Justin Anderson ‘lucky to be alive’ (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Matt Owings recaps best and worst moments from MTSU game (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Carlos Olazagasti updates season for Terps’ 2009 opponents (must subscribe)


Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy says Greivis Vasquez 2nd best shooting guard in country

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says St. Anthony (NJ) forward prospect Devon Collier thinks ACC would be ‘good fit’ (must subscribe)


The Sun’s Mike Klingaman says ‘ambition’ drove Sasho Cirovski to College Soccer greatness


The Official Site says MASN to air Navy’s trip to SMU 10/17

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Niumatalolo believes Midshipmen have ‘backs against the wall’ Saturday against Western Kentucky

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Joe Buckley, Jon Teague again competing for kicker job

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says OC Ivin Jasper ‘visibly frustrated’ with Ricky Dobbs’ decisions in loss to Pitt

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Teague competing with Buckley again because Buckley missed 2 FG’s against Panthers

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says with Southern Methodist game on MASN, all games to be televised

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Buddy Green’s defense ‘struggling on opening drives’

Go Mids updates Mids’ 2009 opponents

Go Mids’ David Ausiello says Navy, Army, Georgia Tech not dominating on ground with triple option (must subscribe)


The Official Site previews Tigers’ trip to Morgan State Saturday


The Official Site says Andrew Bulls scored to lift Retrievers past Loyola 1-0


The Official Site says Tim Miller named to Allstate AFCA Good Works Team


Daily Racing Form’s Glenye Cain Oakford says 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall euthanized


Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Mark “TNT” Tucker fighting for USBO Championship Friday night at Carroll County Agricultural Center


-Orioles lose tonight and Drew Forrester owes me another Chinese lunch. Believe it or not, I’ll be rooting for the Birds.

Talk to you tomorrow.


Comments Off on Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Tags: , , , ,

Caps Assign Six Players to Hershey / Roster Analysis (Updated)

Posted on 22 September 2009 by Ed Frankovic

The Washington Capitals have assigned the following 6 players to the Hershey Bears this afternoon:

Goalie Jason Bacashihua

Defensemen Patrick McNeill and John Carlson

Forwards Andrew Joudrey, Francois Bouchard, and Steve Pinizzotto

That leaves the following players on the Washington Capitals main roster at this point in time:

Goalies (3): Jose Theodore, Michal Neuvirth, and Semyon Varlamov

Defensemen (10): Mike Green, Tom Poti, John Erskine, Karl Alzner, Shaone Morrisonn, Jeff Schultz, Sean Collins, Brian Pothier, Tyler Sloan, and Sean Collins

Forwards (23): Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Tomas Fleischmann, Dave Steckel, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Eric Fehr, Chris Clark, Michael Nylander, Keith Aucoin, Jay Beagle, Chris Bourque, Alexandre Giroux, Andrew Gordon, Quintin Laing, Oskar Osala, Matthieu Perreault, Brandon Sugden, and Kyle Wilson

COMMENT: 2008 1st round pick John Carlson will be in the NHL, health permitting, some day but because of the log jam the Caps have on defense, Carlson’s age (only 19), and the ability for Washington to get him more seasoning at the AHL level without exposing him to waivers makes this the right move for a young man who has a very bright future.


Now that you’ve seen who is left on the roster with three pre-season games to go for the Caps, I thought I would take a stab at who I think will be on the final roster, something that only GM George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau really know at this point (and that could change based on the play of some players in the next three games, injuries, trades, etc.)

First, let’s take a look at a very good high level synopsis of where this competition stands by reading JP’s post on Japers Rink today. I really like this summary and agree that these are the guys who are the favorites in the running for making the opening night Caps roster, especially with Fleischmann out due to a blood clot until at least mid-October and Fehr still not cleared to play.

Here are who I see as locks to make the team, barring an injury or a trade:

Goalie: Theodore

Defense: Green, Poti, Erskine, Pothier, S. Morrisonn

Forwards: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Knuble, B. Morrison, Laich, Clark, Steckel, Bradley, B. Gordon

This leaves a goalie, two defensemen, and likely three forwards to fill out 22 spots (the team could chose to go to 23 players but I’m assuming they will just keep 1 extra d-man and forward until Fehr comes back).

In net, I would be shocked if Varlamov is not the other goalie with Neuvirth going to Hershey. So I see that one as an easy choice.

On defense, that leaves Jurcina, Schultz, Collins, Sloan, and Alzner vying for two spots. I can’t see it not being Jurcina and Schultz  and to me they are almost locks because neither one of them can be sent to Hershey without having to pass through waivers. Although, based on info from the Caps outstanding PR department, Collins and Sloan would have to pass through waivers as well before being able to play in Hershey so they carry some risk factor too. Alzner has a higher salary cap figure yet still can go to the Bears, so because he has not “wowed” the coaches to this point I see him starting in the AHL. Sloan seemed to be the call up of choice last season for two reasons – he is more physical than Alzner and more importantly, much cheaper in terms of salary cap dollars. But remember that McPhee told me on media day that Washington will have more flexibility with the salary cap this year compared to 2008-09. I don’t think the Caps want to lose any of these players because as we saw last year, injuries will happen and you need depth on defense. So I see GMGM trying to get Collins and Sloan through waivers and going to Hershey, sending Alzner down as well with no risk of losing him, and keeping #23 and #55. However, I am a bit worried that someone may try and claim Sloan, who showed he can play at the NHL level, when needed, last season.

Now it gets fun and very challenging when trying to be pick the remaining three forwards. For some reason I have a strong hunch that if he stays healthy Quintin Laing will make the team. This team is loaded with talent and skill so I see the remaining three spots going to guys who can play a role and Laing fits that mold with his great shot blocking ability and superb penalty killing skills. So I am penciling him in and that leaves two more spots until Fehr and Fleischmann come back. One of the biggest factors in this is what to do with Nylander, who has a no movement clause. #92 may just have to make the team unless McPhee can find him a trade (unlikely given his salary) or he signs in Europe (reports from some in the press box last night were that the Europe scenario might be dead because of the money Nylander wants – after all, he can sit in DC as a healthy scratch and collect $5.5M this season). If Nylander is on the roster, and I am having a hard time finding a scenario where he isn’t simply because of his contract, then that leaves one spot remaining. Bourque missed practice today after taking a hard hit in last night’s game so that may hurt his chances, although Boudreau seems to really like the scrappy forward. Aucion notched a goal and played well towards the end of last season with the Caps but I see him as more of a stop gap at center should Morrison get injured. Beagle is reportedly a Boudreau favorite and had he not been injured last season would have likely been in DC for more stints in 2008-09. Giroux, as I have written before, just doesn’t have the skating ability to play in the NHL so I see him Hershey bound, for sure. Again, I go back to the need to fit a role and that is where I think Beagle has the edge, the Caps don’t have an enforcer on the roster but they do have Bradley and Erskine and keeping Beagle gives them another guy with some size and toughness plus he is good on face-offs. So my guess, at this point, and barring no more injuries or trades is the Caps keep Laing, Beagle, and Nylander.

Feel free to add who you think McPhee and Boudreau will choose or any other thoughts in the comments section.

Comments Off on Caps Assign Six Players to Hershey / Roster Analysis (Updated)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Caps News: Veterans Skate and Day 1 of Rookie Camp

Posted on 07 September 2009 by Ed Frankovic

There was quite a bit of activity for the Washington Capitals on Labor Day, the first official day of the 2009-10 season, at Kettler IcePlex in Ballston, Virginia. After the rookies were on the ice in the morning, which we will get to in a couple of paragraphs, 13 veteran skaters, rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth, and the Caps website producer, goalie Brett “Stretch” Leonhardt, took the rink over for some action. The skaters participating were Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Chris Clark, Matt Bradley, Brendan Morrison, Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon, John Erskine, Shaone Morrisonn, Jeff Schultz, Dave Steckel, Brian Pothier and Jay Beagle.

The players did a number of drills, conducted a half ice scrimmage, and then finished with some skating sprints. Of note was the condition of Green, who appears to be in phenomenal shape. Green struggled down the stretch and into the playoffs last season with an illness and a bum shoulder but he showed no effects of any of that on Monday. #52 participated recently in August in a try out for the Canadian Olympic team, and although he might not make a squad that is predicted to capture the gold medal in Vancouver in February (that is what my sources tell me unless there is an injury or two), the camp clearly helped Green get ready to build on his monster 31 goal, 73 point (in just 68 games) 2008-09 season.

Now to the rookies, who hit the ice today for their opening session of training camp. Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau was eager to get things going and afterwards quickly summed up his mood and the tone for this camp.

“This is exciting, it is day one, but it is what we do, vacation is over…let’s get back to work.”

And work the team he did, putting them through some very tough suicides at the end of practice that apparently had some rookies struggling to finish. Boudreau felt this end of practice session was an opportunity to see where the younger players were conditioning wise.

“I think [the skate today at the end] is a good test, a good barometer. Every coach has some sort of barometer to see who has worked hard this summer and who took it easier than they should have. Most of our guys were really good with it and a couple of the guys who were late additions probably hadn’t skated as much – you could tell those guys from the guys who knew that they were coming to this camp,” said Boudreau.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, this team has a lot of depth and Boudreau was anxious to talk about it and the impact he sees it having on training camp.

“We think we’ve got tremendous depth. We think the Hershey guys that won the [Calder] Cup last year are going to push these guys really hard. They’ve won the Cup and now they want to make the next step, the NHL. I’ve said this before if you look at the history of teams that won the Calder Cup they always have 4 or 5 guys playing in the NHL in the next year or year and a half, at least,” started the 2007-08 Jack Adams Award winner, “We’ve got 3 good goalies, 11 NHL caliber defensemen, a multitude of forwards who are ready to make the step and I think there are battles all over the ice, which will make for good stories everywhere.”

Boudreau was asked about goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who played very well last post season, and appears ready to challenge for the number one goalie job.

“I think he looked great. Neuvirth [who was out with the veterans in the afternoon] will be in tomorrow. We are just switching both goalies up each day to get them work since [rookie goalie Braden] Holtby is here as well,” said Boudreau on #40’s first day performance before the conversation turned a little bit light hearted, “you know, he speaks English now…I was really surprised, that is a testament to how bad he wants to be in North America to take the language and learn it as quick as he did. I know I couldn’t do it the other way around…when the goalies are smart it scares me,” finished a laughing Boudreau.

A big topic of conversation was Washington 2008 first round draft pick, John Carlson, who made the jump from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League to being a significant contributor on the Hershey team that won the Calder Cup in June. Carlson continues to impress with his play and professionalism at the young age of 19.

“You know he’ s worked hard because that was a pretty tough skate at the end and he was easily the one that lasted the longest, all the time. He’s ready to put a push on to make this club,” said Boudreau on Carlson, who if he does not make the Caps can go down to the AHL in Hershey and play instead of London since he was a United States Hockey League (USHL) draftee.

Corey Masisak of the Washington Times and I caught up with Carlson after practice and here are some of the things we discussed with him and his answers:

On the USA World Juniors Camp he attended in Lake Placid back in August:

Carlson – “It was good. I saw alot of old buddies so that was fun and we stayed at the Olympic training facility, which is a first class place so it was a good way to jump start my training being on the ice once or twice a day for nine or ten days. When I got back I had that base and could really start to work more. ”

On if he is more ready for training camp this year than last year:

Carlson – “I didn’t know what to expect and I still really don’t know what to expect but the experience I had in Hershey is going to make me feel a lot more comfortable with learning the systems. Every day I am just going to come in and do my best and try and make an impression and wherever I end up that is the right place for me. ”

Is he focused on making the Caps?:

Carlson – “Obviously when you come into camp your goal is to make the team and it has been a dream of mine to play in the NHL ever since I was 3. It would be a dream come true but I try not to think about that too much. I’m just worried about making an impression day by day.”

Who did he work out with during the summer to prepare for the season?:

Carlson – “Off ice I trained with Rob Schremp (Oilers), Sam Gagner (Oilers), some of the older guys from the [London] Knights this year in Matt Clark and Phil McRae, and when we got on the ice Andy McDonald (Blues), Corey Perry (Ducks), Brian Campbell (BlackHawks), and Drew Doughty (Kings).”

How is the US world junior team going to do this winter?:

Carlson – “They’ve got a good team, it was a good camp, and it was competitive.”

How did you feel about not getting picked for the US World Junior team last season?:

Carlson – “I was disappointed but when you play hockey that kind of stuff happens so I tried not to think about it and just focus on my season and maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t go there. Who knows?”

I also had a chance to catch up with 21 year old Michael Dubuc, who had 35 goals in 49 regular season games for the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Kelly Cup Champion South Carolina Stingrays. Dubuc impressed me at the July 2008 Caps Development Camp and performed well again in this year’s development camp scoring a lot of goals.

WNST: So is your goal to make the Hershey roster permanently this year?

Dubuc – “Of course, it has got to be, I got cut last year and I needed last year to learn a lot about my game to play at the next level and hopefully I learned a lot of stuff. I am still working on it and the coaches are here to help me work on those things. On my part I had to work hard in the summer to get stronger and faster on the ice. I am going to give it my all to make the Hershey roster this year.”

WNST: You missed some games last season, didn’t you?

“I got hurt twice last year, both times in practice, and it was really unlucky. I ran into a guy in practice and got a concussion one month before the playoffs so that is why I missed some games in the playoffs because I completely lost my game feeling. I played the last two games [of the ECHL finals] and to win a championship, to win the Kelly Cup, as a first year pro it was unbelievable and when we scored that empty net and you’ve been through the whole year with those guys and all of the hard practices you just feel the achievement and there is a smile on everyone’s faces and it is amazing.”

WNST: Is “natural goal scorer” an accurate description of you?

Dubuc – “It is, but everyone in Washington knows that so I have to work on other things. It is fun to score goals but if I work hard it will come. Like you said it is natural but I have to work hard on other things to make it as a hockey player at a higher level. I talked to Bruce [Boudreau] outside and he said ‘Just work hard, you know what you have to do. We know that you can score, keep doing that, but try to get better and keep working hard.’ That is what I am going to do this camp and then Hershey’s camp and hopefully I can get a spot in Hershey, that is what I worked hard for all summer.”

News and Notes: The Caps convention set for September 26th at National Harbor is completely sold out…2005 first round draft pick Joe Finley, who was recently switched from defense to forward, left practice early today. “He said something was going to be sore…which is too bad because he was looking really good. I’d rather have him healthy and ready to go for the rest of camp than ruin him by trying to show something on the first day and hurt a groin or hip flexor or something,” said Boudreau…The Coach has a new weekly blog at WashingtonCaps.com, titled Behind the Bench, “It is something I wanted to do. We did it in Manchester. Washington hockey is pretty hot right now so we want to keep it that way,” added Boudreau….For those of you who are concerned about Washington’s salary cap situation, the team does not have to be under the $56.8M figure until the first game of the season, which is Thursday, October 1st, in Boston. It is not clear where they stand right now but by my calculations they are slightly under, but the only guys who really know for sure are GM George McPhee and Assistant GM/team salary cap guru Don Fishman.

Comments Off on Caps News: Veterans Skate and Day 1 of Rookie Camp

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

CAPS and BEARS NEWS: Busy Day at Development Camp

Posted on 14 July 2009 by Ed Frankovic

It was a very busy day at Kettler Ice Plex today as the Washington Capitals opened up their 2009 summer development camp with two different groups of skaters hitting the ice in the morning and afternoon and Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau running the players through several drills. But more on that in a moment as we have some house keeping to take care of first.

Mark French has been promoted from assistant coach of the Hershey Bears to head coach effective today. In addition, French will have a new assistant coach in Troy Mann. Basically the Capitals continued their trend of promoting from within, something that GM George McPhee says has been working well for the organization in recent years. We in the media had a chance to talk with McPhee, French, and Mann about the coaching changes and here are some of the highlights:

McPhee stated that they were leaning towards promoting French to head coach in Hershey but they wanted to wait to get through the draft and free agency before announcing the move.

– French was clearly ecstatic about coaching the Bears calling Hershey “an institution” and reiterating that the organization’s philosophy is “winning is a part of the development process.” French said the biggest change for him will be the media requirements that come with the job and that his ultimate goal is to coach in the NHL. The new Bears coach also said he will have a daily one on one dialogue with Boudreau, similar to what Woods and “Gabby” had done since the 2007-08 Jack Adams Trophy winner took over as Washington head coach.

– Mann apparently has relationships with Boudreau and assistant coach Bob Woods that go back to the 90’s and French said he was recommended by both of them. He hasn’t been an assistant coach since the 2005-06 season so this will be an adjustment for the man who has six years of coaching experience. He also noted that he coached against the Caps ECHL team, the South Carolina Stingrays, numerous times this past season and to win in those leagues you have to have “good contract players” meaning players signed and being developed by the parent club. Mann mentioned that it is clear to him that Washington is very focused on supplying the best players at all levels of their organization. He also said that he had an opportunity to join Woods in 2007, who was named  Hershey head coach when Boudreau was promoted to the Capitals, but that he couldn’t pull it off contractually or from a family stanpoint. Mann also had good things to say about forward Michael Dubuc and thinks he has a good chance to make the Bears this season. He also seemed encouraged by the Boyd Kane acquisition.

In addition to the coaching news, McPhee announced late in the day that forward Boyd Gordon, a grinder and penalty killing specialist who was drafted by the Caps in the first round of the 2002 NHL entry draft, has accepted his qualifying offer and will return to the team for the 2009-10 season. Also, according to Tarik, Shaone Morrisonn, Eric Fehr, and Jeff Schultz have until July 15th to sign their offers. Defenseman Milan Jurcina, a restricted free agent, has filed for arbitration.

Now back to day one of the development camp. There were a few guys who really stood out today, the first being Washington 2008 first round pick (27th overall), defenseman John Carlson. Carlson, who played in London of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season until they were eliminated in the playoffs by Windsor, played a prominent role in the Hershey Calder Cup run (he received top 4 d-level ice time). Clearly he was still in good shape today and Boudreau raved about him afterwards. When I asked the coach what he thought about Carlson being asked to come try out for the US Junior National Team this August in Lake Placid he responded with “He should have been on that team last year.” Carlson also seemed a bit perturbed that he wasn’t selected last December as well when we spoke with him after practice. The young man from New Jersey says his goal is to make the Caps in training camp. He sure seems to have a bright future.

Another player who caught my attention was forward Mathieu Perreault, who was taken in the 6th round of the 2006 NHL draft by the Caps. Perreault is very fast and unfortunately is still the same size as he was last summer but the young center, who played very well with Chris Bourque and Jay Beagle in the Calder Cup finals, continues to progress and impress. In fact, when I asked Boudreau about him today he said that he could easily see the 2007-08 leading scorer of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) playing some games in Washington this season.

2008 first round draft pick (21st overall), Anton Gustafsson, had a solid day showing off his immense talent and skill, and more importantly, he did not get hurt despite going hard into the goal at one point as a result of a collision with defenseman Dmitri Orlov (Caps 2009 2nd round pick). The young Swede said he had not been on the ice since April, because they “melt them” once the big teams finish up in his home country. I watched Gustafsson so effectively play keep away from defenseman Patrick Wey (Caps 2009 4th round pick) on several occasions in one of the opening drills of the afternoon session that Wey had to take what would definitely be called a penalty (trip or hook) to get the puck away from Anton. Boudreau was happy to see Gustafsson finish the “suicide” skating drills at the end of the afternoon session, something he was unable to do last summer. In other news, the young man who said he also played soccer and golf growing up, wants to play in North America this year and he said if he has to go to Hershey to do that he is totally fine with it.

Other Notes: Orlov, who apparently doesn’t speak any English at all, has a rocket of a shot. He clearly has offensive skills but initially it looks like he will really need to work on his own end abilities. We got a chance to chat with goalie Braden Holtby (2008 4th round draft pick), who had a great season in Saskatoon this year and was able to practice with Hershey during their Calder Cup run, and he said he considers himself a “hybrid” goalie in that he relies a lot on his athletic ability but that he can butterfly as well. Holtby seems very smart and level-headed and said one of his big strengths is his ability to handle the puck and he pointed out that “it can really help your team if done properly like a Marty Turco or Martin Brodeur.” He also said he was rusty today and expects Caps goalie coach Dave Prior to be on him good to pick it up on Tuesday. I can’t put my finger on it but I really liked what I saw from defenseman Eric Mestery (2008 2nd round pick) on Monday. He just seemed to be in the right position in many of the drills so he was noticeable, which was good because I wasn’t particularly planning on focusing on him and there were a lot of guys out on the ice overall today. Defenseman Josh Godfrey did not skate today due to an injury situation.

Final note: Unfortunately due to my day job and a family trip to OC later in the week I won’t be able to get back to Kettler for the rest of this development camp. However, you can attend for free and see these young players for yourself. If you can’t make it and want to get more info you can check out the blogs from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, Corey Masisak of the Washington Times, and also go to Japers Rink, your one stop shop for Capitals hockey for other blogs on development camp.

Comments Off on CAPS and BEARS NEWS: Busy Day at Development Camp

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 23 June 2009 by Glenn Clark

When did Robert Andino become Jose Reyes?

The undying affection I’ve heard in the last week about Robert Andino is a bit much.

Andino has been a particularly serviceable shortstop with Cesar Izturis hurt, and at times he’s looked borderline good.

But he’s NOT a franchise shortstop. He’s NOT a guy to pencil in for the future. And he’s NOT even as good as Cesar Izturis.

He’s a .255 hitter who gets on base at a .290 clip; has stolen 2 bases in 4 attempts, and has a mighty 7 RBI on the season. He also has made more than his fair share of plays; although he has also made defensive miscues, and his timing hasn’t been perfect.

Serviceable. The Orioles have made do with him while their regular has been hurt.

I guess years of Luis Hernandez and Freddie Bynum will make some of us lose perspective.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Monday’s WNST Blogs:

Thyrl Nelson wonders if MacPhail, Birds will be in ‘sell’ mode at deadline again this year

Bob Haynie wonders if Terps deserve to be in Top 25

Marco Romanell thinks Andino should replace Izturis as starting SS

Glenn Clark says Dunbar documentary, Kurk Lee/Sam Cassell charity game highlights of non-baseball week

Drew Forrester thinks Melewski, Dave Johnson good on radio…..maybe not so much on Facebook

Ed Frankovic says Caps add Hershey Bears coach Bob Woods to Boudreau’s staff


MLB.com’s Brian Eller says first round pick Hobgood honors memory of father

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says former Marlin Andino playing well headed into series in Miami

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec updates Marlins before series at Dolphin Stadium

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Sherrill, Jones, Markakis, Huff, Roberts could be All-Stars

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Garabez Rosa hit 2 run homer to lift IronBirds to win over Yankees

Norfolk Tides Official Site says Arrieta removed after first inning rain delay, Tides’ bullpen hammered in loss to Lehigh Valley

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Kenny Moreland leads Ironbirds in shutout win over Staten Island

Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Uehara appeared more ‘comfortable’ in Philadelphia without Japanese media around

Virginian-Pilot’s Rainer Sabin says Tides manager Gary Allenson happy to not have to play final three innings in blowout loss

Fox Sports’ Aram Tolegian has Birds 22nd in power rankings


The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says McGahee, Heap, Landry, Gregg, Pryce ‘must return to form’

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Harbaugh in complete control of team

Examiner Steve DeClue wonders if Ravens might be interested in Plaxico

ESPN.com’s Mike Sando says 52, Reed amongst best defensive players of decade

ESPN.com’s James Walker says 52, Reed ‘no-brainers’ amongst best defensive players of decade

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Marshall to Ravens rumors dying down, WR likely to stay in Denver


Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Chris Wilcox 13th greatest player of Gary’s 20 years

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says John Gilchrist 12th greatest player of Gary’s 20 years

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Laron Profit 11th greatest player of Gary’s 20 years

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter profiles New Mexico center prospect Alex Kirk (must subscribe)


Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem breaks down special teams unit with Charles Bankins (must subscribe)

Scout.com’s John Wallpher profiles ’10 WR prospect Matt Robinson (must subscribe)


Go Mids’ Adam Nettina profiles LB/FB prospect Rob Lombardo (must subscribe)


Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says three horses to challenge Preakness champ Rachel Alexandra in Mother Goose Stakes

Thoroughbred Times says Rachel Alexandra worked Monday at Churchill Downs in preparation for Saturday’s race at Belmont Park


The Sun’s Mike Klingaman ‘catches up with’ former safety Ray Brown


-Patrick Stevens’ list has been VERY good thus far; but I think Drew Nicholas was better than anyone on his list thus far, with MAYBE the exception of John Gilchrist.

Talk to you tomorrow.


Comments Off on Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer