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Hershey wins Calder Cup with great beards


(Images via WashingtonCaps.com)


The Hershey Bears started their run to the Calder Cup on April 14. To put it in perspective, that's the day before the Caps played their first playoff game against the Canadiens, which seems like several lifetimes ago.

Thus, the Bears' playoff beards were the longest in professional hockey this year, longer even than the beards of the Flyers and Blackhawks, who ended their own playoff runs on Wednesday, a full five days before the Bears did. In five days, Karl Alzner could grow enough facial hair to insulate a small school bus.

I'm not sure how much Caps fans will really celebrate the Calder Cup -- it's entertaining and pleasing, sure, but the goal is to have Stanley Cup-winning teams, not Calder Cup-winning farm teams. But we can all surely join forces to celebrate the Calder Cup beards.

Pictured: Alzner (above), John Carlson (looking distinctly Amish), Michal Neuvirth (ready for a night of clubbing in Plzeƈ), captain Bryan Helmer, Greg Amadio (whose Fleetwood Mac cover band is huge in Dauphin County) and, just because, Alzner again.










By Dan Steinberg  |  June 15, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Sure, it's not the Stanley Cup, but in our household we were keeping our eyes on the Calder Cup finals. I was also speaking with some Nats fans on the way back from the Pirates game last Wednesday and they too were keeping their eyes on the Calder Cup.

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | June 15, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

We go to Bears games during the regular season when the Caps are out of town (or on Olympic break!) and also in the playoffs after the Caps have let us down horribly. So it is awesome to see the Bears win, especially since guys who will probably be up with the Caps next season were such a big part of the success.

Posted by: amberlynne | June 15, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm kind of tired of following the farm team success every year. When is this success going to translate in D.C.? Three straight 1st or 2nd round exits does not equal success.

Following the farm team after getting booted is a loser's mentality.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | June 15, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"Following the farm team after getting booted is a loser's mentality."

So we should IGNORE the farm team on their playoff run then? Wow, what a killjoy.

I don't think anyone has suggested that this is somehow a substitute for the Stanley Cup. But it is, you know, kind of fun in its own way. Lighten up. It's sports, it's supposed to be entertaining.

Posted by: CarlosdelVaca | June 15, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

LOL @ Randy. Obviously a relatively new Caps fan. That's what the Caps do...1st/2nd round disappointments. They've done it since 1982. Randy - do you know how many times the Caps have advanced past the 2nd round of the playoffs? Let me tell you. Twice. 1990 and 1998. We may have as few as three and as many as six of those Bears on the Caps next year and if you want some more playoff success in the NHL then you better hope we're developing good players in the farm system. It's extremely important experience and anyone with any interest in the Caps should also be rooting for their farm team. You don't have to be particularly interested in it - but you should be rooting for them whether you watch the games or not. Loser mentality? Sounds like you've listened to too much talk radio.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | June 15, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I was glad they won and enjoyed watching some of the finals games. However, I might take some heat for this, but other than Alzner, Carlson and Neuvirth, the rest are pretty much career minor leaguers or nothing better than a 4th line NHL player. I hear all the time about Perrault, Bourque, Beagle, Gordon, etc... but lets keep this in perspective. None of those guys are going to come in next year and be a huge reason the Caps are suddenly better than last year.

Whats the difference between Perrault, Beagle, Gordon vs Steckle, Laing, Bradley etc?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 15, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74 Bradley will punch Steve Downie in the face and save him from being destroyed by #8

Posted by: heathdog1119 | June 15, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Watching that game was a great, positive, way to end this pro- hockey season. Kudos to Hershey.

Posted by: Hattrik | June 15, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Nobody said following the farm team was "for losers" when Strasburg was playing AA and AAA ball. Winning the Calder Cup is a tribute to management's recruiting and coaching strategies. I applaud the accomplishment and look forward to seeing those players up here with the Caps. In addition, what the Caps did this year was truly inspiring -- they made the District into a hockey town. There are never any guarantees in the playoffs; just look at the Lakers. So Bravo Bears and Go Caps.

Posted by: qball43 | June 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I was glad they won and enjoyed watching some of the finals games. However, I might take some heat for this, but other than Alzner, Carlson and Neuvirth, the rest are pretty much career minor leaguers or nothing better than a 4th line NHL player. I hear all the time about Perrault, Bourque, Beagle, Gordon, etc... but lets keep this in perspective. None of those guys are going to come in next year and be a huge reason the Caps are suddenly better than last year.

Whats the difference between Perrault, Beagle, Gordon vs Steckle, Laing, Bradley etc?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 15, 2010
11:39 AM | Report abuse

I completely disagree about Perrault and so does hockeyfutures.com which view him as ultimately a second line center.

Further, Varlamov (#2) and Carlson (#10) are both rated as top ten prospects in the entire NHL while Alzner (#26) and Neuvirth (#49) are both rated in the top 50. Their farm system is rated as the 4th best overall in the NHL. That's pretty impressive. Pittsburgh is only rated 24th overall in the NHL and they only have one prospect in the top 50, Eric Tangradi (#30).

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | June 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

To many people, and not just the obvious "woe is me" bandwagon fans that post in places like these, following the farm team is part of following the parent club. Many of us watch the drafts and see how guys develop. We take the time and money to go to Hershey a few times a season to watch them play, and it's always a thrill when some of the guys make it up to the Caps, whether its only for a game or two, or to become full-time Caps.

So yeah, it's a thrill to see them win. It's also experience-building to the guys who are going to become full-time Caps. When you look at farm teams and systems throughout the AHL, you'd be hard-pressed to find a stronger relationship than the one these two teams have.

Taht being said, the Stanley Cup, however, is obviously the main objective. I would like to see some of these guys get a legitimate shot to make the Caps this fall. Sad to say, I saw much more effort from many of the Bears, both the up-and-coming stars and the career AHLers, than I did from certain Caps once again. I am very interested to see if the organization is going to keep giving the same guys the same ice time with the Caps even though they simply do not produce, or are they going to give some of these Bears who have gutted it out and experienced two straight long winning campaigns a chance.

Posted by: jollyroger2 | June 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

My bad. It is hockeysfuture.com not hockeyfutures.com.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | June 15, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy for the team and their fans, but it's frustrating because this is the only level of success that McPhee seems capable of. He really needs to be put out to pasture as a scouting/farm director and leave the GM duties to someone willing to make the hard and savvy decisions that will finally put the Caps over the top rather than ending their season in APRIL.

Posted by: one2 | June 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@hateisnotafamilyvalue -

Varlamov is on the Caps roster and I dont really count him a bear. I mentioned Carlson, Alzner and Neuvirth being NHL ready guys. I look forward to seeing all three of them hopefully dominate at the NHL level - especially Carlson. But that being said, I just dont see much out of the other guys. Perrault has played some with the Caps and I like what he brings. 2nd line center - not so sure?

There captain is like 50 years old and there top two goal scorers are career minor leaguers. I think Bourque was playoff MVP and if not for his last name, no Cap fans would probably even care about him.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 15, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The Bears just showed how a skill team can beat a team that collapse's in front of thier goalie like Montreal did to us. The shots are going to be open for the defensemen to take.. Mike Green did you watch? BB did you notice how Bears Coach played against the Stars???

I'm very happy Hershey won, Yet disappointed the Caps got out-coached... I hope for better things this up-coming season!

Posted by: darrylrbaker | June 15, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

While happy for hershey, can we please stop this ignorant notion that only "bandwagoners" are frustrated with the Caps???

I'd argue those who have been following the Caps for 20+ years have a right to be frustrated that, while these playoffs were supposed to be different from all other playoffs, they weren't.

So yes, I would like to know when all this playoff success for Hershey will translate to playoff success for Washington????

Sue me. Go Bears. Go Caps. Stick it.

Posted by: CF11555 | June 15, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@hate- How many Cups have the Pens won vs. the Caps? Last I checked it was 3-1. Don't get me wrong, I've been a long-time suffering Caps fan since '82 and hate that stat the most.

My big problem is that this years Caps team was "close" but if you look at Hershey, they were the true definition of a team. They showed it on the ice during the game, and after they won.

You can talk all you want about being a "team", but until you show me on the ice, forget it.

Everyone can go ahead a rip into me, I could care less. I'm just giving my opinion, you don't have to agree with it.

Posted by: jwash4472 | June 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Hate,

Very good points. I had no idea Carlson had moved up so high on the boards. Rather eye opening that Tangradi is only 30th. Reading other blogs, quite a few Pens fans think he is the next Crosby. Doesn't sound like the scouts agree.

Posted by: croftonpost | June 16, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74

"Whats the difference between Perrault, Beagle, Gordon vs Steckle, Laing, Bradley etc?"

They are potentially the future replacements.

Posted by: pstenigma | June 16, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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