Saturday, May 26, 2007

Minor League Diversion

I've been ridiculously MIA from HLOG lately, mostly because I seem to have temporarily lost my ranting mojo...sorry about that!

Now I know that the Stanley Cup Finals lurking right around the corner has put everyone in NHL mindset, but for the few of us whose teams didn't even make it to the big show there is another postseason that has held our attention - the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Sure, it may not be as flashy and exciting as the fight for Lord Stanley's mug. You may not recognize most of the players. And yes, you have to pay to watch games on your computer rather than enjoy the running commentary of the NBC/VERSUS/CBC guys. But while we wait for the big boys to get things going, it's nice to check in on the future NHLers, the fresh-faced youths who may be lifting the Calder Cup this year and the Stanley Cup next year.

Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Tonight is a big night in the AHL playoffs, with the four remaining teams playing in what could be two elimination games. If you haven't been following, here's a little recap:

- Hershey Bears (WAS): Okay, I'm a little biased because they're my boys, so I'm listing them first. Deal. After a season that set franchise records in wins and points, the Bears look poised to repeat their Calder Cup championship from a year ago. They have lost only two games in the playoffs so far this year, both in overtime, and have a 3-0 series lead over their Conference Final opponents, the Manchester Monarchs. Nothing is certain in the postseason, obviously, but Bruce Boudreau's boys are clicking along at a pretty good pace and I don't expect them to stop anytime soon.

- Manchester Monarchs (LAK): In their six year existence, the Monarchs had never won a playoff series...that is until this year. They took on the Worcester Sharks and then the Providence Bruins, defeating both in six games and clinching each series away from home ice. They are looking for their first ever Calder Cup Final berth but may be waylaid as they find themselves facing elimination at the hands of the Bears.

- Hamilton Bulldogs (MTL): The Baby Habs have taken an odd path to the Conference Finals, winning the first two games of each of their series - on enemy ice. Behind the glove of young goaltender Carey Price, the Bulldogs have pushed the Chicago Wolves to the brink of elimination, looking for their third franchise appearance in the Finals. Incidentally here's some trivia for you - they clinched their first trip to the Finals exactly 10 years ago tomorrow, where they would face and eventually fall to the Hershey Bears. Interesting...

- Chicago Wolves (ATL): Atlanta's AHL affiliate missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season but rebounded nicely, finishing the regular season with 101 points and a second place standing. After sweeping last year's Western Conference Champs in the first round, Chicago went on to defeat the Stars en route to the Conference Finals. Facing elimination, they held on for a nailbiting 1-0 victory last night but still remain on the brink going into tonight's game.

So if you're jonesing for a little ice hockey action and your DVD of 'Miracle' is starting to get worn out, I highly recommend checking out tonight's games - they should be some good matchups. Both are available online through B2 Networks, just go to www.caldercup.com and follow the links to the live video feed. There is a cost, but it's still cheaper than going to see an NHL game...of course, a new BMW is cheaper than going to see an NHL game in some cities, so take that with a grain of salt.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled NHL-centric rantings.

9 comments:

Britannia said...

I'm waiting anxiously to see if the Bears go to the playoffs... completely self-centeredly, as I have just become a resident of Hershey PA, and really REALLY want an excuse to go to a hockey game.

Sherry said...

The Bulldogs won their series tonight so looks like it'll be a 'Dogs vs. Bears final.

GO BULLDOGS!

Jordi said...

I'm sorry dear, the Bears are going DOWN.

CapsChick said...

Oh, YES! I finally get to take on Sherry and Jordi - it's on, ladies! B-E-A-R-S BEARS BEARS BEARS WOOOOOO!

Seriously, if anyone watched the Bears-Monarchs game (and I'm probably the only loser who did) they'd know that the Bears are looking pretty freakin' amazing this year - better than last year, and they won last year. I'm just saying. :)

McPhizzle said...

I'm with Sherry and Jordi. GO CAREY and GO BULLDOGS!!!

Sherry said...

I'll say to you what I said to Ken, we all know Bears are the Number 1 threat in America.

It'd be like letting evil win!

Habcentric said...

Hi ladies...

I'm new here, and I hate to antagonize the regulars with my first post, but...GO 'DOGS! Been following every game in the playoffs, mostly via radio, and the Baby Habs are rockin' in front of future Conn Smythe winner Carey Price. So far, the 'Dogs have taken down Moose and Wolves...time to go for bigger prey!

CapsChick said...

Yeesh - I'm in the minority once again!

Apparently there is a bear on the loose roaming the woods around Northern Virginia...I'm choosing to take that as a good omen for a repeat in Chocolatetown. :)

Debcapsfan said...

Well I'm in the minority with ya.
The Bears have been playing incredible hockey through the playoffs. 2 loses, and both were in overtime.
Go BEARS!!