Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Mayor is Back

My first reaction to the weekly challenge was to snort and laugh.

"HA!" I said to myself. "Self, nobody would believe that the AHL has franchise players. We're just the bush leagues! We're where the n00bs ferment until someone on the big team breaks themselves! Half of the NHL watching world can't even name their AHL associate!"

Then I stopped laughing as a thought struck me. "But self, " I said to myself. "Self, wouldn't the franchise players really just be the first players that someone thinks of when they think of a certain team? The dude who's been there long enough that his name is synonymous with the team he plays for? We've got those here in Hershey PA! We're veritably up to our ears in those here!"

Everybody, meet the three I see as Hershey's current franchise players, The Mayor, BabyBourque, and Roboturtle.

Dean Arsene (know alternately as Deano and The Mayor) has been with the Bears for 5 years, and although he wasn't named captain until 2007, he had already racked up an impressive following in town. For three years he's been the Bears' finalist for the all AHL Yanick Dupre Man of the Year Award.

Although he didn't play the majority of last season due first to a botched hernia surgery and then later to some other undisclosed injury, the Bears have signed him to another year in 08-09, and there's been quite a bit of talk that when he does finally retire, the Bears may try to keep him around as a coach of some sort.

Chris Bourque (okay, I may be the only one who actually calls him BabyBourque) is really the only big face/big name on the Bears that will probably make it out of AHL purgatory eventually. However, I'm not sure whether it's fair to make Bourque a 'franchise player' for the Bears, because many people recognize him simply for being Ray Bourque's son, and although he's been in AHL purgatory for three years at this point, he's technically under contract to the Washington Capitals.

Of course, that brings me to another pithy observation on determining your teams' franchise players. Next time you're at a game, look around and see which three jerseys you see the most of. If you're in Hershey, it's almost always Arsene, Bourque and Robitaille.

Which obviously, brings us right back down to Louie Robitaille, also known as the Roboturtle for his maddening ability to instigate ANYONE and then immediately lose the fight. Of course, the fighters and agitators usually have a cult following, and Louie's no different. Regardless of the fact that he wins maybe one of every three fights he starts, and he's the one most likely to take a dumb penalty at a stupid time, Louie is a fan favorite, and I would say arguably a franchise player. Other teams KNOW that Louie's a Bear, and they have to dedicate one or two of their guys to dealing with his annoyances all night everytime they play us.
Interestingly enough, I've heard low-level rumblings through town recently that regardless of the fact Louie's veritably a face of the Bears, the team is thinking of not re-signing him, as he's had some... uh... outside indiscretions that don't really reflect favorably on the organization.

Just goes to show you... you can be known for good, you can be known for bad, you can follow in Daddy's footsteps, but as far as I'm seeing, there's always going to be someone on a team who's KNOWN.

1 comment:

Z4Dfense said...

LOL KNOWN and MARKED are two seperate things. Roboturtle seems to be on the latter side of the equation.

I don't think you can call the 'marked' guy the face of the franchise and if he really is the face, sounds like rough times ahead for the team.

Mea culpa... you got me, last year I couldn't name very many on the AHL team (just the ones who had spent time w/ the big club) but with the giant influx of newbies this year, I will be keeping a better eye on the AHL for sure.

If Kevin Porter doesn't make the Coyotes straight out of camp.. I think he'll be the face (or franchise player)of the Rampage.