Alexandre Giroux holds the Calder Cup. (Photos by Kyle M.)
One of the greatest Bears of all-time has finally left for a legitimate shot to stick in the NHL. Bears first line Left Wing Alexandre Giroux signed a one-way NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers early Saturday morning.
Per Mitch Beck of Howlings, Giroux had several good offers on the table and chose Edmonton because he gets to play in front of an old mentor:
The Quebec City native will be reunited with ex-Rangers coach Tom Renney. The left handed shooting Center played for Renney in the one game he got in with the Rangers back in 2005. In that game he played just three shifts and drew a key penalty on the second shift that led to a power play goal.
Giroux told Howlings, that he had other NHL options, including an offer from the New York Islanders. He also had a much more substantial $1.3mm offer from the KHL that he leaves on the table in order to complete his dream of being a regular NHL player. He does it with no regrets. “It was a lot of money and it was a hard decision, but I’m really excited to have this chance to make an NHL roster,” the recently turned 29-year old said. “Coach Renney is a great coach and the organization has such a great history. I’m looking forward to going there and giving it everything I’ve got to help the team become a contender once again and prove I belong there.”
Readers, we politely remind you of our policy regarding hockey rumors from Russia: Lie down until it goes away.
The news out of Russia today has been dissonant. The KHL club Atlant, based in the Moscow region, updated its roster with one noteworthy addition. According to atlant-mo.ru, Atlant has signed three-time Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bear Chris Bourque to a two-year deal.
From the press release:
American forward Chris Bourque agreed on our offer and signed a contract with our club today. Terms of this agreement are intended for two years.
Later, in an interview with Tim Leone of The Patriot-News, the playoffs MVP said he hasn’t signed a contract yet: “It’s not official. . . I’m talking to them. But nothing official, that’s for sure.”
Has Atlant jumped the gun? Is Chris entertaining other offers? Or is he just waiting for the right time to let us down easy. If the news is true, we’ll be very bummed that Chris is leaving Hershey. On the other hand, that KHL contract probably comes with a car, a condo, and a handle of excellent vodka.
The 2009-10 Hershey Bears celebrate back-to-back championships and their 11th championship in franchise history. (Photo by Kyle M.)
It was only one week ago that the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup in a 4-0 rout. It was their second championship in as many years, their third in five years, and the eleventh in franchise history. Andrew Gordon writes to share his thoughts on the championship, the celebration, and what happens now.
Life has a million ways to make you feel good, and a million ways to make you feel miserable. In my 24 years, I have found only one way to feel like a champion (make that two ways now). It’s a feeling that all players at all levels try to put into words but can’t ever find the exact way to express it.
It’s a combination of happiness, excitement, relief, satisfaction, fulfillment and complete bliss all mixed together and topped with a touch of “thank God it’s over.”
A championship win is so much different than a regular-season win because there is nothing left to accomplish after it’s over. There is no refocusing for your next opponent. No pasta meal waiting for you before tomorrow’s game. No more playing through injury or sickness. It’s all over, and you have nothing else to think about. It’s as if half of your brain suddenly has nothing to do, so it just shuts down and lets the 8-year-old in you run wild.
In the championship moment, nothing matters except the guys around you. I know there was some intense crowd noise as the buzzer sounded in Hershey, especially compared winning on the road in Manitoba, but I don’t remember hearing a sound. It is like I blocked out everything else in the building except the pile of players huddled around the crease. As you fly over the bench, all you want is to be there with the boys, celebrating what you have just accomplished.
When my career is over, I might not remember the score of the game, but I’ll always remember the feeling of jumping that bench (and falling on my face, if you watch the tape) and sprinting towards the rest of the guys.
Last night was the Hershey Bears Calder Cup party at Giant Center. RMNB could not attend, but our spies are everywhere. From the aperture of Kyle Mace comes a parade of Bears images. Let’s take a second to appreciate Alexandre Giroux‘s aviator sunglasses, maniacal beard, and spraying bottles akimbo. The man is one bass solo away from joining Motorhead.
Tonight, we had the pleasure of having our own Hershey Correspondent Kyle M. down on the ice as the Hershey Bears celebrated their 11th Championship in Franchise History. And boy did he get some great photos.
Below the jump, check out Bryan Helmer hoisting the Calder Cup, the Bourque family celebrating Chris’s MVP Award, Doug Yingst getting a champagne shower from Michal Neuvirth and Francois Bouchard losing his dang mind. The overriding theme of these photos is “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”
The Bears’ 4-0 blowout of the Texas Stars is a fitting punctuation on the team’s 60-win season.
In this, the team’s eleventh Calder Cup championship-clinching game, the Bears’ did everything right. Michal Neuvirth was sterling in net; the team owned puck possession, second chances, and shots on goal (36); and the scoring came from depth– namely the blueliners. John Carlson‘s first-period sweeper was Captain America’s second GWG of the series, and his second championship goal of the year. Karl Alzner rounded out the first period with his own tally through Brent Krahn‘s 7-hole. Patrick McNeill had goals in both the second and third periods. And let’s not forget that Chris Bourque, who led the AHL in playoff goals, rightfully claimed the MVP trophy.
When Captain Bryan Helmer hoisted the Cup and passed it to his teammates, he ended one of the most dominating seasons in AHL history. The Bears ’09-’10 season contained 342 goals (no other team had 280) and a stunning 24-game winning streak at home. In this series the team overcame a two-game deficit, won three games on the road, and tonight delivered a decisive knockout blow. There is no shortage of acclaim for the Bears.
The bearded horde of Hershey has earned the right to shave, but even moreso the right to party. May the law officers of Dauphin County look the other way until dawn, because the Chocolate and White have finally won.
After losing the first two games of the Calder Cup Finals at home, the Hershey Bears are now one win away from raising the Calder Cup for the eleventh time in club history, and in back-to-back years. Holy Schnikes!!
But despite Hershey’s 3 game sweep of Texas at Cedar Park Center, the Stars can still draw confidence off Games 1 and 2 where they frustrated the AHL’s highest scoring team. Which Bears team will show up Monday for Game 6? The one that tried to play fancy, stick around the perimeter and let it’s emotions get the best of them, or the one that played simple, went hard to the net and kept its cool?
Today, Hershey held a 45-60 minute practice at Giant Center and Bears first line center Keith Aucoin hoped it was the latter:
Alexandre Giroux’s overtime goal has put the Hershey Bears ahead (3-2) of the Stars for the first time in the Calder Cup Finals series. From his seat on the Bears charter jet, right wing Andrew Gordon sets the stage for the series’ completion in Hershey. He discusses the vibe in the dressing room, disparities in travel between the NHL and AHL, and predicts some excellent hockey to come.
We finally arrive to the point in the season that we have been waiting for all along. After taking tonight’s game in Texas, we return home with a 3-2 series lead, and more importantly, a chance at the championship. They say the fourth win in a series is always the hardest one to get, but considering the battles we have just fought in games four and five, I don’t see how it could get much tougher. Both teams seem evenly matched through five games. One favorable bounce here or a tough call there has made all the difference, but a win is a win, and we have found a way to win three games in their building. Our confidence is high.