Dima participates in a drill during the first day of Development Camp.

Photos by Chris Gordon

When Metallurg Novokuznetsk’s season ended in early February without a playoff berth, Dmitry Orlov had two options. He could finish the year in Russia again with Metallurg’s MHL affiliate, the Novokuznetsk Bears, or begin his professional career in North America. After dominating the KHL’s junior circuit and winning the Davydov trophy as the MHL Playoff MVP in 2009-10, Dima needed a new challenge. So he negotiated an agreement with his KHL club and flew over to America to sign a contract with the Washington Capitals.

On February 27th, Orlov impressed fans and media alike in his AHL debut against the Albany Devils. Not only did he register a point in his first game as a Hershey Bear, he inspired The Patriot-News’s Tim Leone to exclaim,”That’s the best first 20 minutes from a 19-year-old D I’ve ever seen in this league.” Orlov went on to score his first AHL goal — ten days later — on March 9th against the Worchester Sharks and finished the year with nine points in 19 games.

After taking a brief vacation in Turkey, the defensive prospect is back in America, and participating in his third Development Camp. So far, the reports are positive.

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Is Mathieu Perreault A Clutch Player?

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Some think Mathieu Perreault is a no-brainer to start the year at #2 center whose points-per-game (PPG) would increase in the NHL as much as it did in the AHLdespite there being significant proof to the contrary. Others think he could score 45 points, which I think is high based on what we have seen from him so far in his career.

In fact, if we look at Matty P’s AHL stats they translate to 4G/9A/13P in 21 NHL games. His actual 2009-10 stats in Washington were: 4/5/9 in 21GP. Weird, huh?

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Andrew Gordon: Mission Accomplished!

Gordo's Take

The 2009-10 Hershey Bears celebrate back-to-back championships and their 11th in Franchise history. (Photo by Kyle M.)

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.

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Despite Michal Neuvirth making 24 saves tonight, the Bears fall to the Stars 2-1 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

Francois Bouchard and Mathieu Perreault do the Bears only celebrating of the night after Bouchard's second period tally.  (Photo by Kyle M.)

Francois Bouchard and Mathieu Perreault do the Bears only celebrating of the night after Bouchard's second period tally. (Photo by Kyle M.)

The hockey gods must be playing a cruel trick on us. Why? Because for the first time in the postseason and the second time in 39 games this year, the Hershey Bears lost in front of their home fans at Giant Center. (And no, we weren’t there to curse them!)

Yet before you hit the panic button and start considering doomsday scenarios, we must acknowledge that this was the first time the Bears had played a game in 11 days. During that period, celebrities Gary Coleman and Dennis Hopper died, May turned to June, BP ruined the entire Gulf of Mexico three times over, Team Russia was humbled in another International Tournament and Bret Michaels nearly died from a brain hemorrhage, recovered and then won Celebrity Apprentice. So rust obviously could have been a factor tonight. It’s hard to have your mojo going after that long of a layoff.

The first 30 minutes of tonight’s Calder Cup Finals exhibition played out much to that effect as both teams treated the first half of the game like a chess match. Both clubs tried desperately not make the game’s first, crucial mistake. However despite being outshot 12-2 after one period of play, the Bears were the ones to score the game’s first goal in the second period. The ever-darty and creative Mathieu Perreault found Francois Bouchard wide open in front of the Stars’ net and the Sherbrooke, Quebec native buried it past Texas Goaltender Matt Climie. Yet, Texas was unfazed. Tonight was the 11th straight game they had given up the game’s first goal and during that span they are 7-4.

5 minutes after Bouchard dented the twine, Stars’ center Greg Rallo responded by beating Michal Neuvirth glove side with a sick wrist shot from the top of the circles. Then in the third, Scott McCulloch backhanded home what turned out to be the eventual game winning goal on a semi-breakaway. As Bears’ Radio Announcer John Walton so eloquently put it, the Bears turned it on too little, too late tonight. Hershey falls 2-1. To the bullets!!

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Jason Bacashihua in Net

This past weekend was awesome. Why? Because it was chock full of Hockey at every hour of the day. Sure there was “Super Sunday” with the Russians destroying the Czechs, USA humbling the Green Snubbers from the North, and the Swedes shutting out the Fins in Olympic action. But there also was a double dip of AHL Hockey with the Hershey Bears playing both on Saturday and Sunday. Well since we here at RMNB can’t be everywhere – though Fedor certainly tried as he watched illegal Russian Video Streams of the Bears Games during breaks in the Olympics – we asked our Hershey Correspondent Kyle M to summarize the events of this weekend via pictures, words & yes, his own video. Video which includes reaction from players and Coach Mark French after Hershey set the AHL Record for Consecutive Home Victories. Awesome. If you hate reading like me, here’s all you need to know: HERSHEY RULZ!

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