Mathieu Perreault, Francois Bouchard and Chris Bourque celebrate.

One look at the dismantling of the Chicago Blackhawks and it becomes apparent that the life blood of any hockey organization is its youth. If you can bring in young players that provide value at reasonable prices you have the ability to succeed in the long term. In the case of the Hershey Bears, it allows the Caps to fill their team with players who know how to win and execute Bruce Boudreau’s system.

The challenge then becomes not only which players to promote, but which players should be dangled in a trade and which you can simply cut bait with. The underlying question in all of this is simply: Does the front office feel a certain prospect can make it in the NHL?

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Boyd Kane scores the OT Game Winner and sends the Bears to the Calder Cup Finals for the fourth time in five years.

Boyd Kane gets mobbed by his teammates after scoring the GWG in OT. (Photos by Kyle M.)

Boyd Kane gets mobbed by his teammates after scoring the GWG in OT. (Photos by Kyle M.)

In front of their hometown fans in tonight’s game six, Hershey showed up to play, holding a huge edge in puck-possession time. But, as head coach Mark French would later say, the Bears’ effort those first 40 minutes was “misdirected.”  Manchester had a 24-13 shot advantage, and the Bears only managed 4 shots on goal in the first. Despite owning the puck much less, the Monarchs took what seemed like an insurmountable 2-0 lead heading into the third period.

Like they have all year, the Bears came back harder in the third and won their 7th overtime game of the playoffs (an AHL record). The Chocolate and White now advance to the Calder Cup Finals for the fourth time in five years and will face the winner of the Hamilton Bulldogs (MON)/Texas Stars (DAL) series! WOOOOOOOOOO!!

You know what? It’s been too long. Let’s play the bullets:

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