Adam Oates Named Co-Coach of Hershey Bears

Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey On Earth

In a move both surprising and logical, the Capitals announced Sunday that Adam Oates would serve as co-coach of the AHL’s Hershey Bears with head coach Mark French for the duration of the lockout. Caps assistant coaches Calle Johansson, Tim Hunter, and Blaine Forsythe and goaltending coaches Dave Prior and Olie Kolzig will — in George McPhee’s words — “be involved at different times” and also help out with the Capitals’ ECHL affiliate, Reading Royals.

To adequately take on lockout-loaded teams like Oklahoma City Barons whose roster now features Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Justin Schultz, the Capitals have given their farm team the deepest coaching staff in AHL history.

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

Remember that possible goalie controversy? Well now there’s a new problem in the crease — and it isn’t pretty. After Tomas Vokoun re-injured his groin last week in Boston, the Caps have been forced to rely on Michal Neuvirth and call-up Braden Holtby. That’s not so bad considering Vokoun’s play before the setback. It’s Neuvy who’s hurt now, suffering a possibly devastating leg injury a quarter of the way into the second period Thursday night.

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Photo credit: Suzanne Kang

Our friend Suzanne went to the Hershey Bears game this weekend, and this happened. I’m not sure we have the vocabulary to describe it, but here goes: It’s a Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin mash-up shirsey, the holy grail of what Greg Wyshysnki would call a “jersey foul.”

In one way, it makes sense. This is a fan at a Bears game in Pennsylvania. The Bears are the farm team for Ovechkin’s Capitals, and Hershey is only a few hours away from Crosby’s Penguins. These are the two stars of the two big teams that matter to this person. It’s almost defensible.

But no.

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All photos via Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth.

Centers, centers, centers, everyone knows what the Capitals need right now, and Keith Aucoin is the latest attempt to fix the problem, or at least to temporarily plug the hole. Most of you should know a little more about Aucoin than most call-ups – he’s a lifetime AHLer, a future AHL Hall of Famer, and from what we’ve heard an all-around great guy. We haven’t seen him much in the big leagues, but he’s been part of the organization for awhile now. He’s not going to look nearly as flashy in the NHL as he does in the AHL, but you can bet that he will do his job.

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(All pics by Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth)

Welcome to the Washington Capitals, Fists of Fury edition. A few key pieces are essentially dead right now, and some others are playing like they are, so these holes will be filled by kids from Hershey, which is what they are there for.

I know you are all smart and cool people who keep up to date on our minor leaguers, but if you are at all behind in this I do not blame you, as there are like a million of them. In case you are wondering who in the world this is on your ice, here is a quick rundown!

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SHOE: Hershey Bears Lose Outdoor Classic

Photo credit: Kyle Mace

Photo credit: Kyle Mace

The Hershey Bears lost to the Adirondack Phantoms 4-3. The game was played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Phillies, in front of the largest audience in AHL history.

Our sister blog, Sweetest Hockey on Earth, has comprehensive coverage of the game. There’s Brian Mills’ pre-game reminiscence of outdoor hockey, Kyle Mace’s magnificent photos from outdoor practice, the team picture, the pump-up video,  the recap of actual game, and a billion photos of the game.

NHL Network will broadcast the game at 4 PM on Saturday, so, ya know… spoilers.

It’s Raining Bears in Hersey

(Photo credit: Kyle Mace)

Making the Hershey Bears 7-1 victory over the Pirates even sweeter, fans threw over 10 thousand bears on the ice for charity. Check out our Hershey blog, Sweetest Hockey on Earth, for more of Kyle Mace’s photos and Kathryn’s game recap.

It’s impossible not to click this gigantic link.

Dmitry Orlov goal celebration

Dima celebrates his fourth goal of the year (Photo credit: Kyle Mace of Sweetest Hockey on Earth)

Dripping with sweat after a thirty-minute session on a stationary bike, I asked Dmitry Orlov how he was feeling Saturday night after the biggest game of his professional career.

“Not good. We lost.”

Orlov, a 20-year-old offensive defenseman from Novokuznetsk, Russia, could have cared less about his first ever three-point performance, the fact that he rifled three shots on net, or that he was on the ice for three minutes of the game’s five-minute overtime– big-time minutes for a young player.

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Braden Holtby New Mask

A few weeks ago, word leaked out on Twitter that Braden Holtby was sporting a new goalie mask during practice up in Hershey. We sent photographer Kyle Mace — of our sister blog Sweetest Hockey on Earth — to the Bears’ next home game and had him capture every angle imaginable of Braden’s new roller-coaster themed mask.

Well now, David Gunnarsson — the Swedish artist who custom-painted Holtby’s new headgear — explains the backstory to the project.

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The D.J. King Era in Washington is Over

Friend of the blog Holly F. and King mug for the camera at a Movember event last year.

Vice President and General Manager George McPhee announced today that the Washington Capitals have sent forward D.J. King to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. The 6’3”, 231-pound horse-lover played in a total of 18 games in Washington over the past two seasons, watching another 85 from the press box. King collected $660,823 during those 85 games he did not play, which should totally bum you out.

Last week King was made available on waivers, signaling his desire to see actual playing time. The move to Hershey may be a continuation of that.

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