There are a lot of people that think Hershey is headed toward an inevitable 11th Calder Cup Championship when the series against Texas begins this week. Hershey finished the season with 60 wins, 123 points, a ridiculous 34-4-0-2 record at home (24 straight wins included in the stat), the top-two scorers in the league and the league MVP.
I’m not going to make a prediction or name the ways Texas can beat the Bears since I haven’t seen Hershey in person since Kirk Daubenspeck, Kris Beech and Frederic Cassivi played for the team. I will tell you that we shouldn’t underestimate the Stars.
And, yes, I am pulling for the Stars.
Goalie Matt Climie has been fantastic all season. He’s had to be a workhorse due to injuries to Brent Krahn. Texas has a very good, if not great, group of AHL defensemen. Andrew Hutchinson, Dan Jancevski, Garrett Stafford and Maxime Fortunus is as solid a group of four as you’ll find anywhere in this league.
Rookie Jamie Benn has been phenomenal in the playoffs.
One final point: the Stars are the team that, in my opinion, played the smartest hockey this season. Coaches Glen Gulutzan and Paul Jerrard have installed a system that these guys play in a manner that’s close to perfect.
I still think Hershey will win, but I’m rooting for the Stars.
By the way, it’s taken WAAAAAAAAAY too long for the Finals to start in the AHL. Hershey last played May 22 while Texas won its series May 26. I understand there are issues about building availability. The sport needs to stay relevant. Yes, Hershey may be crazy about the finals and Austin, too. But I wonder how many other cities in the league have been anxiously awaiting the Calder Cup Finals. It’d be interesting to see how many people in each AHL market order the games on AHL Live.
I initially thought the Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup in six games. It looks like it may be sooner.
I’m pretty fired up that Kelsey Wilson will be back next season. I really think he can be a 20-goal scorer in this league. That said, I hope Wilson’s signing doesn’t allow Triston Grant to leave. Both are tough left wings…I don’t think you can have too many of those types of players. Plus, selfishly, both are among my favorite people I’ve had the privilege to work with.
I was really sad to hear that one of the actors I’ve loved since I was little, Gary Coleman, died last week. As you probably know, Coleman had health problems his whole life. I was fortunate to meet him a couple years ago while moonlighting as the public address announcer for the Madison Mallards baseball team. Coleman came to town to sign autographs and we even got him to the plate to lead off the game. You can watch the video here. The umpire and the coach for the other team, Eau Claire’s Dale Varsho, did a good job playing along. Coleman really showed off some decent improvisational skills in this segment. The clip was shown on ESPN as one of its Top 10 Plays. Coleman seemed like a nice guy.
One of my favorite former Badgers, Kyle Klubertanz, has signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The Sun Prairie, WI native was drafted by Anaheim but spent the last couple years in Europe.
Until next time…Go Admirals!!!