Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wow - Cool Hockey Weekend Even If It Is Summertime....

Okay, since you probably read this and other blogs you know that The Washington Capitals' ECHL affiliate South Carolina Stingrays captured the Kelly Cup - the ECHL Championship in Anchorage on Friday Night. It took 23 playoff games for the Rays to get 16 wins, but with a 4-2 victory in game seven, the South Carolina Stingrays knocked off the Alaska Aces and clinched their third Kelly Cup Championship!! Congratulations to the Rays Organization. The winning goaltender Friday Night, and the ECHL Playoff MVP, was James Reimer who stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced. The XX year old Reimer was a 4th Round, 99th overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2006 NHL entry draft, and as per Hockey's Future is part of the Leafs system, this season he played in Reading for the ECHL Royals, Toronto for the AHL Marlies, and South Carolina. He was a great pickup for the Stingrays by their coach/gm - Jared Bednar. Also on the winning team were Capitals prospects: Center & Team Captain Travis Morin, and Left Winger Maxime Lacroix.

The Capitals AHL affiliate Hershey Bears took a 2-1 Series lead in the AHL's Calder Cup finals with a 3-0 win in Hershey yesterday over the Vancouver Canucks' affiliate Manitoba Moose. The Bears try and make the series 3-1 this evening in Hershey with a 5:00PM faceoff while the Moose try and even the series up. Both Hershey and Manitoba are filling their buildings and the series is filled with solid hockey. Yesterday, The Bears found the back of the goal first, as Graham Mink netted his sixth of the postseason at 6:22 of the first period. Michal Neuvirth earned his fourth postseason shutout, turning aside all 28 Moose shots. The Hershey power play went 2-for-3, and the penalty kill silenced Manitoba on all five attempts. The three stars of the Game: 1. Michal Neuvirth (4th postseason shutout) 2. Alexandre Giroux (league-leading 14th playoff goal) 3. Staffan Kronwall (two assists, on ice for all three goals).

Good luck to the Bears today; hopefully next year at this juncture all three teams in the Capitals Organization, including those who regularly play at the Verizon Center will still be competing. Speaking of NHL Hockey how about those Red Wings? Last night's game was truly a lesson in puck control and self control by the Red Wings. Pavel Datsyuk notched two assists and almost had a third in his return to the ice after 18 days on IR. Chris Osgood turned away all 22 shots by the Penguins and the Red Wings as a whole totally frustrated both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Marc-Andre Fluery had his "human game" letting 5 of 21 shots by for a save percentage of just 0.762 before being pulled in the second period. By that point it was basically all over "except for the crying" as they say. The way this series has been nothing is for sure but there was no doubt who the better team on the ice last night was. Clearly Pittsburgh has a lot of adjustments to make over the next couple of days while Detroit seems to determined to try and repeat and not give the young talented Pittsburgh team anything to motivate themselves with. Lots of physical play and some of it marginal ensued last night, but in the post-game comments and Q&A, the Red Wings were clearly not biting on any leading questions and seem determined to let their play on the ice do their talking next game as well as this one. So Pittsburgh now has their backs against the wall and Detroit appears determined to try and win their 12 Cup overall and 2nd in a row in Pittsburgh. It should be a great game - I have a new poll - who do you think will win on Tuesday and who will win the Cup? I'm thinking Detroit holds it together and once again wins the Cup in Pittsburgh on Tuesday; I'm not making any predictions on scores, etc. though. I do predict that Franzen and Malkin will go at it before the end of the second period though.

Five more weeks till the Capitals Development Camp Opens ... in the meantime

LETS GO BEARS!!!! and once again

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