Sunday, October 6, 2013

2013-14 Season Home Opener

It is a thing with me that I need to be in my seat by around 5:50pm when there is a 7pm game. Mitchell never lets me down as he sits on the bench and wraps his stick ( I think that is what he is doing ) . He usually goes back in around 6pm to get suited up for the game. 

So, with a late start with the introduction of the players, the puck is dropped and once again a new season begins. With high hopes of a new coaching staff and newly acquired players, I sit in anticipation of going home with a 2 points in the Bears column. 

While watching the game, I think to myself... where are the guys from preseason that skated all over the other teams. Where was the guy in front of the net, why so many turnovers and why are we losing 2-0? 
We had power play after power play and barely got a shot on goal. I think the other team had more shots on goal  on their penalty kills. My mind is telling me, I hope the coach reads them the riot act during first intermission. At least during the first period the crowd was pumped by not only one, but two Rechlicz brawls. It was early though. The team did have time to bounce back...
Period two started off with a goal by Nate Schmidt. About 9 minutes later the Bears were on a penalty kill. I am thinking, great, this is not going to be good. Next thing I know, Michael Latta steals the puck away and takes a cruise down center ice and SCORES a shorty! We are now tied at 2 and there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Not five minutes later we are on another penalty kill. Me, the skeptic, cannot even fathom another shorty. After all, on the power plays, we could barely get a shot on goal. Derek Whitmore doesn't let us down... he scores a shorthanded goal and the first lead of the season happens. I find myself hoping for another penalty thinking third time is a charm. Well, we get the  kill on a questionable penalty on Grubauer. Of course you can't have a season opener without the BS chant from the crowd. After all, we had two fights, two shorthanded goals, a one point gotta throw the chant in there. We get to experience all the fun of going to hockey in one night except for one thing.... we lose the game in OT. 
With three minutes left in the regulation play, Adirondack scores and ties the game. 
You know the rest of the story.... 

Listening to the coach on the post game show on our way home from the game, Coach Mike says the guys came out nervous. Basically white knuckling the sticks and let the Phantoms skate all around them. He said this game will serve as a training exercise this week and they will learn from their mistakes. 

We don't have another home game until the 26th...I guess I can wait that long. Although, I will be watching the away games on AHL Live. 
Until then

Friday, October 4, 2013

One Day Until Opening Night!

Last Monday night, we went to season ticket holder night. It was so fun to be back and see all the new players, meet the coaches and just take in the atmosphere of being back in the Giant Center. We used the food voucher to get our free hot dog, chips and soda. That had me thinking of all the dollar dog nights ahead of us. We were able to see old friends from last spring that we only see at hockey time. 

Tomorrow's game looks to be promising! After the first 3 preseason games, they certainly found the back of the net! There are many new players that I will quickly learn the names and numbers ( no not phone numbers...) . So happy to see some of the returning players, like Mitchell, Rechlicz, Taffe, Kundratek, Wellman, Deschamps, Wellar and of course Grubauer in net. 

Now some of the new players I will need to learn - like - 
Leggio - as much as I loved Dany Sabourin, I am excited to see how Leggio performs in the net with the Bears. He comes to the team with good credentials. 
Johnson - he also looks good in the stats and from what I have read, could be a good fit with Taffe. 
Two others that stood out are Watkins and Segal.

Now about the coaching staff...
Mike and Ryan - here is what I love about these two guys...
I have two sons... their names are Mike and Ryan! I say forget about their bios and credentials....
that is enough for me! 

Anyway - I am excited about tomorrow night 
Bears vs Phantoms

I will keep this blog updated as much as possible, but just to note that I write this blog as a diary of our adventures following the Hershey Bears. I am not a know it all hockey person. This is just for fun and hobby for me. Even after 4 years, I still have a lot to learn about the game. 

I have one last thing to write and seem to be obsessed with this....
if you read this blog and you go to the games... does it annoy you that one of the announcers just has a problem with pronouncing our own players names? Also... it annoys me that when it comes to announcing the starting line before the National Anthem that he just does not get excited? When the goalie is announced.. I really think it should be loud and drawn out.. just once, I would love to be the one to announce the starting line up... after all, we, the fans of the Hershey Bears, are the loudest and the proudest in the league!
( ok, you stop rolling your eyes...)


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Season, New Coach and The Recker Is Back Once Again!

First off, welcome back Joel! Sadly, last season when you returned, I was not at the game for your welcome back debut. Trust me, I balked all night at the other function we had to attend. 
I was reading on Facebook all of the comments about Joel's return. Most great, some just not so great. My favorite response to the naysayers was that if you don't like fighting in hockey, the Ice Capades will be at the Giant Center sometime in December. Another response is fighting does not win cups.... hmm... you mean to tell me that all of the cup winning teams have never fought? I find that statement, well, just arrogant.
Sure, hockey is not all fighting, but when you need to pump up the team or the crowd even, a good fight can surely rock the barn. Joel is more than an enforcer. He is the team cheerleader and motivator. Does he score a lot of goals? No, but neither do a lot of other players. He also contributes a lot to the community of Hershey. Best of all, he is an all around nice guy that happens to be able to throw a nice punch when needed. I digress, Joel doesn't need me to defend him. He can certainly do it himself. Actually, he needs no defending at all. His all around actions speak for themself. He's a good guy! 

I am excited for the 2013-14 season to start. Mike Haviland, the Hershey Bears new head coach comes with quite a resume. I believe he will be able to help this team reach new heights. They seemed to have been in a slump these past couple of years, but the hopes are high for this one. I hope to see a motivated, disciplined coach behind the bench this year. We are also fortunate enough to be getting some players that will be still be on the high of winning the Kelly Cup in the ECHL  Reading Royals. We will also be getting some younger players that are motivated in climbing the ladder to the NHL. 

On a side note, last season I have not written a lot on this blog. It was a rough fall and winter for me when my mother passed away, and I was just not feeling it. 
This year, I am so excited and I know my mother would want me to continue as she was an avid reader of my blogs. 
So, my next post will be when the season is about to get under way with our season ticket holder night activities. For now, I am going to enjoy the rest of my summer.

Happy vacations, happy summer

Monday, January 7, 2013

Update At The Chocolate & White

If you are a reader of this blog, you may notice that I have not been blogging about the Bears Since the end of November.
To make a long story short, my mother, who had been battling ovarian cancer stage IV for the past five years, passed away a few days before Christmas. She was only 68 years old and was doing quite well up to a few weeks before she passed away. I will resume blogging about our adventures with the Hershey Bears on the Chocolate and White in about a week or so.
I have been attending games and only missed a few, but just did not have the heart or soul to blog about them.
Please stay tuned and the Chocolate and White will be back........

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Bears Are Back!

I don't want to pretend to know who wanted Patrick McNeil to be a scratch for all of those games while under the *cough* co-command of the Oates squad, but now that they are gone, this team seems to be getting it together. Last night's game was a thriller. More shots on goal. Patty Mac scores even! I realize that one person does not make the difference as they all played well last night, but when a piece of the puzzle is missing, it is not complete.
So we can put the past behind us and move forward and watch this team climb the ladder out of the basement. This team has such potential and I can feel it in my bones that there are more wins like last night's win on the horizon.
We are excited for the weekend games and especially excited for the teddy bear toss! Saturday night I shall prepare myself to be pelted on the head with stuffies and toss my own as well!

Good game Bears! Let's keep up the good work. I know we can't win them all, but last night's win was a turn in the right direction. Not as many penalties, more shots on goal, and a full effort of the game.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A New Beginning??

The last 4 games played by the Bears have been 3 losses and 1 win. Two of the losses I sort of expected and didn't get too shaken up about as the Crunch have been on fire. After all, aren't they last years Norfolk Admirals? They have pretty much the same team, as the names all are familiar and they seem to have their groove on pretty much of the time. The loss against WBS was a but pitiful. Now I can only say this as a listener as I was not at the game. I was home doing Suzy Homemaker stuff preparing for Thanksgiving, but I did have the radio on loud and heard the game.
I could easily tell it was going badly, not just by the score, but by the sound of the crowd. I could hear the Booo's and the BULLSHIT chant. The crowd was so loud and vocal about their opinion of the game, I thought they right there in my kitchen! When the game was over with a biting loss of 0-4, I turned on some Christmas music to lighten my mood.
Then came the better part of the evening when I came onto Facebook and read Stuccio's post about Oates and his crew were leaving Hershey and going back to Washington. I got all goose-pimply, jumped up and down and waited patiently for Mr H to walk in the door and immediately jumped on him with the news. I read the blogs and other posts about Oates leaving, I understand that the same style of playing will be used. Oates system. Well, this system just doesn't seem to be working and all we can hope is that French and his crew will modify it and maybe we will begin to see some wins or at least more scoring (to our favor) happen. As much as we want instant gratification, I am sure it will take some time before we see some major changes. Something needs to happen. Something needs to start clicking with the Bears. Maybe with Coach French and Mann, it will be a new beginning for the 75th anniversary season of the Bears.

Tonight I will be watching the game on AHL live and hoping that we can put two notches in the points. It is no fun sitting in the basement and it is time to start climbing the stairs. Tomorrow nights game will be exciting as Keith Aucoin returns, although in a different sweater.
I need to dig deep for something pink to wear to help pink the rink!!!

One last thing...if Patty McN is always a healthy scratch...who did he piss off that he hasn't been playing? That is beginning to get on my nerves that he has been scratched so much. We need him on defense. Love him or hate him, we need him.

Also I want to mention that the Reading Royals are doing FANTASTIC! 11 straight wins! Go Royals!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's Still Early!

It's been awhile since I last posted in here as life as I know it has been a busy one! The last several games have been a bit of a struggle for the Bears, but I think in time this team will begin to click. I have not been taking my camera to the games as sometimes it is hard for me to enjoy the game while snapping off pictures, but I do miss not having some highlight photos, so I guess I will go back to dragging the camera bag back into the Giant Center.
This past weekend was filled with good and not so good events.

  • Friday's game with the Penguins was great - at least to me - as I love it anytime we beat them especially in their barn! 
  • Saturday against St John's was exciting for some as they were happy to see Dean Arsene. He is a tad bit before my time as a Bears fan as I only started really coming and following only for the past three and a half seasons. I was hoping for a win not just for the Bears and fans alike, but for me as it was my birthday - 50th no less - and I was hoping for a little celebration of having a 3 game sweep over this milestone weekend for me. Personally, I did think Arsene was a bit cocky and was not too impressed by him. We lost that game 2-1, but I think we should have had more goals as there were so many scoring opportunities that we missed out on. 
  • Sunday's game against Portland was a bit more exciting - well in the beginning - when the Recker - got to start! Now there is a good sport! During warm ups, he had conversations with some of his former team mates and was smiling all the while. I sure do miss him in Hershey. The game itself was just sad. To me, the players seemed unorganized and there was not much excitement. Here is what I saw - Portland shooting the puck at the net or at least towards the net at every opportunity - Hershey - shooting the puck around the back of the net. Then there was Holtby coming out of the net, which allowed the Pirates to score the winning goal. I was a bit miffed until I listened to what coach French had to say about it. IN a nutshell, he said, he had no problem with Holtby doing that as at least he was showing aggressiveness where the rest of the team needed to show more aggressiveness. Most times the aggressiveness will work out, sometimes it won't and this particular time it didn't. So the Bears lost that game 3-1. 
Overall, the Bears have a lot of work to do! Even though it is early in the season, they need to find their groove. I miss the dynamic duo of Aucoin and Bourque, I miss the Andrew Gordon that was always in front of the net to chip that puck in goal, I miss the enforcer of the Recker and before him Amadio....All of these guys were aggressive. I am not dissing the current team, as I think they are all great players, they just need to get it together. Too many penalties, too many missed goal opportunities, sloppy passing across the line. You would think that by having two coaches and one being an NHL coach would have this team on top. Personally, I think that Oates and his crew should step back or out and let French and Mann do their jobs. I never was a fan of too many chiefs. No offense to Oates,  but you don't see any other AHL team have their NHL coaches there??? Are there any others? Is there harmony between the two "co-coaches"? Are they sending mixed messages to the players? Are the players confused? Maybe not, but it isn't working in my opinion. Plus, I don't like the fact that some games when I look over at the bench, I don't see Troy Mann. Like I stated earlier in this post, I have only been a hockey fan for the past three and half years and am still quite the novice about this sport, but I do know common sense and some things just don't make sense, to me anyway. 
With all of that said, I am a Hershey Bears fan and will support them and cheer for them. They have a big weekend coming up with two games against the current #1 in points in the East Division - Syracuse Crunch and one with the baby Pens. We are going to need a strong defense with the Crunch and a lot of hustle and more aggressiveness. More shots on goal and well, just more goals! It's still early in the season and we can still have hope for the Bears winning the Cup!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Can You Say SHUT OUT! 3-0 Over Albany

The #1 star of the game against Albany tonight was #1 Braden Holtby! Way to go! The Bears really needed this win to get them off their losing streak. Holtby wasn't the only star of the game as Tomas Kundratek racked up some points tonight with a a goal and 2 assists. Granted the goal was an empty netter, but a goal nonetheless!!! Hamill scored the first goal of the game which made him #3 star of the game. The team looked good tonight and seeing more help in the defensive end really added to Holtby's success. Even though the game ended in a shut out with three goals scored by Hershey, we were a bit anxious that from where we sit, we did not see many plays in front of us for two periods. We sit near the end where the Bears score twice, so we watched a lot at the other end those two periods. One of the fans that sits behind us commented after the first period, well at least during the second period, we will see more action at this end of the rink....and that we did! Albany did outshoot us by 13 shots with the Bears only having 22 SOG and Albany with 35. As coach French mentioned after the game, he would like to see them also win more face offs. That I agree with.

Overall, we had an enjoyable evening at the Giant Center. It was good to see Kevin Marshall in the line up tonight. Also, another video review for a goal that went in our favor! If you read the last post I wrote, I said that I don't think I care for the video review.....haha...guess what....I liked it tonight.....

A few things on my mind....
  1. A coworker of Mr H's said he was at Hollywood Casino last week and there was a guy at the poker table with a broken arm. When his coworker asked him what happened, he said he broke his arm playing hockey. He plays for the Hershey Bears. He did not know his name and I am curious who that would be? I don't know of any player with a broken arm.....
  2. Even though we won tonight and the defense seemed to step up, I thought it weird that Mann was not behind the bench. I guess it concerns me with Oates and his gang being there that there may be too many chiefs??? Not sure if having Oates and company is really helping the team? Is it something to be concerned about, or just get over it and be happy about it. 
  3. How about Wellar being sent to Reading?? What is that all about??
  4. It was just mentioned on Facebook that Grubauer was reassigned to Hershey.....curious as to what that means as well. Are we going to play rotate the goalies again? I don't care for that.
The above things are just my thoughts and I guess some of it really shows how much of a novice I still am to this game. This is my third year as a season ticket holder and every game I learn something new. I try to take it all in and understand the hows, whats and whys....

Looking forward to tomorrow nights game against WBS Penguins......


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Season Home Opener Weekend...

Mr H and I have been waiting for this night! The season home opener for the Hershey Bears. We were so excited and thrilled to be there. It felt so good to be back at the Giant Center for another season of hockey. As always, it was good to see Coco again too. I will say I am having mixed emotions now of the new Coco. There is just something different about Coco than before, other than the fact  that there is less of him. That isn't what bothers is the way he moves off the ice....his dance moves....when he is cheering up the crowd....he just moves different...I liked the old Coco's dancing you really care? Does it really matter? Will it help the team win more games? No, probably not, but I just needed to get it off my chest and thank you for listening....

Seeing Sabby in goal was a treat and watching his warm up really got me excited to that the time is finally here....we are going to see some action! Hockey season has started! 

I did get a little misty eyed watching the first face off on home ice. Yeah....those hormones suck at times...I just feel it in my bones, that this year the Bears are going to do it. They are going to go all the way. So this first face off of the season was a tender moment for me. I made Mr H hold my hand. 

#14 DiSalvatore's goal in the second period gave us a 3-1 lead over the Amerks. Love those two insurance goals....although the insurance did not pay off. I really thought the team looked good and when we were ahead 5-2, after Stoa's goal, I thought we had it made in the shade. Then it happened. That roller coaster of a ride. The kind where you put your arms up and yell weeeeeeeeee....  you are at the top of the peak, but start heading downhill because  the Amerks took over and owned the Giant Center. (That feeling is like when you get off the roller coaster and feel like you are going to either lose your dollar dogs or just pass out from the highs and the lows of standing up and cheering or sitting there ready to cry - such and emotional game on so many levels) They scored 3 goals in a row to end the second period with a 5-5 tie game. YIKES! 

Needless to say, with 15 goals total, 7 of them power play goals, the Bears lost 7-8. I was stunned! How could we do so good the first half and just fall apart in the second half. Everyone looked so good, especially, Garrett Mitchell. He had a goal, an assist, a fight and a game misconduct. He is my kind of player! When I saw Mitchell going at it, I was like.... WOW! That kid has a lot of spunk! He is really coming into his own. Of course you can expect Wellar to have a fight, but even his fight wasn't half as fun to watch as Mitchell's. If you are new to my blog....yes, I love everything about hockey, even the fights. It makes me stand up at my seat, yell and holler like a crazy woman....not sure why...but it does. Must be those hormones again...after all, next month I will be the big 5-0, and I must be going through some sort of metamorphosis of a mild mannered woman into this crazed, hockey fighting loving beast!!! Don't get me wrong, I do love the game as well and get quite into it. Four years ago, if you would asked me how many periods there in a hockey game....I would have said....I don't know, and I don't care.....thanks Mr H....(our first date was to a Hershey Bears game and things have not been the same for me ever since)

GAME II - vs the Binghamton Senators

Recovering from the loss of the previous night, Mr H and I suited up in our new hockey t shirts and once again headed off to the Giant Center. Feeling renewed and refreshed, I just knew we were gonna kick some butt tonight and beat the Senators once again. Well...the regulation game ended in a tie of 1-1. I will say this, Grubauer was an awesome goalie for his AHL debut and that three on five power play for Bingo was amazing! The way he moved around that net was just awesome and the comments behind us, from other season ticket holders were..."Look out Holtby, you might be going to Reading". I will admit I did chuckle about that. Another comment that was made later in the game was this...."Oates needs to go back to Washington." "We only need one coach"....hmmm..I thought about that one for a bit. Maybe there are too many chiefs??? Is he really adding anything to the team? After all, we have played 4 games so far and lost 3. Who knows...I just wish this NHL lockout would be over with and things just be as they should be. 
Back to tonight's game - we lost in OT with less than a minute to was a video review of whether or not the net was knocked off before the puck went in....I say this wholeheartedly - I wish we didn't have it. BUT, that is just me. Sometimes change is not good in my opinion. It gets too complicated when another factor is added on a decision. Maybe I am just a sore loser as if it was the other way around, I may be saying I LOVE THE VIDEO REPLAY TO DECIDE IF WE WON.....

So our weekend with the Bears was fun, yet disappointing. It is early! We have many more games to go and who knows....we may be celebrating this time next year on opening night some Calder Cup winners! 

My favorite players so far this season
Dany Sabourin - just because he is a nice guy and I do believe he tries his best. After all, he is not the only one back there....he does have a defense that needs to help.
Ryan Stoa - I think he is a great asset to the team with his speed and stick handling.
Garrett Mitchell - I liked him since last year and think he is an up and commer! He comes to each game ready to play hockey. 
Matt Clackson - will he be the enforcer this year ( I miss Recker )
Barry Almeida - he is pretty quick with his small stature (at least he looks small from where I sit) but I feel his speed and aggressiveness is an asset.
Jon DiSalvatore - he isn't afraid to shot at the net (much like Stoa) #14 has had 2 goals and 4 assists so far in the first four games. I like that!
Philip Grubauer - he can stay as back up or regular goalie - I like his hustle back and forth in the net (no offense Dany - I love you both as goalies) He proved a lot tonight at this game even though we lost, he really saved us in that 5 on 3. Very impressive! 

Actually, there isn't one player on the team that I really don't like or care for....they all have their assets and their quirks and to me, I think we have a sporting chance this year! 

So ends the 2012-2013 season home opener for the Hershey Bears....
Until next time....


Friday, October 5, 2012

Season Ticket Holder Night

The leaves are falling, the air is cooler, the days are getting shorter and to me, that means one thing....
Mr H and I trekked off to the Giant Center to pick up those ticket passes, buy a new wardrobe for the games and meet some of the players. Oh yes and to see some of the people we haven't seen since last spring. 

To my surprise, the first player I see is non other than Braden Holtby! I didn't even have my new shirt yet, and quickly went to the shop and bought the Mr and I two new chocolate and white shirts to have the players sign. Just for fun. 

Me and Mattias Sjogren. 

Players gearing up for the hardest shot competition. It was good to see Orlov again. 

Bubblegum blowing Tomas Kundratek actually won the competition. He had the winning speed of I believe 95 MPH. 

The new and improved, buff Coco is quite tall! Mr H said I look so small next to him. I said, I believe this is my favorite picture ever....haha. 

Dany Sauborin is really just the sweetest guy. While standing in line on the ice to get a pic and autograph on my shirts, he was told he had to go upstairs to section 104 and was dragged away from the line. There I stood, next in line and he looked over, put his hands up and said "Sorry".
So the Mr and I headed up off the ice and on the way, who do we see around the corner, but Sabby. He looks up, raises and eyebrow and smiles. He waited for me and said "I will not cut you off again."

We walked the rest of the way upstairs with him. Mr H said, I was like a stalker.....

Mike Carmen
I cropped my pic out of this one as my expression was not one I cared to share on the WWW.
Anyway, we had a great time once again at the Giant Center, meeting and greeting the players old and new. Hugging and chatting with other fans that we missed over the summer, Looking at all the new merchandise for Mr H, ok me, to spend my hard earned money on.....I was like a little kid in a candy store. I think I smiled all night long as I have come to love this game of hockey and the atmosphere that surrounds it. 
Mr H bought our tickets for Friday's and Sunday's preseason games and I CAN'T WAIT!