Not a bad pre-season showing from the Chocolate and White, wouldn’t you say? Outscoring the opposition 13-3 collectively, allowing just one power play goal, having five players post three points or more, and not having one goaltender allow more than one goal: that pretty much sums up the exhibition schedule.
One observation: our coaches are going to be fantastic for the type of team that will take to the ice beginning this Saturday. And I LOVE the way head coach Mike Haviland managed the roster as the weekend progressed. He wanted to make sure our fans got a glimpse of as large a portion of our “opening night roster” as possible, by dressing such a team on home ice both Friday and Saturday. He originally said that he wanted to give our fans a reason to cheer again at home, knowing that the record at GIANT Center last season was not one about which to be proud. President/GM Doug Yingst addressed that notion when he introduced Haviland at his press conference back in June. And so far, all of the players in camp have bought in. That’s a great sign.
One more observation: assistant coach Ryan Mougenel is going to have quite the defense corps to manage as time passes, especially with Tyson Strachan having cleared waivers just days after Tomas Kundratek did. Dmitry Orlov is here now too. That makes it very difficult to define a “top six”. The Bears have 11 defensemen on their current roster, who could very easily make up a second very good team..
As it stands, the Bears have 29 players, with the opening night roster due in to the AHL offices on Thursday, October 3. With all the competing going on, and with Reading opening camp this weekend, there may not be much more movement before Saturday’s season opener. The Bears will have 30 if Joel Rechlicz clears waivers at noon today.
Dane Byers, who is a strong candidate for the Bears’ captaincy this season, stopped by the offices this morning and is about as excited to get going as any veteran I’ve ever seen – all smiles and thrilled to be playing more steadily. He was a lower-role player in Oklahoma City last season prior to his acquisition for defenseman Garrett Stafford, due to the crop of talent playing in the Sooner State during the NHL lockout. It’s just awesome to see players with that attitude before the season starts.
And he wasn’t the only one.
T-minus six days until opening night. Got your tickets???