Good morning from the offices here at the Den.
It is never easy early in the season when you play your first stretch of three games in three days. But the Bears and Hartford Wolf Pack are doing just that today. Hartford started with a 4-3 win at Syracuse, and saw a two-game win streak snapped last night in their 3-2 overtime loss at the Giant Center.
Hershey won 1-0 at Utica on Friday, took the 3-2 decision yesterday and has already “won the weekend”, as head coach Troy Mann likes to say. Four out of a possible six points are in the can after a game that, honestly, had a very slow development to it. There was not too much crisp passing, there were a lot of fanned-on pucks, and no real emotion showed until the latter stages of the second period.
It’s another game whereby adrenaline will have to kick in for the players.
For me, yesterday was a complete whirlwind. Following the aura of seeing the 1980 Calder Cup champions right there on the ice, and following the big bomb dropped when president and GM Doug Yingst announced his retirement following this season, long-time friend of Hershey and a man who really needs no introduction was making his rounds along press row. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick ALWAYS has time for people. Always. When I opened the booth door and saw him talking to a few people, I found out that he was waiting to come and see me. He is truly the most kind-hearted celebrity I have ever known. After complimenting me on the pre-game video that Great Save Productions manufactured, and asked how I did it in one take, he found out about my TV weather days and how I did everything without a teleprompter. In a way only Doc can put it:
“You know, that’s a profession in which you can come into work dressed up as a dragon, or a clown… and nobody would think anything.”
And, on the impending retirement of Doc’s long-time friend Yingst:
“Come next summer, he might be an even bigger free agent than LA’s Anze Koptiar if HE doesn’t re-sign.”
Puck drops at 5:00 PM, radio pre-game at 4:20. See you here to #DefendTheDen.