Hello from Binghamton!
First, let’s begin with this morning’s roster moves:
Aaron Ness’ return was obvious once Taylor Chorney ended up in last night’s Caps lineup against the New York Islanders. It was announced as an emergency recall when he was called up in the first place.
Zach Sill’s return, not surprisingly, seems to have disappointed a lot of Caps fans. He has definitely been an asset in the NHL lineup, but is just one game away from having to clear waivers to return to Hershey if summoned again in the future.
Still having the need for an extra defenseman (Brooks Orpik is still out) and an extra forward (Marcus Johansson is still out), Connor Carrick and Paul Carey were recalled earlier today – well-deserved for both players.
Carrick had a heck of a month of two-way hockey in January and all of a sudden has risen to the top of the Bears’ lead in plus-minus (+18). Head coach Troy Mann said that – coupling that official plus-minus number with the coaching staff’s post-game rankings – Carrick has definitely been playing the best hockey of his season, if not of the last two seasons.
For Carey, he started to hit a stride in point production again, posting seven points (1-6-7) in his last six games. He impressed on his last recall and hopefully will get a shot again as the Caps head on the road starting tomorrow.
Two weeks ago at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena, the Bears got a player back from a three-month injury absence: forward Jakub Vrana. Tonight, another player makes a long-awaited return – one who hasn’t played since New Year’s Eve.
After 13 games’ worth of recuperation, Chandler Stephenson returns.
The original plan was described by Mann in a chat I had with him yesterday:
Since Sill was recalled, Stephenson did not skate after practice with assistant coach Bryan Helmer as Mann mentioned. Instead, he took regular line rushes with Liam O’Brien and Garrett Mitchell, the trio that had so much success in last spring’s playoff run.
And tonight he plays.
Will he play tomorrow again, in the game that was originally supposed to be his first? I would guess it all depends on tonight. But my gut says yes, he will.
Game notes for tonight’s contest against the Binghamton Senators are set here.
In case you don’t read them before finishing this post, how about the stat involving Dan Ellis? Two weeks ago, he stopped all 30 shots to become the first Hershey goaltender since Michal Neuvirth (3/27/09) to shut out Binghamton at the Veterans Memorial Arena.
Not a bad night. 47 saves for Neuvirth. The 19th goal of the season for Chris Bourque. (By the way, two weeks ago, Bourque scored his 19th goal of this season too. Check it out.)
And oh yeah… only the 52nd goal of Alexandre Giroux’s season….
Talk to you at 6:25.