Back on the Bears Beat

After a long weekend of combine-combing in Toronto, I’m back on the Bears beat. More or less.

I’m not in Hamilton for tonight’s Game 3 as prior commitments dictated that I return to the States after the combine rather than make the short drive from Toronto to Hamilton. But I’ll at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton on Wednesday and Thursday for Games 4 and 5, respectively, and I will be taking in the action (and reporting on it afterwards) on the B2 tonight.

I’m hoping like hell this series doesn’t go seven, because I’ve got another commitment that would prevent me from making that tilt, which would be played on Fri. June 15 at Giant Center in Hershey if necessary. That date coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Bears’ Calder Cup-clinching contest in Milwaukee last year.

I’m thankful to Caps GM George McPhee and scouting director Ross Mahoney and the team’s entire scouting staff for allowing me to be a fly on the wall at the draft combine in Toronto over the weekend. They’ve afforded me such opportunities before, and I appreciate their trust and their patience as I tried to make sense of it all. I’ll be writing a very general recap of the combine process for washingtoncaps.com, a piece that should see the light of day by Tuesday. For those of you seeking insight as to who the Caps interviewed, who they’re looking to draft later this month, and whether they’ll trade the fifth pick, all I can tell you is to tune in then. I can’t and won’t divulge any “classified” info I picked up in Toronto.

But relax. Just so I don’t come across as such a tease, I have lined up some luminaries to discuss the upcoming draft at length. First, we’ll have a special edition of “The Capitals Report” (our weekly podcast on caps.com) on Monday, June 11 at 2 pm. Kyle Woodlief (chief scout/publisher) of Red Line Report will be joining us then. When we go live with the regularly scheduled edition of “The Capitals Report” on Wednesday, June 13 at 2 pm, we’ll be joined by a scout-to-be-named later from the International Scouting Service.

Those of you who listened in last year when we had Woodlief and an ISS scout on consecutive shows know how jam-packed with good draft information those editions were. The best part is that you can participate interactively by emailing your questions for the experts to capsreport@washcaps.com or by IMing us at “capitalsreport” on AOL IM. We got inundated with questions last year, so we’ll be going with the best of the bunch on the air.

Finally thanks to all of you for your patience with me in recent weeks. During some idle airport time I figured that I will have slept more nights in a hotel room than in my own bed in both May and June when all is said and done. I love going out and covering the game when the Caps aren’t playing anymore because it helps shorten the summer drastically. But there’s a price to be paid there, too. I haven’t had a weekend at home since Apr. 14-15, and won’t have one until the weekend after the draft. There’s an out-of-town family wedding (and I certainly hope that you can sense my excitement over that joyous occasion) in there, too, so not all the globetrotting has been hockey related.

Anyway, there is a light at the end of the tunnel now and most of the hockey-related travel is behind me. You’ll see this space updated more frequently from now on as we look ahead to the draft and the offseason, which really are fun and exciting times for hockey fans. And if you’re a Caps fan, there certainly is an even greater sense of anticipation this summer than in years past. We’ll start kicking some of that stuff around this week.

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