Greetings From Boston
Just a few minutes after we got into Boston and got settled into the hotel here, a few of us headed down to the lobby to rent a vehicle and set out for Worcester where the Hershey Bears were visiting the Sharks on Wednesday night. While we were waiting for the vehicle to arrive, we spotted (you can’t miss him, actually) Yao Ming. The Houston Rockets were in town to take on the Celtics last night, and they stayed at the same hotel where the Caps are ensconced. Some other members of our traveling party went over to the Garden to take in the Rockets-Celts contest.
Me, I’m not much for basketball. And if there is a way to work a hockey game into an off night, I’ll do it. So George McPhee, Bruce Boudreau, Ian Anderson and myself headed out to Worcester’s DCU Center and arrived in plenty of time to catch up with Bears coach Bob Woods, new Bears assistant coach Mark French, radio play-by-play voice John Walton, trainer Dan “Beaker”Stuck and equipment manager Justin Kullman.
The crowd was sparse, to put it kindly. And the game itself wasn’t much, either. The Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead before Chris Bourque (the best Hershey skater on the ice this night) notched a short-side, shorthanded goal to draw the Bears within one early in the second period. The smallish and depleted Bears defense had a hard time handling ex-Bear Graham Mink down low all night, and he restored the Sharks’ two-goal lead at 4:11 of the second.
At this point, Woods pulled starting goaltender Davis Parley in favor of Daren Machesney. And Machesney continued his run of solid goaltending, stopping all 19 shots he faced the rest of the way. Although he took a deflected shot directly to the mask and also got cracked in the head with a stick at one point, Machesney was money.
Machesney is 9-2-1 this season, and his 1.94 goals against average and his .933 save pct. both lead the league. He and Bourque were Hershey’s best players, but too many of the Bears’ best players were missing on Wednesday. Hershey now heads to Hartford where it will take on the Wolf Pack on Friday night.
After a fitful night of sleep – thanks to the loud howling and whistling of the wind outside my window – I headed downstairs for some coffee this morning. As we headed out the hotel door, we got a rude awakening that didn’t involve caffeine: single-digit temperatures backed with the same ass-kicking wind that kept me up during the night. Even some of the hearty Canadian prairie boys were taking a beating from the hawk here this morning.
So now we’re at the rink here, and the Caps have just finished the morning skate. Olie Kolzig will be in goal tonight. The rest of the team will line up thusly:
We’ll be teeing up the weekly Capitals Report podcast a day late today, coming on live at 2 p.m. More then.