With a bye in the first round of the 2023 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs, the Hershey Bears had a couple of days off following their 6-4 victory over Lehigh Valey in their season finale on Saturday. The team returned to workouts on Tuesday, but still don’t know who they will face in their second-round playoff series opener.
The Bears are still awaiting results from the first round best-of-three series to find out who they will face in their second round best-of-five series, which is expected to begin around April 26-28.
Regardless of the extended hiatus, Thursday was media day for the Bears where Connor McMichael discussed the long layoff between games.
“There’s for sure some pros and cons. I think the way that our team is looking at it is, it’s a good thing for us. Rest up our legs a little bit and kinda refresh our minds before we head into the playoffs,” said McMichael. “I think our team’s got a pretty good mentality right now. We’re dealing with the cards we’ve been dealt, and I think we’re doing a really good job.”
With the Washington Capitals missing the playoffs this season, the Bears roster is stacked and could be considered one of the best in the AHL postseason, if not the best. McMichael believes the team’s confidence is riding high.
“I think we’re a really confident team right now. Obviously we had a really good regular season. It’s something that we’re looking to bring another championship back to Hershey. I think we got a really good group of guys and staff that can help us lead the way.”
McMichael, who finished his AHL regular season with 16 goals and 23 assists in 57 games and was 6th on the team points per game average is looking to add to his brief postseason resume. McMichael played in four playoff games with the Capitals last season and 11 postseason games with the London Knights in the OHL at the end of the 2018-19 season, but that’s it. Still, McMichael feels that the primetime is his time.
“I think it’s something that I excel in, honestly. When the games get bigger, I feel like I perform better. I’m really excited for the playoffs. I haven’t really had too many playoff games in the past four or five years or so. It’s really exciting times, especially when you have a group like this, it doesn’t come around too often. Just looking to prove myself.”
The Bears will face the higher seed of the first round winners between the (#3) Charlotte Checkers vs (#6) Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the (#4) Springfield Thunderbirds vs. (#5) Hartford Wolf Pack. Lehigh Valley and Hartford currently lead their best-of-three series, 1-0.
By Jon Sorensen
To ME… he has been a disappointment, his OHL days he was VERY dominant, his numbers now seem almost pedestrian in Hershey this year. Just my opinion.
16 goals plus 23 assists equals……..
It’s a fair point, but he’s still developing. Too early for a verdict, but right now he is fringe.
It’s not a fair point. For high-end talent, the OHL is a place to showcase skills to earn draft status. The AHL is a developmental league to prepare players to play up and down the lineup, something CMM didn’t really do in the O.
He’s not lying, he rose to the occasion for Team Canada and while at London. Now can he do the same in AHL. I like that his confidence is starting to show once again.
Agree on the confidence point. It’s good to see that side of him again. He seemed to have lost quite a bit over the last 12 months, and he thrives on it.
Fully agree on his confidence right now. He and Snively have some great chemistry going on too. That has to bode well for the Caps next year.
About last night:
– Charlotte Checkers checked-in and survived in 2OT against Lehigh Valley. Bears fans watching closely
– TOR evened-up series vs TBL after Cernak and Hedman injuries. TBL always has the statistical nod in a playoff series, but injuries add a “X” factor
– NJD looks like a bunch of little girls against the grizzled veteran Rangers. All those stylish, shinny-like fancy offensive plays from the 52-win regular season don’t work well in a Playoff environment against meaner opponent
Didn’t like this matchup for NJ. Got to learn playoffs are different. They are not built for a cup run.
I watched the first overtime between LV and Charlotte, but with their history (they went 5 overtime’s in a recent playoff history) I bailed to get to other things.
Good Day NovaCapsFans! A request for analysis from Jon and Analysts:
Mike Vogel has weighed-in on the Caps’ upcoming coaching hunt. It’s a main article on NHL.com and elsewhere with the theme of “Looking for Mr. Right.” 19 April 2023.
Mr. Vogel’s articles are always well-researched and insightful. Even as a “homer” on the payroll I’ve always liked the Vogel “take” on Caps’ things. He reminds us of the curious Caps’ transitions from G. McPhee and Ron Wilson to Oates and Cassidy and Hunter and the several GMBM hires.
Please let us know what you think! This is a crucial set of decisions for the Franchise — and for the sanity of its fans!
Greetings “Prevent”, happy Friday! We will ponder for best way to assess. Good idea. 👍👊
As a Bear’s fan, I would rather play the winner of the (5) Hartford v (4) Springfield matchup before what we all assume will be the collision in the third round with Providence. Also, for those who don’t know, AHL playoffs can have very weird schedules, if Charlette survives game 3, it would be more than likely a 2-3 series, meaning Hershey for being the #2 seed would only be guaranteed one home game in the playoffs (Game 3).
With you on this “Anon”. Also agree AHL playoffs are a unique animal.