All Roads Lead From Chocolatetown: Spencer Carbery, The Hershey Bears, and the Washington Capitals’ Convergence of Youth

Photo: Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals’ hiring of former farmhand Spencer Carbery as the team’s newest Head Coach signified a new direction for the veteran-laden club, one that, assuming the offseason concludes without a major personnel move, looks set to be infused with wave of youth from the American Hockey League.

Carbery, 41, is the first bench boss in franchise history to be born after the Capitals’ inaugural 1974-75 season and is the first to have coached at all three professional levels of the organization. While the one-time left wing spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs, his return to Washington as the successor to Peter Laviolette seemed like the most natural transition for both team and coach.

Washington Capitals Introduce Spencer Carbery As Their 20th Head Coach In Franchise History

At the time that Carbery was named head coach of the Capitals, one of his former clubs, the AHL’s Hershey Bears, were in the midst of a playoff run that concluded with the Chocolate and White capturing their 12th Calder Cup championship; among the champions were a number of Carbery’s pupils during his stint as the Bears’ bench boss.

Now five years removed from their memorable Stanley Cup victory, the Caps are now in a transitional phase, with franchise great Alex Ovechkin under contract for three more seasons and in pursuit of a NHL record, and a number of other longtime lineup stalwarts approaching the end of their respective deals. While General Manager Brian MacLellan’s most notable acquisition this summer was free agent forward Max Pacioretty, the expected addition of some of the team’s younger prospects into the lineup has come at just the right time for the NHL club.

While major differences exists between the NHL and AHL, the grueling test of a deep postseason run may prove beneficial to the young Bears, a number of whom are likely to figure prominently in the conversation for spots in the Washington lineup come training camp; the likes of Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas, Joe Snively, and and Beck Malenstyn are among those with a shot at cracking the big club.

“I think my job coming in here”, said Carbery said during his introductory press conference in June, “We have a highly-motived group of veteran players…and we also have a group of players that it’s my job to bring along and integrate into that group…that to me is exciting.”

While the likes of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson (with ink just dry from his new, seven-year contract), T.J. Oshie, and John Carlson still figuring to be key players for the Caps, and a transitional phase no doubt bringing with it some bumps in the road, Carbery seems more than ready for the task ahead, particularly with his prior experience coaching a number of the team’s prospects, and a wave of future Capitals bringing with them a professional championship already under their belts makes for an exciting time in the history of the District’s favorite hockey team.

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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4 Responses to All Roads Lead From Chocolatetown: Spencer Carbery, The Hershey Bears, and the Washington Capitals’ Convergence of Youth

  1. Anonymous says:

    There’s so much talk about an infusion of youth. To me, an infusion of youth means more than one player and also players getting opportunities in the top 6 or 9. Hopefully, it’s possible Carberry gives the young guys a good look and displaces someone but without a trade there may only be a 4th line and extra forward slot. On D, there is nothing.

    • hockeydruid says:

      I agree with your definition of an infusion of youth. However it also means letting many of the older players go (Backy, Kuemper, Carlson, Oshie) and NOT signing people like Edmundson and Pacioretty!. I think that it also means that you stop handing out long term contracts (5 years or longer) to players over the age of 28 which only impedes the infusion of youth. As this team is NOT this year (just like it was not one last year) and most likely will NOT be a legitimate Cup contender for at least the next 5-7 years why not play as many of the younger players as possible. I’m sorry to say this folks however having Ovie break the scoring record at the detriment of the development of younger players is just silly on the part of the owner and GM and is nothing but an ego boost for the owner. IMHO if Ovie does not want to be here for a rebuild then he can voluntarily retire and forfeit his salary or ask for a trade and other than that he is getting paid to play on a team with a team and as he is not the HC or GM should have no say in who is on the team. I am hoping that Backy retires and Mantha becomes a healthy scratch almost every night unless he sets apace to score 35-40 goals this year. IMHO others that can go: Oshie, Eduondson, Carlson, Kuempre, Kuzy(more that he wants to go and is probably a cancer on this team and definitely not a good role model for younger players), Dowd (as much as I like him now is the time to trade him and get something and let a younger player play the 4C), Jensen and TVR. Sad though the Owner and GM somehow think that they have to spend all the salary cap every year on older players.

  2. novafyre says:

    The South Carolina Stingrays have resigned defenseman Connor Hall. Hall, 25, played 8 regular-season games for the Stingrays last season and tallied four points (1g-3a). He also played all six playoff games against the Florida Everblades. Before joining the Stingrays in March, Hall helped the University of New Brunswick Reds win their ninth national championship

    The Rays also signed Ryan Steele. Steele, 25, joins the Stingrays following a five-year college career with the Sacred Heart University Pioneers

  3. Prevent Defense says:

    28 days until Caps Rookie Camp
    Can’t happen fast enough

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