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Somewhere out there, a few select members of the 2006-2007 Washington Capitals team are spending their summers on the golf course, secure in the knowledge that they have a guaranteed spot on next year’s roster. A good number of other players are likely checking the help-wanted ads. A handful of younger prospects, however, are currently in Hershey, Penn., where the Caps’ minor-league affiliate, the Hershey Bears, are gearing up for Game One of the AHL Calder Cup Finals against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Dating back to the beginning of last season’s AHL playoffs, the Calder Cup–defending Bears—-including Caps prospects Tomas Fleischmann, Chris Bourque, Mike Green, and Jeff Schultz—-have won seven playoff series in a row, tying an AHL record. Should the Bears win the championship again this year, they’ll set a new league record. Sure, it’s not a Stanley Cup. Or even a trip to the NHL playoffs. But at least the organization’s doing something right.
Caps fans eager to watch the AHL championship series on television are, of course, shit out of luck—-there’s little chance that Comcast SportsNet will cut into its already scheduled lineup of action-packed programs such as Fearless and Destination Wild to show the games. Last season, however, Caps owner Ted Leonsis was able to convince Comcast to air a tape-delayed broadcast of Cup-clinching game for the few rabid D.C.-area hockey fans who actually wanted to watch it. E-mail Leonsis and Comcast SportsNet to request they do the same, if not more, this time around. In the meantime, those really desperate for minor-league championship hockey, can pay six bucks to watch an online video broadcast through B2 Networks or listen to the online radio broadcast through the Bears’ Web site.