On Thursday, October 4, 2012, the Hershey Bears made the first round of cuts from training camp. The camp originally consisted of 43 players, which is more than usual partially due to the NHL lockout and the extra players that were assigned. There are now 31 players in the training camp. Fortunately, the players who were cut will get another chance with the Reading Royals, an ECHL team. The cuts come just one day after the Bears played their first game of the preseason. Unfortunately for fans of the Bears, the game ended with the Senators taking the victory by a score of 4-3.
On Wednesday, October 3, the team played an exhibition game against the Binghamton Senators. The Bears and Senators were evenly matched but the Senators got on the board first and had a 2-0 lead. The Bears made a comeback to tie the score 2-2 but the Senators were able to once again take the lead. Before the expiration of regulation time, the Bears got one more goal to make the score 3-3. Neither team managed to score in overtime so the game went to a shootout. Unfortunately, the Senators won the game. However, there is still plenty of time for the Bears to work out any kinks.
The NHL lockout is still going strong. Both the preseason games and the first two weeks of regular games have been cancelled and hockey fans may be tuning in to see the AHL games. One benefit of the lockout is that the AHL teams will be getting to use some of the NHL players and coaches. For the Hershey Bears, one big temporary addition will be Adam Oates. Oates is a new addition to the Washington Capitals. Oates will get the chance to help coach the Bears before the lockout ends and he rejoins the Capitals.
There can be little doubt that fans of the Hershey Bears are looking forward to seeing the regular season start on Saturday, October 13, 2012. It just might be a great year and, until the lockout ends, there could be a chance to see some NHL players on the roster for the Bears and other teams. The lockout might be beneficial to the AHL for a time, but it is still important that the NHL come to a decision. The AHL teams work closely with the NHL teams as affiliates and the AHL would ultimately be harmed by a long term or season long lockout.
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