We are at the tipping point in this whole sordid NHL lockout saga.
Last week, the NHLPA gave its executive board the green light to file a disclaimer of interest, a move that would essentially dissolve the union and enable the players to sue the NHL for anti-trust violations (ESPN).
If the NHLPA goes down that path a season that has been on the brink for what seems like forever could finally be lost.
So, what is a Washington Capitals fan to do? A season that held much uncertainty—but lots of promise—might now be over before it even began.
One thing Caps fans can do to satisfy, somewhat, their hockey craving is to start paying attention to the Caps' affiliate teams.
Perhaps the best known of the Caps affiliate teams is the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). The Bears own the distinction of being the longest continuously operating franchise in the AHL, having started play in 1938.
Not only have the Bears been around longer than the other AHL franchises, they are also the most successful, having won the coveted Calder Cup trophy 11 times. The Bears also have the most playoff appearances with 63.
Along the way, some very good coaches have called Hershey home, including Bryan Murray, Bob Hartley and Bruce Boudreau.
So if you are a Caps fan, you are sick of the lockout and just want to see some hockey played already, you could do worse than to try and catch a Bears game or learn a bit more about the team.
For those so inclined, consider this article an introduction of sorts to the Hershey Bears. It is always hard to really get an idea of what an AHL team is all about until a fan has a better understanding of the players on that team.
That is what this article is all about, to try and give Caps fans a better idea of some players on the Bears who are difference makers—and who might end up wearing Caps' jerseys someday.
Here now are seven players on the Bears that you need to know.