Stingrays fall 4-3 in overtime in their home opener.
Birthday Boys in Hershey (March Edition)
March heralds the beginning of the Birthday Season in professional hockey. This time around, the Hershey Bears have three players who add another year in the first month of spring: Christian Hanson (3/10/86), Kevin Marshall (3/10/89), and Patrick McNeill (3/17/87). From the staff of Capitals Outsider, we wish them all a very Happy Birthday!
Since all three players hold 2-way contracts with the Washington Capitals, we also wanted to take a few minutes to make you a little more familiar with them. It helps to know who you might be cheering for, after all!
All three players on the March roster have the unfortunate luck of their birthdays falling on game days. Christian Hanson & Kevin Marshall share last Saturday’s loss in St. John, though Hanson stayed behind in Hershey while recovering from wrist surgery. Hanson, who has often centered the second or third line this year in Hershey, joined the organization last summer via free agency. He’s a college boy, having done 4 years at Notre Dame before turning pro and working his way through the ranks of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Caps fans should recognize him both from training camp and the 2011 Capitals Convention. He’s been sidelined since mid-February due to injury, and is not expected to be back in the lineup until late March.
Marshall was the second defenseman the Bears picked up in a trade this year (the first being Tomas Kundratek), part of the swapmeet that happened on Groundhog Day. He’s best known here at Caps Outsider for taking a puck to the face during his first home game as a Bear (and subsequently losing 2 teeth). He was acquired from the Adirondack Phantoms (farm team of the Flyers) in exchange for Matt Ford (F), less than a month after playing against the Bears in the Outdoor Classic. In addition to a shoot-out loss on his birthday, he now gets to face his former team on Friday. Here’s hoping that his teammates shelled out for the good liquor.
Patrick McNeill’s birthday falls appropriately on St. Patrick’s Day this year, which means he will get to spend the evening playing defense against the the visiting Albany Devils. Hershey being Hershey, he’ll also be wearing a specialty jersey in some shade of green. He’s the only one of the three to have multiple years left on his contract, signed with the club until 2013. He’s also a Calder Cup-winning veteran, having been with the Bears during their successful playoff runs in 2008-9 and 2009-10.
As it is that time of year, instead of doing entertaining gift suggestions we’re simply wishing the players good health and speedy recoveries. Oh, and that they finish the post-season with exactly as many teeth as they have now (we’re looking at you, Kevin Marshall!)