A look at the Calder Cup
Unfortunately the American Hockey League's championship series has been a little dwarfed by the Stanley Cup final this year, something that has become a repeat occurrence as the two league's titles overlap.
The Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens' affiliate) and Hershey Bears (Washington Capitals) are headed to Game 4 tonight in Steeltown, and the 'dogs have a 2-1 lead in the series. The biggest story so far from the match-up has been the strong play of rookie Carey Price, who jumped straight from the WHL to the Bulldogs with two games left in the regular season and hasn't missed a beat, starting every single playoff game.
The Canadiens' fifth-overall pick in 2005, Price became a household name when he lead the Canadian entry at the world junior championship to a gold-medal in Sweden this January.
I had the chance to talk yesterday with the Bulldogs coach, long-time NHLer Don Lever, about the team's run to the final, and also caught up with Hamilton veteran Ajay Baines for a little mini-feature.
He's a few years older than I am, but Ajay's a Kamloops kid and went to my high school. As the captain of the Kamloops Blazers in his final years of junior, he was one of those guys who pretty much everyone in my little hometown knew and remains incredibly popular back home.
I hadn't talked to him in probably 10 years before yesterday, but it's great to see he has made it in hockey despite the odds against him. And even though he might not get that elusive shot at the NHL, there's certainly nothing wrong with a long, productive AHL career.
It didn't hurt Don Cherry one bit.