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Bears give security to Mann, coaching staff

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Bears give security to Mann, coaching staff

When the Capitals cleaned house last summer, new general manager Brian MacLellan stressed the importance of stability within the entire organization, including the AHL Hershey Bears.

On Friday Bears president and general manager Doug Yingst announced that had coach Troy Mann and assistant coaches Bryan Helmer and Ryan Murphy have been re-signed to multi-year contracts.

“We are very excited to bring our coaches back to lead the Hershey Bears after such a successful first season,” Yingst said.  “We look forward to watching our team grow even further under this staff next year.”

The contract extension is especially gratifying to Mann, who appeared to be in line for Hershey’s head coaching two years ago but saw that job go to Mike Haviland. When Haviland departed after one season in Hershey, the Bears reached out to Mann and hired him away from the ECHL Bakersfield Condors.

In his first season as head coach, Mann, 45, led the Bears to their first 100-point campaign since 2010-11. Hershey finished with a record of 46-22-5-3, locking up its first East Division title since 2009-10, earning the second seed in the Eastern Conference and becoming one of only four teams to reach 100 or more points. 

The Bears also finished tied for the fewest regulation losses at home [seven] and registered the second-most home wins [26] in the entire AHL under Mann. The Bears were eliminated in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Hershey along with our entire coaching staff,” Mann said. “We look forward to working toward taking the next step, following our very successful first season with the Bears.”

A native of Campbellton, New Brunswick, Mann first served as assistant coach to Mark French in 2009-10 and helped guide the Bears to a league-record 60-win season, its 11th Calder Cup championship and second title in as many years. 

As a player, Mann won the Kelly Cup championship as a member of the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1998-1999, playing for former Bears and Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau.

Helmer, 42, was instrumental in helping the Bears’ defensive corps.  Under Helmer’s watch, the Bears finished first in the AHL in overall penalty killing [87.5 percent] and fourth in overall goals against per game average [2.38]. A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Helmer first went behind the bench in 2013-14 as an assistant for the OHL Peterborough Petes. As a player Helmer served as captain of the Bears in 2009-10 season and is the American League’s all-time leader in points by a defenseman with 564 points [129 goals, 435 assists] in 1,117 games spanning in a 20-year career.

Helmer is also the AHL’s all-time leader in Calder Cup playoff appearances, having played in 159 postseason games. 

Murphy, 32, served as a video and special teams coach for the Bears last season, his first in the AHL coaching ranks. Murphy came to Hershey with Mann after serving as his Bakersfield Condors assistant in 2013-14. A native of Rumson, N.J., he played five seasons of pro hockey, including parts of five in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs, Hartford Wolf Pack and Peoria Rivermen. Prior to turning pro, Murphy played four years at Boston College.

MORE CAPITALS: TOM WILSON'S END OF SEASON REVIEW

 

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What does the future hold?

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What does the future hold?

In this week's mailbag podcast, JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir answer several questions about the Caps' prospects and Hershey.

How does the future look on the farm? Plus, they talk about potential weaknesses, their biggest surprises and more!

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Capitals Faceoff podcast: Barry Trotz has his work cut out for him

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Capitals Faceoff podcast: Barry Trotz has his work cut out for him

Barry Trotz is now the head coach of the New York Islanders, a team that missed the playoffs and just lost their franchise player. So how does next season look on Long Island?

In the long summer months, the Capitals Faceoff Podcast will take a look at some of the Caps' competition next season. In this episode, it's the New York Islanders. Brian Compton of NHL.com joins Rob Carlin and Tarik El-Bashir to talk about what Trotz brings to Long Island and what's left to work with.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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