On March 13th, it was announced that the Washington Capitals were reassigning defenseman Madison Bowey to the American Hockey League, after he played in the NHL for 51 games this season. Although this may not have been Bowey’s favorite thing to hear, it is great news for the Hershey Bears.
This old, familiar face made his season debut in the chocolate and white on Friday evening in a win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He made his offensive presence known by tacking on a primary assist to Liam O’Brien’s third period goal. The next day, against the Springfield Thunderbirds, Bowey had yet another strong game. In roughly 17 minutes of ice time, the most of any Bears defenseman, Madison tallied two assists, took five shots, and delivered one hit against the Thunderbirds. Although that stat line may not seem overly impressive, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Bowey was by far the best player on the ice, between both teams. The little things that he was able to do, like skating the puck out of the zone, making clean breakout passes, getting shots to the net, and showcasing impressive speed helped make him stand out amongst all of the players.
It’s obvious that the Bears have sorely missed Bowey this season, as they sit at seventh place in the Atlantic Division. The Bears won two out of three games during their weekend stretch, with much thanks going to Bowey’s strong play. The Bears seemed energized by having one of their old defensemen back; everybody seeming to skate quicker, and receive passes better. It’s a great feeling having one of your best players back, but the Bears shouldn’t get used to it – chances are that Bowey will be on the Capitals roster again next year, and the Bears will have to find a way to manage without him. Regardless, the Bears should be thankful of their time with him right now. With a fairly young and inexperienced defensive group, new players like Connor Hobbs, Jonas Siegenthaler, and Lucas Johansen may be able to learn something from the grizzled 22-year-old veteran.
Even though Madison played 51 games in the NHL this season, that doesn’t mean he’s the perfect defenseman. With the NHL regular season coming to a close and playoffs starting up, it seemed that Madison was going to be the Capitals seventh defenseman moving in to the postseason. Rather than having him sit, not seeing NHL action for weeks, Caps general manager Brian MacLellan decided it was better for Bowey to come down to the AHL, see constant action, and keep developing. With the AHL season also coming to a close, the Bears can continue to make strides in the right direction, with the help of their old friend and great defenseman, Madison Bowey.