Admirals Set To Send Nine To Nashville

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

I had first heard that this was in the cards last night from a reliable source. During tonight’s broadcast Aaron Sims just announced it. There will be nine members of the Milwaukee Admirals joining the Nashville Predators camp after tonight’s game against the Chicago Wolves comes to an end: Colton Sissons, Viktor Arvidsson, Rich Clune, Austin Watson, Anthony Bitetto, Joe Piskula, Johan Alm, Magnus Hellberg, and Marek Mazanec. The Predators are currently in Chicago with their playoff series against the Blackhawks shifted there for games three and four.

When this news becomes official, of if changes are made with the news, I will provide an update to this story.

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Jordan Binnington has been scary good against the Milwaukee Admirals this season. Should he start in net can the Admirals finally hang a loss to his name in this year’s Amtrak Rivalry? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

It has come down to this. Tonight is the Milwaukee Admirals 2014-15 season finale. Sad, but I don’t think the mentality of the team is down in the dumps about it. If anything, there should be a big fat chip on everyone’s shoulders in regards to how the season faded away and how last night’s game summed it all up.

The Amtrak Rivalry has already been decided. The Chicago Wolves won the Amtrak Trophy with a 7-2-2-0 record against the Admirals this season. That doesn’t mean there isn’t something to play for though. These two teams have exchanged plenty of barbs from start to finish and I don’t anticipate this contest to be any different. The Wolves want to enter the playoffs on a high note. The Admirals want to end the season with a win to take some of the bitterness away from how things have spiraled. There shouldn’t be any easing up from either of these two teams.

~Short & Sweet~

The Wolves enter tonight’s game with a record of 39-28-6-1 (85 points). They currently have the exact same record as the Toronto Marlies but hold the seventh seed over the Canadian side courtesy of regulation/overtime wins. That all goes away should the Wolves drop points with the surging Marlies bagging more though.

Speaking of dropping points, last night the Wolves lost on the road to the Rockford IceHogs by the final score of 4-3. You know how in Chatterbox I mentioned how nice it would be to have that two-goal cushion? That is precisely what the IceHogs had last night, twice in fact, to help them get past the Wolves.

Should the current standings in the Western Conference hold the Wolves would be in an opening round match-up with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Those Griffins are currently on a run of 8-2-0-0 in their last ten games. Though, I can’t say the alternative as the eighth seed is any better. In the Utica Comets last ten games they’ve gone 7-1-1-1.

~Jake Allen 2.0~

There was a guy named Jake Allen who it felt like could do no wrong against the Milwaukee Admirals last season. Remember him? He went  7-0-0-2 against the Admirals in 2013-14 with a  1.51 goals against average, 0.939 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. There’s probably a reason why he won last year’s Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award and is starting in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs for the St. Louis Blues. I just can’t quite put my finger on it though.

This season there has been this kid named Jordan Binnington who has stepped up to fill that Allen void and all he has done in the Amtrak Rivalry is win every single one of his six starts in net while sporting a 1.81 goals against average and 0.931 save percentage. Interestingly enough, despite how dominant he has been, he hasn’t managed to shutout the Admirals. He has held the Admirals to a lone goal three times this season including the last time he squared off while stopping 39/40 shots on goal.

If last night’s game and this season’s head-to-head are anything to go on I feel as if Binnington is a lock to start in net tonight. Not only does he have the Admirals number but Matt Climie, who was yanked from net after stopping 16/19 shots on goal last night in Rockford, has never done all that well against the Admirals historically. For the Admirals to solve Binnington they’ll need to do just about exactly the same as they did last time they faced him. Get pucks to the net and make him work. He could be brilliant as he was that night but you’d never know if you don’t test him and try for rebounds.

~Moving Pieces~

There are some shake-ups to the Wolves since the Admirals last saw them. Ty Rattie is currently up with the Blues during their playoff run and that has brought in not so like-minded replacement Cody Beach from the Alaska Aces of the ECHL. Rattie is third on the Wolves in scoring and second in goals: 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists). Beach, on the other hand, has 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists) and a whopping 203 penalty minutes. Think that sounds like a lot of penalty minutes? Amusingly enough, Beach isn’t even in the league’s top five for penalty minutes this season.

The Blues first round selection of the 2014 NHL Draft, Robby Fabbri, has also recently joined the Wolves. He had just finished up his junior playing season with the Guelph Storm of the OHL. This past season he tallied 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists) in 30 games. He was fourth on the team in scoring but, with less games on his ledger, had the best points per game on the entire team with a 1.70. The next closest in points per game on Guelph’s team this season was team scoring leader Tyler Bertuzzi with 1.44 points per game.

Expectations for the Milwaukee Admirals season finale? Are there certain players who you feel need to put one last stamp down before the season ends? Who could be playing their last game as a member of the Admirals tonight?

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in Chatterbox | 1 Comment

The Chatterbox, Vol. 80

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Good Guy Joe Piskula always smiling for ceremonial puck drops. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Last night was the final home game of the Milwaukee Admirals 2014-15 season and, sadly, it ended the way so many games have lately. I think the single most frustrating thing with this late season tailspin has been that there are many positives done in-game by the team but a few bad breaks or bounces have gone against them. For all the positives mustered up they are nullified thanks to the result and rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat. It has been a never ending cycle which will hopefully end with one last hurrah before the season officially ends.

When looking back on last night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Marlies the third period was everything. How much different is that game if the Admirals can gain a two-goal cushion in the third period rather than get back into the nervous cycle of holding to a one-goal lead? It’s happened so often late this season where that has taken place and the Admirals lose out on a regulation win because they can’t get that extra goal to take some tension out of the group.

Instead of that insurance goal for the Admirals there was an equalizer for the Marlies. I’m not even going to lie to you folks. When that goal happened my first reaction was, “why is the goal light on?” I was certain the puck landed on the side netting and Magnus Hellberg was just gloving it down. Nope. Perhaps any other season that’s the case but not this one. That flukey shot went in off of Hellberg on the near post where there was almost zero space for a puck to go in… almost zero space.

What more can you say? The end to this season has been full of games like last night. It’s been wild. It really has been. That’s not to say that the negatives completely stain the positives this season but it always comes back to the results. The Admirals went 16-16-2-4 on home ice this season. Only the Norfolk Admirals, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and Iowa Wild were worse at home this season. The 38 points on home ice this season for Milwaukee was down 15 points from last season alone. When you have as many regulation defeats as you do wins at home? That’s never acceptable. I think the entire team is fully aware of that and that’s why my hopes for next season are high for a big turn-around.

After the game ended I did my darndest to get interviews before the deafening sound of Slaughter and Great White took to the stage. I’m not sure if the audio on my recorder came off poorly or if I’m just bad of hearing from the concert while editing the audio. I spoke with Dean Evason, Rich Clune, Anthony Bitetto, and was lucky enough to snag Brendan Leipsic before he and the Marlies took to the road. Here is what they all had to say after the game.

Continue reading

Posted in Chatterbox | 2 Comments

Milwaukee Admirals Lose Home Finale 3-2 in OT

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Anthony Bitetto recorded his fourth goal of the season in tonight’s Milwaukee Admirals home finale. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals lost 3-2 in overtime against the Toronto Marlies Friday night. In the final home game of the Admirals 2014-15 season things went as they have lately. The Admirals showed some spurts of genius but ultimately couldn’t get a two-goal lead and fell in overtime. The Marlies have now locked up the AHL Western Conference playoff picture by securing their place tonight.

The Marlies opened up the scoring in the closing seconds of an abbreviated power-play opportunity. Rich Clune was called for a holding penalty to end the Admirals power-play and William Nylander’s twelfth goal of the season came moments later. Matt Frattin and Byron Froese wheeled along the end board and Froese passed out from the left wing side of the net to the on-rushing Nylander. Magnus Hellberg made the initial save with his glove but the puck fell free and Nylander scored on his own rebound.

In the second period Anthony Bitetto scored his fourth goal of the season to level things up at 1-1. Frederick Gaudreau passed off from the low left wing for Bitetto as he skated in from the right point. Bitetto controlled and then snapped a wrister in on goal that deflected off of Greg McKegg’s stick and past his goaltender Antoine Bibeau.

The Admirals took the lead on a power-play goal from Viktor Arvidsson. Pontus Aberg’s initial shot from the low right wing half wall deflected off the net front screen of Austin Watson and back into the path of Arvidsson sitting on the left wing faceoff dot. He hammered a slap shot past Bibeau for his twenty-first goal of the season.

In the closing seconds of the second period, T.J. Brennan engaged Clune in a verbal spat that escalated with Clune getting called for a roughing minor with Brennan ducking a physical altercation. When the second period horn sounded Mike Liambas and Frazer McLaren were jawing each other to pieces and finally threw off various bits of their hockey attire to throw down. The officials were having none of this and prevented a fight from happening but not without more words and a few punches thrown through striped shirts. Both received game misconducts for the altercation.

Just past the halfway point of the third period the Marlies equalized at 2-2 after a goal by Sam Carrick. A loose puck to the blocker side of Hellberg was given a wild swipe by Carrick and the shot somehow alluded the big Swede in net and found its way in for Carrick’s ninth goal of the season. The general reaction of the play was mute as the goal light went on but no one really reacted to the shot. It was only officially called a goal after video review.

This game would spill into overtime and the three-on-three portion. Toronto would cap off the Admirals home finale by burying a wing-to-wing feed from Nylander to Brendan Mikkelson that was buried on the right wing back post of Hellberg for Mikkelson’s ninth goal of the season. The win for the Marlies secured their spot in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Ramblings: The Milwaukee Admirals were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday night when the Toronto Marlies defeated the Iowa Wild 5-2. It ends a run of twelve straight playoff seasons for the Admirals in the AHL. This will be the first season without playoff hockey in Milwaukee since the Admirals debut season to the AHL of 2001-02. The Admirals roster moves since last Friday included: Kevin Fiala being recalled to the Nashville Predators, Garrett Noonan being recalled to the Admirals from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, Gary Steffes being released from his PTO contract to rejoin the Allen Americans in the ECHL for their playoff run, and Scott Ford also being released from his PTO contract to rejoin the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL for their playoff run. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Felix Girard (out for the season), Miikka Salomaki (out for the season), and Jimmy Oligny (healthy).

Thoughts on tonight’s game? Do you feel the team looked any different without the pressure of getting into the playoffs on their backs? Who do you feel played their last game in Milwaukee as a member of Admirals tonight?

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in Game Recaps | 7 Comments

Brian O’Neill Named 2014-15 AHL MVP

(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III // Icon Sportswire)

(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III // Icon Sportswire)

This year’s Les Cunningham Award has just been announced and Brian O’Neill of the Manchester Monarchs has won the distinction as the 2014-15 AHL MVP. O’Neill currently leads the AHL in scoring and assists on the league’s top team this season.

Press Release via AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that right wing Brian O’Neill of the Manchester Monarchs has been voted the winner of the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player for the 2014-15 season.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

O’Neill has scored 22 goals and leads the AHL with 56 assists and 78 points in 69 games heading into the final weekend of the regular season. His plus-28 rating leads all AHL forwards and ranks second overall, and he is tied for the league lead with 26 power-play points. Powered by O’Neill, the Monarchs are third in the league in offense (3.19 goals per game) and first in power-play efficiency (21.0 percent), and have clinched their first Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular-season points champions. O’Neill has strung together three separate scoring streaks of at least seven games each this season, and his five-assist night at Portland on Dec. 17 established AHL season highs for both assists and points in a game. He was selected to participate in the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic but missed the event due to injury, and last week was voted a Second Team AHL All-Star.

A 26-year-old native of Yardley, Pa., O’Neill has steadily and dramatically improved his offensive numbers over his three professional seasons; he put up 15 points as a rookie in 2012-13 and tallied 47 points a year ago. O’Neill, who played four seasons at Yale University and finished as the second-highest scorer in school history, signed as a free agent with Los Angeles on Mar. 15, 2012, and has totaled 52 goals, 90 assists and a plus-60 rating in 190 career AHL games, all with Manchester.

The AHL’s most valuable player award honors the late Les Cunningham, a member of the AHL Hall of Fame who was a five-time league All-Star and three-time Calder Cup champion with the Cleveland Barons. Previous winners of the Les Cunningham Award include Carl Liscombe (1948, ’49), Johnny Bower (1956, ’57, ’58), Fred Glover (1960, ’62, ’64), Mike Nykoluk (1967), Gilles Villemure (1969, ’70), Doug Gibson (1975, ’77), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Ross Yates (1983), Paul Gardner (1985, ’86), Tim Tookey (1987), Jody Gage (1988), John Anderson (1992), Don Biggs (1993), Derek Armstrong (2001), Jason Spezza (2005), Darren Haydar (2007), Keith Aucoin (2010), Cory Conacher (2012), Tyler Johnson (2013) and Travis Morin (2014).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2014-15 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Marlies: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

This is Brendan Leipsic. He was great in his brief time with the Milwaukee Admirals. Then he was traded in a package deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tonight marks his first game in the BMO Harris Bradley Center since February 13th. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday night. So what’s left to play for? For starters, why not get some revenge against the team that swept the Admirals out of last season’s playoffs and prevented them from getting into this season’s playoffs?

~I Play For Keeps~

The Toronto Marlies enter tonight’s game with a record of 37-27-9-0 (83 points). Their mission is simple. Win tonight and they punch their playoff ticket to lockout the Eastern Conference.

First things first, because I have to point a finger at something I find incredible this late in the season, the Marlies have not lost in the shootout this season. There are only two other teams in the entire league that can say the same: Syracuse Crunch and Hamilton Bulldogs. The Marlies won their only shootout of the season while the Chicago Wolves lost their one and only shootout this season and the Bulldogs -still- have yet to play in a shootout. The Admirals… *sad violin* have played in eight shootouts this season and lost six times.

In the Marlies last ten games they have gone 7-3-0-0 including wins in their last four straight games. During the four game win streak they have outscored teams 20-8 with a power-play that has gone 6/16. The game they played on Tuesday night in Iowa was the first first penalty-free game in the AHL in more than three years. You’d have to go back to the 2011-12 season when a team named the Peoria Rivermen played the Grand Rapids Griffins.

~Him Again~

Brendan Leipsic will play against his former-teammates tonight for the first time since he was traded by the Nashville Predators back in mid-February. I had made mention of it. The date in which he was traded, paired with the season ending injury to Miikka Salomäki, really signaled the beginning of the end to the Admirals 2014-15 season. Ever since those two left the fold the Admirals have gone 4-14-4-2.

How has Leipsic done since the trade to Toronto? It seems to be a tale of three different parts. At first, Leipsic hit the ground running. He scored points in five of his first six games as a member of the Marlies, 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists), but then went on a cold spell. Leipsic went the next thirteen games with only an assist to his name. It’s the current form that he is on that made him this week’s CCM/AHL Player of the Week. In his last five games he has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists) – including a hat trick performance against the Adirondack Flames.

~Him Again, Too!~

T.J. Brennan was part of a trade that took him from the Rockford IceHogs and brought him back to the Marlies – with whom he won the Eddie Shore Award with last season as the AHL’s top defenseman. The man he was traded for was Spencer Abbott who has since exploded for 21 points (12 goals, 9 assists) in 17 games. It wasn’t a bad deal, mind you. Brennan’s points per game with Toronto (0.67) is better than it was in Rockford (0.75).

In my time following Brennan in the AHL he is nearly more of a forward than a defenseman. He actively steps up from the point and gets involved on the offense and, in his time with the IceHogs, was punishing the Admirals by doing just that: 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) in 11 games. I would expect more of the same from him up and down the left side of the ice.

With the playoff pressure off now, how do you expect the Admirals to play tonight against the Marlies? To you, what are the Admirals playing for in these last two games of the season?

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in Scouting | 2 Comments

Matt Murray Named AHL Goalie of the Year

(Photo Credit: WBS Penguins)

(Photo Credit: WBS Penguins)

It wasn’t all that surprising when netminder Matt Murray of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins claimed the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding rookie for the 2014-15 season. Perhaps then it shouldn’t be surprising that Murray has also taken this season’s Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award and the league’s top goaltender as well.

Press Release via AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Matt Murray of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been voted the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2014-15 season.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

A 20-year-old rookie, Murray has helped the Penguins clinch their 13th consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs, and is a big reason why Wilkes-Barre/Scranton leads the league in team defense (2.11 goals per game). Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Murray owns a record of 25-9-3 in 39 appearances, and his 1.51 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and 12 shutouts not only lead the league in 2014-15, they also all represent the second-best marks in the 79-year history of the AHL.

Murray set an AHL record for longest shutout streak by a goaltender when he held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opponents off the scoreboard for 304 minutes and 11 seconds between Feb. 8 and Mar. 8, a stretch that included four consecutive shutout victories. Murray is an impressive 13-3-3 on the road this season, and since the All-Star break overall, he is 15-2-1 with 17 goals allowed and nine shutouts in 18 starts.

Murray, a native of Thunder Bay, Ont., was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was named a First Team AHL All-Star and the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie, and becomes just the second rookie in the last 20 years to win the Baz Bastien Award.

The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Corey Hirsch (1993), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Michael Leighton (2008), Cory Schneider (2009), Jonathan Bernier (2010), Niklas Svedberg (2013) and Jake Allen (2014).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2014-15 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.

The winner of the 2014-15 Les Cunningham Award (most valuable player) will be announced Friday.

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Max Görtz Set For North America Next Season

(Photo Credit: Jan Wiriden)

You know what I think the Milwaukee Admirals need? *looks at roster* Another Swede! (Photo Credit: Jan Wiriden)

Some interesting news coming out of the late night hours as it pertains to next season. According to Henrik Leman of GT in Sweden, Nashville Predators prospect Max Görtz is leaving Frölunda of the Swedish Hockey League for North American hockey in the 2015-16 season.

Görtz had signed his entry level contract with the Predators in early-June last summer. Rather than join the likes of fellow Swedes Pontus Åberg, Johan Alm, and Viktor Arvidsson as first year North American pros Görtz was loaned back to his SHL outfit Frölunda for the entirety of the 2014-15 season. He produced his best senior team season of his career with 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 53 games as well as 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) in 12 playoff games. Downside? His season did end with him being taken off on a stretcher in Frölunda’s semi-final against the Växjö Lakers.

It’s not clear whether or not this means Görtz would be set to join the Milwaukee Admirals next season. If his aim is to shoot for an NHL spot in camp he’s going to have plenty of competition. The Predators already added Steve Moses after he finished a season with Jokerit in Russia’s KHL in which he led the league in goal scoring with 36 goals in 60 games – and 5 goals in 10 playoff games. Plus, I hear there is this kid named Kevin Fiala somewhere. He should be pretty good.

Should Görtz do what he did last season, opting to reject AHL hockey in favor of returning to Sweden, I think it would be a real shame for both himself and Milwaukee. He is incredibly talented but I think will need the time to adapt to the North American game in the same way his fellow countryman have this season. He could pull an Arvidsson and just fit right in or an Åberg and struggle to find his consistency. The difference between Åberg and Görtz for the 2015-16 season? Aberg has already learned from lots of mistakes that he’s experienced thanks to the speed of the North American pro game. Görtz hasn’t yet. And I think he should if he is ever going to make a dent in the NHL.

Will Max Görtz be a member of the Milwaukee Admirals next season? Do you think developing in Europe is better suited for certain players than developing in the AHL? If so, why?

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Admirals Release Scott Ford from PTO Contract

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Scott Ford was brought in late in the Admirals 2014-15 season in the hopes to add his veteran leadership. With the playoffs now out of the future plans for the Admirals it is time for Ford to return to his ECHL club to have a post-season. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

According to the AHL transactions page, the Milwaukee Admirals have parted ways with veteran defenseman Scott Ford. There hasn’t been any official statement made in regards to this roster move from the team but perhaps that will come in the morning.

Ford was the Admirals all-time leader in AHL games played until Mark Van Guilder topped him this season. Van Guilder has played 381 games for the Admirals over the course of seven different seasons. Ford has played 378 games with the Admirals -also- over the course of seven different seasons.

I suspect that Ford, like Gary Steffes before him, is set to join his previous ECHL team for the start of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The Admirals playoff hopes are no more. Both were effectively here on loan to help give the team a boost. Now the time has come to give them an opportunity to play more games and crucial ones at that in a playoff environment.

Steffes recorded power-play goal in the Allen Americans’ opening win yesterday and has scored again tonight. In total competitions, Steffes has scored 50 goals for his 2014-15 campaign.

Should Ford be joining his ol’ ECHL team the release Wednesday night allows him to get back just in time for the South Carolina Stingrays playoff opener on Friday night. I’d expect that to be the case and, I don’t know about you, but with no Cincinnati Cyclones in the playoffs I’m desperately pulling for a 2015 Kelly Cup Final that pits the Americans (Steffes) against the Sringrays (Ford).

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in News | 1 Comment

Mike Stothers Named AHL’s Coach of the Year

(Photo Credit: Union Leader)

(Photo Credit: Union Leader)

The AHL has announced this year’s winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award for the league’s most outstanding coach for the 2014-15 season. This year’s recipient is Mike Stothers of the AHL’s top team this season the Manchester Monarchs.

Press Release via AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Mike Stothers of the Manchester Monarchs has been voted the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2014-15 season. The award is voted on by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

In his first season with Manchester, Stothers has guided the Monarchs to the AHL’s regular-season points title with three games still remaining. The Monarchs’ 48-16-6-3 record (.719) leaves them one point shy of securing the highest single-season points percentage in franchise history, and they will enter the Calder Cup Playoffs as the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Manchester ranks third in the AHL in offense (3.19 goals per game) and second in defense (2.29), as well as first on the power play (21.0 percent). Under Stothers’ guidance, forwards Brian O’Neill and Jordan Weal are two of the top three scorers in the entire league this season, Colin Miller has emerged as one of the AHL’s top young defensemen, and Jean-Francois Berube and Patrik Bartosak have forged one of the AHL’s most successful goaltending tandems. The Monarchs have been in first place in the Atlantic Division since Nov. 16 and have lost consecutive games in regulation only once all season (Oct. 25-31).

Stothers, 53, joined the Los Angeles Kings organization on July 1, 2014, as the fourth head coach in Monarchs history following three seasons as head coach of Moose Jaw (WHL). In the AHL, Stothers spent one season as head coach of the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2007-08, and was an assistant with the Hershey Bears (1994-96) and Philadelphia Phantoms (1996-2000), winning a Calder Cup championship in 1998. Stothers was also an assistant coach in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. As a player, Stothers, a Toronto-born defenseman, was selected in the first round of the 1980 NHL Draft by Philadelphia. He played 671 AHL games and won a Calder Cup with the Maine Mariners in 1984.

The Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1968, honors the late Mr. Pieri, a long-time contributor to the AHL as the owner and general manager of the Providence Reds and a member of the American Hockey League Hall of Fame. Previous winners of the award include Frank Mathers (1969), Fred Shero (1970), Al MacNeil (1972, ’77), John Muckler (1975), Jacques Demers (1983), Larry Pleau (1987), Mike Milbury (1988), John Paddock (1988), Marc Crawford (1993), Barry Trotz (1994), Robbie Ftorek (1995, ’96), Peter Laviolette (1999), Claude Julien and Geoff Ward (2003), Claude Noel (2004), Randy Cunneyworth (2005), Kevin Dineen (2006), Mike Haviland (2007), Scott Gordon (2008), Scott Arniel (2009), John Hynes (2011), Jon Cooper (2012), Willie Desjardins (2013) and Jeff Blashill (2014).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2014-15 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.

The winner of the 2014-15 Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (outstanding goaltender) will be announced Thursday.

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

Posted in News | 1 Comment