Undisciplined Admirals fall 5-1 in Chicago

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Vladislav Kamenev scored shorthanded to record his first career goal as a pro in North America. Sadly, that’s about as good as the silver lining gets with the opener of the 2015-16 season. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals lost 5-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves Saturday night. The Amtrak Rivals buried four power-play goals tonight including three in the first period alone.

“Obviously it’s an area we have to clean up for sure,” said Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on 105.7 The Fan. “Penalty kill is the one thing that’s hard to work on at training camp but we have a lot of video right now. We have a lot of things that we can look at and discuss. Discipline was our number one key today. We didn’t have that anywhere on the ice.”

The Wolves power-play got off and running in the first period after Kristian Näkyvä was called for a trip. Magnus Pääjärvi scored the power-play goal off of a redirect after a shot fake and pass by André Benoît.

The next Wolves power-play featured a goal but one scored at the other end of the ice. Vladislav Kamenev spearheaded a shorthanded rush down the ice, glided out ever so slightly to the right wing to open up a forehanded shot, and he somehow found daylight in Jordan Binnington to record his first pro goal in North America.

Struggles of composure continued for the Admirals as a Pontus Åberg slash was followed by a delay of game by Félix Girard in a matter of fifteen seconds. The five-on-three power-play was a bang bang wing-to-wing tally for Pat Cannone. Pääjärvi was able to zip a puck across the goal mouth to set up the Wolves captain on the left wing side of Juuse Saros for a tap in.

After Trevor Murphy was called for hooking, a poor clearance by Taylor Aronson on the penalty kill was blown right back in his face by the Wolves for their third power-play goal of the first period. The clearance by Aronson went straight to the Wolves who finished the second chance opportunity with Ty Rattie firing in a quick shot blocker side of Saros.

It was only a matter of time before frustrations and post whistle scrums developed into something a bit more legitimate. Cody Bass partnered up with Jacob Doty and the two threw some bombs at one another at the start of the tilt. Bass certainly walked away the winner of the fight but also appeared to injure his right hand in the process. He did return to the game later on.

In the second period, a little Russian on Russian crime led to a fourth power-play goal scored by the Wolves. Kamenev collided with fellow Russian forward Ivan Barbashyov which resulted in a tripping penalty. Rattie would score his second power-play goal of the night after Jonthan Diaby and his defensive partner Murphy both fell asleep on the penalty kill and let the sniper drift behind them. It was a smooth finish by Rattie to best Saros to the glove side.

With only 0.5 seconds remaining in the second period the Wolves tallied their fifth goal of the game and the first goal scored at even-strength. Benoît’s shot from the left point took a net front redirect by Doty that snuck through Saros to make it a 5-1 game.

The third period would prove to cruise by. No more damage was created by the Wolves and no damage was really attempted to be created by the Admirals. In the end, it is the Wolves eighth consecutive win over the Admirals and wound up being the Amtrak Rivals’ largest home opener win, in terms of goals scored, since the 2002-03 season.

The Admirals composure and inability to stay out of the box early, and kill off those penalties, put them in a hole they could never get out of. With so many penalty kills early in a game it is hard for a team, especially offense, to settle and get into a groove. That never happened and the result pretty much speaks for itself. Saros ends up getting hard done in his North American debut allowing five goals – four of which were scored on the power-play – from thirty-seven shots.

“I thought Saros was good, real good,” said Drulia. “Kind of felt bad that we left him hanging out there to dry at times. He’s a real good goaltender and hopefully he can put this one behind him. He’s going to have a real good year for us.”

The team will look to rebound this coming Friday night on their home opener where the Admirals will face the Charlotte Checkers. Hopefully being able to recapture some of the magic of last season’s home opener where the Admirals beat the Checkers 6-3 could be in the cards with a solid week of practice. One game down. Seventy-five games left to play.

Ramblings: Tonight’s line combinations were: Salomäki-Sissons-Moses, Pendenza-Reinhart-Fiala, Åberg-Kamenev-Bass, Devane-Girard-Görtz // Allen-Näkyvä, Alm-Aronson, Diaby-Murphy. This meant the scratches were: Frédérick Gaudreau, Garrett Noonan, and Jimmy Oligny. Jordan Binnington is now a perfect eight for eight against the Admirals: 8 wins from 8 starts with a 0.936 save percentage. The Admirals were outshot by the Wolves tonight by a final of 37-17.

Obviously not the best way to open the season up. What is your reaction to tonight’s result? Did the Admirals simply shoot themselves in the first period with penalties and never recover? Do you look at Saros in net and have questions about his performance or more so the team in front of him?

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Posted in Game Recaps | 4 Comments

Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Nashville Predators)

Holy Moses! It’s Hockey Night! (Photo Credit: Nashville Predators)

Welcome back, Milwaukee. The long off-season done. The pre-season camps are all over. It is the start of the regular season. The Milwaukee Admirals open up the 2015-16 calendar with a road game tonight against the Chicago Wolves. Let’s check in on what’s new with the Amtrak Rivals to set the stage for tonight’s season opener.

~Recapping the Wolves~

Last season the Wolves finished the regular season with a record of 40-29-6-1 (87 points). They were third in the Midwest Division behind the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs and were 6 points clear of the Admirals.

There is no escaping how painful last season was for the Admirals and the Amtrak Rivalry really reflects that. The Wolves went 8-2-2-0 head-to-head with the Admirals and outscored them 42-30 (sans shootout). This hasn’t been the kindest of series in general for the Admirals. The last five seasons the Wolves lead the Amtrak Rivalry with an overall record of 30-18-4-6.

The Wolves bowed out of the playoffs in the dreaded eight seed versus first seed match up against the Utica Comets but went down swinging hard. The best of five series went the distance with three of the five games needing overtime – including game four in which the Wolves won to force game five. It might have been a tough exit to lose the very next night -but- the Wolves pushed the Comets big time before Utica would go all the way to represent the Western Conference in the 2015 Calder Cup Finals.

~Who What Now?~

Who returns from that tough 2014-15 Wolves roster then? Plenty of highly skilled and successful players: Jordan Binnington, Ty Rattie, Magnus Pääjärvi, Pat CannoneYannick Veilleux, Jeremy Welsh, Cody Beach, and Petteri Lindbohm. There are of course several new names and -of them- I look immediately at proven veteran experience that will be stationed on the Wolves defense: Peter Harrold and André Benoît. Who could be some of the younger names that step up big for the Wolves this season? Pheonix CopleyIvan Barbashyov, Thomas Vannelli, and Jordan Schmaltz all come to mind. Plus, additions such as Zach O’Brien and Danny Kristo, both of whom had strong seasons in the AHL last year, will strengthen the scoring attack at forward.

The biggest name to me on the Wolves roster is Binnington. The 22-year old goaltender is a stud and he proved as much in his first full-season at the AHL level last season. In 45 appearances in 2014-15 he had a record of 25-15-4-1, 3 shutouts, 2.35 goals against average, and a 0.916 save percentage. If the added year under his belt isn’t enough to make him better than the competition in net he’ll face from Copley should be. Copley was part of the package back to the Blues in the T.J. Oshie to the Washington Capitals trade. Copley made his AHL debut last season with the Hershey Bears and was just as -if not better- than Binnington: 26 appearances, 17-4-3-1 record, 3 shutouts, 2.17 goals against average, and a 0.925 save percentage. If these two push each other to a higher level it means bad things for all who face the Wolves this season.

When it comes to the forward to watch out for tonight you’re safe bet might be Rattie. Why not? He has 90 points (52 goals, 38 assists) in 131 games for the Wolves. That’s your safe bet. The smarter bet would be Welsh. He terrorized the Admirals last season with the most points produced by anyone in the match-up by a comfortable margin, 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists) in 11 games. What’s scarier than that might actually be that of those 8 goals that Welsh scored against the Admirals last season is that 3 goals were scored shorthanded. Heck, basically one-fourth of his points production in 75 AHL games last season came from his work against the Admirals. He’s the sneaky threat to watch out for tonight just as he was all of last season.

~Yesterday’s AHL Scoreboard~

Toronto win 5-3 vs. Manitoba… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton win 2-1 (OT) @ Providence… Rochester win 6-3 vs. Lake Erie… Bakersfield win 1-0 vs. Grand Rapids… Rockford win 4-2 @ San Jose…

Expectations for tonight’s regular season opener? Is it important for the Admirals to get off to a fast start this season like last? What do you think will be the key to the Admirals having success against the Wolves this season?

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

Posted in Scouting | 1 Comment

AHL and PHPA Ratify New Collective Bargaining Agreement

(Photo Credit: LiPo Ching // Bay Area News Group)

Sorry David Andrews but this is the only photo of you I have on file. (Photo Credit: LiPo Ching // Bay Area News Group)

The American Hockey League and Professional Hockey Players’ Association have come to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new four-year agreement will be in place until August 31, 2019.

Press Release via AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass./NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. … The American Hockey League and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association today announced the ratification of a new four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The new CBA, which is effective through August 31, 2019, has been ratified by both the AHL’s Board of Governors and the overwhelming majority of AHL players.

The CBA has been modified to include enhancements to the health and welfare plan currently offered to AHL players and their families, and to provide significantly better playoff compensation to players while allowing more flexibility to the AHL in Calder Cup Playoff scheduling and financing. The new Agreement also provides for increases in per-diem and minimum salary as well as modifications to housing and travel provisions.

“The American Hockey League remains fortunate to have an extremely positive and open relationship with our players and with the PHPA,” said David Andrews, AHL President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our previous CBA included several significant elements which have been beneficial to our players, our owners, and ultimately our fans, and this new agreement continues in that same spirit of cooperation.”

“The players advised us of the areas within the CBA most important to them, and we feel this deal addresses those issues, adding significant monetary and non-monetary value for present and future AHL players,” said PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon. “A number of players sacrificed family time to assist us with these negotiations, and I, along with all current and future AHL players thank them for their unwavering commitment.”

As it begins its historic 80th-anniversary season this weekend, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 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.

Since its inception in 1967, the Professional Hockey Players’ Association (PHPA) has continued to serve as an advocate of player interests. Currently, the PHPA is the certified, U.S. National Labor Relations Board collective bargaining representative for over 1,600 players on 68 teams in the American Hockey League and ECHL.

This news comes on the day in which the 2015-16 AHL regular season starts. I’m sure more detailed information related to the CBA will be released later on. As of now all I have to go on is this paragraph of the Press Release:

The CBA has been modified to include enhancements to the health and welfare plan currently offered to AHL players and their families, and to provide significantly better playoff compensation to players while allowing more flexibility to the AHL in Calder Cup Playoff scheduling and financing. The new Agreement also provides for increases in per-diem and minimum salary as well as modifications to housing and travel provisions.

That to me sounds really good. The increase in minimum salary is an interesting addition and I also wonder if this CBA addresses how contracts for the Pacific Division teams (who play less games) divvy up money as opposed to the rest of the league. All sorts of minor questions of that nature related to the California based teams and AHL players living conditions on the West Coast intrigue me a bit – so I’d love to get a bit more concrete reading on the new CBA. Not to end on a Pacific Division hate fest: any health and welfare enhancements for the players and their families is great by me.

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Chatterbox, Vol. 85

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

Welcome to the Media Day Extravaganza Edition of the Chatterbox. That’s right, today the Milwaukee Admirals were under the media spotlight of local news stations – and the usual suspects that cover the team game-by-game. This morning I attended practice at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and then rounded up as many players as I could for interviews. Before getting straight to the interviews. Let’s do a quick run down of practice.

Bass-Kamenev-Åberg (Gaudreau)
(Devane) Pendenza-Girard-Görtz



These are how the lines looked at practice. And, first things first, today’s practice was the longest practice in the Dean Evason era of this team – clocking in comfortably at over two hours with a halftime inbetween. Whether or not they’ll in fact be used on the road Saturday night against the Chicago Wolves is uncertain. My guess is that they either will be or should be pretty darn close.

Steve Moses, Cody Bass, and Jamie Devane were all on the ice this morning. It was also the first time in training camp that I noticed Johan Alm on the ice, as well. I’m pretty impressed with what I saw out of the line combinations. It’s also entertaining that effectively last year’s third line is now the fourth line due to the amount of talent at forward right now.


Evason always likes to have the players vote for their captains. This season’s turn out saw Colton Sissons named this year’s team captain with Conor Allen and the aforementioned Bass as the alternates.

It was incredible when Sissons was named an alternate last season at the age of 20-years old with only one year of professional playing experience to his name. Jump ahead a year and into the present and he is now the captain. It says a ton about the way he conducts himself on and off the ice that he is so well respected by everyone at such a young age. Not having a list of all the captains in front of me in team history – I’d have to assume him to be the youngest ever captain in the history of the Admirals at 21-years old.


Once practice wrapped up and the played cooled down it was time for Media Day. Players were all set to take this season’s headshots and all were available for interviews. I grabbed as many as I could and, as a result, have a Chatterbox record of nine interviews.

Also, after finally having enough with WordPress’ media player for audio files giving you folks -and me- headaches, I have started up a SoundCloud profile for Admirals Roundtable. I will now be uploading Chatterbox as a block of full-interviews in a playlist. Here goes the trial run and let me know if you feel this is an upgrade.


Another small note to end on is that the Cincinnati Cyclones played a pre-season game last night and came away with a 6-1 thrashing of the Wheeling Nailers. Eric Robinson had a nice first impression for the Cyclones by scoring 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). In addition, Jaynen Rissling scored a goal – Mikko Vainonen had an assist – and former member of the Admirals, and last year’s Man of the Year, Zach Budish scored a goal. With how stacked the Nashville Predators are, how loaded the Admirals are, I do feel fans in Cincinnati are in for an exciting turn-around season. I expect good things out of the Cyclones in the ECHL this season.

Comments on the comments? What are your expectations for this season? Can the Admirals youth hit the ground running and remain hot for the length of an entire season? Will this season see a return to playoff hockey? What, if anything, concerns you about the Admirals this season?

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

Posted in Chatterbox | 3 Comments

Arvidsson, Watson, and Bitetto Make Nashville Roster

(Photo Credit: Nashville Predators)

Three consecutive 20 goal scoring seasons with the Milwaukee Admirals and a new contract later… Austin Watson starts his season off at the NHL level for the first time in his career. He’ll also be joined by Anthony Bitetto and Viktor Arvidsson. (Photo Credit: Nashville Predators)

The Nashville Predators have officially announced their 2015-16 opening night roster. In the list of names you’ll see that Viktor Arvidsson, Austin Watson, and Anthony Bitetto are on the squad to begin this year’s campaign in the NHL.

Press Release via Nashville Predators:

Nashville, Tenn. (October 6, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Tuesday that the club has assigned forward Jamie Devane to Milwaukee (AHL), setting Nashville’s active roster at 23 to start the 2015-16 season. The Predators open the campaign by hosting Carolina on Thursday (7 p.m. CT, FOX Sports Tennessee, 102.5 The Game) and Edmonton on Saturday (SPECIAL 6 p.m. START TIME, FOX Sports Tennessee, 102.5 The Game).

Forwards (13): Viktor Arvidsson, Gabriel Bourque, Mike Fisher, Filip Forsberg, Paul Gaustad, Cody Hodgson, Calle Jarnkrok, James Neal, Eric Nystrom, Mike Ribeiro, Craig Smith, Austin Watson and Colin Wilson.

Defensemen (8): Victor Bartley, Anthony Bitetto, Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Barret Jackman, Seth Jones, Roman Josi and Shea Weber.

Goaltenders (2): Carter Hutton and Pekka Rinne.

The Nashville Predators commence the 2015-16 regular season with a pair of home games starting this Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. CT versus the Carolina Hurricanes and Saturday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. CT against the Edmonton Oilers (both games on FOX Sports Tennessee, 102.5 The Game). Opening Night festivities include a Preds Plaza Party presented by Lee Company, Predators players participating in the GOLDWALK and Gold jersey rally towels, courtesy of Nissan, for all fans in attendance. Saturday’s game will feature free Gold foam hockey helmets for the first 10,000 fans wearing Gold to celebrate the team’s first “Golden Saturday.” A limited number of tickets are still available for both games; call 615-770-7800 for more information.

As you also might have noticed. Jamie Devane has officially cleared waivers and been assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals. This comes off the news made by Admirals head coach Dean Evason last night on Center Ice that forward David Moss has been released from his PTO contract.

Thoughts on Arvidsson, Watson, and Bitetto all making the Nashville Predators opening day roster? Should the Admirals have kept the veteran Moss over another forward or is it best to let these prospects roam free this season?

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

Posted in News | 5 Comments

Admirals Roster Takes Shape

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

“Danger! Eric Robinson Danger!” is heading to a Cincinnati Cyclones hockey club near you! (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

The Milwaukee Admirals have just announced a slate of roster moves. Jaynen Rissling Mikko Vainonen, Brandon Whitney, and Eric Robinson are set to join the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Meanwhile, Mike Ratchuk and Andrew Yogan have both been released from their PTO contracts with the Admirals.

Press Release via Milwaukee Admirals:

Milwaukee, WI—The Milwaukee Admirals announced today that the team has assigned defenseman Mikko Vainonen and forward Jaynen Rissling to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. In addition, the team has loaned forward Eric Robinson and goalie Brandon Whitney to the Cyclones and released defenseman Mike Ratchuk and forward Andrew Yogan from their tryout contracts.

The Admirals roster now sits at 24 players: two goalies, eight defensemen, and 14 forwards. A current roster is attached.

The Admirals will open the regular season next Saturday night, October 10 at the Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves. The Ads home opener is slated for Friday, October 16th at 7 pm against the Charlotte Checkers at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Don’t forget to follow the Admirals on Twitter (@mkeadmirals) and on Facebook.

As the press release states – the roster is now at 24 players. I get the impression current PTO signings David Moss and Adam Payerl might have earned places on the Admirals roster. Time will tell if they get bumped up to a fully fledged AHL deal. There’s certainly no rush on the Admirals to make that happen right now -but- it would streamline the season should Moss or Payerl be in the long term plans rather than going PTO deal to PTO deal at 25 games a pop.

Thoughts on the current shape of the roster? Would you have preferred to see Robinson or Rissling stay up in place of someone else? Should the keep both Moss and Payerl or will an addition such as Steve Moses make that overkill?

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

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Admirals Finish Pre-Season Finale with 4-3 Win in OT


Not having been there in-person last night. I’m going out on a limb and saying that Kevin Fiala learned his lesson from last season and did not celebrate an overtime game-winner like he did last season.

As far as game summaries are concerned this should be the very ugly duckling of the bunch. I wasn’t able to make the trip to Chicago to catch the Milwaukee Admirals last pre-season exhibition game and outside coverage was just about limited to the Chicago Wolves Game Ops Twitter feed. Rather than divvy up the retweets alone and scoreline on Facebook let’s get some more information across.

After the Admirals played on Friday night head coach Dean Evason was insistent that Marek Mazanec would start Saturday’s game and that there would be some changes to the lineup. Here is what the Admirals played on Friday night:




And here is what the Admirals rolled out for Saturday night in Chicago:




The Admirals decided to put Kevin Fiala and Taylor Aronson into the lineup while giving Miikka Salomäki and Conor Allen the night off. Mazanec did in fact get the start in net but would only play the opening two periods, stopping 14/14 shots on goal, before Brandon Whitney took over for the third period and the eventual overtime.

As for the game itself? It seemed defensively sound through the opening two frames. It took until there were fifty-seven seconds remaining in the second period before David Moss scored the game’s first goal. After that? All bets were off from the third period onward and six goals were scored between the two teams. Goals in order of appearance: Pat Cannone, Adam PayerlZach O’Brien, Max Reinhart, and -with less than a minute remaining in regulation- Jordan Schmaltz.

The game was all tied at 3-3 due to the last gasp goal for the Wolves. The game would go to 3-v-3 overtime where Fiala’s talents got the job done and saw the Admirals take two wins from two exhibition matches in two days.

Scoreline alone, you get the impression that this game might not have had the same level of ‘control’ as the Admirals appeared to play with against the Rockford IceHogs. My attitude without even seeing any of the goals is – good. The reason for these exhibition games is to get a good test of personnel on the ice and to see some areas that could need improvement right away. While winning is always nice – the final scoreline result really doesn’t mean anything in pre-season. What’s more important is the individual efforts being put on display to see who is delivering and can earn their place for opening night of the regular season. It was only two games but that should hold the team over pretty well until the season starts next weekend.

Practice this week should be targeted at some of the faults that these exhibition games may have exposed either individually or as a team. I’m hoping to once again make it in for some practices and can guarantee that I’ll be on hand for Media Day this Thursday. That should be a day in which the 2015-16 team captains are revealed. It should also be a good day to get as many player interviews as possible.

Did you make the trip down to Chicago for last night’s game? If so, this is where the term Roundtable means everything because you’re as much a part of the conversation as me writing what I just did. Please write a comment below and give me all your thoughts and insights below. Would be really interested in how everyone looked, how good the goals were when scored by the Admirals, and how bad the goals allowed by the Admirals in the third period were.

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

Posted in Game Recaps, News | 2 Comments

The Chatterbox, Vol. 84

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

Roscoe, dude, trying to watch the game over here. Dude? Dude! (Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

You can only practice for so long before that itch to get into game situations drives you a bit crazy. Last night was finally the Milwaukee Admirals chance to take the ice and test themselves. That opening couple of seconds might have come as a slight surprise. Thankfully the entire game that followed was a different story.

What impressed me the most about the Admirals 5-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs was the puck movement and puck pressure. Defending smart. Winning pucks. And then countering with pace and precision.

The team defense was solid and hounding the IceHogs the entire game. For a team that played the night before and pelted the Chicago Wolves with numerous shots on goal – the Admirals didn’t allow them to play an open ended game. The Admirals took away a lot of time and space which made for a relatively comfortable night in net for Juuse Saros.

Once the defense won back pucks the movement in transition by the Admirals from defending to attacking was a joy to watch. It was an area last season that was such a struggle as opponents would clog the neutral zone and win puck battles on the dump and chase. Last night’s work through neutral ice was composed, passes connected, and entering the offensive zone -and then holding it- was good. The passing felt incredibly precise for the Admirals first exhibition game of the season when you’d expect certain players to have timing wrong or still understanding the dynamics of new teammates. It either simply wasn’t there tonight or didn’t show in this game.

Another highlight for me was the defensive pairing of Conor Allen and Kristian Näkyvä. The two defensemen mirror one-another in terms of skill set and they seem to have a natural chemistry as a result. When figuring in Peter Laviolette‘s system, where defensemen jump up in attack, it’s important to not get burnt on a counter attack. Allen and Näkyvä didn’t fall into that trap where some other defensemen did on the night – which led to some odd-man breaks. The paring covered ice well enough to trek back defensively and both gauged the distance of “how far up ice is too far when helping out in the offensive zone” really good.

All in all, I was impressed by much of what I saw from the Admirals. They played a very smart game and there were lots of good individual performances to speak of. With how loaded the roster is it’s going to be an interesting next week to see just who stays and who goes as far as PTO contracts and the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL are concerned. For example, what does the addition of Steve Moses mean for guys like David Moss and Adam Payerl? Even players who went through Cincinnati last season like Joe Pendenza, Frédérick Gaudreau, Jaynen Rissling, Jonathan Diaby, and Garrett Noonan are all on that cusp of starting their seasons in the ECHL depending on how things play out. For the coaching staff I imagine this to be a wonderful problem to have. For the players this is a battle for roster spots. I have to believe that mentality factors into a performance like the Admirals had against the IceHogs.

After the game, I spoke with head coach Dean Evason. I also was able to chat with Saros and Gaudreau. Here is what they had to say after defeating the IceHogs at the MSOE Kern Center.

Continue reading

Posted in Chatterbox | 8 Comments

Ads Open Season with 5-2 Win at Kern Center

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

THEY’RE BACK. (Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

The Admirals won 5-2 against the Rockford IceHogs at the MSOE Kern Center Friday night. It was a great glimpse for fans in Milwaukee to get their first taste of the 2015-16 Admirals in game action. And they didn’t disappoint. Despite a quick tally for the IceHogs to open the game it was all Admirals for the majority of this contest.

“We were happy with the outcome,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “But we were also happy with a lot of people and their performances tonight. Really liked [Juuse] Saros in net. Was real calm. But there was a lot of people that are still fighting for opportunities and still fighting for jobs. Lot of people showed very well.”

Even for those expecting a fast start from the IceHogs, coming off an exhibition last night against the Chicago Wolves, you wouldn’t have expected them to start this fast. Only seventeen seconds into the game and a Dennis Robertson shot from the right point pelted off of Juuse Saros right pad and into the path of Mark McNeill for the opening goal.

“Everything happened pretty fast there,” said Juuse Saros. “We had a tough start.”

As the opening frame started to heat up the Admirals were able to work themselves more and more into the controlling stakes of game. Puck control and persistent pressure on defense had the IceHogs on the backfoot.

After goaltender Mac Carruth was whistled for a delay of game penalty the Admirals equalized with a power-play goal. A hard shot aimed low through traffic by Conor Allen at the point managed to ricochet out to Max Reinhart who zipped in the rebound to make it 1-1.

Only moments later, Joe Pendenza made a great play behind the net to pick out a wide open Felix Girard in front of the net where he would beat Carruth to the glove side to give the Admirals a 2-1 lead.

In the second period Pontus Åberg was able to extend the Admirals lead to 3-1. The energy in attack spilled into the sandwich stanza and quick passes managed to open up the left wing for Åberg to slot past Carruth.

Then came a scrap. Jimmy Oligny was looking game for a fight in the first period and got his dance partner midway through the second period in Patrick Koudys. There were some clean shots landed from both. I’ll take a guess that Oligny landed the better of the exchanges because he made it to the box and Koudys left for repairs.

The third period resulted in the second goal of the night for Åberg as he roamed the left wing. Adam Payerl provided a great lofted pass from the right wing to tee up Åberg for the back post finish.

A little past the halfway point in the third period and Chris DeSousa decided he had enough. The IceHogs forward crosschecked Girard after an initial faceoff draw and then came the fisticuffs. The bout was more of a quick judo throw and wrasslin’ match on the ice with DeSousa on top. He then proceeded to spout venom at any Admirals player he could see including that one bench he skated past.

In the closing minutes of the game the IceHogs would finally do what they managed to do so effortlessly to start the game, beat Saros. The IceHogs had a two-on-one break which ended with Kyle Stroh burying a puck high blocker side off a feed from Peter Schneider.

The following faceoff was taken with the IceHogs net emptied. Quicker than you could say it – Max Görtz had scored on the empty net to finish this game off at 5-2.

“We’ve got some decisions to make,” said Evason of the roster. “Which is great. We feel that we have a lot of people that can play on a regular basis and we’re looking forward to it shaking down tomorrow night.”

The Admirals play their final exhibition game of this pre-season tomorrow night on the road against the Wolves. The regular season starts Saturday October 10th on the road against those same Wolves and the home opener is Friday October 16th against the Charlotte Checkers.

Ramblings: Tonight’s line combinations were: Salomäki-Reinhart-Moss, Åberg-Kamenev-Payerl, Pendenza-Girard-Görtz, Rissling-Gaudreau-Robinson, Allen-Näkyvä, Noonan-Oligny, Murphy-Diaby, with Saros in net. Tomorrow night Marek Mazanec will start in net and there should be some changes to the skaters that dress and get scratches as well.

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IceHogs: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Greg Hamil)

Cody Bass? Mike Liambas? Could you guys do this again but in your new uniforms please? Continuity is appreciated around these here parts. (Photo Credit: Greg Hamil)

Welcome back, hockey season. We all missed you dearly. I know that tonight is only an exhibition game but there should be plenty of talent on display for the Milwaukee Admirals and Rockford IceHogs when the two take the ice tonight at the MSOE Kern Center. Everyone is still competing for those final roster spots and coaching staffs are also looking into line combinations that have great chemistry. The result of the exhibition game might not mean much as far as a win or loss goes. But who performs well and doesn’t can have big implications before the regular season begins.


We’ve talked plenty of the Admirals since their training camp started this week so let’s shift to the divisional rival that enters tonight. Right off the bat there are a few familiar names on the roster: Mike Liambas, Kirill Gotovets, Mark Visentin, Jeremy Morin, Mark McNeill, Daniel Paille, and Jake Dowell.

Liambas hardly needs to explained. Anyone that gets endeared by an organization and fan base to the point a bobblehead gets made actually says a lot from an AHL team. His time with the Admirals was tremendous in terms of his development away from out-and-out enforcer to a solid checking forward that can play smart on the ice. He went from playing defenseman in juniors to left wing when he joined the Admirals and his work on the wing will continue as he shifts into the next chapter in his career as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization this season.

Remember Gotovets? Of course you do! How can you not? He made his professional playing debut with the Admirals back at the end of the 2013-14 season. The 24-year old defenseman from Belarus spent the majority of last season with the Indy Fuel in the ECHL but did make it up to play 12 games for the IceHogs and now looks set for an extended run in the AHL.

If you’re familiar with Admirals goaltending you probably know the name Ben Vanderklok. He was an assistant goaltending coach who went on to succeed Mitch Korn as the goaltending coach of the Nashville Predators. Why is all that important information? Visentin. The 23-year old played in net for the Niagara IceDogs in junior hockey while Vanderklok was his goaltending coach. He was a prized student of his, had a great junior playing career, and worked his way into an NHL debut two season ago. Unfortunately for him, he suffered an ankle injury that required surgery which sidelined him for all of last season. The Arizona Coyotes opted not to submit a qualifying offer on him which made him a free agent this summer. He lands in the Blackhawks organization where goaltending success stories are starting to build up. Visentin has the potential to be the next one. How does he look and perform after missing a season due to injury? That’ll be a story to watch this season.

With Morin and McNeill you get two very “oh, them again” IceHogs. Morin is the organization’s all-time leading goal scorer and a man who I wonder if he will ever get a long run in the NHL. McNeill, on the other hand, would just like a game or two at the NHL level. This will be his third full professional playing season and the past two campaigns, all with the IceHogs, have equated to 81 points (41 goals, 40 assists) in 139 games. These are two key scorers who will be looking to do even more damage in an effort to push for an NHL call up.

Paille and Dowell are the real solid veteran skaters that the IceHogs will have this season. Paille was a Stanley Cup winner with the 2010-11 Boston Bruins and was signed to a PTO contract with the IceHogs this week. Dowell’s solid pro career continues with his second stint with the IceHogs. He was a fifth round draft pick of the Blackhawks in 2004 as a product of the Wisconsin Badgers. He is a solid locker room and on-ice leader who is coming off of a season with the Hamilton Bulldogs that saw him play every single game.

~Already Warmed Up~

Tonight might be the first exhibition game for the Admirals but they’ll be facing a team in the IceHogs who played last night. The IceHogs lost 2-2 in a shootout to the Chicago Wolves – a team that the Admirals get to play in their second exhibition game, a road game, on Saturday night.

In last night’s contest the IceHogs managed to claw out of a 2-0 deficit in the third period to force overtime and eventually a shootout. Casey Thrush scored a rebounder to get Rockford on the board and then Morin picked up the equalizer. The goaltending duel was Jordan Binnington for the Wolves against Visentin and it was the man in net for the Wolves that won this one: 35 saves and 2/4 in the shootout.

~Big Mouth Billy Bass Reference Here~

Lost in the news shuffle yesterday afternoon was that the Admirals now have Cody Bass. The former IceHogs forward cleared waivers yesterday from the Predators to reach the Admirals and should provide that little bit of balance in regards to Liambas crossing the divide to the visiting bench.

What are your expectations for tonight’s exhibition game? Should the Admirals start Brandon Whitney for tonight’s game or should Juuse Saros attempt to start and play all of tonight and tomorrow’s game in preparation for the regular season?

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