(Photo credit: Scott Paulus)
The game tomorrow night against the Wolves at the BMO-Harris Bradley Center will be the 19th game of the season, marking the completion of the first quarter of the 2012-13 campaign. The Admirals currently sport an 8-8-1-1 record, good for 18 points, and 4th place in the Midwest Division. But they’re just 4 points out of 1st place, and 1 point out of 8th place in the conference.
With just four home games so far….doesn’t it still feel like the season just started? We’re a quarter done already???
I wouldn’t read very much into the standings yet. But it’s been quite the rollercoaster so far this season, that’s for sure. And it’s amazing how quickly the storylines change week-to-week. Prior to the game this past Saturday night, the Admirals were arguably in a tail-spin, losing their last four games (although getting points in 2 of them). And then with big wins in Rosemont and Grand Rapids on Saturday and Sunday, they took five out a of a possible six points last weekend. All of a sudden, things are looking a lot brighter.
Should they be?
Are you a glass-is-half-full or glass-is-half-empty type? Here are some talking points for both sides.
– Of the rookies from last year, Taylor Beck has probably taken the biggest step forward offensively, with 12 points in 13 games prior to his injury.
– The Puustinen – Watson – Bang line really came together during this past roadtrip and started producing. Watson has points in 7 of his last 9 games, and Bang has points in 7 of his last 8. That line may stay together for awhile.
– They boast a top 10 penalty kill unit.
– The travel schedule doesn’t appear to be extraordinarily taxing in the near future.
– The adversity faced early on may be helpful in the long term.
– Goaltending. Jeremy Smith has played better than his 5-9-1 record would suggest, but he has given up four goals in three of his last four starts, and received little offensive support prior to that. Meanwhile, Magnus Hellberg has let in some weak goals in his 5 games of action, but still boasts a 3-0 record. His last game against the Wolves was encouraging, but he needs to string a few more of those together for us to stop collectively holding our breaths when the opponent takes a shot from the point on him. A .862 save percentage won’t cut it.
– Injuries. Yeah, every team has to deal with them. But losing three starters in those pair of games in Oklahoma City was brutal.
– Playing from behind. Not being able to score the first goal of the game until game #8 certainly has made things more challenging early on. They are 2-6-0-1 when trailing after one period, and 1-7-0-1 when trailing after two.
– A power play ranked 25th in the league.
So Roundtable, what do you feel about the first quarter so far? Can this team hang with the teams that have some major NHL star-power on them? Is the ship sinking, or staying comfortably afloat? Do you like the new Coach? Are you ready for some home games?!?!