The Admirals won 8-3 over the Rockford IceHogs last night. The Ads offense has now scored 19 goals in their last 3 games. Not too shabby, eh?
In Calle Jarnkrok‘s Milwaukee Admiral debut he managed to score 2 goals in two-different special teams scenarios: penalty kill and power-play. If you were to ask me how I assessed his game – I would say he played the game safe last night.
Jarnkrok had only practiced with the team in the morning, participated in the pre-game skate, and took to the ice in the first line change for the Ads in last night’s game. He could have been overwhelmed and played poorly – and I don’t think anyone would blame him considering the circumstances. But, he didn’t look overwhelmed. Instead he played to his strengths and slowly eased himself into the game – best showcased by his aggressive pounce on Jeremy Morin, while operating on the penalty kill, leading to his shorthanded goal.
There is a lot to like from Jarnkrok. I could have said as much prior to this game. He only makes this team stronger and I really like the dynamic of him and Filip Forsberg moving forward. There might not have been a lot of link-up play between them last night but I anticipate that being a combo that really works well. I think that will also be something Nashville takes stock of, too.
I felt the best player on the ice in the Admirals 8-3 win was Colton Sissons. These last few games, particularly last night, he appears to have found an extra gear. I wonder how much of last night’s introduction of Jarnkrok helped push Sissons game to another level. There is always to the chance to get jarred by another player of similar qualities, or the same position in that regard, possibly taking their place on the totem pole. This is where you get the fight or flight response from a player. You either step up your game or fly on out of town. Internal competition always leads to good things in my book. With guys like Sissons and Jarnkrok around – I think the two will benefit highly from one another as this season continues.
The hit on Cehlin was not released to YouTube or anything like that. If the highlight was cut, like it was for the jumbotron’s replay, I expect the AHL office to be reviewing that before tonight’s rematch. For those that missed the game, missed the hit, and missed the replay – this is what I saw.
Cehlin was on the puck skating up from the right wing faceoff circle towards the blueline. He was attempting to pass the puck off but fumbled it while pulling the trigger. He did get the pass out before impact – but only just. The whole way through the play – from being on the puck, to fumbling it, to passing it – Brad Mills targeted him. He had him lined up, saw Cehlin’s head was down, and still decided to go in for the hit. Even worse – where he aimed his hit. If Mills followed through with his check to the body we would be here discussing how much worse it could have been. If it were a check through the body – it may have been well and truly been a clean hit on the part of Mills and, perhaps, Cehlin only gets the wind knocked out of him. To boot, perhaps Mills only fights Mike Liambas once – if at all. Instead, Mills decided to measure in and deliver his check square to the side of Cehlin’s head with an elbow and laid him out.
Just as equally disturbing as the hit was the lack of a penalty on the hit by the officials. Whenever you see line brawl situations such as last night there is typically a good reason why the two teams want to engage in the first place – but there is also the opportunity for the officials to temper things before they reach that level. That entire third period was a wash as far as officiating goes. They either lost control of the game or didn’t even attempt to control it. And it led to the following.
Moser’s hit is available to see on YouTube thanks to it triggering last night’s line brawl between the Admirals and IceHogs. While the hit itself may not have had the viscous intent as Mills’ against Cehlin – it is still a blindside hit that targets a player in a vulnerable position. Think of it this way: you don’t get players like Charles-Olivier Roussel and Austin Watson to toss their gloves and come after you unless you did something profoundly wrong.
After the game I saw Moser in the locker room in a sling. Take that knowledge. Combine it with the video highlight. I’m guessing that’s a collarbone injury (guess – not fact – guess). If that guess is accurate – we’re talking about a two month injury.
Did Bobby Shea intend to injure Moser with that hit? I don’t think so. But what I do know is that he clearly was setting his sights on an open ice hit in the neutral zone. I think he got so caught up in attempting to make a big play, something that the IceHogs desperately lacked last night, that he didn’t take into account how or where the hit was going to land. He hit him blindside. He hit him high. That’ll add enough fuel on the fire to get an entire Admirals team to jump you… even Mark Van Guilder, of all people, went after him.
While I feel both Mills and Shea should have been ejected for their own good last night – credit where credit is due – they answered the bell when the Admirals came looking for their own sense of justice. Mills fought with Liambas twice. Shea was pulverized by Scott Valentine.
In truth, that’s all that needed to be done from the IceHogs – and it should have happened way before the third period where players from their team can safely take a game misconduct penalty and call it a day. The IceHogs probably should have just tried getting some energy with a fight after it was 4-0 with half the game remaining. Instead, they waited until late in the third period to try and engage the Admirals and, when they did, they did so in viscous and reckless fashion fashion. To me, that isn’t hockey. It’s gutless. And unfortunately for the IceHogs with their track record under head coach Ted Dent – they get into these sort of situations far too often: 4/12/12 @ Milwaukee Admirals… 1/19/13 vs. Grand Rapids Griffins… 2/7/14 @ Milwaukee Admirals.
I don’t have even the remote idea what we should expect from tonight’s sequel in Rockford. I only know that Cehlin and Moser will not take part and there is a chance that Mills and Shea will. That angers me. While there is no telling if or when the AHL will take action against this game – I certainly feel things should be tighter tonight than they were yesterday. This game is a giant powder keg waiting to go off if on-ice officials treat it to the same degree as last night. Here is hoping things simmer over night and the game takes precedent to stupidity.
Most of the time, when asked who I want to speak to post-game, I have an idea of who I want and what I’d like to talk about. When asked who do I want to speak to last night I responded with, “everyone.”
That meant speaking to the likes of Dean Evason, Mathieu Tousignant, Calle Jarnkrok, Marek Mazanec, and Taylor Beck. Here is what they had to say following last night’s 8-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs.
Dean Evason on where the recent offense has come from:
Evason’s thoughts on the hits to Cehlin and Moser:
Evason’s thoughts continued:
Evason on Cehlin and Moser’s future availability:
Evason’s assessment of Calle Jarnkrok’s debut:
Evason talks balance among the team last night:
Evason’s expectations for tonight’s game:
Evason on goaltending for the two-in-two:
Mathieu Tousignant discusses his two-goals:
Tousignant talks about the turn-around for the offense:
Tousignant’s thoughts of the Cehlin and Moser incidents:
Tousignant on the team’s approach going into Rockford:
Tousignant (Inside Joke Collection):
Calle Jarnkrok on starting off on the right foot:
Jarnkrok’s reaction to the trade:
Jarnkrok on joining a team with plenty of fellow Swedes:
Marek Mazanec on earning his first win in five starts:
Mazanec on his “almost” fight with Kent Simpson:
Taylor Beck and I talk about a fun ol’ hockey game:
Beck on playing alongside Jarnkrok and Forsberg:
Beck expects to hit the reset button for the rematch in Rockford:
Beck believes Mazanec would have won the goalie fight:
Comments from the comments? How do you feel the team responded to the Rockford IceHogs last night? Do you anticipate spill over from last night’s game into tonight’s contest?