This morning I went to practice at the MSOE Kern Center to catch the Admirals before the set sail for the four-game road trip. There were plenty of things to talk about, hence this being a Blender issue, so let’s jump in!
~Admirals sign Michael Young to an ATO~
If phones could work in the Kern – I’d have known exactly who the newbie was thanks to you readers commenting about him ASAP. Instead, I got the “watch the movie without watching the trailer” experience. All I saw was a rather tall lefty-shot wearing a black “defenseman” practice jersey and a helmet with Teddy Ruth’s ol’ #5 on it.
Michael Young is a 25-year old defenseman who recently finished up his playing time at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. During his time there he played in 148 games, scored 68 points (13 goals, 55 assists), and recorded 109 penalty minutes.
As far as his play, he looked incredibly crafty on his feet. Pretty impressed with his skating ability. He worked typical drills out there but, interestingly, was paired the entire time alongside Scott Ford. I can only assume that’s a way of pairing the new recruit with the captain – who can talk him through systems.
He was also out there today running drills on the penalty kill and seemed to handle himself rather well. It was only practice, but it was a decent study on how he handled the run of play in front of him.
Last bit of information from watching him today. The team runs a shootout drill where every skater on the team steps up. You miss your shootout attempt – you’re out. You make it – and you remain in the mini-competition. The final duel today came down to… Francis Wathier and, the newbie, Michael Young. Wathier did beat him. Still, all d-men were eliminated after the first round except for Young.
~Joonas Jarvinen and Taylor Beck Injury Update~
When I arrived at the rink I turned up just in time to spot a red practice jersey being worn by Joonas Jarvinen. The big Finn hasn’t played in a game since 2/28/14 vs. Iowa. In that contest he recorded his first multi-goal game but picked up what has only been described to me as an upper body injury.
As you’ll hear later on from Dean Evason in the Chatterbox section – Jarvinen will not travel with the team on the upcoming road trip.
Taylor Beck was also someone that skated prior to practice and didn’t participate in the main practice. Beck blocked a shot with his hand in Friday’s shootout victory over the Rockford IceHogs. After that game, I talked with him and he gave me a thumbs up… of course his thumb was bandaged up, lost a nail off of it, and his other fingers had a pretty neat-o outline of where the puck stung him. He played the rest of that game and scored in the shootout. He also played in the follow-up game Saturday against the San Antonio Rampage.
Beck is going to travel with the team on the road trip but is considered questionable in terms of Friday’s game in Rochester.
~The Mitch Korn Experience~
The Nashville Predators played last night in Edmonton and have the Vancouver Canucks tonight. Meanwhile, their brilliant goaltending coach Mitch Korn is with the Milwaukee Admirals.
He worked with the entire group (Marek Mazanec, Magnus Hellberg, and Scott Darling) very extensively. He was especially working hard with Hellberg at the tail-end of practice. That work comes with the additional news that follows.
~Magnus Hellberg Cleared For Game Action~
He has been skating and practicing hard for weeks and has felt better with each session. Today he received the news that he has been cleared for game action after missing two-months with a high ankle sprain.
Having watched him practice these last few weeks – I can say Hellberg looked really sharp today. I caught coach Korn running a skating drill for him and that was something he seemed to grasp well. The big bug for him with this injury was the stinging effects associated with the ankle sprain. To see him moving around that well during that drill tells me he’s more than capable should he get called upon during the road trip.
I haven’t heard an official account of this or not, but I do wonder what this means in terms of Hellberg, Darling, and who ends up going to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. I’ve expected Hellberg, having missed so much time, to get some games under his belt in the ECHL before making his return at the AHL level. Still, things have never been so cut and dry in regards to that possibility whenever I talked to Evason.
Once I have an update related to that matter – expect a new story or an update to this one.
Dean Evason discusses the road trip:
Evason on keeping momentum going on the road:
Evason talks team bonding for the new faces during the road stretch:
Evason on the Canadian portion of the road trip:
Evason and I talk Michael Young:
Evason updates the status of Jarvinen and Beck:
Mark Van Guilder talks road trip:
Van’s thoughts on Francis Wathier:
Van on new wing-man Austin Watson:
Van talks about carrying the hot streak onto the road:
Van and I talk about what turned things around the past few weeks:
Austin Watson’s thoughts on the four-game road trip:
Watson on switching from center to wing:
Watson chats up Wathier:
Watson discusses what’s gone right for the team recently:
Scott Ford talks road trip:
Ford on new faces:
Ford on former combatant Wathier:
Ford’s thoughts on heading on up to Canada:
Ford discusses the Admirals road mentality:
Ford on yet another wild sprint to the finish:
Plenty to take in from all this news ahead of the trip. What do we make of Michael Young, Magnus Hellberg returning, the goaltending situation, etc etc etc? Banter!