Summer Ramblings, Vol. 3

Travis Morin and the Texas Stars have been brilliant all season long. Now they’re powering along in the Calder Cup Finals. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Playoff Hockey is in full bore right now: Stanley Cup, Calder Cup, and Kelly Cup. We’ll get into each of those in a moment but first – Admirals bantering!

~Scott Darling and the Goaltending Situation~

When Carter Hutton re-signed with the Nashville Predators it sealed the NHL spots at the goaltending position. So, where does that leave Milwaukee? If you look back to the very start of last season – they’re right about there.

What some have asked me about is the following. Where does that leave Scott Darling? You have some guy named Pekka Rinne up top. Hutton re-signed for two-years. And then Magnus Hellberg and Marek Mazanec are still under contract. Where does Darling factor in? The cold hard truth is he probably doesn’t.

Darling signed to be the Admirals man in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones last season. Through the injury circus in the system between the pipes he climbed the ladder, was given an extended opportunity at the AHL level, and thrived: 26 games, 13 wins, 6 shutouts, 2.00 goals against average, and a 0.933 save percentage.

Is that enough to earn a new AHL contract? Yes. Is the position available for him in Milwaukee next season? No. Will others around the AHL take notice of his efforts and be willing to offer him a contract to get his services? Yes, and that is why Darling would be best served waiting for that deal to come to him.

I know that Nashville and Milwaukee were really pleased by his work -but- the only way they keep him around for next season is if they placed Hellberg in the ECHL for the season. Is that something you would be willing to do? To me, I don’t think that would make much sense in terms of player development.

Devil’s Advocate: Hutton locks up the top for two-seasons, sign Darling to a one-year AHL deal, let Hellberg gather himself back up at the ECHL level for a season, and see how it plays out over the course of the 2014-15 season. …it could happen – but should it?

~Stanley Cup~

I was not expecting much from a Los Angeles Kings // New York Rangers Stanley Cup. Boy, was I wrong. The Kings are currently up 2-0 in the series after successive overtime victories in LA. Each game so far has been incredibly entertaining. Watching these two try to solve the likes of Jonathan Quick or Henrik Lundqvist has been a blast. The series now shifts to New York for the next two-games: tonight and Wednesday. Here is hoping the Rangers make a series of this on home ice.

~Calder Cup~

The opening game of the 2014 Calder Cup Finals was last night and the Texas Stars won 6-3 over the St. John’s IceCaps. In the former-Admiral department, Chris Mueller scored 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and was a +4 in the contest – and Kevin Henderson made his presence known by taking a tripping penalty (not as exciting but it happened).

You know how a baseball bat doughnut works? I wonder if the Toronto Marlies turn out to be that for the Stars. The Marlies were an astonishing group during these playoffs. The Marlies/Stars Conference Finals went seven-games and was the Marlies defense getting bested by the high powered Stars offense. Calder Cup Finals Game 1 for the Stars? 6-goals – including 4 goals through the first two-periods when they had 15 shots on goal. Our Jason Karnosky‘s preview prediction said Stars in six-games. If the Stars swept the IceCaps – I wouldn’t be shocked.

~Kelly Cup~

If our boys in the ECHL, the Cincinnati Cyclones, are going to win this year’s Kelly Cup they’ll need to win Game 6, travel all the way to Alaska, and win Game 7. The prospect of winning the Kelly Cup in Cincinnati was there thanks to the victory in Game 2. The next three games of the series, played in Cinci, needed to be won to ensure that. Yet, the Alaska Aces topped the Cyclones in Game 5 by a finale score of 4-2.

Alaska can win the Kelly Cup tonight in Cincinnati. Should the Cyclones force Game 7 – it will be played in Alaska on Wednesday.

How do you see the Stanley Cup, Calder Cup, and Kelly Cup playing out? Can the Cincinnati Cyclones force Game 7 tonight?

One thought on “Summer Ramblings, Vol. 3”

  1. As great as Scott Darling has been in Milwaukee, I have tried to be the prince of pessimism regarding his situation all season long because it’s not hard to figure out where he stands on the Predators depth chart. If Scott Darling was 21 years old and had the season he had last year, things might be different in Milwaukee, but unless Darling wants to comeback as an ECHL goaltender on play on a similar plan to this year, expect to see Admirals players shooting on him next year and not defending in front of him.

    As with every offseason there will be plenty of movement in the AHL, whether it be veterans moving on to the NHL, retirement, the ECHL or Europe. Slots at the AHL level will open up, likely with much better situations than the one Darling currently resides with Milwaukee. Without any real knowledge of the situation, other than the words of Paul Fenton, I would expect Scott to go for one of those.

    As far as the Stanley Cup Finals, I expected the series to simply be a downer, due to the sheer fact that this series could never live up to the intensity level of Kings/Blackhawks. So far, it hasn’t, other than the overtime in Game 2, but the quality of play has surprised me. Before we all overreact about New York’s two-game hole, for me, I never start jumping to conclusions until a home team loses. Boston recovered from a similar 2-0 deficit back in 2011, against the Vancouver Canucks, coached by none other than Alain Vigneault.

    All season I’ve been very impressed by Texas, a veteran-laden squad that is kind of the antithesis of Milwaukee, for better or for worse. However, I expected Oklahoma City, loaded with prospects from Edmonton (the NHL’s most befuddling franchise) to steal a 5-game series from them. I could not have been more wrong, and therefore will eat crow on that prediction for a long time.

    But before writing off St. John’s, wait until the series switches to Newfoundland, even if the IceCaps get bombed 15-0 in Game 2 tonight. It’s truly a different animal making that road trip.

    One North Carolina resident was clearly not a fan:,-you-are-not-what-I-expected%26rsquo/1

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