Wild: Scouting the Enemy

Corbin Baldwin is back with the Iowa Wild. When last we saw him he was making all sorts of friends here in Milwaukee. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

These guys, again? It is already the fourth time in eleven games this season that the Milwaukee Admirals will be playing against the Iowa Wild. In the previous three occasions the Ads won twice on the road by scores of 4-3 and 4-0. The most recently played game was on home ice and saw the Ads fall for the first time all season with a 4-2 defeat.


Let’s go back and address the last game these two played considering it was only the third time in thirteen games, dating back to last season, that the Wild were able to get the better of the Admirals.

The Wild got onto the board inside the game’s opening three-minutes. How did they do it? By establishing a screen in front of Marek Mazanec and generating a one timer from the blue line for Jake Parenteau. Quick puck movement. Quicker shot. No vision in goal. With the chance to redirect the shot – which is precisely what Michael Keränen did as the man screening Mazanec.

Where I feel the game was lost for the Admirals was a four minute spell in the second period. Mark Van Guilder called for holding. Wild score on the power-play. Mike Liambas called for charging. Wild score on the power-play. Regardless of who you play (and remember – this last game was a match-up between the then best team in the AHL against the worst) when you allow for sustained attacking pressure you open yourself up to be scored on. Give any team a chance for continual power-play chances in a game and you’re going to get burnt. It’s what ended up costing the Admirals their first loss of the season two weeks ago. And it’s something they must avoid doing again tonight.

~New Coach~

This week’s news out of the AHL was that the Iowa Wild fired head coach Kurt Kleinendorst late Sunday night. The Wild are a league worst 2-10-0-0 (4 points) to start the season. Only one other team, the St. John’s IceCaps, have allowed more goals. The team is currently riding a five-game losing streak. While I question that the fault of the Wild really falls on their coaching staff. The change was made yesterday.

The Wild’s new head coach is John Torchetti. It’s a familiar face to the organization and voice on the bench considering he was this team’s head coach from 2011-13 when they were the Houston Aeros. In both of those seasons in charge Torchetti’s teams made it into the playoffs. During that time his Aeros went 3-2-2-1 against the Admirals.

Thoughts and expectations for tonight’s game against the Iowa Wild? Who do you see Dean Evason picking as the goaltender tonight? Should Pontus Åberg make his expected return to the Admirals lineup tonight… whose line should he join?

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4 thoughts on “Wild: Scouting the Enemy”

  1. The link that you had about the Kleinendorst firing….it’s a fascinating Q&A with the outgoing coach and Russo of the Star Tribune. Very candid talk about what went wrong. Talks about the different kinds of players that make an AHL team….wonder which tier Jon Blum fits in?

    Kind of makes us really appreciate how little drama there seems to be with our coaching staff over the years. May have been a little bumpy with Herbers, but overall it seems to have been pretty stable, and the W/L record and player development track records speak for themselves.

  2. Originally I just read Daniel’s piece on the Ads. Then I read Ryan’s comment about how good the article on Kleinendorst was. That really was a great article. And even though he didn’t “name names,” I’m glad he was so honest. It’s refreshing to hear a coach tell it like it is and admit that he just couldn’t connect.

    It just sickens me every time you hear about a situation like this because to think that so many of these athletes can’t get it through their heads that their life is so easy is sad. They are getting paid to play a sport (and even in the AHL, paid quite well when you consider how few expenses they have compared to most people and how large some AHL salaries are).

    As for the Ads and the Herbers situation, I think there was some of what is going on with the WIld with the Ads at that time, just not to the extent with the Iowa Wild right now. I could be 100% wrong, but I think Herbers was probably more like Kleinendorst in that he couldn’t be “jerk” enough at times. From what I can tell about Evason, from interviews and hearing him talk with Bob & Brian sometimes, is he doesn’t put up with any %$&^. Pathetic that you have to deal with that from players, but good if you are willing to confront them about it.

    As for the Blum question, any wonder he was with the Ads when the Herbers situation was going on? I was insanely happy when he left Milwaukee/Nashville. I’ve rarely seen a player that obviously has such an (inaccurate) opinion of himself. You could see his attitude problem every time he was on the ice with the Ads. Never tried, just didn’t. He’ll forever be a plague to any AHL team he is on because he is the epitome of “thinks he doesn’t deserve to be there.” You think after awhile he (and others like him) would realize they are spending more time in the AHL than NHL because they are either just not that good, don’t try hard enough or both.

    Best part of the entire article:
    “Listen, put in the time, work hard and grow. Crazy how that works.”
    So applicable to life in general, not just hockey.

  3. Ryan: Right? 14 seasons in the AHL for the Milwaukee Admirals now. We’ve had 7 different coaches and only one season that saw a change made during the course of it. Up top, Preds are only just on their second ever head coach. The pipeline has always had a decent amount of talent that can get to the NHL through the AHL. Never really have had to worry about players or coaches in our organization. Pretty fortunate to have that consistency from top to bottom.

  4. Not just relatively few coaches, but good coaches and solid people. Look on down the line of who Nashville/Milwaukee have hired. Claude Noel, Lane Lambert, Kirk Muller and now Dean Evason. Todd Richards was an assistant coach here. It’s a pretty incredible track record, and that’s just the men behind the bench during the AHL years.

    Coaching changes rarely happen in season at the AHL level. Teams usually clean house after the season, promote from within, or regroup. Interesting to see how Iowa reacts tonight. I would never want to play against a team with a new coach. See Ian Herbers debut.

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