This morning I attended practice at the MSOE Kern Center. It was the first chance to take a look at Kevin Fiala with the Milwaukee Admirals and get a sneak peek at just what the lines might be with him and Viktor Stålberg in the mix now.
Today’s practice was extended a bit longer than normal. The Admirals had an off-day yesterday after finishing up their three game road trip on the weekend. Goaltending coach David Rook was the first man on the ice and worked with Magnus Hellberg and Rob Madore before the skaters got going. Once practice picked up the lines looked as follows:
Colton Sissons assists totals look like they’re destined to finally go up. Fiala will be playing as Sissons left wing when he debuts tomorrow night against the Utica Comets. In addition, Austin Watson‘s move to center last game looks like it will be something we should get used to. Stålberg will be working on his line since his most recent reassignment from the Nashville Predators. Both Mike Liambas and Garrett Noonan rotated in and out of line pairings throughout the practice.
Fiala was plenty of fun to watch today. His hand speed alone was quite impressive and his wrist shot beat Hellberg a few times. The lone thing I found off to his game was that he wasn’t keeping his stick on the ice when working defensively. Small critique, but the rest of what I saw had me excited for what he’s going to do in his debut.
After practice I spoke with Dean Evason, Kevin Fiala, Viktor Stålberg, and the latest Admiral to debut in the NHL – Anthony Bitetto. Here is what they had to say ahead of tomorrow night’s game.
Dean Evason on the addition of Fiala and Stålberg:
Evason comments on the organization’s depth:
Evason describes what he has seen out of Fiala:
Evason on the current seven game winning streak:
Evason talks up Viktor Arvidsson:
Evason on the mystery that is the Zach Budish effect:
Evason on Bitetto’s NHL debut:
Evason’s thoughts for tomorrow night’s game against Utica:
Kevin Fiala on whether he expected to reach North American hockey this fast:
Fiala talks about his familiarity with the Admirals:
Fiala on his experience playing in World Juniors:
Fiala describes his game:
Fiala’s expectations for his debut:
Viktor Stålberg on being reassigned to Milwaukee:
Stålberg talks about his most recent stint with the Predators:
Stålberg on adding to the Admirals current success:
Stålberg talks up his center Watson:
Stålberg on the Swedish contingent in Milwaukee:
Stålberg and I chat about who we’re playing tomorrow:
Anthony Bitetto talks about his NHL debut:
Bitetto on the team’s reaction to his call up:
Bitetto talks about the nerves on his debut:
Bitetto on seeing familiar faces up with the Predators:
Bitetto trying to learn from Shea Weber‘s slap shot:
Bitetto on what has helped the Admirals get on their current run:
Bitetto and I talk about Fiala (stick tape inside joke):
Bitetto on the addition of Stålberg:
Bitetto talks about the recent play of Arvidsson:
Comments from the comments? What do you make of the line combinations? What players sit out due to the numbers game for the forwards? Will the rematch against the Utica Comets be just as tight defensively or will the addition of Fiala and Stålberg open things up?