The Chatterbox, Vol. 66

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)
The result wasn’t great -but- wasn’t it great to see Miikka Salomäki back on the ice for the Admirals? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

I took awhile to even get started on this edition of Chatterbox just to sit, think, and evaluate the Admirals 2-1 loss to the Rockford IceHogs. My first impression of the game was that it felt like an all-around stinker for both teams. The Admirals and IceHogs are capable of far better performances than what both displayed. The other thought? Both wanted to avoid the chaotic happenings in last weekend’s 7-5 goal fest and it resulted in a more structured defensive chess match.

Reality is that the game was a little of each of those two thoughts. Yes, it could have been much better from both. Yes, it was a defensive game. And that’s where I find myself actually thinking that, despite the result going against the Admirals, it was actually a pretty good performance.

Jared Nightingale and Jaynen Rissling were in game number two with the Admirals and they looked like they had been playing on the same defensive line all season. They both play a very simple and straight forward defensive game and they complement each other well on the ice. It should be the weak spot on the defense that is currently down two entire lines from where they started the season. No Johan Alm. No Jimmy Oligny. No. Joe Piskula. And Anthony Bitetto is current up in the NHL with the Nashville Predators.

Considering the level of talent and quality that the IceHogs possess this season I thought the defense and team put in a pretty good night of work in the books last night from a defensive perspective. Marek Mazanec only allowed a net front redirect off a miscue that allowed a shorthanded goal and then allowed another from a power-play. He made thirty-one saves otherwise and the better majority of those were nothing special.

The offensive side of the puck? To borrow a PC term from Stone Cold Steve Austin, it was a clustermuck. There are too many occasions this season when I notice the Admirals getting into spurts where they pass out of shooting opportunities. Probably more often than not, when this is the case, they lose. What worked so well in January was the “keep it simple” mentality. Put pucks to the net and then grind out those second and third chance opportunities.

Again, bit of good and bad to take out of that game. The good news is that, despite the loss, the Admirals remain in first place of the Midwest Division over the IceHogs. That gap was build in the week leading up to the game and it helps mask what was only the Admirals fourth regulation loss in twenty-one games.

Before going into the audio I thought I would shed some light as to what went on with the roster moves the previous two days. Taylor Aronson was called up to Nashville and Viktor Stålberg was sent down to the Admirals. Then, flip that around because that’s what happened early Friday morning. For Stålberg it was basically a paper transaction due to the Predators roster numbers meaning someone had to be sent down. He never left Nashville knowing he was going to be there the next day. And all that for Shea Weber to play through a stomach bug anyways. Aronson participated in the pre-game skate and was a healthy scratch. …hockey sometimes.

After the game I spoke with Dean Evason, Rich Clune, and Triston Grant. Here is what they had to say following Friday night’s game against the IceHogs.

Dean Evason on why there have been so many shorthanded goals allowed lately:

Evason’s thoughts on the Admirals defensive effort:

Evason’s assessment of Nightingale and Rissling in their first two games:

Evason on the playoff atmosphere being the norm for rest of the season:

Rich Clune on his near collision with Scott Darling:

Clune’s thoughts on the game being a wake up call:

Clune on players coming up and fitting in with the team:

Triston Grant’s thoughts on the game:

Grant on his recent goal scoring run:

Grant speaks about the Admirals needing to keep things simple:

Grant on simplifying the game regardless of additions to the team:

Comments on the comments? What will the team’s response be for Sunday’s game? What needs to change on the Admirals power-play to prevent shorthanded chances?

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