The Chatterbox, Vol. 76

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)
The face you make when you realize you’ve blown a 3-0 lead. (Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

Shall I go back to the well and say, “last night the Admirals played a really solid game, and did lots of great things, but just failed to earn the result,” or should I come up with something new? That’s a serious question. I feel like I’ve been saying or writing that ad nauseum when talking about the Admirals lately.

Fact of the matter is that the Admirals once again missed out on a victory. They -again- performed very well and did so against an opponent that is really good. The reality is that the Admirals earned the result that they got last night. The work rate through two periods was superb and, come the third period, they had to accomplish more or at least the same caliber of play that gave them a 3-0 advantage through two periods. They didn’t. And the San Antonio Rampage, rolling on a five-game win streak, did all the right things they needed to do to chip away and equalize that game. From there, in overtime, three-on-three overtime, or the shootout, it’s a game of chance. It never even should have come to that point and it did.

Where does the blame fall last night? Heck, where does the blame fall for this current run of form dating back to February?

Honestly, I don’t think the finger pointing game matters. Viktor Stålberg did his part while logging AHL time this season before going back where he belongs. Brendan Leipsic was doing great work in his rookie season as a pro but was wheeled out of Milwaukee in a deal to help the Nashville Predators. In return, the Admirals ended up seeing Kevin Fiala turn up in his place. That was a pleasant surprise. Then Viktor Arvidsson gets called up on an emergency basis followed closely by Fiala.

The offense, which had been struggling, put together a 3-0 lead on a hot West Division leading Rampage team with the likes of Eric Robinson and Gary Steffes plugging in while players like Félix Girard and Miikka Salomäki are injured. It was a team effort and a solid show of the Admirals all-around capability to execute.

How did that all go away? Detail. The Admirals detail on simple plays, such as clearing pucks out of their own zone and passing up ice – things that worked tremendously through the first two periods, were a total mess. Can credit be given to the Rampage for upping the pressure and correcting their own mistakes playing against the Admirals? Absolutely. Is that a reasonable excuse for blowing a 3-0 lead in the final period of regulation? No, and there never should be one.

Is this team not tough enough? Is it lacking a killer instinct? Is the team getting pushed around? Is it the coaching staff itself? Is it the goaltending, or is it the defense, or is it the offense? All those are great questions but in the next ten games the 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals will need to show everyone exactly who they really are. There is no avoiding it. The Admirals are plummeting and could see their run of twelve consecutive playoff seasons come to an end if this is simply who they are. It’s on everyone in that locker room to look at the day at hand and make it count. Ten games remain this season. So who are the Admirals? Are they lions or lemmings?

After the game I spoke with Dean Evason, Colton Sissons, Joe Pendenza, Marek Mazanec, and Rich Clune. Here is what they had to say following last night’s 4-3 shootout loss.

Dean Evason’s assessment of the Admirals performance:

Evason on the third period:

Evason on Robinson and Steffes filling roles and making an impact:

Colton Sissons’ thoughts on the game that got away:

Sissons on what happened in the third period for the Ads:

Sissons talks about the games ahead:

Joe Pendenza on the third period:

Pendenza talks about Pontus Åberg‘s pass that set up his goal:

Pendenza on what needs to change moving forward:

Pendenza on if he feels he needs to step up with players out of the lineup:

Marek Mazanec’s thoughts on the Admirals performance:

Mazanec on if this weekend’s games are must win games:

Rich Clune’s thoughts on the game:

Clune speaks about the frustration of recent results:

Clune on facing the Chicago Wolves this weekend:

Comments on the comments? Are the positive results coming? What will these last ten games hold for the Admirals and will they make the playoffs for a thirteenth consecutive season?

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