Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Remember when Rich Clune called the Chicago Wolves a soft hockey team that couldn’t compete with them at all? I’m willing to bet the Wolves do. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

It feels like ages ago since we last played the Chicago Wolves back on the first of this month. I think that speaks volumes to this current rough patch for the Admirals. They’re currently on a run of one win from their last nine games. Not good. Not good at all.

The good news is that it feels like the results are coming. There have been good in-game performances from the Admirals lately and it feels like all that is missing is a start to finish effort from the team. I don’t feel the team has put themselves under pressure during this bad run of late. No one is kicking themselves. But I also feel a weekend sweep over the Amtrak Rivals could be just the moral boost everyone on the team needs for the final push to end the 2014-15 season.

~Short & Sweet~

The Chicago Wolves enter tonight’s game with a record of 31-25-6-1 (69 points). They are in fourth place of the Midwest Division and trail the Admirals for third place by five points. Their current Western Conference standing sees them on the outside of the playoff picture at the moment in eleventh place.

In the last ten games the Wolves have gone 4-5-1-0 (9 points). They are coming in off of two big wins on the road over the Oklahoma City Barons, 2-1 (OT) and 4-1. Considering how rough it was playing in OKC for the Admirals that last game produced by the Wolves is jaw-dropping. The Wolves outshot the Barons 48-25 in three periods of play.

~Trigger Man~

When talking about the Wolves the conversation has to immediately go towards Ty Rattie. It’s not been as polished of a season as he produced last year as a rookie. He scored fifteen of his nineteen goals this season during the 2014 portion of the calendar.

What should be concerning though is that he has goals in each of his last two games. He has 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) this month while averaging 3.9 shots per game over the last two months.  Rattie is heating up and he might be the igniter for Chicago this weekend.

~Almost Pulkkinen-worthy~

There isn’t just Rattie to worry about there is also Shane Harper that will need to be clamped down. Harper leads the Wolves in scoring this season with 43 points (29 goals, 14 assists). He ranked second in the AHL for goals scored this season trailing only Teemu Pulkkinen. Not too shabby.

~In Net~

Jordan Binnington and Matt Climie have continued to work in concert this season. Binnington has played in 37 games with a record of 20-13-4-1, 2.39 goals against average, 0.914 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. Climie has played in 30 games with a record of 11-12-3-0, 2.27 goals against average, 0.915 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. Pretty similar if you overlook the records, right?

This season against the Admirals both have played 4 games and that’s where things aren’t similar at all. Climie has yet to win a game and has allowed 12 goals: 2.89 goals against average and 0.876 save percentage. The youngster Binnington has fared far better against the Admirals as he has won all 4 games he has factored while allowing half the goals that Climie has: 1.46 goals against average and 0.933 save percentage.


The Nashville Predators have recalled Kevin Fiala under emergency conditions from the Milwaukee Admirals.

Press Release via Nashville Predators:

Nashville, Tennessee (March 27, 2015) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Friday that the club has recalled 2014 first-round selection (11th overall) Kevin Fiala from Milwaukee (AHL) under emergency conditions.

Fiala, 18 (7/22/96), became the fourth 18-year-old in franchise history when he made his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Thursday, logging 11:25 and putting three shots on goal. He has also amassed 17 points (9g-8a) in 26 American Hockey League games since making his North American professional debut with the Admirals on Jan. 21. The native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, started the 2014-15 season with HV-71 of the Swedish Hockey League, posting 14 points (5g-9a) in 20 games – tied for the fourth-most goals and assists, and sixth-most points among SHL junior players – before being assigned to Nashville’s AHL affiliate on Jan. 15. Fiala also represented Switzerland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, being named one of the nation’s three best players for the tournament while tying for fifth among all skaters in goals (4g-1a-5pts, 6gp).

The 5-10, 180-pound winger was a finalist for the 2014 SHL Rookie of the Year Award after tying for the lead in points among all under-18 SHL players with 11 (3g-8a) in 17 games for HV-71. He also represented his homeland at the World Junior Championship, Under-18 World Championship and World Championship in 2014, becoming just the third player ever to participate in all three tournaments in the same year (Andrei Kostitsyn and Vadim Karagan, Belarus in 2003). Fiala led the Swiss in points at both the under-18 tournament (4g-5a-9pts, 5gp), was named one of the nation’s three best players in the process, and World Juniors (1g-4a-5pts, 5gp) as the team’s youngest member. At 17, he was the youngest member of Switzerland’s entry at the World Championship by three years, posting three assists and a team-best +3 rating playing alongside Predators defenseman Roman Josi.

Fiala is one of six members of the 2014 Draft to already appear in the NHL, along with teammate Viktor Arvidsson (112th overall); Aaron Ekblad (FLA, first overall), Sam Reinhart (BUF, second overall), Leon Draisaitl (EDM, third overall) and David Pastrnak (BOS, 25th overall).

He speaks five languages – Czech, English, French, German and Swedish – and is on Twitter @KevinFiala22.

The Nashville Predators, who became the first Central Division team to reach 100 points with their win over the Lightning last night, play the last of their 2014-15 regular-season games against Eastern Conference opponents tomorrow in Washington, D.C. (11:30 a.m. CT, FOX Sports Tennessee, 102.5 The Game).

This move comes less than a day after he was reassigned to the Admirals. My guess? It was nothing more than a paper transaction with him sticking close to the team while they knew he’d be needed right back the next day. At least that’s just my assumption for a move that fast. Otherwise I hope Fiala used some of Viktor Stålberg‘s frequent flyer miles from this season.

Expectations for the weekend set against the Chicago Wolves? How crucial is the win on home ice tonight?

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