The Milwaukee Admirals consecutive playoff appearances streak will stop at twelve after the Toronto Marlies defeated the Iowa Wild by the final score of 5-2 tonight. It is the first time since the Admirals inaugural season in the American Hockey League that they will not be in the playoffs.
It has been a wild season of ups and downs for the 2014-15 Admirals. They’ve been on top of the Western Conference and the Midwest Division at different points this season. The team set a franchise record for their best ever start to a season with a six-game winning streak out the gate. December saw a rough patch but then in January the Admirals were riding on a serious high note that saw them set a franchise record nine-game winning streak before everything started to trend downward in February until this exact moment in time. There will not be playoff hockey in Milwaukee for the first time since the 2001-02 season.
While this is by every means a downer I would like to point everyone’s attention to the 2015-16 season. The learning process of this past campaign should pay huge dividends moving forward. While some faces involved with the team could be moving on there will be more than enough returning faces that should return with massive chips on their shoulders. I always like to personalize situations like this by my own experiences. I am in no way the person that I am today without the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons that I’ve learned from them. There has been plenty of mistakes made this season from veteran and young players alike. All are learning. And all should turn up for the better thanks to the trials and tribulations that this season has provided.
Friday night will be the last home game of the season. Saturday night in Rosemont will be the last game of the season. The pressure and crippling feel of the playoffs slipping through everyone’s fingers will be gone and the team will have something entirely new to play for: respect. The Admirals will be facing the team that has just eliminated them from playoff contention this season on Friday. I would anticipate that being a statement game from the Admirals right back at the Marlies. In addition, the Admirals saw their end of the season head-to-head with the Chicago Wolves as a playoff series to see who would get in. That has already been decided as well, but the Amtrak Rivalry remains and there will need to be one last hurrah from a group looking to leave 2014-15 on a positive note.
Monday will see Admirals Roundtable “Season in Review” content starting up. That makes me sad. What doesn’t make me sad is how truly remarkable the relationship of the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals has been and the success that it has provided the Admirals over these twelve straight playoff seasons. So many teams have come and gone. So many NHL teams have changed AHL affiliations. Yet it has been the same ol’ same ol’ here in Milwaukee. One season without playoff hockey hasn’t made this year a failure. What would make this past season a failure would be if it is brushed aside and the hardships are forgotten. The success of the past shouldn’t be taken for granted and, just as importantly, nor should the failures. Because it is the ability to overcome failures that can truly define both individuals and an organization.