This morning I made the trip into practice to give a look at what’s what with the Milwaukee Admirals following their California road trip. There was plenty of good news on the injury front as everyone that was banged up participated for the full-length of practice.
Vladislav Kamenev returned to the ice for practice today. I kept watch of him a fair bit and, for someone who has missed the last four-games (and the AHL All-Star festivities he was selected for) due to a lower body injury, he looked great. His skating looked sharp and he appeared to be moving around with ease. It looks like he will be on-track to return to game-action on Friday.
Cody Hodgson was also active for today’s practice after having missed this past weekend’s games in California due to illness. The added numbers to the forward group meant nudging Trevor Murphy back to the defensive group where he is expected to remain.
Another notable participant in today’s practice was Jonathan Diaby who has been sidelined with an “upper-body” injury for over a month’s time. I’ve caught him skating lightly in previous practices but today he went full throttle and lasted the entire duration of practice. Should he be cleared for game-action I would suspect he be assigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones faster than you can say ECHL. I’m just hoping he can get some proper playing time down there because he has had the worst luck on the injury front this season and it’s made a sputtering season even harder to ever get corrected. The Admirals defense is pretty set as it is and will soon need to decide how it slots Murphy back into the picture with left-shooting defensemen Jimmy Oligny, Johan Alm, and Kristian Näkyvä all performing well lately. This should mean having Diaby log minutes in the ECHL where Garrett Noonan is currently enjoying the bulk of his sophomore pro playing season.
~An Update on Max Reinhart~
For those keeping a close eye on the Admirals forward groups lately a key name has been absent for some time now. Where is Max Reinhart? The lone note that had been given in connection with his absence has been that he’s dealing with personal issues. That can mean a wide variety of things but the idea that it can sideline him for effectively two weeks worth of action does start to cause the rumor mill to stir. Is it something family related, health related, between the ears related, or what? After practice today I asked Milwaukee Admirals head coach about the current status of Reinhart.
“Max is taking some personal time,” commented Evason. “I think that’s all people need to know. He’s on his way back to us. When he gets in the lineup? We’ll see. But he’s worked through some stuff – some personal stuff. We expect him back and we’ll welcome him back when he gets here.”
I followed up by asking if it was a physical or health related issue.
“It’s just personal time,” responded Evason. “I don’t want to go into too much more extended than that. It’s something that players go through every now and then. You see it on different teams. He’s working through it now.”
If speculation is anything to go on you could probably take that in a further million different directions. To me, I still don’t know what has exactly happened to Reinhart but there appears to be some sort of a disconnect between himself and the game of hockey right now. Is that disconnect down to him feeling stuck in the AHL? Is it a Nashville thing? Is he looking at Cody Bass and thinking that could be him? Who knows. There is more to speculate on than actual concrete answers. No matter what the case is Reinhart is the Admirals fifth best scorer and second best goal scorer on the roster: 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) in 42 games. The only games he hasn’t played this season have come in the last three which were due to these personal reasons. If not for that he’d have played every single game for the Admirals this season – something only Félix Girard and Kristian Näkyvä have been able to do so far.
Early this morning I thought it would be fun to have another mailbag with you readers. I did get a few Q’s so now I think you can have a few A’s.
Justin: What is the most recent update on Kamenev? The new Roscoe jerseys look neat. It didn’t appear that this was one of the original events promo events. Is there something this is tied to? I’m surprised Cody Bass is still up in Nashville. Are you surprised they haven’t swapped him out with another “style” winger?
The most recent update on Kamenev is an awesome one. Luckily I went to practice this morning to see firsthand. Also, and I don’t have the full-details, I spotted him wearing a #42 David Lee Boston Celtics practice jersey after having joined with a group of Admirals who went out to play some basketball on the Milwaukee Bucks court following practice at the MSOE Kern Center. I quipped to him, “you defected.” And the group said he won it. I definitely want more to that story but if Kamenev beat someone in basketball after pulling off the Forrest Gump table tennis beat down on Noonan on Media Day it would be amazing.
The special edition Roscoe jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit the American Cancer Society.
I’m not sure if I would say I am surprised Bass is still up. My feeling with players in the role or area of the lineup that Bass finds himself in for the Predators has always been to recall the veteran in the AHL to log minutes you can depend on rather than force a skill forward prospect to slow down and play defensively. Bass is dependable. He’s experienced. He can rotate to center and win face-offs if need be. With all due respect to someone like a Pontus Åberg, Max Görtz, or Frédérick Gaudreau – you call them up and you’re left with an unknown variable of whether or not they’re going to play their assignment well while adjusting to the NHL game. Is less than ten-minutes a game of those three better than what Bass can provide? Possibly. But what is more reliable? And that’s why Bass is still there and, quite honestly, why Austin Watson is playing out the entirety of his two-way portion of his two-year contract in Nashville this season.
Jamie: Most surprising Roster moves this season? Out of any PTO in the past 3 years who do you think was the best one to sign?
The most surprising roster move of the season for me was seeing Viktor Arvidsson go up and Kevin Fiala remaining down with the Admirals after the NHL All-Star break had ended. I was completely under the assumption Fiala was here for the one weekend game before heading back to Nashville. I even had a story pre-written the moment that news was to go official because I thought it was a lock. Instead, Arvidsson went up and proceeded to prove the move right. Just watch the last Predators game highlights before they play tonight. Arvidsson was his ol’ brilliant self.
There are two great cases to be made for best PTO signings over the last three-years on the Admirals roster right now – and both did so well they were signed to full deals to remain with the Admirals. Adam Payerl has been a superb addition to the team. He’s well-rounded and has been a great depth signing that has contributed very well offensively. Matt White worked himself up from the ECHL ranks to finally get into the AHL with the Admirals and is now going to be an Admirals until the end of next season. He’s fit right in and shown he has belonged at the AHL level. I also of course have a soft spot for Gary Steffes because he, like White, was a hard worker in the ECHL who I just felt needed the AHL outlet to show he belongs. It blew me away that after the season he had for the Allen Americans in 2014-15 that not one AHL team offered him a contract. It’s a shame.
How nice is it to see Kamenev back healthy again? Are there any concerns on your part for wherever Reinhart’s head is at right now?