I’m not too certain there is a lot you can take away from last night’s exhibition game other than to say: it happened. A storm of penalty calls descended from the heavens and rained down on the MSOE Kern Center in that game and, whether warranted or not, it all made evaluating the team and individuals a difficult process to do.
If anything, you can say that the Admirals penalty kill did get a heck of a run out. There were a variety of different looks and players getting a chance to get out on the penalty kill and several did a great job. Still, constant penalty killing means playing two forwards at a time and it gets the lines out of whack once things become even strength – although that did feel like a rare occurrence from the second period to the end of the game.
A player I feel did stand out on the evening was Cincinnati Cyclones roster invitee Shawn O’Donnell. Yes, he did have a nice fight against Sam Carrick and everything but past that his play was really good. In such a scrambly sort of game O’Donnell always seemed to provide a positive energy on the ice for the Admirals. That goes for him operating along the boards or seeing him break forward from defense to offense. There weren’t many players, for either team, that made you point and go “him” but for me O’Donnell was that for the Admirals on the night.
The biggest takeaway for me from this game that the Admirals are going to need to work on: passing. It’s the pre-season. There were players playing at a high level game speed that never really played together and the way the penalty killing jumbled up lines it made it all the more of a mess. I get that. But there were hardly tape-to-tape passes that connected in this game from start to finish. So, yes the game was very sloppy and a penalty festival, but it could have been eased a fair bit with crisp clean passes. I suspect with the exhibition game tonight in Chicago and an off-day scheduled for Monday that Tuesday’s practice will be rather dominated by passing drills. I’ll be there to drink those drills in and see if there are improvements.
After the game I was able to chat with goaltender Juuse Saros who played the full contest for the Admirals against the IceHogs. I then chatted with Admirals head coach Dean Evason as well as the forwards that officially signed contracts ahead of the game Eric Robinson and Justin Florek. Here is what they had to say following the game.
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