The Milwaukee Admirals returned back home after a successful weekend sweep in San Antonio to start the 2016-17 season. Practice today at the MSOE Kern Center, as you might have expected from those games, was offense and power-play centric.
A notable absentee for today’s practice was Justin Kirkland. That is because he was assigned to the Admirals ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones where he is expected to make his pro hockey debut tonight.
Already seeing a mixed bag response on that move I feel the need to chirp in by saying something very blunt: relax. The talent spectrum of hockey right now, in general, is astonishingly good. This means a stockpile of young and exciting talent is being groomed at not just the AHL level but is overflowing into the ECHL as well. Being sent to the ECHL isn’t some sort of a death sentence on a career. Especially this early in a player’s developmental process it can be largely beneficial. Kirkland wasn’t assigned to Cincinnati because of performance or ability. He was assigned because there are so many other talented forwards stationed in Milwaukee and that’s because the same can be said in Nashville. It is far better at this stage in his career for Kirkland to be playing that waiting on the outside looking in for a chance to play in the AHL. That time will come. It always does. Just look at how many PTO signings the Admirals had last season from specifically the Manchester Monarchs, three, just to field a lineup on certain stretched of the season because of injury accumulation. Patience is a great thing. Even more so, just being able to play and learn right here right now at any level will benefit Kirkland and many others in his situation.
Beyond that, everything else today was rather much business as usual. Today’s practice did see the inclusion of Matt White in and out of the fourth line for drills. It’s unclear whether or not he sees playing time for tomorrow night’s game over alternate captain Mike Liambas or not but I sort of have a hard time seeing him get tabbed over anyone else at the moment.
After practice I had the chance to speak with Admirals head coach Dean Evason. I also spoke with Harry Zolnierczyk who had a scary moment in today’s practice when he was hit by a shot from Vladislav Kamenev to the head. Everything in that department appears to be a-ok, though. Additionally, I spoke with Adam Payerl and Alex Carrier to get their thoughts from the opening games this past weekend. Here is what everyone had to say.
Be sure to keep updated with Admirals Roundtable through social media platform of your choice: follow along Twitter, like us on Facebook, get photo updates on Instagram, and listen along on SoundCloud.