Welcome to Ramblings, which now exists in a world where the Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup Champions.
The post-game celebrations always get me when it comes to the Stanley Cup. But it is just all the more special seeing the likes of Lane Lambert, Barry Trotz, and Mitch Korn win it after their incredible contributions with the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals. And, chills, the sight and raw emotion exploding out of Alex Ovechkin when lifting the Stanley Cup was incredible. T.J. Oshie when discussing his father was a tear-jerker. All of it was a beautiful encapsulation of why hockey is so great. What a moment for all of them, their families, and the fans of Washington.
With things quiet silent in our own camp -for now- let’s look back at our league. The 2018 AHL Calder Cup Finals begin tomorrow night and it will feature the Toronto Marlies and Texas Stars. The Marlies have home ice advantage for the occasion and are looking to claim their first Calder Cup trophy. The Stars will be looking to claim their second Calder Cup in five seasons.
The first day of Summer might not -officially- be until late-June but I think hibernation time is done. Before we start the Memorial Day Weekend I think it’s a good time to bring Ramblings back. This column will keep active weekly throughout the off-season with news, notes, and commentary on all the changes taking place – of which there have been several the last few weeks. So, let’s not waste much more time because we actually have some catching up to do.
As you probably could have guessed. The Milwaukee Admirals had the day off this lovely Monday morning following three games in three days. The team swept the three-in-three weekend and are now on a four-game winning streak after that rough six-game losing skid. They will be back to practice tomorrow morning at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena ahead of their return clash against the San Antonio Rampage. The Admirals beat the Rampage 5-4 in overtime on Saturday night. The Rampage will be playing on the road against the Iowa Wild tonight.
With no practice in the cards, or games within the organization for that matter, I thought today would be a fun day to get a Mailbag brewing. You can submit questions to Admirals Roundtable via Facebook, Twitter, or right here in the Comments Section. We’ll be answering them right after the jump.
If you’re a fan of the Milwaukee Admirals you had a double-dose of bad times yesterday. The Admirals, for whatever the reasons might be, still can’t solve the Grand Rapids Griffins or finding ways to win in the Van Andel Arena. The moment that the Admirals blew a third period lead and lost 2-1 the secondary blow came as the Nashville Predators made a trade that involved Vladislav Kamenev, Samuel Girard, and a second round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Admirals fans aren’t going to see Kyle Turris. There are no additional pieces entering the mix to replace the production of Kamenev or future work by Girard on defense. That is life in the AHL. Players arrive. Players leave. And, when they leave, the season continues and it’s on the coaching staff and remaining players to fill the gaps created by a parent club.
It stings now. It might take some time to work through new roles. But where there is a vacancy in a role as big as Kamenev was contributing in there are players getting the chance to fight for and contribute that much more than they already were.
It doesn’t take much more than to look at this season’s roster for the Milwaukee Admirals to know there are very good ingredients for success. There is a solid veteran leadership group. There were some good additions that worked around last season’s departures. And there were loads of returning talent that help make for instant chemistry from the get-go. That much has become immediately true. The Admirals started the season off with three road games and won them all while scoring 5 goals in each victory. As it stands, they are the AHL’s final team after two weeks of hockey to have an unbeaten record.
Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM CST will mark Game 3 in the Pre-Season Rookie Tournament. That will conclude the rookie slate of the schedule before the main camp begins on Thursday. And, with the wait before Milwaukee Admirals Training Camp gets underway, it feels overdue for a proper Admirals Roundtable Mailbag. Feel free to continually ask questions and have them added and answered below the jump.
Yesterday the Nashville Predators provided an update to defenseman Ryan Ellis. It wasn’t exactly ideal or uplifting news to hear. Ellis sustained a knee injury during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Finals and required surgery shortly after its completion. He won’t be ready for a return until late-December or early-January. While that might sound like a buzzkill as on-ice activities start brewing in Nashville it only highlights the biggest strength of the Predators organization: its defensive depth.
The mystery surrounding what on Earth was going on with Marek Mazanec has now been answered. Before that ever happened though the organization already made good on its promise to bring in three goaltenders: Anders Lindbäck, Matt O’Connor, and Jake Paterson. Mazanec would have offered a nice, stable, and reliable option for the Milwaukee Admirals. Mazanec also would have also been a decent enough fit for the third choice option in net for the Nashville Predators. It was evident early he wouldn’t be back. It was evident as the signings came around that the three don’t match Mazanec’s current comfort blanket feeling. Should Pekka Rinne or Juuse Saros suffer injury of any length during the 2017-18 season who really is that next man up?
Since the 2007-08 season the Nashville Predators organization was straightforward: Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) & Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). That has changed this season. The Norfolk Admirals have become the new ECHL affiliate and that has pushed the Cyclones off to a new adventure as part of the Buffalo Sabres organization. In the past few seasons the Cyclones depth from Milwaukee hasn’t necessarily been the best. It’s already clear to see that the organization is attempting to make the first season with Norfolk on board as impactful as possible.