New Bucks Arena Will Now Include An Ice Rink

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The New Bucks Arena – with Hockey-less Hockey Rink Karate Chop Action!

According to Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal the Milwaukee Bucks new arena will feature an ice rink that meets NHL and NCAA specifications. This news comes less than two days after the Milwaukee Admirals played in what possibly could have been their last game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center where the two organizations are tenants.

There is much said in the article produced today by Kirchen. So let’s plunge into some snippets:

Despite the plans for a hockey rink at the new arena, a Bucks spokesman says the owners aren’t seeking an NHL team.

“There are no plans for the NHL,” Bucks spokesman Jake Suski said.

Rather, the Bucks owners are looking to host events such as the NCAA hockey tournament and its Frozen Four men’s championship or an NHL exhibition game at the new arena, Suski said.

“The arena includes facilities and equipment for ice-related events so that the venue has the flexibility to attract all kinds of world-class entertainment,” Suski said.

Something about the timing of this announcement rubs me the wrong way. The Bucks offered zero communication with the Admirals in regards to their participation in the new arena. That forced the Admirals to look after their own best interests, which they did, and they were approved by the Wisconsin Center District for a ten-year lease with a mutual option for five more years. The Admirals host the opening two games of their opening round series in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, they lose both, are on the brink of elimination, and could have possibly played their last game at the BMO Harris Bradley Center with the loss on Saturday night. Out of nowhere the Bucks get to talking about their new venue being able to host hockey events? There is something highly questionable to that considering how little they viewed the Admirals in their plans. To announce it shortly after the Admirals potential last game at the Bradley Center comes across like a parting shot.

The Admirals and the Bucks relationship, at least on the surface level, seems fine. When you start to scratch below that a little bit to find out things in connection to where the money from Admirals games at the Bradley Center mostly goes to you can get a sense of tension. The Bucks pocket the majority of merchandise revenue from the Admirals merchandise at the Bradley Center. The Admirals leaving the Bucks, after being given the silent treatment during new arena talks, has allowed for them to rediscover a playing venue that was once called home ice where they can once again call it their building. They will be seeing new revenue streams that they never really were able to tap into because of the functionality of the Bucks business practices at the Bradley Center. The Admirals will be getting merchandise and concession revenue at the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena. The Bucks will now be losing all that the Admirals provided them that they leached off of for years upon years. In what could be their final act of partnership, as the Admirals bow out, the Bucks immediately welcome the work week with news that they never before cared to share months ago: there will be a hockey rink.

Is this to say it makes any sort of a competitive business act by the Bucks against the Admirals? No. Even if there were exhibition games held at the new arena, something that happened with the Bradley Center first opened, they would be just that – exhibition games. If they’re smart, in terms of marketing, they would seek the Nashville Predators, the parent club of the Admirals, to take part in any of those exhibition games to try and lure their local fan base in. NCAA Frozen Four? That would be a bit more head-to-head with the Admirals for a brief span of time in April but I’d imagine, barring the Wisconsin Badgers hockey program making a major turn-around in the next few years, the bulk of attendance would be travelling college fan bases from the participating schools.

What this news is was a “look at us” from the Bucks while the Admirals news cycle is going for once with the possibility of final games at the Bradley Center in-play. It could have been announced far in advance. It could have been communicated to the Admirals when inquiries were made of any possible participation at the new arena. It could have even been brought up in the dead of summer when neither team had anything happening. Instead, this news comes a little shy of forty-eight hours from what might have been the last opening puck drop of Admirals hockey at the Bradley Center. It’s a parting shot. It’s a sour attempt to step in front of the Admirals, who were the last professional team playing in the building this spring, to take the spotlight. Timing is everything. The timing of this news is coincidental at best and intentional at worst.

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.

Posted in News | 6 Comments

Chatterbox, Vol. 130

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

You know the drill. I gave the insider just last time here on Chatterbox that I like to really let a game sink in before plunging into it if it was a game where emotions would take from objectively analyzing the game that was. No matter how long I waited after last night’s 2-1 loss. No matter how many late night stops at the Keurig machine I made. There wasn’t any escaping the fact that “NO GOAL” will become one of those sporting moments that will set me off no matter when I hear it.

~Rant~

I feel what you will hear Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason say from his post-game interview last night sums it up best. He spoke in regards to the idea that in junior hockey plays such as the one that happened last night can be reviewed yet in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs you can’t. It doesn’t make sense.

To me, I really wish I could stress the human element of what the referees don’t have that we do have: instant replay. Yes, the officiating crew 100% blew it last night. Yes, they got together and came up with that decisive call. But it’s done in the moment, one look, first take, make a decision. The fact that a situation such as last night’s “NO GOAL” is an unreviewable play is an even bigger issue that the officials blowing the call on the ice. Because it only took the main replay angle from the jumbotron feed to show that, not only was there was zero contact made on Tom McCollum, no one was more than two feet from him in net. It’s inexcusable, embarrassing, and brainless for the AHL to have zero ability or try-to in making a play such as that unreviewable. If the Green Bay Packers had to be the victims of the “Fail Mary” to get the replacement referees out of the NFL then let the Admirals be the dead duck for the AHL to actually get uncomfortable and make something change to their own replay rules when moments such as “NO GOAL” are met with, “Well, I did all that I can do.”

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Is it the officials fault last night that the Admirals lost? No. The Admirals still didn’t do enough offensively to make more of an impact against the Griffins. Yet, the game ends in such a way that there is a one-goal difference with that difference drawing all eyes back to a moment of lunacy. What happened was, thanks not to the officials, but the way the AHL is setup, is create a forever moment of, “What if?” Because, what if the Admirals go into the locker room at second intermission down 2-1 and then Vladislav Kamenev scores that power-play goal? What happens now that it’s a 2-2 game? What if there was overtime? What if the Admirals actually scored on that power-play that started the third period with them buzzing now that they have all the momentum in the world because it was a GOOD GOAL? What if? What if? What if?

So, if you really want to point fingers, I’d say take them and aim them directly at the AHL. The officials are human beings that make mistakes like the rest of us. Sometimes they’re put in a spotlight that magnifies the human element of sport – such was the case last night. They shouldn’t have needed extra security around the visiting locker room tunnel as they left the ice last night. They shouldn’t have needed to walk the long way around the underbelly of the BMO Harris Bradley Center to exit the building. No, they should have just been able to watch the replay and make the correct call. That option isn’t there for them and the fault as to why they don’t is on the league’s lap this morning. Why don’t they? Because not every AHL arena has the capacity for multiple cameras? Because they’re too cheap to make sure the game is conducted as a high level professional hockey league? Because they don’t care? There is zero excuse as to why or how “NO GOAL” is allowed to stand. Zero. It’s an embarrassment of riches and it’s all down to the way the league is structured. Not the officials who were on the ice last night.

~The Road Back to Milwaukee~

Part of why even more tension and emotion was placed on last night’s game was the sheer magnitude of what Game Two meant to the Admirals. They were already in a 1-0 series hole and were looking down the barrel of needing to survive at least a game in Grand Rapids, a place where they haven’t won all season, should they have even won Game Two. They didn’t. And now they need to win both games in Grand Rapids just to see Game Five in Milwaukee.

When was the last time the Admirals won two straight games in Grand Rapids? You have to go back thirteen-games to find a time when they actually managed to win three straight games in Grand Rapids: 11/25/124/12/13, and 10/18/13.

When was the last time the Admirals scored more than two-goals in a Calder Cup Playoff game? You have to go back fourteen-games ago to a 5-4 (OT) win at home against the Houston Aeros on 5/8/11. The Admirals record in the playoffs since that specific win has been 1-12 including losing their last seven straight playoff games.

When was the last time the Admirals overcame a 2-0 series deficit to win a playoff series? Never. It has never happened in the franchise’s entire playoff history which consists of thirty-three previous playoff appearances.

What is the Admirals record in elimination games in the AHL era of the team? The Admirals are 9-11 in elimination games. They have lost their last four consecutive elimination games and last won an elimination game, there’s that date and game again again, on 5/8/11 at home against the Houston Aeros. The last time the Admirals won two consecutive elimination games came during the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs with a win on the road against the Chicago Wolves (4/21/10) and then at home (4/23/10) before losing in Game Seven. They did the exact same feat the year prior in 2009 against the Aeros: 5/9/09 and 5/11/09 The best the Admirals ever fared in playoff history in elimination mode came in the opening round of the 2004 Calder Cup Playoffs when they won the last two games of the series against the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks after having trailed 3-2 in that series – the Admirals wouldn’t face elimination again and would win their first and, to this point, only Calder Cup Trophy. The Admirals must one up that effort and win the next three.

So, the Admirals are up against it now. They probably felt that way last night. But there is something very much to be said about pushing certain teams or individuals into a corner. Make no mistake about it, when the Admirals play on Tuesday night in Grand Rapids, you’re going to see the absolute best of what the Admirals have to offer. It’s make or break moment from a team and, to some, an individual level. Win or go home. Simple as that.

~Chatterbox~

After the game I had the chance to speak with the Milwaukee Admirals head coach who, as I alluded to above, had summed up last night’s controversial call very well. I also spoke with Max Görtz, Juuse Saros, and the man who made his surprising -and quite impressive- professional playing debut last night Yakov Trenin. Here are the sounds from around the rink last night.

Comments from the comments? Why do you feel the AHL doesn’t allow for video replay for goaltender interference and will that change next season thanks to last night’s game? Are these Milwaukee Admirals, who have now lost their last four-games, capable of pulling two wins from the hat in Grand Rapids to return back to the BMO Harris Bradley Center next Saturday for Game Five?

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.

Posted in Chatterbox | 3 Comments

Grand Theft Griffins Steal Both Home Games; Ads lose 2-1

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The Milwaukee Admirals lost 2-1 against the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

A controversial “no goal” call in tonight’s game was the lone difference in Game Two. It looked as if Max Görtz made it a 2-1 game in the second period only to have the goal waved off for goaltender interference. The replay showed zero contact with Tom McCollum in net. In fact, no one was really even close to him. The Admirals would get a power-play goal in the third period from Vladislav Kamenev to legitimately make it 2-1 but the game stayed right there until the final horn.

“I get that I can look up there and I see the video, and the referee doesn’t have that option, we come in after the period and I can solidify what I saw,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach of the no goal call. “I guess the bottom line is it’s a shame that the ref can’t see the video too. We’re the second best league in the world and the referee should be able to go over there and look at that. And we don’t. It makes no sense. It makes absolutely no sense. I’m just talking to our goaltending coach Dave Rook and he’s like, “In the OHL they can do it – in the American League you can’t do it.” In a playoff game in the second best league in the world we can’t look and see if the call was correct? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s hard to take. It’s disappointing.”

The Admirals now trail the Griffins 2-0 in the series and need to do something they haven’t done all season long – win in Grand Rapids. They will need to do that twice in order to host Game Five in Milwaukee.

Despite a very strong start for the Admirals out of the gate it would be the Griffins getting on the scoreboard first. Patrick Mullen was called for a slash that gave the Griffins a power-play to work with. Martin Frk hammered a slap shot low and the save off the pads of Juuse Saros spilled right in front of the crease. In the scramble to get the puck away from the net Kristian Näkyvä kicked the puck with his skate and gave the puck right to Anthony Mantha for what would be a tap-in to make it 1-0.

Another power-play goal for the Griffins came in the second period. Following an Admirals power-play that went bust Jamie Devane was called for a high sticking minor. The Griffins then put the Admirals penalty kill in a spin cycle and opened up space for Tyler Bertuzzi to score a one-timer for his third goal of the playoffs.

A massive controversial moment came in the closing stages of the second period. Corey Potter let a slap shot loose from the right point and it deflected in off Max Görtz for what appeared to be a clear cut goal. It was instantly waved off and the explanation from the officiating crew was that there was goaltender inference on the play.

“What I see was, I see [Andy Miele], he’s a weak guy I think so and I went in there and pushed him away,” said Max Görtz. “I didn’t think I touched [Tom McCollum].”

The only part of an Admirals body near Tom McCollum in net was Görtz’s right skate in the top of the blue paint which came as he turned around to follow the puck into the net. The rest was purely a phantom call as traffic surrounded the front of the net. There was no contact. And the goal was disallowed with goaltender interference not being able to be reviewed in the AHL. The second period ended with a 2-0 Griffins lead and a massive roar of boo birds from the fans to the officials.

“When the ref came over I just asked him,” said Evason of talking to the officials about the decision for a no goal call. “I was watching the replay as he was talking I said, [Jarrod Ragusin] just talk and I’ll watch it. He said, “100% his foot is in the crease and he obstructs with the goalie.” And as I’m watching it his foot is not in the crease and he does not obstruct with the goaltender trying to kick his leg out to make a save. It’s a goal. Simple as that.”

Just past the midway point of the third period the Admirals were able to net a good goal which came from their fifth power-play chance of the night. Vladislav Kamenev was able to take a feed from Frédérick Gaudreau, whirl around in front of the net, and stuff five-hole on McCollum to score his first goal of the playoffs and draw the Admirals back within a goal.

With 1:47 remaining the Admirals pulled Saros to bring the extra attacker on. They then earned an in-zone face-off with 1:26 remaining and burned their timeout. They were unable to make anything happen with the net emptied and extra attacker situation and fell 2-1 to the Griffins. The difference, some could argue, was the no goal call which was the difference in the hockey game tonight.

“It’s tough, obviously,” said Görtz. “When you know it’s a good goal it’s tough. 2-1 there and go into this period we score one and we’d be in OT now probably. It’s tough, but you have to just let it go and still go hard. We were so close at the end. So, we’re working down there now so next game is our’s.”

Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the Milwaukee Admirals signed goaltender Janne Juvonen and defenseman Joonas Lyytinen both to PTO Contracts. Also of note, though not made official until game time due to his inclusion, the Nashville Predators assigned their first selection from the 2015 NHL Draft Yakov Trenin to the Admirals. The Russian forward made his professional playing debut tonight. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, Richard-Trenin-Devane, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Elliott, Murphy-Mullen. Tonight’s scratches were: Jack Dougherty (healthy), Zac Larraza (healthy), Joe Pendenza (healthy) Janne Juvonen (healthy), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Aaron Irving (healthy), and Alexandre Carrier (healthy).

How poor has the officiating been in this series? What will the Milwaukee Admirals need to do in Grand Rapids to survive this series?

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.

Posted in Game Recaps | 6 Comments

Admirals Officially Add Juvonen and Lyytinen

(Photo Credit: Mikko Pylkkö)

(Photo Credit: Mikko Pylkkö)

They have been with the team now since the last week of the regular season but weren’t officially part of the Milwaukee Admirals roster. Ahead of tonight’s Game Two against the Grand Rapids Griffins in the opening round series of the 2016 Calder Cup Finals – that’s changed. The Admirals have officially added goaltender Janne Juvonen and defenseman Joonas Lyytinen to PTO Contracts.

Juvonen was a seventh round draft choice of the Nashville Predators in the 2013 NHL Draft. He was the last selection made by the Predators in that draft class which includes current Admirals Felix Girard and Juuse Saros. The 21-year old netminder Juvonen has spent his career to the point playing in his native Finland. He has already logged 86 games at the senior team level at the top flight of Finland’s Liiga which have all come with the team he joins the Admirals from, Pelicans.

Lyytinen is yet another member of the brilliant selections made by the Predators in the 2014 NHL Draft. Every member of that draft class, aside from Justin Kirkland who is currently battling it out in the 2016 WHL Playoffs for the Kelowna Rockets, are now playing professionally. Lyytinen was selected in the fifth round of that draft class by the Predators and has spent his entire career, youth system and senior level appearances, as part of KalPa in his native Finland.

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.

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Chatterbox, Vol. 129

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

I always feel it’s important for myself to wait before getting to the written portion of Chatterbox. I can give a solid think about what happened in the game while not letting the emotions of the moment mask what actually happened. With the Milwaukee Admirals 3-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game One of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs I can’t help but feel a sense of here we go again. It was there after the Griffins first goal. It was there after the second period. It was there when the final horn sounded. And it was there after my drive back home from the rink. It’s simply inescapable.

There was always a level of concern on my part that the Griffins could be the opening round opponent. Knowing their capacity to play so well it’s boggling how they dropped like a stone at the end of the season. Factoring in last night’s result the Griffins are now a solid 6-3-0-0 against the Admirals in 2015-16. Their win means that they can eliminate the Admirals by winning both games in Grand Rapids during Game Three and Game Four. They haven’t lost to the Admirals in Grand Rapids once this season. In fact, the Griffins beaten the Admirals in Grand Rapids in seven straight games. The last Admirals win in Grand Rapids came on 1/31/15 in a 4-0 shutout with Magnus Hellberg in net.

That is one element of “here we go again” that, by game’s end last night, had me feeling like I was firmly punched in the middle of my back. The other comes purely from the Admirals recent history in the playoffs. Since Dean Evason took over as head coach in the 2012-13 season the Admirals have a record of 1-7. The season prior to Evason saw the Admirals get swept in three-games by the Abbotsford Heat in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. And the year prior to that was the last time the Admirals advanced out of the opening round. The Admirals have only advanced out of the opening round of the Calder Cup Playoffs three times in the last ten-years.

A loss to open up there series with a team that you’ve not beaten on the road in seven straight attempts with a playoff history of six straight losses. Here we go again.

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

What I do make up for in divvying up past history is my relentless optimism which I would like to hand out to all of you that just read all that. Everything written above, including last night’s result, is part of the past. It’s gone. It’s over. It’s done with. What the Admirals focus simply needs to be on is today. Not yesterday. Not those two games in Grand Rapids. Today. That’s all that matters because it’s the challenge that awaits them. A win tonight makes it a 1-1 series. Who is to say the Admirals can’t take a 1-1 series lead and shut up a Grand Rapids crowd in Game Three? History? History doesn’t matter because today is what matters. That should be the Admirals philosophy.

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Yes, last night’s game was rocky and could have gone much better but there were also lots of missed opportunities on the Admirals part mixed with a few good bounces that fell the Griffins way. Juuse Saros was great in net and should likely see action once more in tonight’s Game Two. That instantly provides a great platform for the Admirals to build from. All that’s needed now is having a rethink about five-on-five play which went pretty much the Griffins way last night. The Griffins do a tremendous job at getting the Admirals offense to stay along the boards and take long range perimeter shots that either get blocked or easily saved. The Admirals have worked wonders either during the season or in-game at making adjustments. I feel that trait is actually their strongest asset in these playoffs because, when you see the same opponent again and again, eventually you’re going to solve that puzzle. The Admirals have roughed up the Griffins on home ice in the late stages of their season series so a breakout game could be on the horizon with the right adjustments made from last night’s experience.

~Chatterbox~

After last night’s game I did catch up with the Milwaukee Admirals head coach, Mr. Evason, as well as getting to talk with a handful of players: Max Reinhart, Anthony Richard, Adam Payerl, and Félix Girard. Here is what they all had to say following last night’s game.

Comments on the comments? What was the single biggest element that needs to change for the Milwaukee Admirals to gain an edge over the Grand Rapids Griffins at even strength? When the Admirals were on the power-play did you feel that the Griffins did a good job applying pressure with their penalty kill or were the Admirals putting to much pressure on themselves to pass or shoot into areas that were obstructed?

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.

Posted in Chatterbox | Leave a comment

Ads Out-Muscled in Game One; lose 3-1

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 3-1 against the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Game One of this series saw a return to form for a Griffins team that had lost five straight games entering the playoffs. They battled hard to force the Admirals to take deep shots from the perimeter and were able to get around an early five-on-three power-play goal from the Admirals to score three unanswered goals to pick up the win in Milwaukee and take away the Admirals home ice advantage.

“We talked about obstruction a lot to the referees that we’re getting held up,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of the Grand Rapids Griffins work on defense holding down the Admirals offense. “But, if you have the willingness to not get held up, it doesn’t happen. We gave in way too many times to the hold up or the compete in those dirty areas.”

Late in the first period the Admirals were given a golden opportunity to make a dent thanks to 1:14 worth of a five-on-three power-play. Xavier Ouellet went off for cross-checking Kevin Fiala. Nathan Paetsch went off for a holding penalty against Vladislav Kamenev. After a stuff attempt at the front of the net went bust for the Admirals the puck kicked back to the two men playing the point all the way low down to the face-off circles, Max Görtz and Trevor Murphy. Görtz controlled the skipping puck and laid off to the top of the right wing circle for Murphy who hammered a shot past Tom McCollum’s glove to give the Admirals the first goal of this playoff series.

Unfortunately for the Admirals their 1-0 lead only lasted 2:06 of ice-time. A point shot by Martin Frk was blocked down by Stefan Elliott. Almost everyone on the ice lost sight of where the puck ricocheted to except for Tyler Bertuzzi who rifled a shot to the net quickly that surprised Juuse Saros and leveled the contest at 1-1.

“We’ve got some momentum, and we’re excited, and we get a bad break,” commented Evason. “[Stefan Elliott] makes a great block and it goes right to them. And [Juuse Saros] gets screened. Yeah, they caught a bounce for sure. Not necessarily to gain momentum but to stop our’s.”

The Griffins would take their first lead of the game midway through the second period. Following a series of special teams and abbreviated power-plays the Griffins were able to work a well timed pass from Ryan Sproul to Martin Frk in the left wing circle where he uncorked at bomb of a one-timer that banked in past Saros on the near-side post.

After icing the puck, the Griffins were able to win a defensive zone face-off and then foot race to set up their third unanswered goal. Sproul delivered a hard shot that stayed low to the ice which Saros fought off. As the puck rebounded out it was kicked behind the net where Sproul continued his run, corralled the puck, and passed to the slot where Bertuzzi was able to smack in his second goal of the night to make it a 3-1 Griffins lead.

The loss for the Admirals effectively takes away the home ice advantage unless the team is able to snag Game Three or Game Four in Grand Rapids. Yet, the defeat means there is a chance for the Griffins to clinch the series in Grand Rapids regardless of tomorrow’s Game Two outing in Milwaukee.

“They came out strong tonight,” said Max Reinhart after the game. “They battled hard. I thought they earned that game even though we threw lots of shots at their goalie, he played well. It’s unfortunate for us.”

In net, McCollum earned the surprise start over the Griffins top goaltender this season Jared Coreau. McCollum managed to stop 32/33 shots on goal in the win. At the opposite end of the rink Saros delivered a great outing despite taking the loss. The Admirals netminder stopped 19/22 shots on goal including numerous key saves in the early stages of the game that kept the scoreline tight.

Under the reign of Evason the Admirals have now lost their last six straight playoff games over the course of three separate seasons. Evason’s playoff coaching record with the Admirals is now 1-7. In the last ten-years the Admirals have made it out of the first round of the playoffs only three times with the latest occurrence coming during the 2010-11 season.

“I think we just want to be more shooters, be able to get to the net, and knock in those rebounds,” said Adam Payerl of what the Admirals need to correct ahead of tomorrow night’s Game Two in Milwaukee. “There’s lots of rebounds sitting around. We just weren’t able to get our sticks on it tonight.”

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals regular season came to an end there have been several roster inclusions: Yakov Trenin, Zac Larraza, Joonas Lyytinen, Alexandre Carrier, and Janne Juvonen. Larraza was signed by the Admirals to a PTO Contract prior to the start of tonight’s game. Trenin, Lyytinen, and Juvonen have yet to officially be included as part of the Admirals roster although they are all currently with the team. In addition, players not currently listed as members of the active Admirals roster include: Cody Hodgson (upper-body injury), Taylor Aronson (away from the team due to personal reasons), and Johan Alm (out for the season with a knee injury). Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, Richard-Pendenza-Devane, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Elliott, Murphy-Mullen. Tonight’s scratches were: Jack Dougherty (healthy), Zac Larraza (healthy), Aaron Irving (healthy), and Alexandre Carrier (healthy). Tonight marked the professional playing debut of Anthony Richard. Tonight’s attendance was 3,261.

What is your reaction to this result? What do the Grand Rapids Griffins seem to do that always gives the Milwaukee Admirals such problems offensively?

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.

Posted in Game Recaps | 3 Comments

Admirals Sign Zac Larraza to PTO Contract

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Ahead of the Milwaukee Admirals first game of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs they have added a familiar face to the roster in the form of forward Zac Larraza. The 23-year old had previously signed a PTO Contract with the Admirals back in mid-December. He now signs yet another PTO Contract at the dawn of the AHL’s playoff season.

With the Admirals Larraza managed to play 10 games while scoring 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). He collected 13 shots on goal and did not take any penalties while holding an even plus/minus rating. This season has been his debut season of professional hockey and, while the better majority of his time spent has been with the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, he has played for two other AHL teams than the Admirals: Portland Pirates and San Diego Gulls. In total, Larraza’s 2015-16 campaign across the AHL and ECHL has garnered 38 points (23 goals, 15 assists) from 63 games of work.

Of note, Larraza’s first stint with the Admirals saw him wearing #28 with the team. That has since been claimed by defenseman Corey Potter. As such, Larraza will become the first Admirals player to wear #20 since Miikka Salomäki who wore it earlier this season.

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.

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Griffins: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

(Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

The time has finally arrived. The Milwaukee Admirals are back in the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs. It may have only been a year’s absence but, after twelve straight seasons of playoff hockey in Milwaukee, that simply felt like a decade ago. Fortunately for everyone they get to voice their appreciation and welcome playoff hockey back at the BMO Harris Bradley Center tonight and tomorrow with the Admirals, as Central Division champions, controlling home ice against the Grand Rapids Griffins in the first round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs.

~Kind of Grand, Sort of Rapid, Flock of Griffins~

The Grand Rapids Griffins finished the regular season with a record of 44-30-1-1 (90 points). In their second to last game of the season they found themselves in a tie for the third seed of the Central Division with the Rockford IceHogs and in a showdown against them to really help dictate how the playoff picture was going to look. The Griffins lost that game on the road 4-0 and then proceeded to lose on home ice 3-2 the following night to the Bakersfield Condors. They finished with a 0.592 points percentage and claimed fourth place of the Central Division.

There was a time where it looked like the Griffins were going to be the team to beat in terms of winning the Central Division crown. They set a franchise record winning streak by putting together fifteen straight wins and would pull off another winning streak of thirteen-games roughly two months later.

A harsh reality of the Griffins 2015-16 season is that they are a particularly streaky team. As fantastic as those winning streaks both sound their season began in misery. The Griffins took five-games before finally earning their first win of the season and were a rough 2-8-0-1 (5 points) from their opening eleven-games prior to marching to that franchise record fifteen-game winning streak.

The Griffins currently head into the playoffs on a losing streak which matched a season high. They have lost five-straight games in regulation going into the opening round series against the Admirals. The first time they lost five straight games in the regular season they won 9-1 over the IceHogs on the road before dipping and diving before their then thirteen-game winning streak.

Again, this team is either extremely hot or extremely cold. A major question that should get answered early in this series is whether or not the layoff from the end of the regular season to the first round playoff match-up against the Admirals helped to get these Griffins back on track after squandering away third place in the Central Division with a rough patch to their regular season. What Griffins are going to show up: a refocused group that has corrected its recent faults or more of the same?

~The Playoff Rewind~

There are many names on this season’s Griffins roster who were part of the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs. For those in need of having your memories refreshed the Griffins were able to enjoy a solid run one-season ago that ended in the AHL Western Conference Finals.

In the first round the second seeded Griffins faced the seventh seeded Toronto Marlies in a best-of-five round series that went the distance. That series featured something that will not be happening when the Griffins face the Admirals. It was a 2-3 playoff format in which the Griffins, as the higher seeded opponent, was able to chose between starting the series on home ice for the opening two-games or ending it at home for the final three-games. It worked a treat if only to make them earn their home ice as the Marlies won the first two games of the series in Toronto. The Griffins would sweep the final three games that were held in Grand Rapids to advance. This season the Griffins and Admirals best-of-five series will have a more functional 2-2-1 format that sees the Admirals host the first two-games of the series and the possible fifth and decisive game.

In the second round the Griffins advanced to face the fourth seeded IceHogs where they would win the best-of-seven series 4-1. The Griffins claimed the first two-games on home ice, lost the first contest in Rockford, and then snagged the final two-games in Rockford to close out the series before the final two-games held in Grand Rapids were even needed.

The Western Conference Finals last year were between the Griffins and the top seeded, and totally West if you ignore Geography, Utica Comets. The Griffins would push the Comets to six-games but fall 4-2 to the top seed. The Griffins earned a Game 2 victory in Utica but dropped the first and last games they had of their three at home. That opened the door for a Comets finish to the series in Utica where they punched a ticket to the Calder Cup Finals in Game 6.

Of the expected Griffins roster, going into tonight’s game, there will be nineteen returning names from last season’s Griffins playoff roster. That is just a little under 60% of last year’s team that nearly punched a ticket to the Calder Cup Finals that will be available to the Griffins against the Admirals.

~The Stanley Cup Playoffs Effect~

Before the puck has even dropped on this series the Stanley Cup has already made an impact on the way this series between the Admirals and Griffins will be played. The Griffins parent club, the Detroit Red Wings, were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night by the Tampa Bay Lightning. This allows for the Red Wings organization to disengage properties that could contribute at the AHL level and bring recent Stanley Cup Playoff playing experience with them.

The Griffins are set to see the return of forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Joakim Andersson to their ranks from the Red Wings. Both players featured in all contests of the five-game playoff series for the Red Wings. Athanasiou scored a goal while Andersson tacked on an assist during their playoff run.

Athanasiou has played 37 games at the NHL level this season and produced 14 points (9 goals, 5 assists). As a member of the Griffins this season he has added 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 26 games. Last season in the Calder Cup Playoffs he was able to produce 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) from 16 games.

Andersson’s career split to this point between the NHL and AHL is rather tight in terms of games played. He has logged his entire North American professional playing career under the Red Wings banner but has seen varied to lesser results while playing at the top flight. In his NHL career he has logged 205 games, scored 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists), has a plus/minus rating of -11, and has 27 games of playoff experience where he has 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists). At the AHL level in his career he has logged 208 games, scored 106 points (41 goals, 65 assists), has a plus/minus rating of +8, and has 20 games of playoff experience with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists).

The Admirals parent club, the Nashville Predators, currently find themselves locked up at 2-2 in their opening round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks. That series now effectively has become a best-of-three series. That might oddly work to the Predators favor should the series trend of no home team having won yet holds to the finish. The Ducks host Game 5 and Game 7 if it is needed.

Should the Predators be eliminated while the Admirals remain active in the Calder Cup Playoffs their returning faces would include team captain Colton Sissons, last season’s top scorer for the Admirals Viktor Arvidsson, and effectively this season’s captain when the true captain wasn’t in the AHL Cody Bass. All three of the possible returning names to the Admirals made their debut to the Stanley Cup Playoffs during the Predators current series against the Ducks.

~All Top Scorers Must End In An “E” Sound~

The Griffins offense this season was the second most potent in the Western Conference. As a team they recorded 238 goals which was only bettered by the Texas Stars (277 goals) and edged out the third closest team -the Admirals- by 14 goals. While the Admirals feature a rather balanced scoring group the Griffins have a few players that do separate themselves from the pack.

Andy Miele was the Griffins leading scorer in the regular season. He managed to follow up what was a highly successful first season with the Griffins in 2014-15 with a rather close effort this year: 62 points (18 goals, 44 assists) in 75 games with 77 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of +18.

Miele is followed on the Griffins scoring list by the team’s leader in goal scoring, Eric Tangradi. After bouncing around a few organizations for the past three-seasons Tangradi appears to have found a place of renaissance in the Red Wings organization. He has contributed 56 points (28 goals, 28 assists) in 72 games as a member of the Griffins with a plus/minus rating of +17 which were all career bests.

Third in scoring for the Griffins is Mark Zengerle. In his second professional playing season since finishing up a playing career for the Wisconsin Badgers he set a career high in the scoring department with 47 points (9 goals, 38 assists) in 72 games. His performance this season bettered his first professional season as a member of the Griffins by 10 points.

There are then a few hot shots worth keeping an eye on in the series. Anthony Mantha, who has scored 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists) in 60 games. Martin Frk, who has scored 44 points (27 goals, 17 assists) in 67 games. Mitch Callahan, who has scored 32 points (19 goals, 13 assists) in 62 games. Robbie Russo, who was the Griffins top scoring defenseman this season with 39 points (5 goals, 34 assists) in 71 games. And the oddity that is Louis-Marc Aubrey who has scored 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 75 games this season which includes being the Griffins top scorer against the Admirals in this season’s head-to-head with 7 points (6 goals, 1 assist) in 8 games.

~Solving The Coreau Woes~

The Griffins possible secret weapon to this series could come in net in the form of Jared Coreau. This season he appeared in 47 games, held a record of 29-15-2-1, 2.43 goals against average, 0.922 save percentage, and locked down 6 shutouts.

In his career he has faced the Admirals Coreau has played in 12 games, made 11 starts, holds a record of 8-3-0-0, has stopped 273/293 shots on goal for a 0.939 save percentage, has a 1.94 goals against average, and has earned 3 shutouts over the course of three-seasons. He has played in two-games against the Admirals that have spilled past regulation and won each of them (once in overtime, once in a shootout). He has also been yanked from a start once against the Admirals this season.

If there were any question mark to Coreau it would be the simple fact that he has played in only one career AHL playoff game and lost. It came in last season’s Calder Cup Playoffs in Game 2 of the Griffins opening round series on the road against the Marlies. He stopped 21/24 shots on goal for a 3.10 goals against average and 0.875 save percentage.

What are your expectations for this first round series for the Milwaukee Admirals? What is the most concerning thing to you about the Grand Rapids Griffins? Does the fact that both teams had less than ideal finishes to the regular season, Admirals losing their last two-games and the Griffins losing their last five-games, make a difference in the form that these two teams enter the playoffs with?

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.

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Chatterbox, Vol. 128

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

(Photo Credit: Daniel Lavender)

Today the Milwaukee Admirals hosted a Media Day with the playoffs officially beginning tomorrow night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. You might think not much would have changed in terms of the on-ice product from yesterday but that simply wasn’t the case.

The Nashville Predators officially assigned defenseman Alexandre Carrier to the Admirals this afternoon. Not only was he on-hand for this morning’s practice but he was joined by fellow member of the Gatineau Olympiques Yakov Trenin who, I suppose like Janne Juvonen and Joonas Lyytinen, is unofficially here. Carrier and Trenin were both selected by the Predators in the 2015 NHL Draft and have each already signed their entry level contracts. This group follows that of Jack Dougherty, Aaron Irving, and Anthony Richard who all joined the Admirals before the end of the regular season. As far as uniform numbers are concerned they all go as follows: #5, Trenin… #15, Dougherty… #24, Richard… #30, Juvonen… #38, Lyytinen… #49, Irving… #64, Carrier…

There was then the fantastic news that came about just as Media Day was coming to a close that the Predators organization has signed Admirals forward Adam Payerl to a one-year, two-way contract that will keep him around for the 2016-17 season. That’s quite a special story given last off-season he couldn’t even find a job at the AHL level and took to the Cincinnati Cyclones because of the chance to participate in Admirals pre-season camp. He impressed then. He’s impressed since. And he’s impressed so much so this season that it put him on the Predators radar.

~Chatterbox~

This being Media Day meant there were countless other news stations around to join the media scrums. There will be a fair bit of different voices asking questions along the way. As far as the usual suspects go they went as follows: Dean Evason, Max Görtz, Kevin Fiala, Marek Mazanec, Corey Potter, and Jamie Devane. These were the sounds from rinkside earlier today.

Comments from the comments from today’s practice? Would you like to see a few of the new additions to the Milwaukee Admirals enter the fray come playoff time? Would that add a new twist that the Grand Rapids Griffins wouldn’t have expected or would making a professional playing debut with the stakes being so high be a tad too risky for the Admirals?

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.

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Predators Sign Payerl to One-year, Two-Way Contract

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Nashville Predators have announced this afternoon that they have signed Milwaukee Admirals forward Adam Payerl to a one-year, two-way contract that will see him stay within the organization for the 2016-17 season.

Press Release via Nashville Predators:

Nashville, Tenn. (April 21, 2016) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Thursday that the club has signed forward Adam Payerl to a one-year contract worth $575,000 at the NHL level and $75,000 at the AHL level in 2016-17.

Payerl, 22 (3/4/91), has spent the 2015-16 campaign with Nashville’s primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, posting 29 points (13g-16a) and 114 penalty minutes in 74 games and helping the club claim the Central Division title. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Kitchener, Ont., has appeared in 204 career AHL contests since 2012 with Milwaukee and Wilkes-Barre, amassing 60 points (23g-37a) and 284 penalty minutes, in addition to playing in two NHL games with Pittsburgh during the 2013-14 campaign (0pts, 2 PIMs).

Never drafted, Payerl played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Barrie and Belleville from 2007-12, posting 143 points (60g-83a) and 303 penalty minutes in 306 games.

Payerl entered this season as property of the Cincinnati Cyclones after not having any other AHL offers on the table. The Admirals brought him into their pre-season camp with a few other names from the Cyclones roster and Payerl instantly made a huge impression on the Admirals coaching staff. This season he has reached AHL career highs across the board having contributed 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) from 74 games.

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.

Posted in News | 2 Comments