Tag: Peoria Rivermen

Scott Ford is Back! Predators Swap Lajunen for the Former Admirals Captain

Perhaps looking to shore the leadership of their AHL affiliate, the Nashville Predators today sent forward Jani Lajunen to St. Louis for former Admirals captain Scott Ford.

Ford was immediately assigned to Milwaukee, where he will resume his former duties of patrolling the Admirals blueline. Ford spent the past four seasons with Milwaukee, averaging nearly 70 games per season. The Fort St. John, B.C. native also continues the Admirals recent trend of getting tougher, as Ford averaged over 115 minutes in penalties over the same period.

Ford struggled some to adapt to being captain of his new team this season, posting a minus-14 rating in 43 games after posting career numbers in Milwaukee last season. Ford’s four goals, seven assists and 11 points (and his astonishing plus-24 rating) were all highs in the AHL.

After 16 points a year ago, Lajunen was also a bit of disappointment this season, scoring just one goal and five points, along with a minus-nine rating. However, Lajunen was one of the Admirals best defensive forwards in 2011-2012.

Its a curious time for a trade between the two clubs considering their place in the standings. Currently Milwaukee sits in 11th place with 52 points, while the Rivermen hold down the 12th slot at 51 points. The two teams faced each other nine times already, with three more matchups still to come.

So Roundtable . . . What do you think of this trade? Are you happy to have Ford back? Do you wish he never left? Was it time for Nashville to pull the plug on Lajunen?

Beyond the Bradley Center: Home Cooking for the Holidays, Lots of Rockford & Peoria on Tap

2012-2013 Milwaukee Admirals: 26 G.P., 12-11-2-1–27 pts., 73 goals scored, 79 goals allowed, T-11th place in the Western Conference. Leading scorer: Taylor Beck (4 goals, 14 assists, 18 points). Best Recent Win: Dec. 16, 4-3 over Hamilton. Worst Recent Loss: Dec. 15, 3-1 at Peoria. Key Upcoming Matchup: Dec. 19 vs. Rockford.

Talk about a kick in the teeth. With the NHL is locked out, the AHL schedule-makers gave Milwaukee a league-high run of road games to start the season, leaving many area hockey fans like myself suffering from hardcore hockey withdrawal.

But the balance payoff comes here in December as Milwaukee curls up by the warm fire at the Bradley Center with nine of their next 11 games on home ice, (11 of 14 if you include last weekend). The only roadies in that stretch are a pair of short jaunts to Rockford and Peoria.

Milwaukee will get extremely familiar with those two division foes in the next few weeks with four more games against the Rivermen on tap by Jan. 13, and another four against the IceHogs by Jan. 12.

With most of these games at home, the opportunity is certainly there for coach Dean Evason’s young squad to turn the corner on the season and go for on a run to get into a playoff spot. Its been so far so good for Milwaukee this season, as an above .500 record in Milwaukee’s brutal schedule to date is borderline great (as I stated in my feature on theAHL.com this week).

What cannot happen is a repeat of last year’s January swan dive. Milwaukee stands in fifth place (last) in the Midwest Division. However, the Admirals are just a point out of the top spot currently occupied by Grand Rapids. Strange stuff indeed.

Last year Milwaukee actually held the top spot in the west ever so briefly before fading in January and February. That early cushion allowed the Admirals the chance to pull off their remarkable standings comeback to finish the season and earn the fifth seed.

Peoria and Rockford are currently a point ahead of the Admirals, while Milwaukee has a game in hand on both teams. Now is as good a time as any to climb over their rivals and become a legitimate contender.

So Roundtable . . . Are you looking forward to all of these holiday home games? Is second place or better in the Midwest Division by Jan. 13 a reasonable expectation? How much pressure is on Milwaukee to play well at home, considering their current position of 12th place in the Western Conference?

November’s Only Home Stand Looms Large for Milwaukee

Brace yourself Admirals fans:  Milwaukee’s schedule is about to take another nasty turn.

In the month of November the Admirals have just three measly home games and none past this Sunday’s game meeting with Chicago.  Therefore this week’s matchups—games against Rockford on Wednesday, Peoria on Friday, and the team’s fourth meeting of season with the Wolves on Sunday—represent a vital stretch for Milwaukee to gain significant points in the AHL standings.

“We would really like to get the month off on the right foot considering we’re going on the road for the next ten games,” Admirals coach Lane Lambert said.  “That’s the general objective for these next three games—for us to have a strong start.”

The other key to this week’s contests is that they are West Division games played against Milwaukee three closest geographic rivals.  Currently, the Admirals sit in sixth place in the West, chasing both Chicago and Peoria.  Milwaukee could move up the ladder by claiming four or more points on the week.

Obviously, the first days of November is far too early in the season to start worrying about Milwaukee’s playoff positioning.  But a couple of big home wins this week would make life a lot less stressful on Lambert’s crew as the Admirals head south for the latter half of the month.

So, Roundtable:  How many points do you think Milwaukee will get out of these next three games?  Would anything less than four be considered a disappointment?  Why?