Tag: San Antonio Rampage

Beyond the Bradley Center: Turning Points and Paul Fenton talk

2012-2013 Milwaukee Admirals: 49 G.P., 23-20-3-3–52 pts., 128 goals scored, 142 goals allowed, 11th place in the Western Conference (3rd Midwest Division). Leading scorer: Taylor Beck (10 goals, 27 assists, 30 points). Best Recent Win: Feb. 17, 3-1 vs. Abbotsford. Worst Recent Loss: Feb. 16, Charlotte 8 at Milwaukee 2.

A handful of times during an AHL season, most teams get to enjoy 3-game-in-3-nights stretches where all three games are at home. For coaching staffs and players, these dates get circled on the calender as possible big weekends, or at least a chance to pick up some much needed points. This past weekend Milwaukee got through just fine, picking up a sliver of ground with four out of six points.

However, this weekend meant a whole lot more. On Friday Milwaukee staged a miracle comeback to steal a game away from San Antonio. Then on Saturday night in front of a large, and unlikely to leave early crowd, the Admirals posted a stinker losing 8-2 to Charlotte in a game that actually could have been much worse. Yet, Milwaukee turned things around one day later by beating Abbotsford 3-1, taking two big points from a team that also got pounded the previous night.

In hind sight games like these ones have the chance to stand out as “turning points.” The question is will we look back at this weekend and think this was where Milwaukee turned around the ship, or will we look back and think this is where it sunk?

In other news, ESPN.com and TSN reporter Pierre LeBrun put a nice plug in for Predators Assistant/Milwaukee Admirals General Manager Paul Fenton in a post about possible future NHL GMs on Friday:

4. Paul Fenton, Nashville Predators: A day-oner with the Preds’ franchise, Fenton was director of player personnel for the first eight years before being elevated to assistant GM in June 2006. Nashville GM David Poile has told me several times over the past few years that he believes Fenton has what it takes to be a good GM, and I wholeheartedly concur. Let’s face it: Fenton has been front and center in the organization’s drafting and developing of players, and if there’s a team that relies heavily on developing its own talent, it’s the Predators, who haven’t had the luxury to spend like the big boys. They do things the right way and they don’t rush talent. Fenton, 53, clearly has an eye for identifying and developing talent, and he’d make a fine GM.

I completely agree with this assessment and am actually surprised that his name hasn’t been mentioned more often for openings (of course unlike coaches, these openings don’t come around quite as often). While I am busy making plugs for team personnel, I think current Nashville assistant coach Lane Lambert is fully deserving of an NHL head coaching job, and I expect him to find one in the not-so-far future.

So Roundtable . . . A couple months down the road, will we look back at this weekend as a turning point? What are your feelings about Paul Fenton? Does he deserve a head G.M. gig in the NHL?

A First Place Battle Royale with Houston

At several points this year, I made note of various points in the schedule as games of significance for the Milwaukee Admirals.  However, tonight at Houston I get to be selfish as this game means little in the playoff picture.  With one loss neither team loses much ground.

Instead the Admirals and Aeros are playing to one up each other for first place in the West Division.  I am aware of the fact that Milwaukee has played four less games, which is crucial at this point in the year, but for one night these two clubs get a winner take all chance to battle for the top of the mountain  (Knowing the AHL, Houston will win tonight in a shootout or in overtime, making this a three point game and leaving the two squads tied).

But perhaps the most ironic twist of fate for both clubs comes after this game.  Each team’s next two games are against the San Antonio Rampage.  Milwaukee plays a pair at San Antonio on Wednesday and Friday, while Houston gets a home and home with the Rampage on Saturday and Sunday.

Currently San Antonio sits as the last team out of the Western Conference playoff picture, in sixth place in the West Division with 76 points.  Therefore Tuesday’s sparring partners could help out each other’s playoff hopes with wins over the Rampage.

So Roundtable, How much stock do you put into this one game, a winner take all contest between Houston and Milwaukee for the West Division lead?

Despite rooting against the Aeros tonight, will you be sporting fighter plane jerseys this weekend as Houston faces San Antonio?

Admirals Prepare for a Texas Two-Step of the Two Week Variety

A pair of three games in three nights.  A four games in five nights stretch.  Seven total games in 10 days.  No matter how you slice it, Milwaukee sure is going to get its money’s worth of playing hockey in the Texas vicinity over the next week and a half.

But this will hardly be a vacation to the warmth of the Lone Star state.  The Admirals will be facing quality hockey clubs in each contest over the trip, including bookend games with the the West Division leading San Antonio Rampage.  There is also a pair of games in Austin where Milwaukee will face last year’s Western Conference Champions, the Texas Stars.

But perhaps the most intriguing matchup of the trip comes with a pair of games in Oklahoma City.  The Admirals and Barons each stand at 21 points (The Ads have played two less games), so Milwaukee’s first ever trip to Oklahoma’s state capital takes on even more significance.

With a majority of home games remaining on the schedule after December 1st, a few big wins on this trip would put the streaking Admirals in excellent position through the first quarter of the season.

So Roundtable, how many wins are you expecting for Milwaukee on their seven game Texas swing?  And how many wins does Milwaukee need for the trip to be considered a success?