News out of Nashville is that Steve Begin has been recalled. I fully expected Begin to get the call up to the Music City at some point this season, but what surprised me is that it took this long.
During his time in Milwaukee, Begin got 21 games of AHL seasoning and retooling, chipping in three goals and one assist. Begin started showing signs of shaking off the non-training camp rust before suffering an injury setback.
But this is a well-deserved promotion for a guy who plays hard every night.
In his place the Admirals called up Dylan Hunter from the Cincinnati Cyclones. Hunter bears a striking resemblance to former NHL-er Dale Hunter, one of the toughest guys ever to play the game. Of course Dylan is Dale’s son. Considering the Admirals are losing Begin, there doesn’t seem to be a more perfect player to take his place.
Mark Van Guilder is also close to returning the Admirals. He may be back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday night in Chicago.
So, Roundtable, what are your expectations for Begin in the NHL? Will he fit right in with Nashville, or will this not work out? Do you like the addition of Hunter, who played nine games in Milwaukee last season?
When the puck drops Sunday afternoon at the Bradley Center, Milwaukee will try to do something that they haven’t all season—beat Chicago.
In the three prior meetings with the Wolves, the Admirals have found three different ways to drop games. It started with a 3-2 loss in overtime at home on October 15, then a 3-2 shootout defeat the next night in Chicago, and finally falling 4-3 in a regulation decision on October 24 at Allstate Arena.
For Milwaukee coach Lane Lambert, the first step toward knocking off Chicago starts with better netminding.
“We have to get good goaltending,” Lambert said. “I feel like we should have won two out of the three games against the Wolves, but we didn’t get saves when we needed them.”
Lambert also believes that a consistent effort against Chicago will go a long way toward getting that first win against last year’s West Division champs.
“We have to string a full 60 minutes together against them,” Lambert said. “In the past we’ve had lulls and it hurt us on the scoreboard.”
Newly acquired Steve Begin, who played his first game with the Admirals against Chicago agrees with Lambert, but also believes Milwaukee needs to pay more attention to the little things.
“We made a lot of mistakes in that game,” Begin said. “But we can beat them if we skate for 60 minutes, have good communication on the ice and take care of the details.”
Anytime a player with an NHL pedigree such as Steve Begin’s gets assigned to an AHL club, the league’s fans get excited. These players offer the hardcore hockey fan a name they can recognize and not a prospect they have to do their homework on.
But for the Admirals supporters who don’t know much about Steve Begin, let me shine a little light on the subject. At 32-years old Begin is no rookie. His best offensive days (10 goals in 2003-2004 and 11 in 2005-2006) are behind him, yet Begin proved effective in his checking role with the Boston last year. This was especially true during the playoffs when Begin took advantage of expanded ice time as the Bruins lost key players to injuries. During the off-season Begin likely would have resigned in Boston if the Bruins weren’t so strapped by salary cap issues.
Despite his limited offensive game, Begin remains an effective two-way forward and a menace to play against. The Quebec-native is a constant competitor on the ice, who skates with a work ethic that makes him easy to coach.
Therefore Begin seems a natural fit in blue-collar organization like Nashville, a team that prides itself in playing a gritty style. Begin’s time in Milwaukee will involve conditioning to get his NHL legs back under him after he missed all of training camp as an unsigned free agent.
However, if an opportunity on the Predators third or fourth line appears, expect Begin to be one of the first players General Manager David Poile inquires about.
(Author’s Note: Steve Begin played his first game with the Milwaukee Admirals Sunday at Chicago, picking up an assist, while centering the team’s starting line with Chris Mueller and Gabriel Bourque. He also took a controversial penalty late in third period that effectively ended Milwaukee’s comeback hopes. To hear coach Lane Lambert thoughts on the call, check out Andy Grebe’s game recap Blog, Wolves Fend Off Ads 4-3: http://admiralsroundtable.com/2010/10/24/wolves-fend-of-ads-4-3/)