Admirals. Bears. Scope.
The Norfolk Admirals begin their 2014-15 season tonight at the venerable Scope Arena against fierce division rivals the Hershey Bears. Both AHL East squads are sporting new looks, especially behind the bench. Troy Mann takes over for former Admirals assistant Mike Haviland for the Bears. Mann spent last year coaching the ECHL Bakersfield Condors after years as an assistant under former Hershey bench boss Mark French. Jarrod Skalde is the new coach for Norfolk, taking over for longtime Admirasls coach Trent Yawney. Skalde was previously a Norfolk assistant and head coach for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
Your starting goalies should be Phillip Grubauer for Hershey and Igor Bobkov for Norfolk.
what to expect
I’m not sure what to expect this year. The forward group should be incredibly talented with the likes of rookies Stefan Noesen and Nic Kerdiles along with 2nd year players like Max Friberg and Antoine Laganiere. Unlike Trent Yawney’s teams, there should be more puck movement from the defense. An Admirals lineup could ice Brendan Bell, Kevin Gagne, and Jesse Blacker with three potential offensive-minded threats on the blue line. Blacker sat out the preseason game, so one wonders if he will play tonight.
Goalie will be the biggest question mark. After two years with the spectacular Frederik Andersen and top prospect John Gibson, there is a bit of unease in net. Igor Bobkov enter his third full year as a pro and his first as a #1 goalie at the AHL level. He was given a starter’s workload at ECHL Utah and was incredibly solid for the Grizzlies. Bobkov is a representation of Ducks’ drafting, the possibility of development for goalies, and his own progress. He has a lot riding on his shoulders.
Jason LaBarbera was brought in as a veteran and needs to do much better than he did last year. With the Rockford IceHogs, the veteran netminder put up a .901 save percentage in 32 games. That’s awful. He needs to be closer to his Arizona (Phoenix) Coyotes numbers.
Norfolk’s talents starting strong at forward and ending at the net is a bit weird after the past two seasons. It’s going to be different. I hope this team is fun, attacking hockey like Jarrod Skalde wants. Game is tonight, 7:15….inside the Scope.
william karlsson expected to make Ducks debut tonight in Detroit for the scratched Rickard Rakell…Etienne Marcoux stopped 37/38 and Kevin Lind notched an assist in Utah’s preseason game against Idaho…