Matty P is a definite NHL move. He doesn’t play defense, which understandably upset Duck fans. He’s a puck-possessing bottom-6 center with a knack for scoring,. which is something Bruce Boudreau wants…and oh yeah, BB coached him in Hershey and DC. What does this mean for the Admirals?
Anaheim’s center depth is currently”
We can eliminate Getzlaf, Bonino, and Koivu as possible cuts. This leaves Matty P, Holland, and Rakell. With Holland missing most of camp with an injury and Rakell in his first full year out of the OHL, they’re easy picks to go back down to Norfolk. We’ve solved two ROSTERWATCH selections, with a big round coming tomorrow. I’ll try to go into detail about the cuts when they happen.
Oh, and while we’re at it, D-man Nolan Yonkman was put on waivers. If he clears, expects him to get assigned to the Ads.
Tonight, when I was walking back to my car, someone asked me how I thought the Admirals would do. I said “It’s a young team with talent, good goaltending, not quite sure about the defense; probably sneaks into the playoffs”. Honestly, I was talking out of my ass. I kinda want to believe what I said.
Tonight was the first game of the 2013-14 season, even if it was pre-season. The boards were blank except for GEICO ads because of their sponsorship of the Challenge Cup with the Ads and Checkers. I had no idea what to expect from the game, because who the hell were half of the players on the roster? Turns out it was a bit of a track meet, at least in hockey terms.
Much-hyped prospect John Gibson got the start in net for the Ads with Mike Murphy for the Checkers. Murphy played 8 games last year, 7 in Moscow and one for the Checkers, with a save percentage lower than .900. Nonetheless, you gotta play the other team. Norfolk dressed a decent amount of likely starters, though Stefan Noesen was a scratch.
In the first, the Ads started out with some good o-zone pressure, getting shots at Mike Murphy. It paid off when Stefan Warg fired a shot from the blue line that got tapped in to the net by John Mitchell.
The Admirals would find themselves in a number of special teams situations, especially the power play early on. At the outset, they did a good job of keeping possession and forcing shots. Kevin Gagne made the most of a power play opportunity, skating in to the slot and firing one past Murphy to put the Ads up 2-0. Norfolk had a good thing going, with a clean sheet from Gibson and two goals largely from the work of defensemen.
The 2nd period of the game was a bit different, with the teams settling in and finding a groove. Early in the frame, Mike Murphy misplayed a puck behind his net that Max Friberg stole and set-up Chris Wagner for one of the easiest goals of his life. Later on, Murphy would do some acrobatics in the net to stop a goal, leading to Charlotte’s first goal. Thankfully, the Ads finished strong with Mike Little (who might be headed to the ECHL) on a breakaway to Joseph Cramarossa for a nifty goal.
Third period is where things got interesting for the wrong reasons. Norfolk squandered an early power play, and found themselves pressured in their own end. Charlotte shot a puck at John Gibson, it went the other way, and Gibson couldn’t recover. Defense should have had that one. Ads would then go on to get a lot of penalties. You can’t do that, it will come back to you. Charlotte scored a fluky power play goal with a Checker batting a puck out of the air. I guess there’s no video review in the pre-season to see if it was a high-stick. Oh well. It was a tense game until the end, when the Checkers pulled their goalie…and Teigan Zahn decided to fight because of course.
Norfolk positives were definitely the power play, play from the blueline, and the PK for the most part. John Gibson looked good, stopping 23 of 26 shots. He’ll most likely get those “1A” starts, after Freddie Andersen. The offense as the whole looked good, too, putting up 34 (!) shots. Granted, it’s the preseason, but last year’s Admirals were setting records for lowest shots. If this is what Jarrod Skalde brings-some damn shots-I’m all for it.
Negatives are definitely the slew of penalties. Yeah, asshole guy behind me, the ref sure does suck. That guy (not that guy, but you know) is gonna be at every game. Norfolk needs to get out early, get shots, and play well in their own end. Yes, there were two sloppy goals by Charlotte but you gotta keep the puck away from the other team. We’re still not sure (right now) who is coming back to the Ads. Either way, I think this team has enough young talent to put some goals up.
Additional notes….As were Mat Clark, John Mitchell, and Zack Stortini
After a way too long off-season, Norfolk Admirals hockey is back! In a sort of Trader Joe’s “it’s good but the packaging is just for this brand” way. Our beloved AHL team finally takes to home ice for the first time in months, with a deep overhaul.
ROSTERWATCH has been discussed at length, with my speculation about the vets that would move up and down between the Ads and Ducks. A few more names to sort after tomorrow’s pre-season finale in Anaheim against San Jose. What this means is that the Ads will most likely be without a few key contributors in their preseason scrap against the Checkers. Ducks color man Dan Wood (who is on Twitter @duckscolorman) has Devo, Hampus, and Holland needing to play great games against the Sharks. Hampus has been playing well this preseason, so that’s a coin flip that’s gonna land on it’s side in my head. Peter Holland, who’s been battling for that last center spot, has been hampered by an injury lately. He might make it down to Norfolk to adjust to game speed.
What really matter is the Admirals’ home game, which is the book-end of a home-and-home with the Checkers. This early afternoon, the Ads played the Checkers in a game at Extreme Ice which is just, ya know, Chilled Ponds or any other recreational ice rink. The broadcast coverage was…non-existent.
I can’t tell you much about the game other than the Ads lost 4-2 with Freddie Andersen giving up 3 goals (one was an empty netter), and D-man Alex Grant got two goals. Grant, you’ll recall, came over in the Harry Zolnierczyk trade. I guess some ECHL guys got time, because they’re also auditioning. In this age, the fact that no stats were kept or recorded well is baffling and kind of frustrating. Tomorrow we’ll all be at the game! Tickets $10 if you haven’t purchased them already.
Norfolk Admirals Groupon
A little bit extra to note for you. If you’d like to go to an Admirals game at an extremely reasonable price for the first few home series, a great deal has arrived! You can go to Groupon and get Gold level seats for just $12! I highly recommend picking some up.
Hockey season is about to land. Next Saturday, your hometown hero Norfolk Admirals will take to Scope ice for their first pre-season game against Western partners-in-crime, the Charlotte Checkers. We’ve still got a long road ahead before that. If we want to see some hockey, we should have some players.
Anaheim’s first cut day happened on Thursday, and nothing was too surprising. Norfolk received Max Friberg, Kevin Gagne, Antoine Laganiere, Andrew O’Brien, Charlie Sarault, Zack Stortini, Stefan Warg, Steven Whitney, Maxime Sauve, and Teigan Zahn among “did that guy play for us…he did, right..he didn’t” moves. Most of those players are rookies except for Stortini and Sauve. John Mitchell and Chris Wagner are back in the “regular contributor” category. I am not surprised by most of these, though Zahn and Sauve were added on PTOs this month.
Who’s still in Anaheim? Goalies. Freddie, Bobkov, and John Gibson continue to battle it out in camp, as there’s a big decision to make. Who goes to the Utah Grizzlies and who gets to be the back-up in Norfolk between Gibson and Bobkov? Both are young and need development, though Gibson has a higher ceiling.
Forwards: John Kurtz, Emerson Etem, Patrick Maroon, and Devante-Smith Pelly remain with the Ducks. DSP and Maroon seemed to have some good chemistry in pre-season games against the Kings and Avs, connecting for a goal in Colorado. Still, there’s not a lot of room with the Ducks and DSP is still on his ELC. Speaking of ELCs, John Kurtz is probably getting an extended look from the guys in Anaheim after signing his first NHL contract. He’ll be back. Emerson is just in a weird spot. He was great for the Ducks last year, but he’s on his ELC and there are, of course, space problems in the big league roster. Limbo for Etem.
Defense: Anaheim’s defense keeps falling. Francois Beauchemin is still recovering from ACL surgery and Sheldon Souray is still under thanks to a torn ligament in the wrist. Things can’t get worse oh sh.. Luca Sbisa is out a couple weeks. Sbisa should be back for the 2nd week of the season, but the Ducks need a fill-in. Among their choices are AHL stalwart Nolan Yonkman (who scored a goal against Phoenix in pre-season after scoring zero last year), Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Cumiskey, and Mat Clark. Hampus didn’t get a true full season last year due to a couple of concussions. If this weren’t a dire situation, I’d say yes, Hampus to Norfolk. He has a chance to excel here, and may crack the opening night line-up in Denver.
Speaking of Yonkman….
Who’s the Captain?
Nolan Yonkman was the captain last year for the San Antonio Rampage. Good for him, I say. We’re currently captain-less here in Norfolk. Here are my candidates:
Pat Maroon- If he’s here. No-brainer, wore an A last year and was the team’s most consistent scorer. Would also throw down if necessary.
John Kurtz- Not the most obvious choice, I know. Kurtz wore an A at times last season, just signed his first ELC after playing in the minors for Anaheim for a few years, throws down, kills penalties, does whatever. Great off-the-ice guy.
Mat Clark-Defenseman that missed only one game last year, solid d-game that lets the hits do the talking.
John Mitchell- By virtue of just hanging around and being there, you know? Scores goals sometimes.
What say you? Get into it on twitter @BeneathScope.
ESPN/Hockey Prospectus guru Corey Pronman releases his top Anaheim prospects today. Who are they? Prospects must be 1)under 26 2) have less than 50 career NHL games or less than 25 games the prior season.
I think these players will make it because I am a great guesser.
Camp is here for rooks and prospects et cetera which means hockey is closer. Some of you may want to keep tabs on players with twitter, so I’ve made a list. The list is a PROJECTED list right now, though it can be updated at any time.