After a short off season for Norfolk Admirals fans, it's time for a new season with a new parent club, players, something to do with a hybrid icing rule, and another something about video review. Needless to say, the Admirals left an impression on the entire league last season - whether Toronto liked it or not.
The 2012-13 season is looking to be an impressive one for the AHL. With the NHL lockout, the already good competition in 'The A' will be even better.
The Admirals will benefit from a lot of young talent like Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Palmieri, and Devante Smith-Pelly. DSP would likely be in Anaheim right now if it weren't for the lockout. It will be a good team, but all teams from here on out will be compared to the perfect storm that happened last season; the Admirals went on a 28 game win streak, setting a new North American pro-hockey record, and dominated the playoffs by sweeping the St. John's IceCaps (Jets affiliate) in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Toronto Marlies (Leafs affiliate) in the Calder Cup Finals.
As a fan that got into AHL hockey when Tampa Bay arrived here, I will be 100% happy with an over .500 season and a team that gives it all day in and day out.
For the folks that haven't always paid attention to the AHL [Ed. Note: i.e. Ducks fans], the league has a 76 game season. A large part of the schedule is comprised of division games. Most weekends for Norfolk consist of back-to-back games due to travel. Norfolk's closest opponents are the Hershey Bears (Capitals affiliate) and the Charlotte Checkers (Hurricanes affiliate) which are about six hours each way.
In a previous article, I detailed the times we play all of the opponents and some of the rivalries. The first month of games are pretty much all teams we rarely play. The Admirals had a really good series last year with the Connecticut Whale in the playoffs; at times it got a bit out of control. The last time we played the Worcester Sharks was October 15th and 16th 2010 it might be awhile for that series to fire back up. Oh, and of course, we swept the IceCaps to win the Eastern Conference.
If you want to listen to the games almost all are on 1021 The Game. If you want to pony up a couple bucks you can view the games on AHL Live. Fair warning, it isn't the best streams of all time. [Ed. Note: I purchased six games for $35-ish.] Pete Michaud is on the radio broadcast, and he's awesome at it. Pat Shetler is the older color commentator that you will hear from time to time at home games only. He can be a bit kooky, but he has been involved in the game of hockey for a very, very long time.
I am really excited to be covering this team right now for y'all! If you ever have any questions just ask me, this is all for you!