Admirals' Josh Brittain scores the lone shoot-out goal against the St John's Ice Caps on Friday, Jan 18, 2013. - John Wright
The Admirals broke their seven game winless streak on Friday night, but only by winning in the shoot-out. Who's going to fill the 34 goal gap left by call-ups?
1 - Norfolk won its first game of calendar year 2013 with a 3-2 overtime victory over the St Johns's Ice Caps (Winnipeg Jets) on Friday night, ending a seven game win-less streak dating back to December 30th.
2 - Forward Troy Brodie (2A) and defenseman Nick Schaus (1G, 1A) each have two points in the past two games
3 - Anaheim prospect Josh Brittain, a recent call-up from ECHL affiliate Ft. Wayne Komets, has three goals in the last three games, including two power play goals, plus the lone shoot-out winning goal against the Ice Caps.
4 - The Admirals just can't seem to find any traction in the East Division, winning only four times in 15 attempts.
5 - Viktor Fasth, signed in the off-season as the Anaheim back-up, stopped all five attempts in the Admirals shoot-out win against St John's Friday night. Fasth was assigned to Norfolk earlier in the week on a conditioning stint.
6 - The Admirals could only manage six shots on goal in the final two periods against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins) on Tuesday, setting a franchise record for lowest number of shots in a game at 13.
7 - Norfolk forward John Mitchell got his first assist of the season on Tuesday night against the WBS Penguins. Mitchell has seven points on the season (6G, 1A) in 29 games.
8 - The Admirals roster hasn't exactly been consistent of late. Eight players with 20 games or more are not currently on the active roster.
9 - In two games, goalie Viktor Fasth has a .900 Save Percentage with a 2.41 Goals Against Average.
10 - Norfolk averaged just under ten shots on goal per period this week. The Admirals managed only 3 shots In the second and third periods against WBS, yet racked up 19 shots in the second period against the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators) last Saturday.
Name tags outside the locker room?
Thanks to the end of the lockout, the Admirals roster saw more changes than a chameleon on tie-dye shirt. Twenty-seven total transactions over the past week had to have Coach Yawney and his staff scratching their heads when trying to put together a line-up. The Admirals pulled from the ECHL affiliate, the Fort Wayne Komets, as well as the Greenville Road Warriors and the Elmira Jackals, in order to put a patch-work team together after the Anaheim Ducks made their call-ups to camp.
Where is the offense?
With the losses of Peter Holland (12G, 19A), Kyle Palmieri (13g, 12a) and Devante Smith-Pelly (5g, 8a) to the Ducks and with Sami Vatanen (4g, 17a) placed on Injured Reserve, the Admirals have lost 34 goals out of 92 and 90 points out of 226. Forwards Patrick Maroon (11g, 12a) and Emerson Etem (10g, 1a) will be relied upon heavily to lead the team on the offensive side of the ice.
Since the Admirals' last win on Dec 29th, they have only scored 13 goals in 8 games, an average of 1.6 goals per game, which makes the loss of four of the top five offensive threats felt that much more. The Ducks and Admirals have made some signings recently, none of which really helps in the offense department.
On Wednesday, Anaheim assigned forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to the Admirals. "PL3" as he has come to be called, is primarily known only for his ability to rack up penalty minutes, an area the Admirals have had no problem with this season. The Ducks also signed forwards Troy Bodie, Dan Sexton, and Jay Rosehill and assigned them to Norfolk. Bodie has been with the Admirals all season and is definitely a leader in the locker room. The addition of Sexton has provided consistency in the face-off circle. Rosehill, while a fan favorite and good for a fight, gets about five minutes on the ice per game and usually finds a way to get an ill-timed penalty.
On Thursday, Norfolk signed veteran defenseman Kent Huskins to a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO). When I say veteran, I mean a 33 year old d-man who played 299 games in the NHL over six seasons and 408 AHL games. While he does have experience and a Stanley Cup win, [Ed. Note: 2007 FOREVER! -CK] the Admirals have not had a problem keeping the puck out of the net and have plenty of options at defense who probably aren't suffering from the early onset of arthritis.
So let me recap--The Admirals have averaged only 1.6 goals in their past 8 games, and the only signings made between Anaheim and Norfolk have been 4th line grinders, a senior citizen (in the hockey sense) and guys who can rack up penalties. I'm sure there's a strategy here, but I have to be honest and wonder just what the hell it is.
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