To end the year of 2012 the Norfolk Admirals traveled to the Northeast for a short road trip against some of the toughest teams in the conference. The Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay) are No. 1 in the conference and not far behind them are the Springfield Falcons (Columbus).
The tilt with Syracuse was one game that a lot of people looked forward too; mainly the Syracuse fans because they have some sort of chip on their shoulder. The Admirals lost 4-2 after giving Syracuse the chance to score three power play goals. Kyle Palmieri earned his 10th goal of the season and Sami Vatanen scored his fourth. After the final whistle, all hell broke loose with 45 minutes of penalties being handed out. There could be a lot more fights this Friday when the teams meet again, this time in Norfolk.
The second game was the only win for the Admirals on the three game trip. They took the Baby Pens into overtime to get the two points. Chris Wagner got his third goal of the season and Peter Holland scored his team leading 12th goal of the season. The overtime winner, a power play goal, went to Patrick Maroon.
The third and final game of the short road trip was against the Springfield Falcons. The Admirals were out-played in pretty much every way possible. Igor Bobkov played just under two periods total, allowing four goals on 27 shots. Frederik Andersen took over and played a period of hockey in his very first game back since being injured. Andersen stopped all nine the shots he saw. The only Norfolk goal came from Emerson Etem, his ninth of the year.
In the last couple of days there were a bunch of transactions. The Admirals signed two veterans, goalie Jeff Deslauriers and forward Dan Sexton, to professional tryout contracts (PTO). A PTO is a 25 game contract. Deslauriers has 62 games of NHL experience, split between the Ducks and the Oilers, earning a 23-32-4 record. Sexton played with the Crunch last year, scoring 13 goals and 43 points. He has appeared in 88 games with Anaheim scoring 13 goals and 32 points. [Ed. Note: Dan Sexton played in 88 games?!?!!11?!]
Between New Years Eve and New Years Day, the Admirals send down four players to Fort Wayne. Corey Elkins is struggling to get into the lineup; Luca Caputi is being healthy scratched in the ECHL; Nick Schaus hasn't done anything amazing in his stint with Norfolk; and goalie Marco Cousineau went back down because Andersen is now healthy. The only player called up was Josh Brittain. In 31 games with Fort Wayne and has 13 goals and 27 points.
There are a couple theories on all his movement. One is that Anaheim has given up on the two rookie goalies experiment and one keeper might be headed to the ECHL. All signs are pointing to Bobkov. they are trying to bring in some offensive firepower.
Another theory that is more of a stretch is that the lockout might end soon and they are positioning all the players to be ready when it does. I don't agree with this theory at all.
The Admirals face the Crunch two times this weekend and then they head down to Raleigh to take on the Charlotte Checkers at the PNC Center (home of the Carolina Hurricanes).