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Admirals Stat-urday: The Bryz is Back!

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This week the Admirals have arguably the best "on-paper" roster in team history--a Stanley Cup winning goaltender and a top line of NHL-caliber players.

Ilya Bryzgalov takes the ice for his first game with the Noroflk Admirals Dec 12, 2014.
Ilya Bryzgalov takes the ice for his first game with the Noroflk Admirals Dec 12, 2014.

0 Had to add this one in here just for Dany Heatley.  He did did pretty much nothing last night, played timidly, and for some reason refused to shoot the puck.  [Ed. Note:  #50in15 -CK]

1 Of course, this one has to be Ilya Bryzgalov's first game of the season!  Bryz and the Admirals faced off against the Number One team in the Eastern Conference, the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets) and he performed well considering he had no practices with Anaheim and just three days with Norfolk.  Bryzgalov posted a 2.04 Goals Against Average and a .941 Save Percentage, stopping 32 of 34 shots in a 3-1 loss.

2 Yann Danis posted his second shut-out of the season with a 3-0 win over the Charlotte Checkers Wednesday night. Danis stopped 37 shots.  His last shut-out was back on Nov 28 against the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers) when he stopped 35 shots.

3 Nic Kerdiles contributed three assists in two games, including two Wednesday night in a 3-0 shutout win over the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes).  Kerdiles leads the Admirals with 16 points (6G, 10A).

4 Antoine Laganiere scored his fourth goal of the season last Sunday against the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) in a 5-2 loss.  Laganiere has five points this season (4G, 1) through 25 games.

5 Goaltender Ryan Faragher saw action in his second start for the Admirals last Sunday in Manchester against the Monarchs.  Faragher allowed five goals on 21 shots and finished with a .762 save percentage.  Faragher's last start was back on November 5 against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders), a 3-1 loss.

6 William Karlsson and Emerson Etem have combined for only six points (4G, 2A) since being assigned to Norfolk from Anaheim.  Karlsson, who has played in all nine games, has three goals and two assists, while Etem, who was sidelined with the Mumps, has scored only one goal through four games.

7 Max Friberg has two goals in his last two games and points in his last three (2G, 3A).  Friberg scored Norfolk's lone goal last night against Springfield and is seventh on the Admirals in scoring with eight points (4G, 4A).

8 Louis Leblanc scored his eighth goal of the season Wednesday night against Charlotte, his lone point through six games in December.  The goal was Leblanc's third game winner of the season.

9 Captain David Steckel, who narrowly missed on two great scoring opportunities Wednesday night, added his ninth assist of the season against Charlotte.  Steckel has yet to find the back of the net through 26 games, but he's looked closer and closer to getting that elusive first one over the past five games.

10 The Admirals were outscored 10-4 in Manchester this past weekend, losing both Saturday and Sunday to the Monarchs by 5-2 both nights.  Danis took the loss Saturday, allowing five goals on 36 shots, Faragher the loss Sunday.

--Bryzgalov didn't look rusty, despite his assertions that something was missing from his game during the post-game interview.  He followed the puck well, made some second and third saves that one would expect from an NHL goaltender with his experience, and even had some "confident," lightning-quick glove saves.  He looked calm and steady between the pipes, and apart from a few pucks that didn't bounce off him like he would have wanted, he looked solid.

I have to admit, I liked talking to him.  His answers were short (no doubt he's expecting the worst when it comes to questions), but he was very patient with us "rookie" reporters and answered everything as best he could.  He called Friday's game and important one, that it gave him ideas of what he had to work on before he went on to Anaheim.  I can say this of him-he's extremely focused on getting in to top form and is anxious to help the Ducks.  I think Anaheim will be in good hands between Frederik Andersen and Bryzgalov.

--Yann Danis, who posted his second shut-out of the season Wednesday and whose praises I've been singing now for weeks, backed up Bryzgalov Friday night.  That's right folks, get a shutout, take a seat two nights later.  Only in the AHL.  Danis is 11 games in to his 25 game PTO contract.

I would expect there to be a bunch of moves in the upcoming few weeks for Anaheim goaltenders.  It's expected that Tuesday Bryzgalov will be recalled to Anaheim, thus relieving Jason LaBarbera of his duties as the back-up there.  Since Igor Bobkov has been banished to the ECHL's Utah Grizzlies, Norfolk will see Danis and LaBarbera as the tandem until John Gibson returns.  Then it's Gibson and LaBarbera, youth and veteran, as it should have been in the beginning of the season.  Barring any other shenanigans between the pipes, the consistency on the roster "should" see that a shut-out would be rewarded with another start.

--Anaheim is free to recall Dany Heatley any time they want.  Norfolk would appreciate the services of Chris Wagner sooner rather than later and I'm certain Heatley would be a great addition to the press box.  Call him an ambassador for the team.  Get him to sign autographs, make player appearances.  Sure, he'll be a highly over-paid PR guy, but I can't see him contributing much on the ice.  Coach Skalde gave him a few excuses last night, blaming his almost-absent performance on rust and adjusting to the AHL.  Skalde believes Heatley will be better Saturday night.  I'm not holding my breath.

--Norfolk is now 12 points out of first place in the East Division.  They've won consecutive games only twice this season, first back on Oct 31-Nov 1, and lastly Nov 26-28.  The Admirals have lost three straight twice, four straight once, and back to backs once.  The playoffs aren't out of sight by any stretch, but the longer it takes for the Admirals to figure out what they need to do to win, the harder it's going to be to climb out of the cellar.

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