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Admirals' Stat-urday: "Wild" Bill Lost in the Wilderness

Norfolk is 29th of 30 teams in the AHL and most likely will remain there going in to Christmas. Bottom line, the best players are not playing like the best players.

William Karlsson attempts to push the puck past Bridgeport Goaltender David Leggio Dec 19, 2014
William Karlsson attempts to push the puck past Bridgeport Goaltender David Leggio Dec 19, 2014
Courtesy John Wright/Norfolk Admirals

1 Antoine Laganiere led the Admirals with two points (1G, 1A) versus the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders) on Friday night.  Laganiere now has six goals and three assists for nine points on the season.  Friday's two points marked the first back-to-back multi-point games for the 6'4" center.

2 Center Charlie Sarault assisted on both Norfolk goals against Bridgeport, bringing his season total to five and his points total to six (1G, 5A)

3 Emerson Etem scored two goals against Bridgeport.  He has three on the season with the Admirals in 5 appearances and was recalled earlier in the week to Anaheim.

4 Mat Clark, usually known more for being a physical presence than for his offense, put up his fourth point, an assist, last weekend against the Springfield Falcons (Columbus Blue Jackets).  Clark now has one goal and three assists in 17 games for the Admirals.

5 Norfolk's 4-3 win over top-ranked Springfield was just the fifth time Admirals have scored four or more goals this season.  Eight different Admrials contributed to 4-3 win over Springfield last Saturday, with goals from Emerson Etem (2), Joseph Cramarossa, and Antoine Laganiere.

6 Yann Danis released after 11 games, the most starts for the six goaltenders who have started for Norfolk.  Danis was 5-6-0 with two shutouts, a 2.72 GAA and .914 SP.

7 Norfolk has scored first in seven of their 28 games, winning 5. 

8 William Karlsson has six points in 11 games with the Admirals (3G, 3A) but only one goal and two assists in his last eight games.

9 Louis Leblanc scored his ninth of the season against Bridgeport.  Leblanc is second on the team in points with 14 (9G, 5A).

10 The Admirals are now 4-6-0-0 in their last ten games and have no consecutive wins in that span.  Norfolk sits at 29 of 30 teams in the AHL and is nine points out of a playoff spot.

--Fair winds and following seas to Goaltender Yann Danis, who was released earlier this week with the assignment of both Jason LaBarbera and John Gibson to Norfolk.  Danis stabilized the goaltending situation in Norfolk and in my opinion was the lynchpin that allowed Anaheim management to pull its head out of its rear and figure out a long-term plan for the season.  Danis was the consummate professional and asserted himself as the number one in Norfolk despite being on a Professional Tryout.  Norfolk is of course fortunate to have the tandem of Gibson and LaBarbera, but it doesn't seem fair to Danis to dismiss him with just a pat on the back after he played as hard as he did and kept the Admirals in games they had no business being in.  I hope he can find a home with another team, he's certainly deserving and will bring a great deal of skill and experience wherever he lands.

--Gibson going in Saturday night as per Coach Skalde.  The decision to play LaBarbera Friday was based solely on the amount of practice Gibson had prior to the weekend.  Neither goaltender had played in a game for what felt like a year, but "Barbs" had practice time with Anaheim and was the "safer" choice last night.  He didn't look bad, but there's clearly going to be some rust after that much time off.

LaBarbera is another "veteran" goaltender who is all business when it comes to their role in the organization.  His season so far has been a whirlwind, starting in training camp and not really knowing whether he was going to be in the NHL or in Norfolk, then coming to Norfolk to back-up Igor Bobkov.  When the Bobkov experiment didn't work, Jason took over the starting role before being recalled to Anaheim and thrown in to a three-in-three weekend situation after Gibson was hurt in warm-ups.  He played in a few games, then was relegated to the bench while Frederik Andersen started something like 300 games straight, and lost that spot with an injury.  Once Ilya Bryzgalov was signed, the writing was of course on the wall for both LaBarbera and Gibson, who will be the tandem in Norfolk for the remainder of the season (barring any trades or injuries).  Jason put his role very simply, and  that is to be John Gibson's biggest fan, to help him stay calm and focused, and to give him breaks when he can.  He's accepting of that role and is embracing it.  Whether or not he was the best choice for a signing in the off-season or not, his attitude has won my respect and I believe Gibson, Norfolk, and Anaheim will all benefit greatly from having him in the system.

--Non-existent.  That was Coach Skalde's description of William Karlsson's game last night.  I believe he was being gracious with that.  In a ten minute post game interview, over a minute was spent eviscerating Karlsson's play in last night's game as well as over the past month.  He's not playing with the skill and talent he's displayed in the past, and certainly not like he is deserving of a recall any time soon.  Some of course will make the argument that he can be expected to be down on himself after being demoted, but I have just two letters for that excuse: B.S.  He's a professional hockey player who is paid to play.  It makes absolutely no sense that Karlsson would not take advantage of every situation he can to force the Ducks to look hard at recalling him.  It's not about the guys around him either, as LeBlanc and Friberg are skilled and fast enough to play with him.  No, there is something wrong mentally with him; whether it's self-confidence, self-pity, or just a lack of heart or effort.  But anything "good" he accomplished earlier in the season he's basically flushing all away and with each game is solidifying his spot on the Norfolk roster.  Three points in December and a minus -7, with his last (and only) goal of the month coming back on Dec 7.  Since then he's gone four games with just one point, an assist that was one of 11 total points among eight different skaters.  The woes of the entire team can't be placed solely at his skates, but the fact that he isn't doing anything to help cure them surely can be.  For Ducks' fans that favored Rakell over Karlsson I say congratulations, you got the better end of that deal.

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