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Admirals' Stat-urday: Norfolk's Admirals Farewell Tour Begins

There isn't a lot to cheer about in Norfolk these days. Pending a formal vote this weekend, the franchise known as the Norfolk Admirals will be moving west. Funny thing though, fans haven't seen consistent AHL hockey on the ice at Scope for months anyway.

Andrew O'Brien celebrates his first goal as an Admiral Jan 23, 2015
Andrew O'Brien celebrates his first goal as an Admiral Jan 23, 2015
Courtesy John Wright/Norfolk Admirals

1 Josh Manson scored his first goal as an Admiral Tuesday against  the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes).  He had three points on the night (1G, 2A) and a fight, his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick in the pros.

2 Kevin Gagne added his second helper in January Friday night against the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins), his fifth assist of the season.  Gagne, a defenseman, has been drawing in to the Admirals' line-up as a forward for five-on-five and a defenseman on the second power-play unit.  In his 2012-2013 QMJHL season, Gagne won the Emile Bourchard Trophy as the league's top defenseman, but because of the glutton of blue-liners the Ducks have either stock-piled or dumped off, he is fighting for ice time any way he can get it.

Norfolk was shut out for just the third time this season last Saturday  versus the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers).  The last time the Admirals failed to score a goal was back on Oct 26 against the same Hartford team.

4 The Admirals' OT win over the Checkers on Tuesday was just their fourth in eight tries this season.  Norfolk has been to the shoot-out twice but failed to grab the extra point in either contest.

5 Chris Wagner picked up his fifth point in January and 12th goal of the season Friday night in the 4-2 loss to the Pens.  Wagner, who leads the team in goals and is second in points with 21, has goals in back to back games for just the second time this season.

6 Andrew O'Brien scored his first goal of the season last night on a beautiful one-timer that was the Admirals only power play goal of the night (1/5).  O'Brien has six points this season (1G, 5A) and has been held without a shot just seven times through 38 games.

7 Nic Kerdiles scored his seventh of the season Tuesday with just one second left in OT.  Kerdiles' last goal came back on Dec 5th against Springfield, a span of 18 games without finding the back of the net.  Kerdiles leads the team with 22 points (7G, 15A) but has just four points in January (1G, 3A)

8 John Gibson drew back in to the line-up this week with two games, one win and one loss, after being out for almost three weeks with what has still been described as a "virus."  Through eight games with Norfolk this season, Gibson is 3-3-2 with a 2.36 GAA and .929 Sv%.

9 The Ducks' prodigal son Emerson Etem has put up ten points in nine games in January.  Etem, who started off 2015 essentially banished to the Admirals, has five goals and five assists through the month and 13 points in 14 games with Norfolk this season (8G, 5A)

10 Norfolk won for the tenth time at home on Tuesday against Charlotte and is now 4-1-0-0 on the season against the Checkers. For perspective, one quarter of the Admirals' wins are against just one team.

--The move west is all but official, with Admirals Owner Ken Young confirming to Bruce Rader of WAVY that he was essentially forced to sell the team to the Ducks.  Once the vote goes through at the Board of Governors meeting this weekend (which it is expected to without any problems), AHL hockey in Norfolk will be gone at the end of the season.  Barring any surprises from the meetings this weekend, I don't think there's really much more to squeeze from the story.

--Last Saturday's loss to Hartford was described by Coach Skalde as "the worst 60 minutes of hockey the team has played all season.  There is nothing good to take from the game, no positives whatsoever.  This team can't afford to take nights off."  Later on in the post-game presser it was agreed that the only player who showed up was Jason LaBarbera, but for all his heroics he can't cover for an offense that decided not to show up.

--Norfolk is now dead last in the league in goals scored per game with 2.19.    Norfolk's goals-for has actually fallen over the past couple weeks, so despite the fact they should be playing with desperation if there are hopes of a playoff run, they are actually scoring less.  Great goaltending has covered for a lot of horrible play and a lack of offense, but again, goalies can't score goals (at least not three or four).

With an average of 3.02 goals given up per game, an Admirals' loss is statistically a given every night, and that's a tough pill for fans to swallow.  It doesn't seem to affect the players though, at least not in the motivation department, because the guys that should be getting it done on the scoreboard just aren't.  Apparently losing has become acceptable in the Norfolk locker room.

Max Friberg--six games without a goal.

Kerdilies--one goal in last 19 games

Louis Leblanc--nine games without a goal

William Karlsson--one goal in last 18 games

Dany Heatley--two goals (both in the same game) in 12 games

Defense--a combined six goals (not including the two by Shea Theodore)

There is plenty of on-paper talent on the roster which I'm sure is where all those articles about the Ducks' great prospect pool come from, but when the skates meet the ice, the talent may be there, but the desire to win isn't.  I'm anxiously awaiting the trade deadline--I'm hoping some of the dead weight here in Norfolk is cast off and some fresh blood with a desire to play in the NHL shows up.

--Earlier this week Igor Bobkov was sent back down to the Admirals' ECHL affiliate the Utah Grizzlies.  For those looking at the roster, you'll still see Norfolk carrying three goalies--LaBarbera, Gibson, and Etienne Marcoux.  Marcoux suffered a season-ending injury a few weeks ago and was assigned to Norfolk for treatment and rehab.

--Norfolk is now 4-3-2-1 in its last ten games.

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