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Admirals Stat-urday: The Trade Deadline Comes, Playoff Chances Go

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Norfolk had its heart cut out this week, losing big names like Mat Clark, Brendan Bell, and William Karlsson to trades. There isn't much going right for the Admirals who failed to register a win in their recent four game home-stand.

Mike Sgarbossa, acquired by Anaheim at the trade deadline, debuts for the Admirals March 4th, 2015.
Mike Sgarbossa, acquired by Anaheim at the trade deadline, debuts for the Admirals March 4th, 2015.
John Wright/Courtesy Norfolk Admirals

1 Kevin Gagne (1G, 5A) scored his first goal of the season and newcomer Mike Sgarbossa (1G, 1A) potted his first as an Admiral Friday night against the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators). Sgarbossa would also add an assist in the 3-2 OT loss.

2 Stefan Noesen found his first two-point game of the season last Saturday against the Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins). Noesen scored a goal and an assist in the 4-3 loss to the Bruins. Noesen went on to add his tenth assist last night against the Senators, bringing his season total to ten points (4G, 6A) in 14 games.

3 Defenseman Colby Robak scored his first goal as an Admiral Wednesday night against the Senators, the lone goal in a 4-1 loss. Robak has three points (1G, 2A) in 14 games with Norfolk since being assigned at the end of
January.

4 The Admirals went winless in their recent four game home stand, picking up just one point in Friday night's
overtime loss to the Senators. This was the second four game winless streak for the Admirals this season, this one seeing the Admirals outscored 13-7.

5 Ryan Faragher started his fifth game of the season and second of a back to back last weekend against the Providence Bruins, allowing four goals on 30 shots. Faragher has appeared in six games for the Admirals, going 1-4-0-0 in five starts with a 3.23 GAA and .876 SP.

6 Center Charlie Sarault collected his sixth assist of the season Wednesday night in the 4-1 loss to Providence. Sarault, who has seen limited ice time as the fourth line center and as a healthy scratch 18 times, has 11 points (5G, 6A) in 40 games.

7 Jason LaBarbera, who was reassigned to Norfolk last Friday night, was relegated to back-up duty Saturday against the Bruins. LaBarbera found himself between the pipes again on Wednesday and Friday night against the Senators, allowing three goals in each game. LaBarbera has seen action in 24 games with Norfolk this season going 7-11-2-2 with a 2.46 GAA and a .917 SP. His seven wins are the most among Admirals' goaltenders.

8 The now-traded and enigmatic center William Karlsson scored his eighth goal of the season last Saturday against the Bruins and threw two assists in to what would be his last game with the Admirals. Although he spent most of the 38 games played with Norfolk in the doghouse, he came alive of late with 11 points (4G, 7A) in nine games played in February and ended his run with 24 points (8G, 16A) in 37 games.

9 Max Friberg scored his ninth goal of the season and added an assist last Saturday in a two point night against the Bruins. Friberg found his 15th assist of the season Friday night against the Senators, bringing his points total to 24 (9G, 15A) in 40 games played.

10 Norfolk has gone 3-5-1-1 in their last ten games. The Admirals sit 17 points out of a playoff spot with 18 games left. I could mention their magic number, but it would be like asking someone to list all the numbers of Pi--it would waste your time to read it and it wouldn't serve any purpose.

--The Nic Kerdiles concussion watch has been extended to nine straight games.  No word on when he'll be back.  If I were management, I'd shut him down in the AHL for the remainder of the season but call him up in the playoffs to at least get some practice time and trainer/medical staff attention from the Ducks.  There's no point in rushing him back since the Admirals aren't going to the playoffs and Anaheim won't require his services.  Better to get well and look forward to next season.

--For perspective on just how "bad" this team is, the Admirals are ranked dead last in Goals For per game with 2.17.  They are ranked 20th in Goals Against with 2.91.  Norfolk is 14-9-4-3 in one goal games, 5-6-0 in two goal games, and 3-10-0-0 in three goal games.  The Admirals have scored three or more goals in just 20 games, meaning Norfolk has failed to break the three goal plateau 38 times.  In a league where the winner is the first team to reach three goals, the Admirals have fallen well short.

--The trade deadline took a huge toll on the Admirals line up between trades, recalls, and the lack of player assignments.

Defensemen Mat Clark, the heart and soul of the corps, and Brendan Bell, the Admirals' leader in assists, gone via trade.  William Karlsson, Norfolk's first line center and offensive machine in February, also gone via trade.

The NHL CBA states that in order for a player to be loaned to an affiliate league, he must be assigned to that league (in this case, the AHL) prior to the trade deadline.  This "assignment" can be done on paper, but it must have been completed prior to 3 p.m.   Josh Manson and Emerson Etem, both recalled prior to Monday, were not loaned to Norfolk, and thus are ineligible to return to Norfolk.  Of the current Ducks' roster only Chris Wagner is eligible to be assigned to Norfolk since he was on the Admirals' roster at the expiration of the deadline.

Anaheim started the "post-deadline" period with four recalls available until the conclusion of the regular season, and it would appear that they have already used one with Chris Wagner, who was recalled (on paper) from Utah on Thursday.  His previous recall earlier in the week was on an emergency basis, and his assignment (again on paper) to Utah was to ensure the Ducks would not violate the CBA and to be able to easily explain why Wagner was able to be in Anaheim in 2 hours versus the 6-8 it would take to fly cross country from Norfolk.

Where Norfolk used to have an over-abundance of defensemen that saw Kevin Gagne and Norm McIver used on the wings last weekend, the Admirals are now down to six.  Norfolk also had to reach down in to the ECHL to fill out its forward ranks, signing forwards Mike Embach and Shawn Szydlowski from the Fort Wayne Komets.  Both players are expected to be returned to help the first place Komets in their push in to the post-season.  Most of Anaheim's other prospects that could skate in a few games with Norfolk are also expected to have long post-season runs with their current teams, so there is no clear source of reinforcements right now.

It's not even about holding the fort anymore, or trying to make a push forward.  The playoffs are a mountain too high.  For now, it's all about playing for a job, it's all about being evaluated in the hopes of being considered for a spot in the NHL next season, or even being re-signed at the end of this one.  For fans, there are only seven more home games to suffer through, which is sad, because it also means there are just seven more AHL-level games left to be played at Scope.

I heard a fan mention after last night's loss that it's a shame the clocks can't be set seven games forward instead of just one hour.  I love live hockey, just as much if not more than the next fan.  But some part of me agrees, that if the best result that can be hoped for is roster band-aids and two goals a game, I could just as soon stay home and watch the race for the playoffs in the NHL.

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