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December 15, 2008

Pete Michaud: Hello and Happy Holidays!


Hello, Admirals fans, and Happy Holidays!

The Admirals have just hit the 30-game mark, and the time is ?now? for the club to make up some ground in the East Division standings. With Hershey and Bridgeport looking to have extremely strong teams and Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia with very solid clubs, it?s going to be a tall task.

If the Admirals are to make a run, it all starts and ends with goaltending, where both Karri Ramo and Mike McKenna have had their good moments and their tough times this year. But, we all know goalies take longer to develop. Just look at former Norfolk netminder Craig Anderson, who had a brutal first season here with the Admirals. Now, he?s leading the NHL in save percentage with the Florida Panthers!

Congratulations are in order for former Admirals? player, assistant coach and G.M. Al MacIsaac, who has been promoted to Senior Director of Hockey Administration and Assistant to the President for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks have an interview with Al on their website which you can listen to by clicking here.

Congratulations also go out to Admirals founder Blake Cullen, former Admirals coach John Brophy and Admirals legendary player Rod Taylor, who are being inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame. With all due respect to goalie Nick Vitucci and defenseman Chris Valicevic, who were great players in their day and part of the inaugural ECHL Hall, I can?t see how either should go in the Hall of Fame before any of those three Admirals legends. Of course, Cullen, Brophy and Taylor were part of the first Admirals? Hall of Fame class last year.

Speaking of the Admirals Hall of Fame, I interviewed Blake Cullen recently and asked him who he thought should be in the next class. His thoughts were almost exactly the same as mine. If I were making the call, the next Admirals? Hall of Fame class would be Dennis McEwen, Mark Bernard, Victor Gervais and Brian Martin. Many people forget about Martin, who played in the team?s earlier years and never played on a championship team with Hampton Roads because he was always on recall to an AHL team by the time the playoffs rolled around. Make no mistake, though?he was the greatest offensive force in Admirals history. As for McEwen, if he?s not inducted this year, I may just boycott the ceremony. Dennis may not wish to be inducted while he?s a current employee of the club (I know Mark Bernard felt that way when he worked here). Otherwise, his selection may be the biggest ?no-brainer? of the lot!

The Admirals long history spans both the ECHL and AHL, and we don?t want it to appear that the Hall of Fame is just an ECHL thing. So, I?d love to see an AHL representative selected to join the Hall. I think it would only be right that Ajay Baines be the first AHL Admiral selected, but you wouldn?t want to put Ajay in until you were sure he could attend the banquet and ceremony. Right now, Baines is still an active player (with AHL Iowa), so it might be tough for him to come in depending upon his team?s current schedule. Other AHL Admirals who eventually should be serious Hall of Fame candidates in my eyes are Quintin Laing, Casey Hankinson, Michael Leighton, Shawn Thornton and coach Trent Yawney.

Well, that?s it for this edition. Hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I?ll try to answer in an upcoming edition. Another blog entry comes up soon. Until then?

Pete (pete@norfolkadmirals.com)




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