Pete's View - May 2012
Pete Michaud is The Voice of the Admirals. He brings 20 seasons of experience with the team to the airwaves in 2011-12. He has been the team's play-by-play broadcaster for each of the past 13 seasons. In addition to his work with the Admirals, Michaud also calls Norfolk Tides AAA baseball games.
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May 9, 2012
Hello from Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the Admirals get set for their biggest game of the season tonight against the Connecticut Whale in Game 5 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals series. In the history of the AHL, when a best-of-seven set is deadlocked at two wins each, the winner of Game 5 takes the series more than 80% of the time.
Norfolk got past #8 seed Manchester in the first round, three-games-to-one. The Admirals got the job done for the most past without the services of Tyler Johnson, who was injured in the team's first playoff game. Here's a shot of Tyler with me in the booth for an interview at Verizon Wireless Arena. As you probably know, Tyler was injured again a few days ago against Connecticut. His well being is certainly a key for the Admirals continued success.
While I was in Connecticut, I spoke with a representative of the Hockey Hall of Fame who was there to collect information about and watch the Admirals, who drew the interest of the Hall and the entire hockey world with their recent 29-game winning streak. The gentleman told me the Hall periodically ranks the top minor league hockey teams in history. He regards the 1960-61 Springfield Indians, the second of three straight title teams for Springfield, as the greatest minor league team in history. That Indians club had the league's best record, scored more than 100 goals more than any other AHL club that year, had five of the top seven individual scorers as well as the circuit's top goaltender, and went undefeated in the playoffs. Hockey experts of the time said the Indians from 1959-62 could have played in the NHL and they would have been better than some of the squads in the NHL at the time. And keep in mind that the NHL had just six teams in those days. There were no weak links. Well, the guy from the Hall of Fame told me that, in his mind, this year's Admirals team will probably be ranked among the five greatest minor league teams in history if they go on to win the AHL championship!
A visit to Hartford is always unique in that we get to visit a former NHL arena. The past home of the Hartford Whalers still has plenty of reminders of their past WHA/NHL tenants. In fact, several banners honoring the greats in Whalers history still hang from the rafters of the arena. Interestingly, however, the banners only show the numbers, and not the names, of the Hartford greats. How many can you figure out? I'll give you the answers at the end of my article.
In other news, I was sorry to see former Admirals Head Coach Mike Haviland fired from his job as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks yesterday. Havi had spent the past 4 years on the Hawks bench and was part of the Stanley Cup championship team of 2years ago. Prior to that, he spent three years as the head coach of Chicago's AHL team, including two seasons in Norfolk. Blackhawks' Head Coach Joel Quenneville was quoted as saying there was some "dysfunction" on the coaching staff last season and that prompted the tough decision to let Haviland go. Havi was mentioned for a few NHL openings in the time after the Hawks won the cup. I'm sure several teams would be interested in a man with his coaching skills.
And finally, our thoughts are certainly with Chris Rumble, the son of former Norfolk coach Darren Rumble. Just days before his 22nd birthday, Chris was recently diagnosed with leukemia. While undergoing a month of treatment at a Seattle hospital, Chris produced a music video with patients, families, doctors and staff members at the children's hospital set to the music of Kelly Clarkson's song ‘Stronger.' The last time I checked, more than 250,000 people had watched the inspirational video. As we continue to enjoy the hockey exploits of strong, healthy, young men on the ice, our thoughts are certainly with Chris, who still intends to attend Canisius (Cory Conacher's college), and all those fighting cancer and other illnesses.
On that note, make sure to visit shavetheadmirals.com for details on how the Admirals players are using their playoff beards to support the St. Baldrick's Foundation and the battle against childhood cancer. Scott Jackson and Eric Neilson are among the Admirals helping in a great cause. After the season, the team will hold an event where fans can watch the playoff beards disappear!
And before I go, the honored Whalers numbers hanging from the rafters in Hartford are…#2 Rick Ley, #5 Ulf Samuellson, #9 Gordie Howe, #10 Ron Francis, #11 Kevin Dineen and #19 Johnny ‘Pie' McKenzie. At least the banners are in much better shape than the old organ at the XL Center. I miss the days of a real organist playing at a hockey game.
Well, that's it for now. Thanks for all of your support of the club through the season and get out to Scope to cheer on the guys Friday night at Scope.
Until next time, feel free to drop an email ( firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions of comments, and make sure to follow me, @PeteMichaud2012, on Twitter or on Facebook, where you'll find Admirals audio and photos from time to time. And, as always, you can catch the games, when you can't get to Scope, on 102.1-FM, 1490AM on radio in Hampton Roads and at 1021TheGame.com online. Take care and we'll see you at Scope soon.
View the April 2012 edition of Pete's View
View February and March 2012 editions of Pete's View
View December 2011 and January 2012 editions of Pete's View
View October and November 2011 editions of Pete's View