Well, look what we have here. Admirals Insider is back! Kind of...
In a lot of ways for this organization, change is happening. Specifically, in terms of the media side of things, I have heard SO many good things about a man who held this position years before me, Keith Phillips. For those who are unaware, Keith would dedicate time each Monday to write a recap (titled Admirals Insider) and email it to season ticket holders to recap the previous week's happenings on all things Admirals. I'll be taking that idea and making it more accessible to all Admirals fans by posting it right here to our website and distributing it via social media. Merging that Admirals Insider concept and sprinkling in a dose of personal influence from #HoltysBlog, the series invented by Ryan Holt, Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting for our American Hockey League affiliate in Bakersfield, that leaves us with a new way for you to find out what's really going on with the Admirals.
We'll recap games, player info, and things taking place behind the scenes that you may not hear about, along with answering some of your questions. You can decide the name of this weekly series at a later date but for now, let's get back to giving our dedicated fans more information.
Let's get started, shall we?
Signed: 2016-17 Norfolk Admirals Director of Communications Walt Ruff
THIS PAST WEEK IN ADMIRALS HOCKEY (Monday, October 10 - Monday, October 17):
*Apologies in advance, this will be a bit of a longer one since it's our first journey together.*
The roster that the Admirals had last Monday, October 10 is a world different from the one we see today. One week ago today the Bakersfield Condors sent forwards Josh Brittain and Danick Gauthier to Norfolk, along with defensemen Frankie Simonelli, Aaron Harstad and Steven Tarasuk. Later in the week, Thursday to be exact, our American Hockey League affiliate gave us forward Kevin Henderson and goaltender Eetu Laurikainen just in time for the season opening weekend against Kalamzoo.
With the exception of Tarasuk, who was scratched on Saturday, all other six men were in the lineup for both games over the weekend. When you take into account that that's just time for three practices with the team, it implies that chemistry didn't have the utmost amount of time to blossom. Furthermore, Henderson and Laurikainen arrived in the wee-hours of Friday morning, leaving them with nothing but morning skates to prepare for the two tilts versus Kalamazoo.
On top of the seven from Bakersfield, the team received forward Alexandre Ranger from San Antonio of the AHL, where he had been skating with former Admirals head coach Eric Veilleux. Similar to the rest of the gang, Ranger got in town late and was thrust right in the lineup Saturday. Make that eight of the 18 players on the opening weekend lineup arriving just days, hours, minutes before the season started for real.
Certainly head coach Rod Aldoff will tell you that that's not an excuse for two losses over the weekend, however it wasn't the best weekend of Admirals hockey as the team fell twice, beginning with a 3-1 loss on Friday night.
It's no secret scoring one goal won't win you many games but Scope was rocking for a several minute stretch after captain Josh Brittain struck for the first tally of the Admirals season in the third period. (Oh wait, sidebar: Josh Brittain was named captain just prior to Friday night's game, Gabriel Verpaelst and Nick MacNeil were given the "A"'s.) The goal was Brittain's as an Admiral first since being a member of the AHL organization in 2012-13 but certainly won't be his last this season. Joel Martin was relatively sharp all night for the opposition, stopping 32 of 33 for his season debut, but coming off of a season in which he started 64 games for the K-Wings, it's not overly surprising to see him picking up right where he left off.
The Kalamazoo crease stayed hot on Saturday night when former Admiral fan-favorite Nic Riopel stopped all 20 shots sent his way for the first shutout of the ECHL season in a 3-0 win. Prior to puck drop, the goaltender took to Twitter to say "I hope the Admirals fans will be loud tonight. I had a great time in Norfolk and didn't decide to be traded. #Business". Interesting.
Alexandre Ranger had a few significant chances on Saturday in his debut and was arguably the closest to finding the back of the net but when the horn sounded the team was 0-2 to conclude the weekend.
Following the game, the team got with season ticket holders for a meet and greet, the first of many times this season the fans will have to interact with the team. The fans next opportunity will be at the post-game skate on Saturday, October 29 following the game against the Toledo Walleye.
Speaking of which, four post-game skate dates have been finalized: Saturday, 10/29, Saturday, 11/19, Saturday, 12/17, and Saturday, February 2/25. We'll be adding at least one more to that coming up.
LOOKING AHEAD (Monday, October 17 - Monday, October 24):
The positive news for the team is that the wait for vengeance after a subpar weekend isn't too far down the road. Wednesday night the team is home against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, a team that is also 0-2, so one of the two is going to leave victorious for the first time this campaign. The Swamp Rabbits dropped two to the Florida Everblades by scores of 3-2 and 5-3. If you'll recall, these two sides met up on Friday, October 7 for a preseason tilt that the Admirals wound up winning by a score of 7-2. If there was ever a game that looks like it's set up for an offensive breakout, this might be it.
Following the game the Admirals bus will depart for it's first regular season trip to Elmira, where they'll take on the Jackals both Friday and Saturday. Elmira, also winless to this point, fell to Reading over the weekend in their only contest 6-2. The Jackals only mustered 20 shots on goal, the same number the Admirals put up on Saturday, so it'll be interesting to see how these two matchup against one another.
SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
*I'll throw this in at the end of each week so that way you at least have something worth your while before exiting out of this page.*
I mentioned change is happening, but you already know that. But, for the first time ever (sound the breaking news alarm), I'm proud to share that the Norfolk Admirals will be getting a brand new website AND an app for your smartphone. Thanks to Kevin Bartl, VP of Communications for the Condors, for sending us in the direction of iSportsMedia who will be designing and creating both for us. Jason Best and crew will have our new website up and running in just a few weeks, while you can expect to see our app in a few months. Remember, good things take time and change doesn't happen overnight.
Questions, comments, concerns? firstname.lastname@example.org is always open. Something you want to see discussed in this feature? Comment, reply, email. All feedback and ideas are welcome. Until next Monday!