It’s an exciting time of the season for fans in the American Hockey League. Certainly, the most important event is the playoffs. The Admirals and Wolves will meet for the third time in the past four years in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
There were many successes on the ice this season for Milwaukee. First and foremost, the Admirals became the first team in the 74-year history of the AHL to post seven consecutive seasons of at least 40 wins AND 90 points. That is certainly a point of pride with this organization.
Second, 13 players wore both Milwaukee and Nashville uniforms this season. This season has seen the most movement between the two teams in the history of the relationship, which dates back to 1998.
There were many other noteworthy events, team-wise and individually.
Now, the other exciting thing about this time of year is the influx of young talent after the Major Junior leagues and NCAA complete play. The Admirals have a few players already in-house on ATOs (and are waiting on a key one from Madison as of this writing).
Ryan Thang and Ryan Flynn have both shown well with Thang getting far more opportunities at this point. Mike Latta and Charles-Olivier Roussel just joined the team. Whether these youngsters get in the lineup in the postseason or not, they’ll get valuable experience just taking part in the day-to-day doings of professional life.
Congrats to Blake Geoffrion on winning the Hobey Baker Award. It’s rather amazing to think that he is the first Badger to take home the honor in its 30 year history. In that span, Wisconsin has had several players in the top-10: John Newberry (1982-George McPhee won); Tony Granato (1987-Tony Hrkac); Paul Ranheim (1988-Robb Stauber); Duane Derksen (1992-Scott Pellerin); Steve Reinprecht (2000-Mike Mottau); Dany Heatley (2001-Ryan Miller); Brian Elliott (2006-Matt Carle); and Jamie McBain (2009-Matt Gilroy).
Notable Badgers that didn’t even make it as finalists: Chris Chelios, Bruce Driver, Marc Behrend and Curtis Joseph.
Here’s one for the Lincoln/Kennedy file: Dave Scatchard’s four-goal game against Chicago on Apr. 9 was the first in the AHL by an Admirals player. It was the first for an Admirals player since Randy Robitaille also scored four against Chicago in Feb. 2001. Scatchard led the 2002-03 New York Islanders in goals with 27 and Robitaille was briefly a teammate.
Former Admirals goalie Dov Grumet-Morris was at practice Tuesday to visit the team. He just finished a season in Austria. He and his wife live in Milwaukee.
Dallas center Mike Modano played, perhaps, his final game in Minnesota. Of course, he started his career with the Minnesota North Stars. In that final game, he was named the first star of the game and came out of the tunnel wearing a North Stars jersey. It was pretty cool to witness.
Until next time…Go Admirals!!!