Breaking Down the Finals
Posted By: Aaron Sims
I’d like to break down the Calder Cup Finals for you but I can’t. I have no idea what Binghamton brings to the table.
I could go back to my sportstalk days and throw out a couple names (like Corey Locke and Ryan Potulny) and tell you how good they are and Houston has to “contain” them. I could say the key to beating 19-year-old goalie Robin Lehner is to get traffic in front of him and get him rattled. That might get me a pass if I was still doing a daily radio show for three hours.
However, I’m not going to do it. The fact is I’ve never been to Binghamton. I’ve only seen a couple of their players in person and that was when they played for different teams. Corey Locke led the AHL in scoring. Ryan Potulny has been awesome in the playoffs. Anybody can look at the stats and see this.
I do know Houston fairly well. I saw them 13 times this season. Many of you saw them, too.
As cliché as it sounds, the key player in this series is Matt Hackett, Houston’s goalie.
We’ve seen Hackett have emotional outbursts in games this season. Clearly, he’s a guy that can be shaken. Even though he shutout the Admirals in the playoffs, I didn’t think he was that good…until game seven when he helped eliminate the Admirals.
Hackett has now won consecutive Game Sevens. That’s impressive for any goalie, let alone a rookie. He’s played nearly every minute for the Aeros since the trade deadline. Again, that’s impressive for any goalie, let alone a rookie.
Houston has a very balanced and deep team. Consider that one of the top offensive lines they boasted early in the postseason was the “third line” of Warren Peters, Colton Gillies and former Admirals forward Jed Ortmeyer. The “fourth line” has Carson McMillan, a guy who earned a late season callup to the NHL.
I like the defense for the Aeros. Every team should have a guy like Drew Bagnall. Undersized Jared Spurgeon is so solid. Maxim Noreau is as dangerous on the power play as any player in the league.
The team speed of the Aeros is something else, too. Robbie Earl, Patrick O’Sullivan and Casey Wellman are players that can really zip. O’Sullivan is clearly locked in. He, too, is a player that can get rattled. When a team makes it this far, however, I think those moments are few and far between. Peer pressure and leadership is a heck of a motivation on any team, especially one that can win a title.
I will make no predictions. Binghamton seems like the little team that could this postseason and Houston is so, so deep. Let’s have a good series and hope nobody gets hurt.
Admirals defenseman Ryan Ellis is up for CHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year honors tomorrow. Ten major awards will be presented at the annual CHL Awards Ceremony which takes places tomorrow afternoon in Mississauga, ON, the site of this year’s Memorial Cup.
Texas Stars forward Luke Gazdic’s
, played for the Admirals in the 1978-79 season.
One former Admirals player will get his name on the Stanley Cup this season. It’ll be Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver), Rich Peverley (Boston) or Adam Hall (Tampa). I think it’ll be Hamhuis, but I’m hoping it’s Peverley because I know him.
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Welcome to the summer! Happy Memorial Day! Have a safe weekend.