Today I am happy to welcome yet another new member to the OtF writing staff, Nashville Predators. With high-end talent coming through the pipeline in Blake Geoffrion, Jonathon Blum, Roman Josi, etc., it's going to be an exciting season in Milwaukee, and we are thrilled to have Ryan joining the crew. - Dirk. Ryan will be our man in Milwaukee, keeping us up to date on the Admirals, and of course those players on the track to eventually become
First, a quick introduction -- My name is Ryan Miller, and I was one of the contributors to the Admirals Short Shifts blog for the last two seasons. Basically, it was our little space in the Interwebs for us to write about our favorite team, opine about the goings-on, and be as snarky as possible in the process. We had a good run, but burnout kind of took its toll. So the blog went away after the Admirals were eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs by the hated (but certainly not feared) Chicago Wolves. Highlights included some scoops about player movement, making friends with the Nashville blogging community, and getting under the skin of John Glennon. (That really tickles us to no end.)
So our blog is gone, but our brand lives on! We will be providing some semi-monthy updates for On The Forecheck to give you guys some thoughts on how the kids are doing on the farm.
Of course, August is an extremely slow time for us. Things obviously need to get sorted out in Nashville before they can get sorted out here. But I'm VERY excited about all the talent that appears to be ticketed for Milwaukee.
But there is news this week! More after the jump...
The big news this week is that the schedule was finally released. Why so much later than the NHL schedule? There are a handful of arenas (including Milwaukee's Bradley Center) that also house NBA teams, and the AHL needed to wait for the NBA to get their act together before they could proceed with their own schedule. A draft was sent out to the AHL clubs about a week and a half ago, and teams have been making adjustments since then. And yesterday, we were able to officially put some dates on our calendars.
We would have done a Dirk-style Super Schedule, but the Admirals don't play a single team in the Eastern Conference, and there's even one team in the Western Conference that they won't travel to (Rochester). The last time that the Admirals saw the Eastern Conference was in the 07-08 season, when they had a home-and-home series with the Providence Bruins.
I think depending on who you ask, each conference will blame the other conference for the unwillingness to travel. Eastern conference teams probably have no interest in travelling to Texas or western Canada. Meanwhile, the western conference teams already have those trips planned, and probably aren't too keen on the idea of planning/paying for another long trip to New England in the dead of winter.
Here are some high and low lights about the hot-off-the-presses 2010-11 schedule:
- Last year the schedulemaker gave the Admirals three home games in October, and three in November. They did it again this year.
- A whopping TEN game road trip through Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and three Texas cities is the eye-catcher in November. On that trip, the Admirals will be play three games in three days twice, and they'll play a different city in each game of those stretches. They'll spend Thanksgiving in Texas again this year.
- There are 8 three-in-three stretches over the course of the season, which is the 2nd least in the division.
- Three trips to Canada, four trips to Texas (including a random one-off game against the Texas Stars the day after a home game)
- 10 of their last 12 games will be played in Milwaukee. That's a quarter of the home schedule between March 19th and April 10th.
- Day games. A pair of them. 11am start on a Wednesday in Grand Rapids, and a 10am start on a Tuesday in Toronto. I remember talking to Mitch Korn about day games, and he said that players love the matinees. When they game is over, they still have most of the day to do whatever. Not sure if the enthusiasm also applies to MORNING games. Getting ready for a 10am game? That's early.
- The sales staff (and I guess everyone in the front office for that matter) should be delighted that 30 of the 40 home games fall on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
So all in all....it's a schedule. There's good points. There's bad points. But it all works out. Coach Lambert has gone on record saying that long road trips at the beginning of the season aren't necesarily the worst things in the world, as it gives the newly assembled team a chance to bond. So in the grand scheme, that long trip may not be so bad after all. We just won't get to watch them in person for awhile.
And I think I speak for all hockey fans in Wisconsin when I say: Opening night, October 9th can't get here soon enough.