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Friday, October 13, 2006

Scouting Milwaukee Admirals

Claude Noel returns to steer the Milwaukee Admirals through another season after a Calder Cup run last year. Noel has earned the respect of Wolves fans for his ability to take young head-strong players and mold them into a winning team. Particularly in 2004 when he ran the team even though it had significant financial woes and a trustee management, Noel shows he can take rough material and win.

He is joined on the bench this year by assistant coach Lane Lambert, the former assistant coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Prior to Bridgeport, Lambert was the head coach of the Prince George Cougars, a team that posted a 26-41-3-2 record in 2004, and the Moosejaw Warriors, in 2003.

Noel takes the ice with a team decimated by departures. Of the top ten scorers from last year’s team, just three have returned, Rich Peverly, 46 points, Kevin Klein, 42 points and Sheldon Brookbank, 35 points. Joining them is Ramzi Abid, who scored 76 points last year with the Chicago Wolves at wing. Abid’s most memorable stat, however, is his 165 of penalty minutes, which I remember as occurring at the most inopportune times.

Alexander Radulov has been eagerly expected for months by Admirals fans. The Russian winger did not make the Calder Cup run last year and was just assigned to the Admirals by the Nashville Predators this week. Playing in the Quebec minor’s Remparts for the past two season, Radulov posted 75 points in the 2004 season and 152 points last season. That’s a doubling of production and pretty exciting.

Another newcomer is Kim Staal. No, he isn’t related to the famous hockey family, however he posted 21 points in 34 games in the Malmo team of the Swedish league.

The nets are in a bit of disarray. Unfortunately, Pekka Rinne was involved in a personal incident and suffered an injury over the summer. I believe he won’t return till late this calendar year. Rinne was simply excellent and his return will be eagerly awaited.

In the meantime Karl Goehring will be the Admirals final defender. Goehring played last season in San Antonio and so I’m reluctant to post his stats. He was a better goalie than the defense there.

Milwaukee enters the Bradley Center for their second game of the year at the Bradley Center after being spanked by the Omaha Knights 7-1 last weekend in their opener. Chicago is coming into the game after opening away 5-0 against Peoria.

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