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Sunday, January 25, 2009

All-Star Break breakdown

I'm anxious to hear from Kris Grey her observations on the Milwaukee Admirals v. Rockford IceHogs game last night. This was a game in a sold out MetroCentre. Just reading the brief description of the game that I prepared, you can see that these two teams were well matched; and, Milwaukee won.

Going into the All-Star Break, I can think of no better way to wake the Hogs up than to lose to the team that is going to block access to the Conference games in the post season. They have to figure out the MAds. They'll have lots of opportunities to do that in the coming two and half months.

One thing that must change: the pathetic Hogs penalty kill. There are two answers to this, one is to get better on the ice. The other is to become a more disciplined team. You take fewer penalties, you then aren't as worried about not being able to stop what's coming at you.

Milwaukee is among the best in the league in both penalty kill and power play. Although Drew MacIntyre is an older player, in terms of the American Hockey League, he can guide them to a Calder Cup win, especially if this team continues to play as they are now. Good power play, good penalty kill and good net defense. It's a killer. Once again the MAds are threatening to go to the finals with an excellent team.

If I had money to bet on this situation, I'd have to say the Admirals are favored to go to the Conference from the West Division.

Now, over in Chicago, Ondrej Pavelec is back in net. That's good news. I think by now it is obvious to everyone that I'm not a fan of Robert Gherson, preferring Brent Krahn and Dan Turple. But Krahn is out on injury and is also not a property of the Atlanta Thrashers. Turple looks better than Gherson but isn't getting it together.

The situation in goal for the Wolves is tough, the defense is inexperienced. There is hope, with Chad Denny and others, but defense is like a good stew, it takes time to mature. I'm thinking next season these guys will be where they need to be, which is to say, they'll be ready to move up to Atlanta when there is an injury. Then Chicago will have a good defense.

Unlike in previous years, the Wolves are responding to poor defense with some discipline in net. At this point, I'd be happy with the team making the cut for the playoffs. Better discipline is just not going to be enough to carry this team along.

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