Quick, Kevin

AHL Playoff Game Night: 4/23/11 Admirals at Penguins

A brave Norfolk Admirals team has nothing to be ashamed about effort-wise in this playoffs.

NOR-3
WBS-6

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wins the Series 4-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 27 shots, including an unsuccessful third period penalty shot by Joe Vitale in the third period. Considering the winning goal was essentially a 3-on-1, there's not much more Tic could've done tonight. He finishes the playoffs with 1 shutout, a 2.20 GAA, and a .924 save percentage, and he looks like a lock to be Norfolk's starter next season. In all likelihood, Cedrick Desjardins will be the backup in Tampa Bay next season, and Tokarski's play down the stretch seems to indicate he's the type of netminder who wants and needs to be the clear cut #1 in order to be at his best after struggling a bit as a tandem starter with Desjardins. He's regained the title of the Lightning's "Goaltender of the Future" and the priority for next season, his third pro season, will be for Tokarski to prove he can be that consistent #1 goalie before potentially moving up to the NHL in the 4th season of his pro career. At least, that seems to be what the plan is for Tic.

First Period
WBS Wagner, (1) (Walker, Craig), 2:13 (PP)
WBS Wagner, (2) (Potter, Walker), 3:58 (PP)
WBS Wagner, (3) (Wallace, Potter), 18:36

Second Period
NOR Pouliot, (4) (Ritola, Vernace), 14:18
NOR Jones, (1) (Ritola, Milam), 16:03 (PP)

Third Period
WBS Vitale, (2) (Wallace, Collins), 7:23
NOR Wright, (1) (Fornataro, Pouliot), 10:35 (PP)
WBS Wallace, (1) (Vitale, Potter), 18:57 (EN)
WBS Sill, (1) (Strait, Thiessen), 19:21 (EN)

Marc-Antoine Pouliot was the game's third star.

When you consider the Penguins came into this series the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the Admirals had to win their last game just to avoid having to cross over into the Atlantic Division, the Admirals have nothing to feel ashamed of in playing this series so tightly. The hard work and character of this Admirals team is worthy of mention, and the team and organization have come such a long way in 4 seasons since the Lightning started their affiliation with Norfolk.

Coincidentally, the East's crossover team, Binghamton, just knocked off Manchester in Game 7 to advance to the Atlantic Division final against Portland. One wonders what shape a Norfolk/Manchester series might have taken if Norfolk hadn't beaten Connecticut to close the regular season.

The big question now is what this Norfolk Admirals team will look like next season, with several of their older players facing contract decisions and several of the Lightning's best young prospects ticketed for Virginia next season.

Will veterans like Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Chris Durno, Mike Vernace, Mathieu Roy, and Troy Milam be back with the team next year? What about long-time pros like Blair Jones, Mike Angelidis, Mattias Ritola, and Vladimir Mihalik? Mihalik and Ritola just finished their 4th years of pro hockey and Jones and Angelidis finished their 5th. Many of these players will surely have opportunities to play in European leagues next season. We know Johan Harju will, for instance, and the question is whether Johan will stay in North America after a disappointing second half. And will Kevin Quick's time in the Lightning organization be over as well?

Conversely, the Admirals will need to free up spots for several of the Lightning's top prospects. Carter Ashton and Charles Landry have already made appearances for the club this season in the playoffs. Richard Panik and Tyler Johnson seem like locks to be in Norfolk next season, too.

Next season could be a big change for the Admirals organization, as the last vestiges of previous regimes pass on. Change is inevitable for a minor league club, but the Admirals seem destined for even more change than is the norm. The good news is that they seem to have good goaltending locked down and even better coaching after a successful inaugural campaign by Head Coach Jon Cooper and assistant Mike Flanagan along with player development consultant Steve Thomas. This group seems to have taken a decent foundation laid by earlier teams and made it even stronger this year, and that foundation can help the new Admirals grow to be even more successful than this year's edition, in time. Look at how well guys like Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas took to the league this season. It portends good things.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Day: 11/28/10 Admirals at Sound Tigers

Kevin Poulin does the unthinkable and shuts out the Admirals.

NOR-0
BRI-3

Dustin Tokarski only allowed 2 goals on 26 shots for the hard luck lost, and must be wondering why Desjardins got all the goal support this weekend and not The Tic.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
BRI Ullstrom, (5) , 3:53

Third Period
BRI Castonguay, (1) (Blight, Ullstrom), 6:54
BRI Blight, (1) (Svendsen), 19:12 (EN)

Kevin who? Kevin Poulin is a rookie 5th round pick out of Victoriaville in the QMJHL and he stoned Norfolk on all 40 shots he faced today. Norfolk outshot Bridgeport 40-27 in the contest.

The cruelest cut of all is that Chris Durno, Radko Gudas, and Kevin Quick were all touched up with minuses in the loss. Durno dropped to second in the AHL at +13, Gudas fell to a tied for 4th at +11, and Quick is locked in a tied for 13th at +10.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11/26/10 Admirals at Phantoms

Big Joe is now 7th in the league in scoring.

NOR-6
ADK-3

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the win. How spoiled are these netminders, with all the goal support they're getting?

First Period
ADK Syvret, (2) (Kalinski), 0:56
ADK Syvret, (3) (Rowe, Holmstrom), 7:07

Second Period
NOR Harju, (10) (Vernace), 4:27
ADK Pither, (2) (Clackson), 7:34
NOR Berry, (6) (Harju, Gudas), 9:30
NOR Harju, (11) (Quick, Giliati), 11:29
NOR Marks, (1) , 12:34

Third Period
NOR Harju, (12) (Durno), 11:00
NOR Wright, (6) (Szczechura, Fornataro), 19:45

Johan Harju and Tim Marks were the game's first and third stars. "Big Joe" Harju is now tied for 7th in the AHL in scoring, after his 4 point, hat trick effort tonight. For those wondering, he's one point shy of his lifelong teammate, Linus Omark, who has 23 points so far for Oklahoma City. Harju is also tied for third in goals, as well. Again, you have to give credit to Harju for playing so well since being sent back down from Tampa Bay. A lot of young players would have pouted. Harju's running wild with 5 goals and 6 points in 3 games since the demotion. I am beginning to wonder what Johan has left to learn in Norfolk. To me, the holes in his game are his inexperience with Boucher's system and a lack of upper-body strength. Both of those probably would be fixed more quickly in Tampa Bay. That's a good problem to have.

As of this posting, the Admirals have three players in the AHL's top-ten in plus-minus. Chris Durno is tied for first at +14. Radko Gudas is tied for third at +12. Kevin Quick is tied for tenth at +10. Defenseman Scott Jackson is steadily climbing the charts to join his teammates. He is +4 in 4 games since returning from injury on 11/20 and is +8 in 10 games this season.

Stefano Giliati now has 1 goal and 4 points in the last 4 games.

Norfolk jumps back into second place in the East Division, 4 points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, with the Pens holding a game in hand. Continuing the trend from last season, Norfolk has been rude houseguests when they travel away from Scope. They are 8-3-2-0 in 13 road games so far this season. They've also played six more road games than home games, which means they'll have a repeat of last year's scenario where they should have a ton of home games in the second half of the year. If they can start winning home games at the same clip as they do on the road, they will be in outstanding shape.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11/19/10 Admirals at Penguins

Norfolk makes a big time statement.

NOR-4
WBS-1

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win.

First Period
WBS Wallace, (7) (Sterling, Hutchinson), 5:39 (PP)
NOR Durno, (5) (Fornataro), 11:43

Second Period
NOR Jones, (6) (Vernace, Berry), 0:46
NOR Jones, (7) (Quick, Milam), 12:27

Third Period
NOR Berry, (3) (Jones, Gudas), 19:19 (EN)

Blair Jones, Desjardins, and Chris Durno were the game's three stars.

Blair Jones' stat line for the season is becoming borderline ridiculous. The fourth year pro now has 7-9-16 in 12 games with a +7 rating. It's been a very different Blair Jones this season. Last year, after being sent down, his production went in the toilet, just as it did in past seasons. But Jones seems to be working even harder after being sent down this time.

Kevin Quick now has 7 assists in his first 14 games this season and a +7 rating. His AHL career high in points was 9 points in 49 games in 2008-2009. I'm legitimately interested in seeing if Quick continues to improve and starts to knock on the door for an NHL cup of coffee in the second half of this season, because I really believe he's a perfect fit, stylistically, for what Guy Boucher is trying to do in Tampa Bay. Radko Gudas is another guy who, after my trip to Norfolk, I think could really fit what Boucher is doing a year or two down the road. He got his fourth assist tonight in this, his rookie campaign and he's a really nice +8. The guy was a big plus player in junior too, you'll recall, with a +45 in Everett last year.

There's just so many players down in Norfolk legitimately knocking on the door for the NHL, and another wave of guys like Quick and Gudas potentially coming in behind them. It's taken over four seasons, between that last year in Springfield when the 2005 draftees like Jones came in and the three subsequent years in Norfolk, to get to this point, but the future is finally here, and it's exciting times.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11/13/10 Admirals at Sound Tigers

Norfolk coughs up third period leads on back-to-back nights.

NOR-2
BRI-3 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the overtime loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
BRI Reese, (1) (Ullstrom, Wotton), 11:00
NOR Vernace, (2) (Quick, Jones), 11:23

Third Period
NOR Berry, (2) (Jones, Quick), 2:02
BRI Joensuu, (4) (Ullstrom), 5:28

Overtime
BRI Wotton, (1) (Ullstrom), 4:49

Kevin Quick snapped a 7 game scoreless streak with a pair of helpers and now has 6 points for the season in 12 games. He had just 4 points in 47 games in all of last season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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