Tonight the IceCaps will kick off their round three series against the extremely tough Admirals in Norfolk. After defeating the WBS Penguins in game seven this past Saturday, the team was given a few days off before perhaps the toughest test they'll face since, well, the last time they played Norfolk.
The Admirals are really something. Though they've managed to lose three games so far in these playoffs, they finished the regular season on a run that saw the team lose only 2 games since January. That's not a typo.
January record: 6-5-1-0
I figure perhaps this is the best time to weigh in on a few players and their playoff performances so far, especially since I've finally been able to make it to a lot of games in-person recently. I won't cover any veterans or AHL mainstays because, frankly, that's not really that interesting for Jets fans.
Nobody can really figure what's going on with this guy. Myself and a few other fans think he has to be injured, because his play has slipped big time recently - to the point where he was scratched for Game 7 against the Baby Penguins. Klingberg is having trouble settling the puck down, creating any chances (though he did have a nice goal on a setup from Scheifele in round one), and he simply refuses to finish any checks.
The lack of physicality has me believing injury, but then again he's been so-so since a hot start to the season, so who knows.
Again, possible injury. Well, lingering injury.
Postma missed a number of games at season's end, but he's been relied on, along with Meech, to be the IceCaps' primary puck carrier this postseason. He's looked himself most of the time, but other times he's looking a little scatterbrained. His physical game isn't there, but he's had trouble consistently putting that together anyway.
One thing to note on Postma: at the end of Game 6 against WBS, Jason King (who must be a mouthpiece on the ice) got his face basically punched in to the glass by Penguins' tough guy Bortuzzo. Postma, who's the tallest dude on St. John's, stood up and watched, chewed his nails, took a nap, etc. This is a huge no-no for me, especially at the end of the game where a powerplay wasn't going to mean a thing.
Postma's play has been nonchalant at times and if he wants to get out of AHL to NHL purgatory, it can't be.
After Bortuzzo's little fit and Jason King beatdown in Game 6, when everyone else stood around, Cormier decided, from the bench I suppose, to carry a bit of anger in to the next game.
Result: Bortuzzo made it only a few minutes in to the first period in Game 7 before having to leave. He didn't come back. Why? Because Cormier basically smashed every bone in his body on a hit behind the Penguins' net. You never have to worry about this guy finishing checks.
Cormier and Machacek (who's now hurt, apparently), as Jeff on Twitter points out, have been solid:
Machacek would be a big loss. Hasn't scored in playoffs yet, but he and Cormier have been driving play every shift
It's true. They have. Machacek has just been on the unlucky side.
I also noticed Cormier break up a number of plays in his own zone that would have been prime scoring chances during the Penguins series. A player lacking defensive awareness would have easily been sucked in to mistakes on a few of the plays, but that certainly isn't Cormier. This guy is in the game.
If you have him pegged as a bust because he doesn't put up huge numbers, keep in mind his play on the other side of the puck. I still think he has a scoring touch to be honest, but either way, this guy will do anything to make sure the puck is going the other way and that likely translates in to him becoming an ideal checking center with the Jets. With another year left before RFA, next season is a big one for Cormier.
Not much to say. Only watched him in a pair of games since he's been in the pressbox since the team came back from WBS last week. Some people point to injury, poor play, and even exhaustion as the reason for him sitting.
Personally I thought, from what I did see, that he's easily the most skilled player the IceCaps can put on the ice. And I guess this is where the term "raw skill" comes in, because he didn't consistently play at AHL speed, but when he does get looks, there's no other player I'd rather see have the puck on his stick.
My guess is Scheifele plays a fair chunk of time in St. John's next year. Or not, he isn't eligible. It will be interesting to see if he can do enough this summer to make the Jets.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on twitter @rfancey3.