appearances to keep up team morale
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Coach Michel Therrien had to
maintain appearances to keep up team morale.
After three games down against the Milwaukee Admirals, the young team
full of future Pittsburgh Penguins was desperate for a win.
“I’m not going to be here and say the truth. I’m only going to say the clichés. You know the clichés that we (are) supposed
to say. And that is exactly what I’m
going to do. I’m going to say those
good, good, nice clichés. That is what
I’m doing right now. If I were to say
the truth it wouldn’t be nice.”
In playoff hockey, the truth can be awful especially when
dealing with young players.
“You know what is the cliché. One game at a time,” pointed out Coach Therrien to Hockey’s
Future in his post-game commentary after Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals.
Chiodo knows that sayings are what keeps the team motivated
especially when facing elimination.
During Game 2 and his second Calder Cup playoff final start, the
21-year-old goaltender was taken out after 32:17 of play, as the Milwaukee
Admirals lead 3-1.
“You need some break in the playoffs. You need some momentum.” Therrien said. He did not get his break after veteran Sebastian Caron came in
goal. Just 30 seconds later,
24-year-old defenseman and Nashville Predator prospect Andrew Hutchinson scored.
This ex-Michigan Spartan who played eight games in the NHL this season
is considered a quick decision maker with great puckhandling skills.
During Game 3, Andy Chiodo now backed up by 20-year-old Marc-André Fleury, made good saves, but
not to the caliber needed given the menacing opposition of the Milwaukee
Admirals who won the game 2-1 in overtime.
After the game he studied his past wins against the Bridgeport Sound
Tigers, Philadelphia Phantoms and the Hartford Wolf Pack.
“Hey, it’s part of the past as far as we are concerned. We’ve done it before.”
“Take one game at a time,” affirmed the young goaltender.
The Milwaukee Admirals headed by Claude Noel turned the
series into an inevitable sweep. He
believed in a sage truism “taking the winds out of their sails” and it worked.
Coach Noel attempted to maintain his team focused despite
sold-out crowds at the Wachovia Center at Casey Plaza. His secret for a win: “Timely goals, timely saves.”
“A lot of line juggling on my part… (Simon) Gamache and (Darren)
Haydar are key guys for us.”
Despite his size at 5’9, 23-year-old left winger Gamache is known to
make quick plays on goal. He is high
energy and has shown significant improvement in his defensive game. Twenty-four-year-old right winger Darren
Haydar is his counterpart in size and action on the ice.
“We got some other guys that can play as well….(veteran
Captain) Wyatt Smith and Libor Pivko, and (Timofei)
Shishkanov. They can be dominant. They have weight and they are hard to handle
Twenty-year-old Czech left winger Libor Pivko, was ranked 55th
among Europeans according to Central Scouting in 2000. During the playoff season he scored a hat
trick with two assists against the Chicago Wolves. During the Calder Cup Finals, Coach Noel counted on his two-way
Twenty-year-old left winger Shishkanov who has impressive
size and skill showed similar determination and effort, qualities he was
lacking previous to his AHL debut.
“Wilkes-Barre’s got big defense and so (these are) guys
(that) can really push it for us…We’ve got guys such as (Curtis) Murphy and
(Andrew) Hutchinson. They are very
dangerous off the rush. They push up
and block up the ice real well.”
Coach Noel also counted on veteran goaltending from
36-year-old Wade Flaherty. “You have to
have goaltending like that and you don’t get rattled up by anything.”
During the last game of the series, Marc-André Fleury
bounced into goal with his signature orange and black pads replacing Andy
Chiodo early in the second period.
Chiodo took 18 saves out of 23 during the first half of the game. Fleury, despite letting in a goal from Simon
Gamache, played outstandingly well even without a stick. He made three consecutive plays counting on
his quick reflexes and numerous variations of the butterfly position without
After a score of 7-2 score was on the scoreboard, Coach
Therrien decided to let Andy Chiodo watch the end of the game in goal for the
last five minutes as his fans called his name out in a chant.
At the end, Coach Noel could only point out that to win you
need to “play with a lead. Play on your
toes!” The Milwaukee Admirals were
crowned the 2004 Calder Cup Champions.