November 18, 2011
Pete's View - October - November 2011
Pete Michaud is The Voice of the Admirals. He brings 20 seasons of experience with the team to the airwaves in 2011-12. He has been the team's play-by-play broadcaster for each of the past 13 seasons. In addition to his work with the Admirals, Michaud also calls Norfolk Tides AAA baseball games.
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November 18, 2011
Hello from the road (again), as the Admirals get set to battle the St. John's IceCaps over the next two nights here in Newfoundland. It's my first trip to 'The Rock,' as it is called … the oldest English-founded city in North America.
This is the only trip all season in which the Admirals travel by plane. I'm happy about that. It's 2,267 miles in a straight line, but, according to MapQuest, it's more than 3,300 miles to actually drive by car from Norfolk to St. John's, and would take about 42 hours to drive here…ONE WAY! To put that in perspective, it would be like driving from Scope to Salt Lake City, Utah in terms of miles. Because there are fewer major highways up here than, you could almost drive from Norfolk to San Francisco in the same time it would take to drive to St. John's, Newfoundland! By the time we get home from this trip late Sunday afternoon, the Admirals will have traveled over 8,000 miles in just the last 30 days!
The team had a long day of travel yesterday. Our flight out of Norfolk was delayed and we didn't even get out town until almost 4:00 p.m. We went to Newark, New Jersey, where we had to quickly grab some food before the two-and-a-half hour flight to St. John's. Here's a tip … getting spaghetti and meatballs TO GO is a BAD idea! I'll have to remember that.
The flight to St. John's was packed ... every seat filled … aside from the six empty seats in first class. I was in the last row of the plane. Just before takeoff, the stewardess told those of us in the last row that there was an issue of weight distribution on the plane, so we would have to move to the 1st class seats. Being that I wanted to be helpful, I accepted that and moved forward, along with Scott Jackson, trainer Brad Chavis and equipment manager J.W. Aiken. I loved the extra legroom, the drink refills, the snack box and the hot towel. It was the first time I have ever been in first class! I should do it more often. I will say that we did offer to let some of the players near the back take the first class seats, but those guys actually wanted to stay back there together so they could play cards.
We got to St. John's about 11:00 p.m. local time, with only one member of our party getting held up by customs. By the time we got to the hotel and had a late meal, it was almost 1:00 a.m. before I got to my room. Long day!
Well, I'm off to the arena … Mile One Centre … for tonight's game. I've attached a few photos ... the arena from the outside, a look inside during the Admirals' morning skate, and the entrance to the IceCaps locker room. I've never seen a locker room with a fancy, wooden door!
Remember, we are in the Newfoundland Time Zone here. It's an hour-and-a-half ahead of the Eastern Time Zone. So, while it's a 7:30 p.m. start here, it will be 6:00 p.m. in Norfolk. So make sure you have your radios and computers on early. I will be on with the pregame show at 5:45 p.m. tonight and tomorrow (Nov 19). I'm hoping to have Eric Neilson on the pregame to discuss his momentum-shifting fight last weekend with Steve MacIntyre in Wilkes-Barre. Hopefully, tomorrow will afford a bit of time to explore the city.
On a final note, I wanted to mention that I am now on Twitter. You can follow me on @PeteMichaud2012, if you like. Several of the Admirals players are on Twitter, as well. And, of course, always feel free to send me an email. Until next time …
November 3, 2011
Hello from the road, where the Admirals are set for another busy weekend up north, with games in Albany (Friday 7pm), Bridgeport (Saturday, 7pm) and Providence (Sunday 4pm). The recent travel has been exhausting for the team, but at 7-2-0-1 and 1st place in the East Division, no one is complaining!
I am just happy to be on this trip … WITH my radio gear! The team left Scope late Wednesday night for the long ride, a bit over nine hours, to Albany. Scope had a Josh Groban concert earlier that evening, and I am told some members of the concert staff actually used the front of the hockey staff office for some 'behind the scenes' work during the show. So, all the interior office doors were locked, including the door to the room in which the radio gear is kept. In all my years with the team, I've never seen that door locked. We had to call an Admirals staff member at home at almost midnight to find out how to get in and were luckily able to find a key that worked on that lock. For a few moments, I thought I was going to have the weekend off!
Let's pass congratulations on to Carter Ashton, who has been named the Reebok/AHL Rookie of the Month for October. Carter posted nine goals and 13 points in the month to lead all AHL rookies. In fact, no one in the Admirals AHL history has had as many goals in the first 10 games of the season as Ashton! As you may know, Carter is the son of Brent Ashton, who scored nearly 300 goals in 14 seasons in the NHL with several teams. Carter's uncle, Ron, played a bit in the WHA with the old Winnipeg Jets, and spent a few years in the minors, including a season playing at Scope with the old Tidewater Sharks in the mid-1970s! To add to the impressive display by Norfolk's 'Kid Line,' fellow rookies Cory Conacher (4g-8a-12p) and Tyler Johnson (4g-4a-8p) rank 2nd and tied for 9th in the league in rookie scoring.
While the team hasn't had much time at home lately, the boys did get out for some fun on Sunday night last week for a little Halloween party. From what I hear, they went all out with the costumes. Radko Gudas was kind enough to give me this picture from the party featuring he and Jaroslav Janus in the wolf masks (I'm not sure which was which!) along with 'linemate' Eric Neilson as the 'Joker.' 'Neiler,' as we call him, told me he not only looked like the 'Joker,' but actually acted like him, staying in character all night! The photo is a bit blurry, but I still thought it was worth sharing with you.
I received an email from Nick in Suffolk who wanted to know about the Admirals' travel this season. With one exception, all of the Admirals travel is by bus. The only trip the team will fly this season will be the late November excursion to St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. He also asked about Charlotte's travel, since the Checkers have moved from Norfolk's division into the Midwest Division this year with Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee and Peoria. It's not as drastic a change as you might think for Charlotte because they fly to ALL of their games aside from when they come to Norfolk. It's not much a difference if you're flying to Philadelphia or Boston instead of flying to Chicago or Milwaukee. That's probably why it made sense to move the Checkers to another division, even if it doesn't seem right geographically.
On a final note, please keep Admirals founder Blake Cullen in your thoughts. Blake is resting in a Norfolk hospital. I spoke with him about a day and a half after he was admitted and told him all of us with the Admirals were thinking of him. He sounds great, but I'm sure he wants to be up and around. We also want to send well-wishes to Dave Morgan, a longtime off-ice official who works with us in the press box during home games. Dave fell ill late in the summer and is continuing his rehab. We're thinking of them both and hope we can see them back at Scope sometime soon.
Well, that's it for now. Feel free to write with any questions or comments. Until next time …
Hi again, everybody, and welcome to my first blog entry of 2011-12!
It's been a great beginning to the season, with the Admirals off to a 4-2-1 start. Despite a very young roster and the loss of many of the club's top scorers from a year ago, the guys have really been lighting up the scoreboard early on. With Wilkes-Barre and Hershey again looking loaded and Syracuse looking to be very much improved, it will be a tough year in the East Division, but it should be fun.
I am writing from Glens Falls, New York, where the Admirals play the Adirondack Phantoms on Wednesday. That will be the second game on a seven-game road trip, which began with a loss on Sunday at Charlotte. We left the Queen City after the game at 1:00 a.m. and didn't get to Glens Falls until 6:30 p.m. Monday. That's a 17 and a half hour trip! This is the part of the life that is NOT fun!
At least I was happy to be on the bus and not stuck in Charlotte! Let me explain. At the start of each road trip, each player, coach and staff member get a printout of the trip itinerary, telling us bus times, practice times, hotel information and such. The team's original itinerary had us staying in Charlotte after Sunday's game and leaving for Adirondack at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning. So, after the game Sunday, I grabbed a bite and went back to the hotel to watch some football and the World Series.
Shortly after midnight, I heard a bus running in front of our downtown hotel. I looked out the window and saw that it was, in fact, the Admirals bus. Being a veteran of hockey travel, the first thought that crossed my mind was that perhaps they had changed travel plans and decided to leave earlier than originally scheduled. I decided to go out to investigate, just to be sure.
As I came out of the elevator, Head Coach Jon Cooper passed me going up to his room, saying "I'll see you in five." I figured the coach was going to get some sleep and meant he'd see me at the bus in five hours.
At this point, my fears had calmed and I went for a quick walk around the hotel area. As I was heading back to the hotel about 10 minutes later, I walked by the bus, where several players were hanging out. "Are you going on the bus with us?" James Wright asked. "Well, in about 5 hours, yes!" I replied. Pierre-Cedric Labrie then said, "No, we are leaving now."
At first, I thought they might be pulling my leg, but I wasn't quite sure. I went back in the hotel and ran into Assistant Coach Mike Flanagan and Video Coach Brian Garlock as they were coming out of the elevator with their luggage. At this point, it became crystal clear the bus was leaving any minute. I then crossed paths with Coach Cooper again, who confirmed that, indeed, our travel plans had changed and we were departing.
Luckily, my bags were already packed, so it only took me a few minutes to gather my things and jump aboard. It just goes to show that you always have to stay on your toes!
With our long journey behind us, the Admirals will hopefully be rested for a hard practice today. Then, it's a Wednesday game here. The travel remains tough, with a ride east to Providence for a Friday matchup with the Bruins and then a trip back to the Empire State for a Saturday tilt in Syracuse.
Well, that's it for now. Until next time…