Editor's note: This is the fifth installment of "Admirals Playoff Diary," OnMilwaukee.com's exclusive look at the Milwaukee Admrials as they progress through the American Hockey League playoffs in search of their second Calder Cup championship in three years. The Admirals swept their second-round series against Houston and will play the winner of a series between Grand Rapids and Manitoba in the Western Conference Finals.
Take it away, Claude.
I MIGHT BE STATING THE OBVIOUS HERE, but we really played well this series (against Houston), especially offensively. It was particularly evident by the play of our top line of (Greg) Classen, (Darren) Haydar, and (Simon) Gamache and also the Nashville guys. So we were clicking pretty good, but we got contributions from the whole team as well.
I don't think I have ever seen four short-handed goals in two playoff games by the same team before, but when you get players together who have speed together like Haydar, Gamache and (Scottie) Upshall, these types of things can happen. If they are out there on the penalty kill and you turn the puck over near the blue line, they can counter attack you pretty quickly and that is what happened.
The other thing about it is that you can get all of the opportunities that you want, but you have to be able to convert on them. You have to be able to finish, and we did. In the last game, Haydar made a great play when he pressured two guys who were close together on the blueline. They turned the puck over and Haydar skated down the ice and didn't miss. That is what special players do.
Over the next few days, we need to caution against being overconfident and getting ahead of ourselves. However, we definitely need to get some rest and regroup. We have had 11 games in 19 days that were very intense and then throw in the travel and it has been extremely taxing on the players. We are going to have to manage our fatigue and get ourselves some rest.
We need to make sure that we don't lose the enthusiasm for coming to the rink at this time of year, so to that end we are going to get some rest and have some fun over the next few days and then buckle down for the next series.
During the off-season, one of my favorite things to do is to go fishing. I go all over the state. I've been to the McCann River up near Wautoma, to the Rush River in Menomonie, that is a great place, or I might go over to Viroqua to the Timber Cooley and other rivers around there.
When I fish I generally like to fly fish for trout. I love to walk in the river when the water is pristine and clear. Sometimes I'll go camping for a few days by myself and just fish. It really offers a stark contrast from the season and that is why I do it.
The biggest trout I have ever caught was a 21", which is pretty good especially around here. I almost always catch and release when I am out. I very rarely will keep one.
Part of the problem with getting the big ones is that when we have years like this year and two years ago, the prime time to fish is right now. By the time I get ready to go, it is the middle of summer, which isn't a great time to get the big ones.
I guess that is the price you pay for winning, and I will take winning over the big fish any day!