Tuesday found a few Monsters players with a little more responsibility than when the day started. Bryan Lerg was named Captain of this years squad, he was selected by team vote. Lerg has had prior experience as captain in college during his senior year at Michigan State University. David van der Gulik and Bill Thomas were named alternate home captains. Brad Malone and Thomas Pock found themselves receiving the “A” as alternate road captains. This is Lerg’s first season with the Monsters and in 8 games he has four goals and two assists. As referenced in the video in this article, while being named to leadership roles, these players don’t feel much will change and they will keep doing what has got them to this point to help guide and motivate their teammates. Lerg also noted that having a letter on his sweater doesn’t mean there aren’t other leaders in the room looking to help out as well.
Our favorite goaltender has won his last two games. The first, on the 27th, was a shut out. Today, he made 54 saves on 55 shots. If I played in 50 hockey games, I’d be lucky to have 50 saves, much less 54. (I’m not particularly good at catching things or doing the splits though, so it kind of makes sense that I would fail miserably.) Duchene earned two assists in his last game for Frolunda, and Gabriel Landeskog has been held off the scoresheet in two consecutive games.
Friday’s game between North Division rivals started out very strong for the Monsters. Dictating the pace and working in the Abbotsford end payed off with two goals in two minutes. Paul Carey notching his second of the season followed by Luke Walker also getting his second of the season. Things started to get shaky after that though. 11:50 into the first period Monsters went on the power play due to a Sven Bärtschi tripping call. This leads to Lake Erie giving up a short handed goal at 12:36 in the first period. At this point in the game the Heat started to dictate and impose their will on the Monsters. Abbotsford would go on to score two more goals before the Monsters would answer on a Mike Sgarbossa tally. That would be the last time Lake Erie would be on the score sheet that game. The Heat were able to pick apart Aittokallio’s glove hand for the majority of the night and the final score reflected that. Lake Erie dropped the first meeting of the season between the two teams 5-3.
Saturday was a repeat match up between the Monsters and the Heat in name only. The Monsters got on the board early with a goal from Brad Malone. Scoring went back and forth in the first period leaving the game tied at 2 after 20 minutes. Abbotsford had the only tally in the second period to take a 3-2 lead in to the final frame. The Monsters came out in the third period looking to play. Mike Sgarbossa tied the game up with 8:40 to go in the third period. The Monsters out shot the Heat 9 to 3 in the third period, but couldn’t get the go ahead goal for the win. Things stayed deadlocked through the overtime period as well.
Onward to the shoot out.
Lake Erie comes out on top in the shoot out after two very nasty shoot out goals from Lerg and Sgarbossa. Those goals can be seen here via AHL live. Abbotsford was only able to get one shot by Calvin Pickard.
The Monsters begin a seven game road trip Thursday November 1st in Peoria facing the Rivermen at 7:05 pm CDT.
So the NHL canceled all games through November 30. Color me surprised. I tweeted this earlier, but I’m going to expand upon my simile. This is like high school. Homecoming/Winterball/Prom is a month away. Even though you realistically know that no one is going to ask you to the dance, there’s that tiny part of you that secretly wonders if someone is going to ask you out of the blue. As the days pass, you feel disappointed, but you tell yourself it doesn’t really matter because you already knew that no one was going to ask you to the dance. Does it make it hurt less? No, it makes it hurt more, because you feel like an idiot for getting your hopes up. The NHL clearly didn’t get asked to many dances, because they’re milking this tactic for all it’s worth. Realistically, we knew that we lost an 82 game season in October, but we feel like we lost it all over again when the NHL and the NHLPA couldn’t come to an agreement. We’re upset because “I knew there wouldn’t be an 82 game season but they got my hopes up again, so I’m just an idiot who played into their hands.” We know realistically that the two sides are not meeting often enough, and that if we see any games in the NHL this season, they won’t happen until 2013. Yet each time the NHL cancels more games, we feel bereft, with a renewed sense of loss. Let’s just accept the fact that any schedule set up now is lost to us. Don’t fall for the NHL, and the band-aid they are slowly ripping off your heart. Take a hold of it yourself, rip it off, and tell yourself things will be different next year.
In Europe, the last couple of days have not been very productive for our Avalanche boys. Semyon Varlamov was not in net for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s win, although he was on the bench (from what I can tell, Lokomotiv has three goalies on their roster right now). Gabriel Landeskog was sick, and thus missed Djugarden’s last game too. (I’m not worried because they said he was ill; he should be recovered for the next game.) Matt Duchene also missed Frolunda’s game two days ago. I cannot find a reason for this, but the team did say it was nothing to worry about (according to the Eurolanche twitter). Frolunda played today, and lost to Skelleftea (former Av Joakim Lindstrom’s team), and I didn’t see Matt Duchene anywhere on the score sheet. As for the Avs who are coaching? The Clinton Radars, the team Ryan O’Reilly has been doing some coaching with, won their last game, and are now 4-1. Ryan O’Byrne’s team, the Victoria Grizzlies, play their next game tomorrow.
The Lake Erie Monsters lost 4-3 on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Barons. The Barons scored four power play goals on Calvin Pickard, ending his shut out streak at 132 minutes. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle, young NHL superstars really took over the game. As for the Denver Cutthroats, they have announced that they are partnering up with 9 News for “Make a Difference” day. If you bring toys, clothes, and non-perishable food items to donate to the game on Saturday, you will be given a “buy one, get one free” ticket offer to another game this season. The items will be distributed to food banks, Goodwill, and Santa Claus Shops in CO.
I’m off to read The Great Gatsby and take advantage of the chilly weather by snuggling into bed!
And by “new responsibility” I mean that Gabriel Landeskog is now responsible for someone other than himself. It is his job to take care of this someone, attend to their every need. The captain has taken on the great task of raising…a goldfish. According to the google translate version of the Djugarden post where I got this little beauty of a picture from, the fish is named Nils, after Landeskog’s grandfather. (All together now: awwwwwwwww!) The exact translation (which is not all that exact, remember) is “he claims it is after his grandfather, but I highly doubt. I firmly believe that it has something with me and my bad memory to do.” (This is a joke, as the person who wrote this is named Nils too. Google Translate doesn’t have the best delivery, does it?)
And please, please, somebody tell me that I am not the only person who thinks he looks like Syndrome from The Incredibles with his hair like that. I EVEN DID A SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON HERE.
In continued fish news, the Denver Cutthroats will be in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Friday for a quick roadtrip. They will be back in the Denver Coliseum Saturday night, so get your tickets and support the…infant Avs? (I know people call their AHL players baby Avs, but what do we call CHL players in the Avs system? Tadpole Avs? Whatever, just support the hockey teams that are actually playing.)
The Lake Erie Monsters are taking on the Oklahoma City Barons tonight, at 7 pm central time.
Semyon Varlamov played in today’s game against Dynamo Minsk. Unfortunately, Lokomotiv lost 3-0. Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals against his former teammate, one of them on the power play. This was Varlamov’s second loss in the KHL this season.
I think it can be said that its been a very good weekend for the Lake Erie Monsters. A 5-3 victory Saturday night against Oklahoma City Barrons in which the Monsters came back from being down by one at the end of the second period. Scoring three unanswered power play goals in the third period the Monsters put the Barrons away. Both teams will meet for the final time this year Tuesday with the Monsters hoping to take the season series 3 games to 1.
The Monsters continued their strong weekend today in Texas with a tilt against the Texas Stars at the Cedar Park Center. The number one star in today’s match was goaltender Calvin Pickard. Stopping all 25 shots he faced today, he would earn his second shut out in as many starts. The Monsters also were 1 for 1 on the power play and were able to kill off their two penalties as well.
If both these games are a signal of things to come, we are seeing a team learning to be more disciplined and being able to capitalize on special teams play. Again 5 games a season does not make, but this team seems to have a solid base to build from and move forward. I always like to see an early road trip as well to get the team to gel together and focus on getting early wins. The Monsters play off hopes last season were decided by a mere 2 points, so to have a start like this is also encouraging.
Monsters take the ice Tuesday October October 23 in Oklahoma City to face the Barrons. Puck drop is 7:00 pm CST.
Last night, the Denver Cutthroats played their second game of the season. I wasn’t there, but by the looks of the stat sheet, it was a real barn burner. The final score was 8-5, the Missouri Mavericks with the eight goals. A.J. Gale, the man who scored the first goal in Cutthroat history Friday night, decided he wanted another franchise record, and scored a hattrick for the fish. Kyle Quincey and Ben Wilson scored the other two goals. Kieran Millan started the game for the Denver, but was pulled in the second period after letting in six goals on 29 shots. Kent Patterson would allow another two goals before the game ended.
The Lake Erie Monsters also won their game last night, scoring five goals and allowing three. Tyson Barrie was a real hero, scoring a goal and two assists. Netminder Sami Aittokallio earned his second win in his second start, making 27 saves on 30 shots.
In Europe, Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals in today’s win for Djugarden. Matt Duchene had two assists and a goal in Frolunda’s win yesterday. Semyon Varlamov’s Lokomotiv does not play again until 7 pm tomorrow (Russian time), so 10 am here in Colorado. As for the Avs who have taken on assistant coaching jobs, the Victoria Grizzlies (Ryan O’Byrne) are 5-1 in their season thus far, whilethe Clinton Radars (Ryan O’Reilly) are 3-1.
Today, the Denver Cutthroats played their first ever game, and won. I wasn’t able to be there, but I did listen to the majority of it online.The first period went scoreless, but things got exciting in the second. A.J. Gale scored the first goal in Cutthroat history seven and a half minutes in. Six minutes later, the Cutthroats extended their lead to two when Brad Smyth scored. The Missouri Mavericks responded before the end of the period by scoring a goal of their own. During the third period, the Cutthroats started off well, with a quick goal from Markus Lauridsen. However, the Mavericks were able to score the two more goals, tying things up and forcing overtime. In overtime, Jamie MacQueen scored for the Cutthroats, securing a win in dramatic fashion. Kent Patterson was in goal for the Fish, and he earned his first professional win.
In NHL news, the NHL has canceled all games until November 1 (remember, before this, only games through the 24th of October were canceled). Color me surprised.
It’s been a few days since I’ve updated about our Avs in Europe.
First up, Semyon Varlamov. The goaltender is currently 5-1 and has won his last three games (two in a shoot out, one in overtime.) Apparently Varlamov had to face 12 shots in one of the shoot outs, but he did us all proud. (Obligatory Varls quote: “I do not like the shoot out. I know fans love it, but it’s tough for goalies.”) Interestingly, one of the games should not have gone into a shoot out at all-there was a very obvious extended too-many-men on the ice call that the referees missed, which allowed Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to tie things up in the last minute. All four officials have been suspended and are awaiting further review. (!?) Varlamov’s save percentage is an impressive .932%, and his goals against average is a respectable 2.25.
As for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, I believe they’ve played in two more games each (still having some trouble navigating the Swedish Elite League site…anyone want to split the cost of Rosetta Stone with me?) but neither have added to their point totals yet.
As many of you are, I’m sure, aware, the NHL made a proposal on Tuesday, and the NHLPA made three counter-proposals today. All three were shut down, so it appears that the hope we were beginning to let emerge earlier this week needs to be tamped down once more. I sort of want to shout at everyone involved now. (“IF WE ALL WANT HOCKEY BACK SO MUCH, MAYBE WE NEED TO STOP WRITING PROPOSALS, THROWING THEM DOWN LIKE GAUNTLETS, AND THEN MARCHING AWAY, AND INSTEAD, SPEND SOME HOURS CONSTRUCTIVELY BUILDING SOMETHING TOGETHER.”) Anyways, I’m hoping hockey comes back soon, but I’m not too hopeful. Which is a very contradicting statement, but what can I say? My hockey compass is a little screwy right now.