Quick Update: Duchene played in his first Swedish Elite League game for Frolunda yesterday. He earned two assists, including one on the game winning goal. According to some Swedish articles on the game, Duchene was very strong on the puck, and tried out a few of his fancy spins. If I was excited about seeing him after a summer of hard training before, I’m ecstatic now-hopefully I’ll get to see him playing in Denver soon. Semyon Varlamov did not play in Lokomotiv’s last game (they lost), but I don’t think there is anything to be concerned about. Also, Ryan O’Reilly has found himself a lockout job. He will be working as an assistant coach for his old junior team in Clinton, Ontario.
Now, onto the big story: the Lake Erie Monsters. The Monsters played their first game of the season yesterday, and won! Their opponent, the Oklahoma City Barons are the Edmonton Oilers affiliate team, and boasted a strong lineup, including young NHL stars Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Sami Aittokallio, by all accounts, was simply brilliant in his professional debut. He allowed one goal on 30 shots. Andrew Agozzino scored his first professional goal with three and a half minutes left to win the game. It was a 2-1 win, at home, making the Monsters 4-2 all time during season openers. Today, the Monsters finished their back to back set by playing the Barons once again, however they lost this match-up 3-2. Goaltender Calvin Pickard earned his first professional loss, although he made 29 saves on 32 shots. Paul Carey scored his first professional goal, and Mitchell Heard earned his first professional point (an assist) in the loss. Tyson Barrie, who split the season between the Monsters and the Avs last year, scored his first goal of the season today.
Overall, it looks like the Monsters penalty kill was really good for the first two games (13/14 kills made). The power play needs some work, although it improved from 0/6 to 2/7 from Friday to Saturday. The Monsters next game will be on Tuesday, and we should have pictures from these first two games up tonight or tomorrow.