And so it begins! The puck has dropped across the National Hockey League this past week for the regular season. The same occurred in the American Hockey League and for many NCAA clubs. For the Lake Erie Monsters, it has been a tough start offensively and injuries have not helped. Minnesota and Boston College start off hot, but it has been an inauspicious start for the three Avs prospects playing overseas.
The Lake Erie Monsters appear to have a good team on paper, but the club lost both of its games to the Abbotsford Heat last weekend. The problem? Offense. The Monsters only managed one goal in their first two games and combined to put up 42 shots on net. Also, injuries to centermen Joey Hishon, Mike Carman, Mark Olver, and Patrick Rissmiller have limited Lake Erie's attack.
Defensively, the Monsters have a lot of talent and some players may find their ice time clipped. Jonas Holos was a healthy scratch for the first two games. With the addition of Jake Newton, head coach David Quinn will have another defenseman to add to the rotation. The early offensive struggles put more pressure on an inconsistent Trevor Cann.
In the college ranks, Minnesota shellacked Sacred Heart 9-0 and 6-0 over the weekend. While the opponent wasn't strong and he wasn't heavily tested, Kent Patterson was sharp and has the look of having a big season for the Gophers. Speaking of goaltenders, Kieran Millan also got off to a nice start with a 35 save shutout performance, for Boston University, against Hockey East rival New Hampshire.
Boston College made an early statement with 5-2 and 6-2 wins over Michigan State and North Dakota respectively last weekend. Paul Carey had an assist in each game and is expected to be featured on the Eagles top line this season.
Across the pond, it has been a frustrating start for Avs 2011 fourth round draft pick Joachim Nermark. He has been regulated to the fourth line and has yet to record a point in nine games for Linköping (Elitserien).
While Denis Parshin may never come to North America, he is still considered an Avalanche prospect indefinitely. Parshin has been placed on injured reserve by CSKA Moscow (KHL) after just three games into his season. He had two assists in those games.
Once reassigned by the the Avalanche, goaltender Sami Aittokallio reported to LeKi (Finland2). He has only played two games for them thus far and lost both starts. The stats are not pretty: 5.70 goals against average and .807. He should find more playing time once he is eventually assigned to Finland's junior team.
Next week, a review of the Monsters game against the Rochester Americans and back to back games against Toronto. Another look in on the Avs NCAA prospects is also in store. Lastly, a check in on the youngsters playing north of the border.