From the Monsters Desk: Griffins, the Defense and more Meursy

David Maxwell

Our beloved Monsters [4-4-0] have another light weekend, playing but one game at home versus the defending AHL Champion Grand Rapids Griffins [4-2-2]. Last weekend produced a split of games in Abbotsford, BC, featuring inconsistent play in Fr1day's 4-2 loss and a solid 3-1 comeback win on Saturday.

Kieran Millan was called up to the Monsters on Monday, presumably due to an injury to one of the Goalies. No word from the team, but Sami was not at practice on Monday night and there are a number of folks that believe he may be injured. Just to reiterate, this happened before the Varlamov incident, so there is no reason to believe that was a factor.

David Van der Gulik was put on waivers by the Avs yesterday, assuming he clears (I bet he does) he would be available for tonight's match. The reason for waivers stems from his injury to begin the season and so was never officially sent down after training camp.

Gil Desbiens and Calvin Pickard were interviewed during the week about Abbotsford and how the light schedule has affected the team so far.

The Monsters are becoming "Mo Bros" for Movember. 10 players plus Coaches Chynoweth and Callander are growing moustaches to spread awareness of Men's Health issues. Should be fun, they will be updating their progress on the Monsters facebook page throughout the month.

As I remarked in last weeks' game recap, the Monsters defense is playing pretty well for the most part, but long term they are going to struggle because of how it is constructed. Matt Hunwick has been the anchor since being sent down from Colorado, but he still has the same puck-decision issues that plagued him in the NHL. Stefan Elliott has been wonderful offensively so far, and is greatly improved defensively, but will never be anything approaching physical in the D-zone. Karl Stollery has made great strides in his defensive game over the last year, but he too is an offense first player. Markus Lauridsen has the potential to use his size well in the defensive zone but it's not there yet.

That's the top-4, see a pattern? That leaves Mikael Tam, who is gritty and again, offensively inclined, plus Duncan Siemens who actually is defensive-minded but going through some rookie struggles at the moment to round out the core.

Solution: Trade Matt Hunwick for a veteran AHL shutdown defenseman. Hunwick's a goner after this season and there's no chance he'll ever don the unipron again. Get something now to help Lake Erie's defense! Holden and Guenin are never getting sent down and that's thrown a wrench into the team dynamic. The Monsters are basically playing with 2 centers and 3 left wings every shift, and even tho' Patrick's team defense concept is working somewhat, it just isn't enough. The sensible thing to do is to move Hunwick for Guenin part 2. And soon.

Schedule:

Lake Erie vs Grand Rapids, Friday at 7:30, radio on WHKW

Links:

Team stats

AHL Standings

Preview from lakeeriemonsters.com, including an interview with Mark Olver

* * * * *

Today's bit of old school torture for pre-game tunes is Leave Home by The Chemical Brothers. Get your 90's schwerve on and enjoy!

* * * * *

As always, I'll be updating here and on twitter during the game tonight. Stop by and enjoy the 1st period if you're just killing time waiting for Maxime Talbot to make his debut.

Meursy, our intrepid rookie, has another gastronomical truism we can all identify with:


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