From the Monsters Desk: New Years' Day Edition

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Our beloved Monsters [15-12-3] find themselves in beautiful Central New York this New Years' for a game with Vancouver affiliate, the Utica Comets [10-16-3]. Utica and Lake Erie have faced off thrice already with the Monsters winning two. Doug Plagens talked to Michael Schumacher about playing Utica after practice this week.

Last weekend Lake Erie played a 2-game set against the Chicago Wolves. Friday night was a 4-zip disaster, but Saturday saw a back and forth battle with Mark Olver scoring the winner in overtime.

With Mike's 'Burning Question' article piquing some interest in bringing up a forward from Cleveland, let's take a look at what we've got to work with. First, the veterans:

Bryan Lerg - LEM Captain & leading scorer. Small scoring forward and just ok on defense.

Mark Olver - LEM 2nd leading scorer. Another small scoring forward with some experience with the Avs. Not known for his defense, rarely plays on the PK, basically a small Mitchell minus the defense (which says a lot).

J.T. Wyman - Big, but slow defensive forward. Good on the PK and has 44 games NHL experience, but I have a feeling that they wouldn't have signed Cliche if he was considered an option.

David Van der Gulik and Gil Desbiens are injured and unavailable right now.

The Sophomores:

Andrew Agozzino - LEM 3rd leading scorer. Small but skilled, good in all 3 zones and kills a lot of penalties.

Paul Carey - LEM 4th leading scorer. Has some size and absolutely blazing speed. Great forechecker and underrated defensively. Also plays a fair amount of PK.

Mike Sgarbossa has been injured for a few months now, hopefully will begin skating with the team soon.

I doubt any of the rookies would be looked at for a call-up, they're progressing nicely in general but the NHL would be overwhelming I fear. The one exception might be Joey Hishon at some point. That point isn't right now tho', in the 4 games since returning from his latest hip flexor injury he's been a non-factor with 0 points and was benched during the 2nd period shitshow against Chicago last Friday.

3 veterans and 2 guys in their second pro year and Hish. Not a simple decision if someone has to be called up, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I'll be interested to see what, if anything, happens.

Not much on the news front so far this week, although it's interesting to hear about where some of the players ended up spending their Christmas break. Sami Aittokallio went home to Finland and Michael Schumacher travelled to Sweden, probably spent more time flying than with their families.

We all love Picks, except for J.T. Wyman right now I guess.


Schedule:

Monsters at Utica 3:00pm, radio on WHK

Links:

Team stats

AHL standings - Monsters now 3rd in the North, 8th in the WC

Preview from the LEM crew

Post-practice interview with Michael Schumacher

* * * * *

Pre-game tunes has a nice easy one for those who might have overindulged last night. "Boogie with Stu" by Zep. Ooh mi cabeza... rockea.

* * * * *

I'll be here as usual for the game, stop by after the Winter Classic if you like. I'll have a new article up later in the week for the weekend series against Milwaukee. Happy New Year!


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