During Sunday's game against the Amerks, the broadcasters talked about the Monsters keeping 5-7 guys past the end of the season on Saturday to practice and be ready in case the Avalanche need players during the playoffs. The term 'Black Aces' has been around for eons in hockey, originally meaning players out of favor with the coach trying to earn back a spot, and now has come to mean players in reserve for the playoffs.
Apparently the Avs and Monsters know the guys that will be on the squad, but haven't informed anyone yet for reasons unknown. So who will they be?
Let's start with who's eligible, Avs contracts only, no AHL, ATO or PTO deals. The Avs won't need either Sami or Picks unless shit gets really dire, but I bet at least one stays around to practice. Let's also consider Elliott an NHLer for now.
Forwards: Agozzino, Desbiens, Heard, Hishon, Meurs, Olver, Sgarbossa, Smith, Wyman
Defense: Beaupre, Lauridsen, Siemens, Stollery
Injured: Hunwick, Cheek, Van der Gulik
If healthy, I'd say Hunwick and Vandy are on the list. I have no idea what's up with Vandy, but I get the impression that Hunwick's injury might be longer-term. Maybe they are the "-7" part of "5-7".
So what do the Avs staff consider important here? Size? Experience? PK/defensive ability? It will be interesting to see what roles they consider important when picking reserves.
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The beloved Monsters played Utica twice and Rochester once over the weekend and came out with 4 points, not bad! Thursday they scored late to tie the game up, then suffered their first OT loss of the season when Utica scored on a power play. Friday, they blew a 2-goal lead late, then went 0-for-4 in the shootout. Sunday, they peppered a guy in his first AHL game, who coincidentally played for Coach Dean in junior, with 40 shots but managed but 1 goal. The shootout went 10 rounds and finally Gil Desbiens put the biscuit in the basket for the winner.
Michael Schumacher had 2 of the 5 goals, too bad we're running out of season because he's just can't stop putting the puck in the net. Defenseman Matt Pufahl made his Monsters debut on Friday and was impressive enough to earn a second show on Sunday, definitely some potential there.
Monsters vs Hamilton Tuesday 7:00pm ET, radio on WKNR
Away/Home against Grand Rapids Friday & Ssaturday to close out the 2013-2014 campaign.