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From the Monsters Desk: The Season Begins Tonight!

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David Maxwell

Like their NHL counterparts were in Colorado, the Lake Erie Monsters have been idle since the end of last years' regular season. Golf has been played, iron has been pumped, hills have been sprinted and now the time comes to put that all to good use.

The team's core has been through Avs Rookie Camp, Avs Training Camp, Avs Pre-season, Monsters Training Camp and Pre-season in the last month and at this point are dying to play a game more than we fans are dying to see one. We are all in luck! The Monsters' 2013-2014 AHL campaign kicks off this weekend with two home games against Flames affiliate Abbotsford, then a quick trip up to the GTA on Sunday afternoon for a clash with the Marlies.

Schedule:

Friday 10/4 - Abbotsford Heat vs Lake Erie Monsters, 7:30 pm at Quicken Loans Arena

Saturday 10/5 - Heat vs Monsters part 2, 6:00 pm also at the Q

Sunday 10/6 - Lake Erie Monsters vs Toronto Marlies, 5:00 pm in Toronto

Final Roster:

The Monsters released their final roster yesterday comprised of 28 players, which is a lot, but Cutthroats Camp hasn't opened yet so I expect a handful of guys will get reassigned in the coming weeks.

Forwards (17):

Van der Gulik, Olver, Wyman, Agozzino, Lerg, Schumacher, Desbiens, Carey, Meurs, Smith, Hishon, Cheek, Malone, Sgarbossa, Heard, Desjardins, Arseneau.

Defense (9):

Stollery, Moffie, Lauridsen, Siemens, Sinkewich, Maggio, Tam, Elliott, Beaupre

Goaltender (2):

Aittokallio, Pickard

Injuries:

Joey Hishon has missed most of the pre-season with a lingering LBI (groin/hip flexor, we think) and the newest information we have, he was skating in a non-contact jersey on Tuesday. David Van der Gulik spent the summer rehabbing a knee injury, his status is unknown right now.

Pre-season Highlights:

Lake Erie split a pair of neutral site games with Grand Rapids last weekend. Friday night in Plymouth, MI, Gabe Beaupre opened the scoring in the 1st and Mitch Heard roofed one late in the 3rd to send the game to overtime, but LE fell in the shootout. Saturday night in Windsor, ON, Olver and Lauridsen tallied and Calvin Pickard was masterful in a 2-0 shutout.

Wild speculation on Opening Night lineup:

Siemens/Elliott have been paired together again and I'll bet they will be the 1st set. Stollery/Lauridsen have also been playing together. I'll guess Beaupre/Maggio will be the 3rd pair.

For forwards, we'll probably see something like Carey/Sgarbossa/Olver, Lerg/Agozzino/Wyman, Cheek/Malone/Meurs, Heard/Smith/Desbiens, or something like that. Malone and Desbiens were sent down late so it's tough to say where they'll fit in.

Like last year, Sami might have the edge over Picks to start the year and whichever one plays Friday will probably start against the Marlies as well.

How to enjoy Opening Weekend from the comfort of your own home:

It's kind of odd, but it's the day of the first game and we really don't know yet. Speculation is that new broadcast partners will be announced at the Monsters Rally in downtown Cleveland today at noon. At least I hope they are, it's going to be really hard to cover the Monsters if the games aren't available anywhere. There is AHL Live, which is $150 for the Monsters-only package for another week or so.

I'll update when radio/tv broadcasters are announced.

MHH Coverage:

I'll update this thread with any pertinent information throughout the weekend. Also, if you are listening/watching live, I'll be posting here as well as putting up key points on twitter (@mckinley06).

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Pre-game tune: I have archaic taste in music and am eager to inflict this upon you, dear MHH reader. We'll start out with something pretty mainstream this week, Nightcrawler by Judas Priest. Enjoy!

GO MONSTERS!