The View From the Booth...Summer's Here

The View From The Booth

June 21, 2010

Hello again, hockey fans, and welcome to another edition of “The View From The Booth.” Things around the Monsters and the Avalanche are starting to heat up as summer is now officially here.

Late last week three players were resigned by the Avalanche. Phil Dupuis, Ray Macias and Kevin Porter will all be back, and I will give some thoughts on those three men in a bit. The Avalanche also traded T.J. Hensick to the St. Louis Blues for Julian Talbot, who spent last season in the West Division of the AHL with the Peoria Rivermen.

Oddly enough, it was Talbot that Avalanche rookie Brandon Yip was fighting during a preseason game on September 18, 2009. Yip damaged his right hand in the fight with Talbot and was sidelined with the Monsters until December. After just six games Yip was called up by the Avalanche and had a tremendous rookie season with Joe Sacco’s team.

Talbot can be a feisty player who’s willing to drop the mitts and go with an opponent like he did with Yip. In having seen Talbot play four times this past season when the Monsters skated against Peoria, I like his game. He’s got good size, good hands, plays with an edge and has a solid compete level from what I saw. Compete level is one of those phrases you constantly hear in the AHL and NHL, and Talbot seemed to do that pretty well. He should be a nice fit this season for the Avalanche or Monsters.

As for the young man he was traded for, Hensick should get a fresh start with the Blues. Personally, I’ve known Hensick since he was a sophomore at the University of Michigan. I had the opportunity to call dozens of his games in his college days for a variety of TV networks I used to work for and I have built a very good relationship with him. It was fun having him around our team last season as he certainly supplied us with a lot of highlight-reel moments. I will miss him on our team and having him around, but I understand this is a business, and it’s part of the territory.

Now some thoughts the three players the Avalanche resigned late last week. All three of them – Dupuis, Macias and Porter – are very talented players in their own special way. Dupuis played a handful of games up top with the Avalanche last season and played close to 70 games with the Monsters. I like his game a lot and he will be given an opportunity to make the Avalanche this fall.

Throughout the course of last season, my first with the Monsters, Macias became one of my favorite guys to chat with on the team. He loves to play the game and was used as a forward late last season because of injuries. He’s become a defenseman by trade in the AHL after playing forward at times in the WHL as a junior player. I like his versatility; it’s a very good asset to his game and, like Dupuis, Ray will have a shot to make the big club in training camp.

Last but not least, the 2008 Hobey Baker Award winner (the award given the top college hockey player in the nation), Kevin Porter is back in the fold for this coming season. Porter only played a handful of games with the Monsters this past season after being acquired by the Avalanche from Phoenix in March. He spent the remainder of the season with the Avalanche and even saw some action during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Porter has great instincts on the ice and competes very hard at both ends of the rink. He can also shoot the puck with deadly accuracy. Like Hensick, I’ve known Porter for several years going back to his college days. He’s a lead-by-example type guy and a huge asset to the Avalanche organization and will have a shot to make the big club.

This coming Friday is the NHL Draft, and this year it’s being held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. I can’t wait for that and I’m so glad the first round will be shown on Versus here in the U.S. The Avalanche pick 17th in the first round and they have a total of seven picks in this year’s draft. It’s always fun to see the organization continue to build for the future, and that’s something the Avalanche have done incredibly well over the last few years. The amount of players that have developed here in Lake Erie and have moved on to Denver is very impressive.

I’m also looking forward to July 1st, when NHL free agency begins. That’s always a very fun day with so many things happening all over the NHL and so many times those deals have some type of affect on the AHL. It’s like Christmas in the summer for us hockey junkies.

Make sure to continue visiting our website because there are always great features involving the Monsters that are updated on a daily basis. Coming soon to the site I will start doing some radio interviews with some of our players to talk about what’s going on for them in the offseason and what they are doing to prepare for the coming season.

Sincerely,

Ben Holden

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