Getting Caught Up in "From the Perch"

Curt Fraser Signed as Grand Rapids Head Coach
Last week, Curt Fraser, the first coach of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, was hired to patrol behind the bench of the Monsters’ rivals from Michigan, the Grand Rapids Griffins. We caught up with Curt in March in Peoria, when he was the head coach of the Belarusian National Team. Monster fans who caught the Monsters-Rivermen game on March 1 on FSN Ohio saw Curt’s interview between periods, as he was at the game to scout former Monster defenseman Vladimir Denisov (who was signed by the New York Rangers during the off-season). It was the first time that I had the chance to talk to Curt, and in the few minutes that I spent with him, I found him to be knowledgeable of the game, thoughtful in his insights, friendly and well-spoken. Moreover, he brings a wealth of coaching experience from the NHL, AHL, IHL, and the international game to the position. Accordingly, I like the move by Grand Rapids and look forward to seeing Curt behind the bench alongside former Cleveland Lumberjack Jim Paek as the Monsters/Griffins rivalry – which heated up quickly and never subsided in ten games last season – rages into 08-09.

Keeping an Eye on the Transaction Sheet
Of course the moves and signings made by the Avalanche in the off-season are of critical importance to Monster fans, but don’t forget about the significance of the transactions made by the parent clubs of the other teams in the Monsters’ North Division. These moves potentially can be just as important in determining Lake Erie’s fate within the division next season. The in-division signing that probably stings the most so far is Detroit’s acquisition of Darren Haydar last week. Two seasons ago in Chicago with the Wolves, Haydar was the league’s scoring champion and Most Valuable Player as he put up whopping numbers of 41 goals and 122 points. Last year, Haydar scored 58 points in 51 games with the Wolves and also played 16 games up with Atlanta. If Haydar doesn’t crack the Wings lineup and ends up in Grand Rapids, it’s a pretty safe bet that the Monsters will have their hands full with the former AHL MVP.

Another strong depth move by the Wings was the re-signing of goaltender Jimmy Howard, to go along with the acquisition of free agent goalie Ty Conklin from Pittsburgh during the off-season. Barring an injury to either man or Detroit’s #1 Chris Osgood, this virtually guarantees that Grand Rapids will have a quality netminder between the pipes next season.

Also last week, Vancouver re-signed six core players in Jimmy Sharrow, Zack Fitzgerald, Mike Brown, Rick Rypien, Ryan Shannon, and Nathan McIver. These players made up a big chunk of the nucleus of a strong Manitoba Moose club last season. (On a side note, Monster fans may recall that Rypien was the man who did a number on the face of Vladimir Denisov in a memorable scrap last season.) These signings will certainly boost a Manitoba team that is likely to compete for the division title again next season.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
Jamie Lundmark started the 06-07 season with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. After playing 39 games with the Flames – in which Lundmark produced no goals and 4 assists – he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Craig Conroy. After spending last season with the Monsters, Lundmark was signed by the Flames organization once again just a few weeks ago. This begs the question: Why would an organization that seemingly gave up on Lundmark, or at least found him expendable, mid-way through the 06-07 campaign want him back in the mix?

Well, the answer may, at least in part, stem from a particular Lake Erie game last season. On March 12, 2008, the Monsters traveled to Illinois to take on Calgary’s AHL affiliate, the Quad City Flames. The Monsters trailed the Flames 3-1 heading into the third period, but responded with their most impressive road third period of the season, outscoring the Flames 5-0 in the stanza and emerging with a 6-3 victory. A big reason for the improbable comeback was the play of Jamie Lundmark, who scored a huge goal in that third period and was named the number one star of the game. As is the case with virtually every AHL game, players on the opposing teams are regularly scouted and evaluated by the parent club of the home team – be it through scouts or reports filed by coaches and other personnel. Could it be that Lundmark caught the eye of the Calgary folks on that special night back on the 12th of March? Hard to say for sure, but certainly interesting to think about.

Make sure you check out LakeErieMonsters.com for our radio show “Between the Pipes with John Michael.” *As to the title of this column, my thanks to the incomparable Joe Tait of the Cleveland Cavaliers for allowing me to “rent” his perch for the Monsters’ 40 home games this season. Joe has been the “Voice of the Cavs” for 36 seasons, and he called his 3,000th game on March 26, 2008. On that night, Joe’s permanent broadcast location in section C126 of Quicken Loans Arena was officially dedicated as the “Joe Tait Perch.” It is from this section that the Monsters’ games are broadcast, so thanks again to Joe for leasing out the space.

Read past editions of "From the Perch:"
6/05/08
6/17/08
6/24/08
7/08/08
7/22/08

Getting Caught Up in "From the Perch"

Curt Fraser Signed as Grand Rapids Head Coach
Last week, Curt Fraser, the first coach of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, was hired to patrol behind the bench of the Monsters’ rivals from Michigan, the Grand Rapids Griffins. We caught up with Curt in March in Peoria, when he was the head coach of the Belarusian National Team. Monster fans who caught the Monsters-Rivermen game on March 1 on FSN Ohio saw Curt’s interview between periods, as he was at the game to scout former Monster defenseman Vladimir Denisov (who was signed by the New York Rangers during the off-season). It was the first time that I had the chance to talk to Curt, and in the few minutes that I spent with him, I found him to be knowledgeable of the game, thoughtful in his insights, friendly and well-spoken. Moreover, he brings a wealth of coaching experience from the NHL, AHL, IHL, and the international game to the position. Accordingly, I like the move by Grand Rapids and look forward to seeing Curt behind the bench alongside former Cleveland Lumberjack Jim Paek as the Monsters/Griffins rivalry – which heated up quickly and never subsided in ten games last season – rages into 08-09.

Keeping an Eye on the Transaction Sheet
Of course the moves and signings made by the Avalanche in the off-season are of critical importance to Monster fans, but don’t forget about the significance of the transactions made by the parent clubs of the other teams in the Monsters’ North Division. These moves potentially can be just as important in determining Lake Erie’s fate within the division next season. The in-division signing that probably stings the most so far is Detroit’s acquisition of Darren Haydar last week. Two seasons ago in Chicago with the Wolves, Haydar was the league’s scoring champion and Most Valuable Player as he put up whopping numbers of 41 goals and 122 points. Last year, Haydar scored 58 points in 51 games with the Wolves and also played 16 games up with Atlanta. If Haydar doesn’t crack the Wings lineup and ends up in Grand Rapids, it’s a pretty safe bet that the Monsters will have their hands full with the former AHL MVP.

Another strong depth move by the Wings was the re-signing of goaltender Jimmy Howard, to go along with the acquisition of free agent goalie Ty Conklin from Pittsburgh during the off-season. Barring an injury to either man or Detroit’s #1 Chris Osgood, this virtually guarantees that Grand Rapids will have a quality netminder between the pipes next season.

Also last week, Vancouver re-signed six core players in Jimmy Sharrow, Zack Fitzgerald, Mike Brown, Rick Rypien, Ryan Shannon, and Nathan McIver. These players made up a big chunk of the nucleus of a strong Manitoba Moose club last season. (On a side note, Monster fans may recall that Rypien was the man who did a number on the face of Vladimir Denisov in a memorable scrap last season.) These signings will certainly boost a Manitoba team that is likely to compete for the division title again next season.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
Jamie Lundmark started the 06-07 season with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. After playing 39 games with the Flames – in which Lundmark produced no goals and 4 assists – he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Craig Conroy. After spending last season with the Monsters, Lundmark was signed by the Flames organization once again just a few weeks ago. This begs the question: Why would an organization that seemingly gave up on Lundmark, or at least found him expendable, mid-way through the 06-07 campaign want him back in the mix?

Well, the answer may, at least in part, stem from a particular Lake Erie game last season. On March 12, 2008, the Monsters traveled to Illinois to take on Calgary’s AHL affiliate, the Quad City Flames. The Monsters trailed the Flames 3-1 heading into the third period, but responded with their most impressive road third period of the season, outscoring the Flames 5-0 in the stanza and emerging with a 6-3 victory. A big reason for the improbable comeback was the play of Jamie Lundmark, who scored a huge goal in that third period and was named the number one star of the game. As is the case with virtually every AHL game, players on the opposing teams are regularly scouted and evaluated by the parent club of the home team – be it through scouts or reports filed by coaches and other personnel. Could it be that Lundmark caught the eye of the Calgary folks on that special night back on the 12th of March? Hard to say for sure, but certainly interesting to think about.

Make sure you check out LakeErieMonsters.com for our radio show “Between the Pipes with John Michael.” *As to the title of this column, my thanks to the incomparable Joe Tait of the Cleveland Cavaliers for allowing me to “rent” his perch for the Monsters’ 40 home games this season. Joe has been the “Voice of the Cavs” for 36 seasons, and he called his 3,000th game on March 26, 2008. On that night, Joe’s permanent broadcast location in section C126 of Quicken Loans Arena was officially dedicated as the “Joe Tait Perch.” It is from this section that the Monsters’ games are broadcast, so thanks again to Joe for leasing out the space.

Read past editions of "From the Perch:"
6/05/08
6/17/08
6/24/08
7/08/08
7/22/08

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