The View From The Booth...In Illinois

Hello again, hockey fans, and welcome to another edition of "The View From The Booth." Today I am writing to you from Rosemont, Illinois, just north of downtown Chicago, where tonight the Monsters start a two-game road trip in the state of Illinois. Tonight is a matchup vs. the Chicago Wolves and future hall of fame defenseman Chris Chelios, who signed with the Wolves in late October.

As for the Monsters, they had a good skate this morning at Allstate Arena for about an hour. Brian Willsie is back with the team after his most recent call-up. He'll skate with Phil Dupuis and Brock Bradford tonight. Bradford is coming off his two-goal game on Tuesday in the Monsters much needed 6-2 win against the Grand Rapids Griffins. The top line of T.J. Hensick, Darren Haydar and Ryan Stoa is in tact for tonight's game and, after watching them click in a big way on Tuesday, I can't wait to watch them again tonight. They were electrifying in the 6-2 win and I expect more of the same tonight. Tom Preissing will also be in the lineup tonight, as he's been with the club since earlier in the week and his experience should help on the power play.

Rookie Trevor Cann will get the nod between the pipes tonight with Tyler Weiman up with the Colorado Avalanche. Billy Sauer will backup Cann tonight. In Cann's last road game, at Grand Rapids on November 11th, he played very well in a 2-1 shootout loss. He'll face a Chicago team that is in a slump right now, as the Wolves have lost their last three games including both games they played at home last weekend. In talking to the folks within the Wolves organization at the morning skates, they are a team that has been inconsistent for the majority of the season so far. Let’s hope that continues tonight vs. the Monsters!

Back to Billy Sauer, though. He arrived in Chicago in the early morning hours of Friday, about 5:30 a.m. after taking a red-eye flight from Las Vegas Thursday Night. He played in net vs. Victoria for the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL where he had been on loan for the last few days. He won the game and is of course happy and excited to back for another assignment with the Monsters. That's the beauty of being a player in the AHL or the ECHL, as Billy is finding out - the frequent flyer miles pile up in a hurry.

I wanted to mention Brandon Yip for a moment. Wow, what a goal he scored Tuesday Night. It was his first pro game and he looked like he belonged. He played physical and smart. When he had the puck late in the third period, he scored an NHL-type goal, getting around a Grand Rapids defenseman, shielding his body away from the puck and keeping his feet moving and beating Daniel Larsson for his first pro goal. It was one of the best goals I’ve seen all year in the AHL. I think Brandon will continue his high energy, high-tempo type of play tonight vs. the Wolves.

Back to Chris Chelios of the Chicago Wolves, for a minute. It was weird seeing him in a Wolves uniform at practice this morning, but you have to admire what he's doing at the ripe old age of 47. He's doing the best he can to downplay his presence with the Wolves. He's just continuing to play the game he loves. Like my grandpa and my dad always told me, find something you love to do and stick with it. Chelios has certainly done that; we'll see how he plays tonight for the Wolves.

I think the Monsters will continue their strong offensive play tonight. If they do what they did Tuesday Night vs. Grand Rapids, and that's go to the net and create traffic in front of the goalie with tips and screens, I like their chances. We have a lot of talent on this team and I know the players are ready to get on a roll and make up some ground in the standings.

The radio broadcast of tonight's game will begin at 8:28p.m. Monsters Analyst Sean Ritchlin will join me on the call of the game, as he's on the road with the club because our game Saturday night at Rockford is a TV Broadcast starting at 8:00 p.m. There is a watch party at the Boneyard in Broadview Heights, so hopefully you can make it out there for that to watch the game on MY43 WUAB.

During tonight's broadcast from Chicago, I will have interviews from head coach David Quinn, T.J. Hensick, Brandon Yip and Pam Frasco, who handles marketing and services for the Monsters in the team’s hockey office. I also have an interview with Wolves captain Jason Krog, who played with Monsters forward Darren Haydar at University of New Hampshire and then in Chicago with the Wolves when the Wolves won the Calder Cup in 2008. I hope you can join me and Sean Ritchlin for the call of the game tonight on ESPN 850 WKNR or at AHL LIVE on the AHL’s website, theahl.com.

After tonight's game, it's on the bus for a one-hour ride to Rockford for Saturday's game! That's it for this edition of "The View From The Booth."


Sincerely,

Ben Holden
GO MONSTERS!!!

The View from the Booth Archive:
Volume 1 (10/21)
Volume 2 (10/23)
Volume 3 (10/28)
Volume 4 (11/03)
Volume 5 (11/16)
Volume 6 (11/24)

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