Week of New Opponents Starts Tonight

This week’s Monsters schedule poses a test to the team that hasn’t been done this season: three games in four days in three different places, beginning with a date with the Griffins in Grand Rapids this evening.

After this meeting with Grand Rapids, the Monsters will have seen the entire North Division with the exception of the Hamilton Bulldogs, who are on the schedule for Saturday evening.

But first thing’s first: tonight’s opportunity to gain a little bit of separation in the standings from Grand Rapids, and potentially end the evening with as many points as division-leading Toronto. It's early in the season, but ask anyone in the dressing room, and they'll tell you that points early in the season are just as meaningful as points late in the season. And right now, with the five-team North Division separated by just three points, games like tonight present golden opportunities to begin breaking away from the pack.

Sunday’s 4-0 shutout of the aforementioned Marlies revealed the calming presence that veteran goalie Cedrick Desjardins, who stopped 29 pucks in the win, can provide. He was a Memorial Cup winner during his junior days, a Kelly Cup winner in the ECHL, and he can be a huge boost to a team that is still without a lot of its firepower on offense.

A couple points of interest in this evening’s clash against Grand Rapids: first, Monsters forward Hugh Jessiman will be serving the final game of his four-game suspension, so don’t expect to hear his name during tonight’s live radio broadcast (AM 1220 WHKW, 7:00 PM), but he becomes available to return tomorrow night when the Monsters host the Houston Aeros back in Cleveland.

As far as the Griffins are concerned, their top player to watch- Gustav Nyquist- was called up to the Detroit Red Wings this week, and made his debut a night ago in Detroit’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild. He played over 11 minutes in his NHL debut, and was returned following the game. He will be in the lineup for Grand Rapids tonight.

We caught up with forward Eric Hunter before the team boarded the bus for Grand Rapids and asked him about the team's recent turnaround, his own goalscoring and what to expect against the Griffins: 


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