So I can’t be the only hockey fan out there who believes the number one rule of a shutout is not to say the word aloud at any point, no matter how close our favorite team is to cock-blocking their opposition for a full 60 (or more) minutes, right? That’s kind of the way I feel about actually speaking of the Manchester Monarchs’ amazing start. It’s my fear that if I pop up here and wax poetic about how crazy good these guys have been, shit’s gonna hit the fan and they’ll tumble to the bottom.
Hey, it’s happened before.
With a record of 9-2-1-2, the Monarchs sit atop the Eastern Conference of the AHL, leading the #2 Syracuse Crunch by two points in the standings. The only other team in their division in the top 8 — the magic group who would be playoff bound if the regular season ended today — are the Providence Bruins, whom they lead by 5 points.
As a die-hard fan of the Monarchs, this makes me a happy guy. Possibly even happier than a basket full of Cadbury Creme Eggs or a large, hot pastrami & swiss sandwich would.
At any rate, the Monarchs’ early success can be attributed to getting consistent goaltending from Martin Jones and frequent quality scoring from several of their top guns; a couple of whom are currently spending their time up in LA. Before being called up to the City of Angels, Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli were among the team’s top point getters. Their offensive prowess has been matched by the likes of Tanner Pearson and Nic Deslauriers, with helpers generated early and often by the likes of Brandon Kozun and Jordan Weal. It really is a beautiful thing! I don’t think that I have seen this group click quite as well as they have this season.
Now it’s possible that the personnel changes in the off-season have been a big factor. A small handful of Manchester stalwarts were picked up by other teams or took their play overseas, opening the door for the LA brass to bring in some top prospects from Ontario and free agency. As much as I enjoyed watching long-timers like Kolomatis, Cliche and Meckler play, after three consecutive first-round playoff exits, change was needed. Manchester fan-favorite Andrew “Soupy” Campbell was recently given the “C” on his jersey (with Cliche’s exit), and whatever he’s telling his squad on the bench and in the dressing room is clearly working.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It’s only November and there’s a lot of hockey left to be played. All we can do is look to the immediate future which includes two games against the Norfolk Admirals (7-4-0-3) this week. Will the guys continue their winning ways? I guess we’ll see on Wednesday.
Go Monarchs (and Kings)!
Categories: L.A. Kings News