Tony Brown's Playoff Notebook (4.16.19)
Tony’s Playoff Notebook
Tuesday, April 16th
Practice – OBM Arena, Strongsville, OH
Riding high in the wake of a regular-season capping, playoff-berth clinching 5-1 road win over Toronto on Sunday afternoon, the Monsters began their preparations for a best-of-five game North Division Semi-Final Series vs. the Division Champions, the Syracuse Crunch, on Tuesday. With game one looming Friday in Syracuse, here’s how the Monsters lined up for their first postseason practice.
10 Dan DeSalvo, 55 Mark Letestu, 22 Sonny Milano
23 Derek Barach, 25 Alex Broadhurst, 82 Kevin Stenlund
72 Ryan MacInnis, 20 Justin Scott, 88 Kole Sherwood
27 Calvin Thurkauf, 21 Sam Vigneault, 38 Nikita Korostelev
44 Brett Gallant, 16 Miles Koules, 57 Paul Bittner
- Defenseman Tommy Cross didn’t skate (maintenance day).
- Defenseman Garret Cockerill was a full participant, but in a red ‘No Contact’ jersey (lower-body injury).
- Goaltender Brad Thiessen was in full-time coach mode and did not participate in practice as a player, opting rather to instruct net-minder Mattis Kivlenieks and local practice fill-in backstop Billy Ferkel.
- Team captain Nathan Gerbe and goaltender Jean-Francois Berube remain on the shelf with long-term injuries.
One notable absence for Cleveland in Tuesday’s practice was veteran center Zac Dalpe who was recalled by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. It’s hard to overstate Dalpe’s impact on the Monsters this season as the Paris, ON native has enjoyed a career year, leading Cleveland in goals (33), points (55) and power-play goals (10) despite being limited to just 55 appearances due to a lengthy mid-season injury absence. The AHL’s Player of the Month in March, Dalpe has appeared in 29 career Calder Cup Playoff games for the Albany River Rats and Charlotte Checkers spanning the 2010, 2011 and 2013 AHL Playoffs.
INSPIRATION FROM ABOVE
As the Monsters prepare to take on Syracuse, top affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, Cleveland players admitted Tuesday that they’re drawing inspiration from watching their NHL affiliate in Columbus enjoy success versus the NHL’s top team in the regular season, Tampa, in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Calvin Thurkauf, LW
“It’s definitely inspiring. We’re in the same position pretty much, we just slid [into the playoffs] in the last game [of the regular season], same as Columbus, so hopefully we can do the same thing they’re doing.”
Brad Thiessen, G
“You can see that anything can happen once the puck drops in the playoffs. Even for them to go down three nothing in game one and to have that mental strength to be able to come back from that and now up [three games to none], it’s fun to watch and fun to see and it’s something for us to look at and know that it can happen.”
Ryan Collins, D
“They prove an important point that whatever happens in the regular season is more irrelevant than you think in the postseason and they’re proving that one game at a time in beating Tampa.”
Dan DeSalvo, RW
“They were kind of on the playoff bubble, they get in and now they’ve got a three nothing lead on the President’s Trophy team. It’s been fun to watch and I’m really looking forward to tonight.”