action:article | category:SPORTS0702 | adString:SPORTS0702 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Hockey » Monarchs

October 18. 2012 9:55PM

Kevin Gray's Gray Matter: No lockout here in Manchester


Monarchs President Darren Abbott outside of the arena on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

HOCKEY GODS have smiled on the Manchester Monarchs, who open their 12th season under a perfect set of circumstances tonight at Verizon Wireless Arena.

Team president Darren Abbott, beaming at the sight of new logos, perfect ice and clean dasher boards, is expecting the biggest opening-weekend crowds in his three years at the helm. If the Monarchs have a true rival in the American Hockey League, it's the Providence Bruins, whose parent club isn't playing hockey right now.

Need your hockey fix, Bruins fans? Grab a foam paw at the Big V and say hello to Max the mascot — is that a new mane? — on the way to your seat. More than 7,000 fans will be at tonight's game against the Bruins, and another 6,000-plus are expected for Saturday night's game against the Portland Pirates. The puck drops at 7 p.m. for both games.

As the NHL lockout drags on — with no sign of the work stoppage ending any time soon — three members of the Stanley Cup-winning L.A. Kings took the ice at Manchester's practice: Jordan Nolan, Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov. In addition, Marc-Andre Cliche, Jake Muzzin and goalie Martin Jones all practiced with the Kings throughout L.A.'s postseason run. Loktionov was a game or two shy of having his name inscribed on Lord Stanley's Cup.

“From a hockey perspective, the level of play is as good as we've ever seen in the building,” Abbott said. “The intensity is going to be there.”

Kings president and general manager Dean Lombardi has spent much of October watching red-hot Manchester. The NHL-flavored Monarchs won their first three preseason games, and then posted road wins at Providence and Albany. The P-Bruins, featuring right wing Jordan Caron — who played 48 games and scored seven goals for the Boston Bruins last season — are looking for their first win.

“We always draw a lot of Bruins fans. It's a fun rivalry,” Abbott said. “Our Monarchs fans love the (Boston) Bruins, but when it comes to the American Hockey League, they are loyal Monarchs fans.”

Monarchs coach Mark Morris, entering his seventh season, can expect player development and winning to go hand-in-hand this fall. The Kings' success has trickled down to the Monarchs.

“When you have NHL players rubbing elbows with our current players, it adds a lot of credence to the process of development,” Morris said. “For some guys, it takes a little longer to have success. You've got to stick to the process and build on small components of your game because things don't happen overnight.”

Morris constantly tells his players to trust their work. Stick to the process. Don't worry about the future. Veterans such as tough-guy Richard Clune, who also played with the Kings last season, have been preaching the same message.

It's a minor-league approach to development that leads to major-league results.

“You need long-term goals, but, realistically, the best way for any successful venture I've found is to just live in the moment. Don't get too far ahead of yourself,” Morris said. “Today's youth often looks for instant gratification. That's the nature of society.”

The message for tonight? Seize the moment.

“Sometimes we need to remind our guys that opportunity is like the aperture in a camera. It opens quickly and closes quickly,” Morris said.

It's here. It's a great night for hockey. It's going to rain.

And the Monarchs are the only show in town.

Staff writer Kevin Gray's email address is kgray@unionleader.com.


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NHMS, Miller Lite extend deal for another 3 years

NASCAR: Who the Vegas wise guys like heading into Loudon

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!