As the American Hockey League gets set to play the 2002 American Hockey
League All Star game on February 14 in St. John’s Newfoundland, it also
seems like a good time to evaluate the play of its newest team the
Manchester Monarchs, the Los Angeles Kings’ affilate. It has been a
successful start to the franchise to say the least.
The Monarchs are currently in tied for fourth overall with 60 points. They
have played extremely well at home and have scored over 160 goals for, which
is comparable to many of the other strong teams in the league. Their goals
against is a little high but definitely not enough for concern, especially
considering goaltender Travis Scott, who may be somewhat of a suprise
since the Monarchs boast two other goalies with NHL experience in Stephane
Fiset and Marcel Cousineau. While Fiset has been injured most of the
season, Scott, who will suit up for the AHL Canadian All Stars, has won 14
games and recorded a GAA of 2.58.
The Monarchs have a strong mix of veteran talent and youth throughout their
line up. Their leading scorer thus far has been Ted Donato with 37 points
in 28 games. Donato has scored over 20 goals three times in the NHL and
probably could be used by a number of franchises in the league. He also will
play in the AHL All Star game but on the PlanetUSA team. Also on forward is
Jaroslav Bednar, who the Kings expected to make their roster after taking
him in the most recent edition of the NHL draft. He struggled early in
North America, but he has settled down as is just below a point-a-game pace
with 26 points in 33 games.
The Monarchs also have a good blend on defense. They are led by Rich
Brennan who has 16 points in 34 games, however, it is important to recognize
Brennan contributes in a number of ways. This is exemplified by the
announcement that he will be team captain of the PlanetUSA All Stars. Joe
Corvo, a fourth round pick in 1997 and a graduate of Northern Michigan, has
stepped up and has 32 points in 52 games, the most of any Monarch defenseman this season.
With the continued improvement of young Monarch players and consistent
play from its veternans, the Manchester Monarchs appear to be in good shape
for the second half of the American Hockey League season.