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December 30. 2013 10:30PM

Big night for Monarchs as they ring in the new year


MAXIM KITSYN 


Monarchs Scouting Report: Maxim Kitsyn

Position: Left wing

Height, weight: 6-2, 192

Age: 22

Recent: Collected three goals and an assist for four points (3-1-4) and two penalty minutes in 19 games with the Monarchs this season. Scored his first American Hockey League goal at Worcester on Nov. 24.

Background: Tallied three points (1-2-3) for Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League’s Novokuznetsk Metallurg during the 2011-12 season. Collected four points (2-2-4) in six games with the Vysshaya Liga’s (VHL) Yermak Angarsk. Ended the 2011-12 season with eight points (7-1-8) in 10 games with Russia’s Minor Hockey League’s (MHL) Kuznetskie Medvedi. Recorded 26 points (9-17-26) for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the Ontario Hockey League during the 2010-11 season. Contributed 19 points (10-9-19) in 20 games during the Majors’ 2011 playoff run. Tied for second in postseason points (19) and placed third in postseason goals (10) for the Majors in 2011. Registered seven points (3-4-7) for the KHL’s Novokuznetsk Metallurg in 18 games during their 2010-11 campaign. Collected two points (1-1-2) in three games with the Medvedi during the 2010-11 season. Recorded two points (1-1-2) for the Metallurg during the 2009-10 season. Compiled six goals and 12 assists for 18 points and 26 penalty minutes in 11 games with the Medvedi during the 2009-10 season. Recorded 21 points (9-12-21) in 17 games with Medvedi during the 2010 playoffs. Tallied seven points (5-2-7) and 26 penalty minutes with the Metallurg in 31 games during the 2008-09 season. Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (158th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Level Draft. Signed to a three-year entry level contract with the Kings July 10, 2013.

2012-13: Collected 12 points (9-3-12) and 63 penalty minutes in 29 games for the VHL’s HC Sarov of the Supreme League of the Russian Ice Hockey Championship. Skated in eight games for the KHL’s Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo. Registered four penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of minus-1 with Torpedo.

What’s next: After being drafted, Kitsyn was escorted to meet with media. At just 18 years old, the young Russian stared blankly at reporters as they fired off questions to him. His English was very limited and his agent did his best to help translate.
Following the draft, he spent part of a season playing junior hockey before returning to his native Russia, and playing for several teams over the last two seasons. Learning the language while playing for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in 2010-11 helped in his adjustment to living and playing in North America. A big personality, Kitsyn is now adjusting to the American Hockey League’s level of play despite not seeing ice time in every game.
“I think it’s a learning process,” explain Kings Development Consultant Glen Murray. “He obviously wants to be in the lineup every night, and play a regular shift. I think you have to get that work ethic in, and learning every day. It’s taxing on a kid that comes up. It’s a job now. You’re going every day to the rink; you’re traveling; you’re on the bus; you’re not playing; you’re skating; you’re working with the development guys, so there’s a lot of moving parts. Once he gets a grasp of that, I think he’s going to be an everyday player.”
Kitsyn’s two biggest assets are that he wants to learn and he has a great shot.
“He confuses goalies when he shoots it, and he’s got a quick release, so I think if he can get to those openings, and get his shot off more, I think it’ll help him a lot,” said Murray.
The rookie is well-liked by his teammates and is usually all smiles in the locker room, despite only playing in 18 games this season. “He’s very (personable),” said Murray. “I really like him a lot. I see that his teammates really like him a lot. I think they like his personality. He’s not, per se, one of those guys that sits in the corner and doesn’t want to learn the language. He really has an interest of what’s going on with the team, and what the coaches are saying, and what the guys are doings, so that helps a lot in his development.”

MANCHESTER — How about a battle between the top two teams in the Atlantic Division to ring in the new year?

The Manchester Monarchs will host the Providence Bruins today at 7 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena in the annual New Year's Eve game, complete with post-game fireworks. The AHL-leading Monarchs are 22-7-5 for 49 points. The Bruins are 16-10-6 for 38 points and second place in the Atlantic behind Manchester.

The Monarchs come in fresh off a 5-2 home win over Hartford on Sunday. After dropping two games with late-game letdowns, Manchester head coach Mark Morris was pleased to see a complete effort from his team Sunday and will be looking for another tonight.

"I want to see another 60 minutes. I think playing the complete game is where we're at now," Morris said. "We've dominated teams that we just lost to in long stretches. It's all about playing the full 60 and when we do that, we're a pretty good hockey team."

Tickets for the game are still available, though pickings in the lower bowl may be slim at this point. The players are looking forward to the large crowd.

"We always look forward to it," said Monarchs forward Linden Vey, who scored two goals in Sunday's win. "It's always fun to play in front of a big crowd and New Year's is special as it is so we're lucky to be playing at home that night."

The Bruins come in having won on Sunday in Springfield, taking a 5-4 victory over the Northeast Division-leading Falcons. Providence has gone 4-3-3 in its last 10 to earn points in seven contests. Providence routed the Monarchs 7-2 when the teams last met in early December.

Providence boasts a varied scoring lineup, led by Carter Camper with seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points. Their next two scoring leaders, Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser are up with the big club in Boston.

Also, three Bruins who skated for Boston on Saturday night in Ottawa have returned to Providence: forward Nick Johnson and defensemen Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky.

After starting a franchise record 20 games in a row, Monarchs rookie goalie J.F. Berube could get a night off finally. Another rookie, Mathias Neiderberger, was injured and has been back for the past week. Morris said he almost started Niederberger Sunday, but stuck with Berube.

Following tonight's game, the Monarchs are off until the weekend when they hit the road for games at Binghamton, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Hershey.

iclark@unionleader.com


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