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From the Booth: The Monsters are back!

From the Booth: Training Camp Notebook Volume 1

Oct 8, 2021

From the Booth

2021 Training Camp Notebook, Vol. 1

Fri., 10/8/21

 

New seasons, much like new years, bring hope and optimism in droves, but also in the current times a heightened and renewed sense of gratitude that we find ourselves in this position at all. The fact is, hockey season has arrived – a normal training camp complete with in-person introductions, first-day handshakes, names put to faces, faces put to names, and the upbeat chatter that portends a fresh campaign at hand. I for one, am so thankful we’ve all successfully navigated a long and scary road back to this point. It feels like a homecoming.

 

As this season’s camp is closed to media and fans, we’ll be using this forum to take a closer look at some of the key storylines for the Monsters as we rapidly approach opening night on October 15th. Over the first few days of Cleveland’s camp, we caught up with goaltender Jean-Francois Berube who returns to the Blue Jackets organization and to Northeast Ohio for the first time since he posted a record of 21-17-5 in 43 appearances for the Monsters during the 2018-19 season.

 

J-F Berube on…

What made a return to the Columbus organization the right choice for him…

“It’s the familiar faces. I know the organization, they know me. I was kind of in touch with (Blue Jackets Goaltending Development Coach) Brad Thiessen throughout the summer kind of going back and forth and when the opportunity came to come back here…I don’t think there was too much hesitation to take it and make the best of it.”

 

His relationship with Thiessen the teammate as opposed to Thiessen the coach…

“He falls right into what I’d expect having from a goalie coach – the type of input he gives about my game…We clicked right away my first year [with the Monsters]…it’s really good to reconnect and be able to improve my game with him.”

 

What makes the Blue Jackets and Monsters organizations a great place to play…

“It’s the way they treat their players and the quality of people they bring in…If you look in the locker room, there’s a lot of good guys – not just good hockey players but good people…It makes it an environment where it’s fun to be and you want to play for the guy next to you.”

 

His role this season as the elder statesman of a relatively young goaltending group in Cleveland…

“We have some young goalies and good prospects too that the organization has strong expectations for so my goal this year is to try to push them and relay the experience that I have learned throughout the years and hopefully if I can push them, they can push me too and it will be beneficial for the team.”

 

A bizarre pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season spent with the AHL’s Ontario Reign…

“It was very strange – we were not able to play in our game rink last year, so we were playing all our home games from our practice rink. It was a very weird feeling on the ice for games not being able to hear the crowd cheer…The good side of it though is we were able to play the most games out of anyone in other divisions…It was challenging to get motivated for games – you didn’t have the game feeling and jitters that you usually have when you have a crowd and eyes on you so there was a lot to learn from it.”

 

On his memories of Cleveland fans and the support the Monsters enjoy at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse…

“There’s never a doubt that the crowd is always showing up in Cleveland…There’s a little bit of extra excitement having everyone back together and everyone in the building. I think we’ll do our best to put our best effort on the ice for [the fans] too because they deserve it. It was a tough year for everyone and I think we’re all ready to get back to normal.”

 

Thanks for reading Monsters fans, we’ll be back shortly with more details from camp – next up is a chat with third-year forward Trey Fix-Wolansky, continuing his recovery from a knee injury that cut short a promising start to his 2020-21 season. Until next time, enjoy the countdown to opening night, just ONE WEEK to go!

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