AHL Morning Skate: Oct. 7

Previewing the night of AHL action for Friday, October 7, as the league kicks off its 76th season:

spr @ mch 7:00 ET, AHL Live
Atlantic Division foes Springfield and Manchester open the 2011-12 AHL season at the Verizon Wireless Arena… The Monarchs are 62-23-3 all-time against the Falcons, winning seven of 10 meetings last year… A new-look Springfield roster includes former AHL MVP and scoring champion Alexandre Giroux and four-time AHL All-Star Martin St. PierreMartin Jones was one of the top rookie goaltenders in the AHL for Manchester last season, going 23-12-1 with a 2.25 GAA and a .924 save percentage… The Falcons have won seven straight season openers.

her @ bng 7:05 ET, AHL Live
After winning the Calder Cup in 2009 and 2010, the Hershey Bears get a different view of a banner-raising ceremony as the Binghamton Senators commemorate their 2011 championship at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena… Goalie Robin Lehner, the MVP of last year’s Calder Cup Playoffs as a 19-year-old rookie, is back for the Sens, as is reigning AHL MVP Corey Locke… The Bears have their own young standout back between the pipes in Braden Holtby, and have added Ryan Potulny to their offensive arsenal after he led Binghamton in playoff scoring last spring.

stj @ pro 7:05 ET, AHL Live
The St. John’s IceCaps play their inaugural game against the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center tonight… IceCaps forward Spencer Machacek and defenseman Paul Postma were AHL All-Stars as members of the Chicago Wolves last season… St. John’s rookie head coach Keith McCambridge is a former defenseman for the P-Bruins… Providence has a new head coach as well, former AHL Coach of the Year Bruce Cassidy… Jamie Arniel led the Bruins in goals (23) and points (50) last season.

abb @ le 7:30 ET, AHL Live
Abbotsford begins the season with a two-game visit to Cleveland to take on the Lake Erie Monsters… The Heat and Monsters split four meetings last season… Abbotsford’s Leland Irving was one of the busiest goalies in the AHL in 2010-11, ranking first in the league in minutes played and fifth in shots faced while finishing second in wins (30) and first in shutouts (8)… Heat forward Ben Walter ranked ninth in the AHL in scoring with 70 points for Lake Erie last season… Former Heat forward David van der Gulik put up 36 points and a plus-25 rating in 48 games for the Monsters last year.

cha @ nor 7:30 ET, AHL Live
Now inter-conference foes, Charlotte and Norfolk open their 2011-12 campaign with a two-game set at Scope… The Checkers reached the conference finals in their first AHL season, while the Admirals made the postseason for the first time since 2007… Zach Boychuk led Charlotte in scoring with 22-43-65 in 60 games last season, while Chris Terry paced the club with 34 goals… Mike Angelidis led Norfolk in games played (80), plus/minus (+18) and penalty minutes (169) in 2010-11 while setting career highs with 20 goals, 18 assists and 38 points.