Benoit in, Bernier suspended

Andre Benoit hadn’t played for the Cleveland Monsters since Jan. 7. He said he knew he was probably going somewhere. He didn’t know it’d Bridgeport, but he seemed happy to be here.

The Sound Tigers acquired the veteran defenseman on loan from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Benoit, 34, is in town but won’t play tonight at home against Lehigh Valley.

What’s Brent Thompson expecting?

“Leadership: an older guy with leadership, character and an opportunity to help our power play,” Thompson said. “He’s a stable piece back there who can move the puck. And he’s won two championships.”

Benoit won the 2007 Calder Cup with Eric Manlow, Yann Danis, (some dude named Carey Price) and the Hamilton Bulldogs. Four years later, he and Steve Stirling and the Binghamton Senators won it.

He had five points in 31 games with Cleveland, two of them on the power play. He’s played 422 AHL games (and another 64 on three long playoff runs; Hamilton reached the 2010 conference finals) and 181 in the NHL.

Up front, Bridgeport’s without Steve Bernier tonight, suspended for a hit on Anthony Cirelli with 3:47 left in the second period Sunday. No penalty was called on the play, but the league called it elbowing. Scott Eansor is a game-time decision; he was the last guy off the ice this morning aside from Bernier and Christopher Gibson.

Michael Fornabaio