Dmitry Korobov got the call he had been waiting for -- from teammate Vlad Namestnikov.
Korobov, the hard-hitting Belarusian on the Syracuse Crunch blueline, was having phone troubles, so the message from Crunch coach Rob Zettler about Korobov's first National Hockey League call-up arrived through Namestnikov.
"I was a little shocked, happy, and nervous at the same time," Korobov said through Namestnikov, who helped translate. "Mostly happy."
After playing one game with the Tampa Bay Lightning, being sent back to the Crunch, and making the round trip again, Korobov got a taste of what he came to North America for. Now he’s working to earn more of those calls -- no matter who they’re from -- and eventually a permanent role in the NHL.
For Rob Zettler, it all comes down to being in the right position.
With the offensive lines lacking their normal scoring punch, the Syracuse Crunch coach knows the margin for error is slim. But his defense has keyed in on limiting the opposition’s offensive opportunities, and Syracuse grinded out wins last weekend by holding St. John’s to a pair of goals Friday and shutting out Adirondack Saturday.
"We really limited both teams' chances because we were in good position," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We didn't have the high-end skill we've had in the past, but we made up for it in position and hard work."
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for November 25 – December 1, 2013 is … Cedric Paquette, C, Syracuse Crunch (AHL – USA).
Rookie pro Cedric Paquette played superhero last week, rescuing the injured, falling Syracuse Crunch by swooping in at the last moment to lead the club to two needed wins.
The Crunch entered last weekend banged up, short on players due to injuries in Tampa, and on a season-long 5-game losing streak.
For Nikita Nesterov, this season is his first away from home.
The Syracuse Crunch defensemen, who spent the last four seasons in his hometown of Chelyabinsk with the junior MHL team or with Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League, is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings. While his homeland is halfway around the world, the ultimate goal -- to play in the National Hockey League -- is one step away.
"It was pretty tough, I won two medals with my KHL team, third and second place in the past two years, but I wanted to learn something new," Nesterov said through a translator.
Dump Truck delivers (again).
Cedrick Desjardins stopped all 28 shots he faced for the shutout victory. Goaltending will be extra important if Syracuse is going to ride out this stretch at less than full strength, and Desjardins gave them that goaltending tonight.
SYR Paquette, (6) (Gauthier, Connolly), 12:00 (PP)
Desjardins and Cedric Paquette were the game's first and second stars. Paquette (Dump Truck!) had the game winning goal for the second straight game. Coming out of quite the scoring slumber, Brett Connolly also had an assist for the second straight game. That's a welcome sign from last year's 2nd Team AHL All-Star.
Box score from TheAHL.com.