Syracuse Crunch

Waiting Game Almost Over for Johnson


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Tyler Johnson tried to not think about it.

One step away from achieving his dream, the Syracuse Crunch forward, seeing teammate after teammate getting called up to the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, kept a positive attitude.

“Everyone’s dream is to play in the NHL, so you’re always thinking about it,” Johnson said Tuesday. “At the same time, you can’t really worry about it. You have worry about playing here, and getting better. That’s what this league is about – getting better.”

Twenty-six of the 46 players participating in the AHL All-Star Game Jan. 28 have since made their NHL debuts, including the Crunch’s Richard Panik and Radko Gudas. Although Johnson was given a look during the abbreviated training camp after the end of the lockout, Johnson didn’t stick and still hasn’t played in a regular season NHL game.

Mikkelson Ready for Crunch Stretch Run


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Brendan Mikkelson is looking forward to the stretch run and playoffs, even if it is in the American Hockey League.

Mikkelson, who had trouble consistently cracking the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup, cleared waivers and was sent to the minor leagues Monday. The Regina native arrived in New York Tuesday, ready to refocus and rejoin the Eastern Conference-leading Syracuse Crunch.

Playing just four games with the Lightning this season, Mikkelson may stay in Syracuse through the Calder Cup playoffs, which would be his first time playing in the postseason since his rookie year with the Portland Pirates in 2007-08.

“I haven’t played in a week or so now,” Mikkelson said. “Hopefully I’ll be in the lineup and can contribute, and be someone who helps the team.”

Prospect of the Week: March 12, 2013

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 March 12 is … Radko Gudas, D, Tampa Bay (NHL – USA).

Lightning prospect followers have waited both patiently and impatiently for Radko Gudas to be called up to Tampa Bay, and it finally happened on Monday – but that’s not why he’s our Prospect of the Week.

What to Expect from Radko Gudas

It happened.

Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman called up 2010 third round draft pick Radko Gudas from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch today.

Finally.

Gudas, a right-handed, people-moving defenseman, has been knocking at the NHL’s door for the past year, but especially in the last two months. While Tampa Bay’s defense has struggled, Gudas has been playing big, effective minutes in all game situations in Syracuse - just like Yzerman wanted.

It was only a matter of time before Yzerman couldn’t afford to leave Gudas in the AHL any longer.

NHL Game Night: 3-9-13 Canadiens at Lightning

Let the Nichushkin watch begin!

MTL-4
TB-3

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 29 shots for the victory. You hate to judge a guy on one start, but there's a reason the guy has bounced around the AHL, mostly.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
05:30 TB Stamkos (19), (St. Louis, Hedman)
07:38 MTL Plekanec (11), (Markov)
08:15 TB Salo (2), (Crombeen, Thompson)
12:20 TB Malone (5), (Stamkos, St. Louis)(PP)

Third Period
03:48 MTL Gionta (8), (Ryder, Boullion)(PP)
07:33 MTL Emelin (2), (Gionta, Ryder)
12:03 MTL Gallagher (7), (Pacioretty)

Sami Salo was the game's third star.

No way the team should have lost that game heading into the Third with a 2 goal lead, and Montreal's comeback looked really easy. Way too easy. This is a really, really bad Lightning team right now and you can't help but wonder what fundamental changes are on the horizon. Specifically, I wonder how much longer Martin St. Louis is willing to devote to a team that will likely miss the playoffs two straight years in the twilight of his career. He's only got a few more productive years, and I don't know that he'll want to wet nurse another top-10 pick next year (possibly top-5 the way this is going) along with the likes of Connolly and all the kids from Syracuse. There's some sad days potentially coming, I'm afraid to say.

Alex Killorn was -1 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:26. One of his three hits helped create a goal. He's a very good all-around player.

Ondrej Palat was -1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 9:24.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie had 3 hits in 6:26.

Cory Conacher had 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:34. Less ice time than Palat? My eyebrow is raised.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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