After spending most of the offseason putting on 15 pounds of muscle, Vladislav Namestnikov is starting to see the results.
The second year Syracuse Crunch center, who trained in the summer with Joe Neal at 2SP Elite Athletic Development in Michigan, has used his new-found mass to register six points in the first five games of the season. He's adjusting to his new role as the team's top center, but at 6-feet, 185 pounds, Namestnikov is still working to get bigger.
"I think I got a little faster, and in the corners I'm winning more battles," the 20-year-old said. "It's good."
Crunch coach Rob Zettler believes Namestnikov is being rewarded for playing to his strength.
Mid course correction successful.
Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 27 shots for the victory. I dare say he just defined himself as the #1 tonight.
SYR Sergeev, (2) (Richard, Mormina), 9:48 (PP)
BNG Prince, (1) (Wideman, Petersson), 17:23 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (3) (Kucherov, Taormina), 2:34
SYR Kucherov, (5) (Brown), 9:15
SYR Paquette, (2) (Taormina), 15:38
Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov were the game's first and second stars. I'd like to buy a vowel, Pat. Kucherov, as of this posting, leads all AHL rookies in scoring and is just 3 points off the pace for the overall league lead.
Syracuse washes out the taste of that bitter defeat last night at the hands of the Senators. This was a big win psychologically for the team. They're off until Friday when they'll play Utica. Utica is the new affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Jokerit 4 @ HIFK 2
FW Saku Salminent, Jokerit: Did not play
2012-2013 Season totals: 13 GP, 1-1-2, E, 12 PIM
2013 7th-rounder Saku Salminen, who got his first taste of the top Finnish league last season, has yet to make his 2013-2014 debut. Jokerit (15 GP, 30 PTS) next plays host to Kalpa (14 GP, 13 PTS), which is currently bringing up the bottom of the league table, on Tuesday.
Despite outshooting Binghamton 22-8 in the second period and 42-20 overall, the Syracuse Crunch fell to the Senators 6-2 at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.
Syracuse struggled to solve Binghamton goalie Nathan Lawson, who stopped multiple odd-man rushes and point black opportunities. He finished with 40 saves and was the first star of the night.
"We had plenty of chances to score," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "We got sloppy. We weren't stopping on pucks, we weren't doing some little details. The chances they had were good -- I didn't think they had a lot of them -- but the chances they had were good."
Wow, that's ugly.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 6 goals on 20 shots for the loss. That's probably not the stat line you want the start after a Twitter kerfluffle that was, at a minimum, ill conceived.
BNG Hoffman, (1) (Wideman, Zibanejad), 7:05 (PP)
SYR Namestnikov, (2) (Kucherov, Taormina), 16:42 (PP)
SYR Kucherov, (4) (Namestnikov, Brown), 8:18 (PP)
BNG Robinson, (1) (Puempel, Da Costa), 9:43
BNG Blood, (1) (Wideman, Dziurzynski), 10:43
BNG Hoffman, (2) , 15:28
BNG Petersson, (2) (Wideman, Zibanejad), 4:43
BNG Puempel, (1) (Da Costa, Robinson), 14:11
Vladislav Namestnikov was the game's third star.
Two things have to happen early in this season while the youngsters adjust to their new roles. One, guys like Korobov absolutely have to be stabilizing influences. Guys with some experience need to be leaders and they can't be making mistakes that lead to scoring chances. It can't be the blind leading the dumb. That's a recipe for disaster. And, second, one of these two goaltenders needs to be the magic eraser when mistakes are made. 6 on 20 shots is bad, no matter how you slice it. As with what I've said about the Lightning's situation, the Crunch need either Desjardins or Helenius to be a reason they win games.
Lucky for Syracuse, they don't have to wait long to atone. They get Bingo in Bingo tomorrow night.
Box score from TheAHL.com.