Veteran Tyrell Eyes Return to Tampa

By Jeremy Houghtaling

At the end of training camp, Dana Tyrell was given the unfortunate news.

Despite more than 100 National Hockey League games to his credit, there was no room for Tyrell on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster. The speedy winger cleared waivers and was sent to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch for the third time in two years.

"It definitely doesn't feel good to be put on waivers, but that's a part of the business and a part of the game," Tyrell said. "I've been through it before, so I knew what to expect this year. It's nothing I'd want to go through again."

Instead of sulking over the demotion, Tyrell focuses on developing his game so he can earn a permanent spot in the NHL.

"I've got to do whatever it takes and keep working on my game to get back to the NHL,” said the 5-11 forward. “That's bringing my work ethic every day, and I have to make sure I'm giving 100 percent every day."

"He's been great; he's done nothing but work his tail off, and I think you see that in the games," said Crunch coach Rob Zettler. "It's a tough situation and I've been in it before; you always want to be in the next level in the NHL, and you're always looking for ways to get there.”

Tyrell, Tampa Bay’s second-rounder in 2007, is a third-liner that brings energy by utilizing his speed. Not known for his offense, the 24-year-old has chipped in 24 points in 125 NHL games.

"The coaches and everyone know that's what I bring to the table,” Tyrell said. “I've got to use my speed, chip pucks in, and create energy. That's the role I like to play. I like to chip in offensively too, but playing on the third line as a role-player suits me."

With the Crunch, Tyrell is in the same role. The Airdrie, Alta. native has three points in the first 11 games, but plays a big part on Syracuse’s shutdown line with captain Mike Angelidis.

"He's a guy we count on in a lot of key situations," Zettler said. "He's playing 17 minutes a night and he is usually out there after a goal for or against to try to help set the tempo for us. He's on for a lot of situations, [like the] penalty kill, and to protect the lead. He's been a key player for us so far."

Tyrell hopes to continue to be a big part of the Crunch’s success, and is confident he’ll get another chance with the Lightning.

"At the end of training camp, there wasn't a roster spot available for me," Tyrell said. "I'm down here in Syracuse now, I just have to develop my game and try to prove to them that I deserve to be back up there, so that's what I'm working on."

"He'll find his way back up there again," Zettler said. "It's just a matter of time and doing the right things."