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The BP Podcast, Episode 99

This BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 99 – The Great One Edition, contains the following topics (WARNING: Some technical issues I couldn’t correct on this one):

· The No. 99
· Gretzky to LA = Lightning?
· The Lightnings are good at the hockey
· 2003-2004 Lightning vs 2017-2018 Lightning
· In a vacuum: Slater Koekkoek’s development plan
· What to do with Sustr
· Interview with Ben Thomas
· Interview with Anthony Cirelli
· #BPMailbag (Take-backs on Drouin trade? … 3rd line options … Future impact prospects … Trade deadline wish list … TJ’s contract vs Kucherov’s future in TB)

Crunch Rookie Joseph Has Big Weekend After Meeting


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Mathieu Joseph was told to not worry about the statistics.

The Syracuse rookie, who averaged more than a point per game in junior, was held to a single assist over his first nine professional games. After a meeting with Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, Joseph recorded four points in two games against the Rocket in front of friends and family in Laval.

Joseph is taking Groulx’s words to heart as he adapts to the pro game.

“He told me that he wanted me to have fun on the ice,” Joseph said. “My confidence wasn’t really there and I was trying to analyze the game too much. He gave me a little bit of a boost of confidence.”

The Random 17 (November 3, 2017)

This is the second edition of The Random 17, so if you didn’t see it before …

According to a non-scientific Google search, 17 is the most random number. It’s also my old hockey number so I’m going to title this weekly blog entry “The Random 17.” There’s also a nickname for 17 in British bingo, but that’s Dancing Queen. Never been much of an Abba fan, so forget that.

I’ve always been a big fan of Elliot Friedman’s “30 Things,” and imitation is the highest form of flatter, so here we go – 17 random thoughts on the Lightning and sports in general. Think of it as a podcast in text form.

Crunch's Thomas Looks to Be Impact Player at Both Ends of the Ice


By Jeremy Houghtaling

A deep playoff run last season was key to Ben Thomas’ development.

The defenseman went from earning a regular shift to more duties, including special teams, during his rookie season with the Syracuse Crunch. Each step of the way to the Calder Cup Finals added to Thomas’ confidence, and he frequently looked to join and support the rush.

Thomas looks to become more an impact player at both ends of the ice in his second pro season.

“I think it’s a part of my game. I like to jump in the rush and help create offense,” Thomas said. “I think now I definitely have the confidence to do that and get back into my position to be a good defender. It’s been one thing I’ve always liked to implement in my game, and I’m going to try and continue to do it.”

Cirelli Brings Big Game Experience to Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Anthony Cirelli is used to the big stage at the junior level.

The center led Oshawa to an Ontario Hockey League championship and won the Memorial Cup with the Generals in 2015. Cirelli won silver with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships last winter, after a trade in January, Cirelli led Erie to another OHL title and trip to the Memorial Cup.

The Syracuse Crunch rookie hopes his experience in big games translates to success at the professional level.

"I've been to the (Memorial Cup) finals a couple times. Losing that second one was kind of hard and losing in the World Junior final there was tough," Cirelli said. "But just being a part of those teams, knowing those guys, playing through long playoff runs and playing those pressure games helped take my development to the next level."

The Random 17

According to a non-scientific Google search, 17 is the most random number. It’s also my old hockey number so I’m going to title this weekly blog entry “The Random 17.” There’s also a nickname for 17 in British bingo, but that’s Dancing Queen. Never been much of an Abba fan, so forget that.

I’ve always been a big fan of Elliot Friedman’s “30 Things,” and imitation is the highest form of flattery, so here we go – 17 random thoughts on the Lightning and sports in general.

1. Big ups to Jon Cooper and the Lightning for their 3-1 start, especially the consistent effort and speed shown against big boys Washington and Pittsburgh. With their wins over those two clubs this week, Tampa Bay announced their presence as a legitimate Cup contender. But not so fast… the key now will be for the Lightning to play with the same intensity against the Calgarys and Floridas of the world when Hockey Earth isn’t watching. The contrast between the Lightning in front of the Zimmerman seats in Sunrise and the Lightning vs Ovechrosby is like night and day. Or Hedman vs. Sustr. Huge difference in effectiveness.

Cernak's Work Ethic Impresses Crunch's Groulx


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After Erik Cernak’s first weekend with the Syracuse Crunch, head coach Benoit Groulx’s assessment was nothing but positives.

Strong skater. Big body. Good shot.

Most importantly, Groulx believes Cernak’s work ethic is what could eventually earn the 20-year-old defenseman a spot in the NHL.

“I like the package, now I think it’s about more maturity in his game,” Groulx said of the 6-3, 221-pounder. “He’s got a lot of qualities as a person and a player, and he’s probably one of the hardest working guys we have here. That’s a compliment, because we have many guys that are working hard.

“He’s played well so far in the two games. He has to bring more consistency, but I think he’s got a lot of room to develop and become a very good player.”

Erne Looks to Prove Himself With Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Adam Erne is back in the AHL and ready to demonstrate why he belongs at the next level.

The winger earned his first promotion to Tampa Bay last year and finished the regular season with the Lightning. Erne was returned to Syracuse for the playoffs, and suited up for all 22 games on the Crunch’s road to the Calder Cup Finals.

As he begins his third professional season, Erne knows making that next step to the NHL full-time is all about consistency.

"I think just being dominant every night and proving that I deserve to be at the next level," Erne said of what it would take to earn a spot with the Lightning. "I think I have the tools to get there, it's just a matter of using them every night."

The BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 98

This BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 98 – the ’98 Draft Edition, contains the following topics:

· The No. 98
· The 1998 Draft led to 2004 Cup
· 2017-2018 Lightning: Reasons to plan a Cup parade
· 2017-2018 Lightning: Reasons to plan a pitchfork parade
· Interview with Adam Erne
· #BPMailbag

Groulx, Crunch Look to Turn Page on Last Season


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Benoit Groulx paused before answering the question.

“How long did it take for you to get over that finals loss? Was it a whole summer thing?”

The Crunch head coach, whose team fell in six games to the Grand Rapids Griffins in the Calder Cup Finals in his first year behind the Syracuse bench last season, smiled and shrugged. While Groulx believes his team had a good showing, it was tough to come up just short.

Groulx and the Crunch are looking to turn the page as they begin their 2017-18 campaign.

“We have many different faces,” Groulx said. “We have nine or 10 rookies on the team, but we also have solid vets — guys with a lot of experience in this league. We want to play a certain style, and that’s our goal to be competitive and see where we’re at when it starts.”

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