Features

Articles that are feature stories.

Familiar Face Devos Unsure of Future


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Signed to a tryout deal last month, Philip-Michael Devos joined the Syracuse Crunch with no idea about the length of his stay.

A Calder Cup champion with the Lightning's affiliate in Norfolk, Devos spent all of last season with the Crunch and played all 18 playoff games on Syracuse's run to the Calder Finals. He was not re-signed in the offseason and ended up with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL, but with the injury bug taking bites out of the Crunch lineup, Tampa Bay looked for a familiar face to fill in.

"We brought him up because he could be a useful player for us," said Syracuse coach Rob Zettler of Devos. "He can play in all kinds of different situations, and what we liked was that he's familiar with how we play, and he's familiar with our guys and our culture. He seamlessly fit right in."

Prospect of the Week: December 10, 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 December 2-8, 2013 is … Ondrej Palat, W, Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL – USA).

The most underappreciated prospect in the Lightning system in recent years is finally getting the attention he deserves. Ondrej Palat, a seventh round pick of the Lightning in 2011, has been a coach’s dream since he forced his way onto AHL Norfolk’s roster in 2011 when the Lightning though he’d return to QMJHL Drummondville. He’s been an integral part of Norfolk, Syracuse, and now Tampa Bay ever since.

Palat is a do-it-all player who thinks the game at another level than most young players. Most times that description refers to offensive vision, but Palat’s is a big-picture, coach-like ability to read the game. His responsibility level is off the charts and he has the skating, size, and skill to fit in on any line.

Korobov Climbing Organizational Ladder


By Jeremy Houghtaling

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.

Crunch Look to Limit Opposition Opportunities


By Jeremy Houghtaling

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."

Prospect of the Week: December 3, 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 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.

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