After his first game of the season, Luke Witkowski wasn’t all that thrilled with the results.
The defenseman, in his first full professional season out of Western Michigan University, was the only Syracuse Crunch player to register a plus-3 rating in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Binghamton Senators last Saturday.
"Personally, plus-3, that's alright," Witkowski said. "Obviously, the outcome of the game wasn't what I wanted or what anyone else wanted. So, maybe on the stat sheet it looked good, but there's still some other things I need to work on."
With only six games of American Hockey League experience on his resume, Witkowski is just trying to keep his game simple as he develops.
The 23-year-old’s first game of the season impressed Syracuse coach Rob Zettler, who expects to keep Witkowski paired with Dmitry Korobov, who was plus-20 in 65 games with the Crunch last season, for the foreseeable future.
No longer a rookie, JT Brown’s role with the Syracuse Crunch has changed.
Last year, the Minnesota native learned how to grind it out and shut down the opposition’s top lines. At Thursday’s practice at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Brown was paired with first-rounder Vlad Namestnikov and top prospect Nikita Kucherov on a scoring line.
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 September 24, 2013 is … Henri Ikonen, W (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL, Canada).
Watching the Lightning’s camp this September, a smallish forward kept demanding my attention with his energy and surprisingly successful plays along the boards. At least three times I remember thinking to myself, “Who is 57 again?” before seeing “Ikonen, Henri” on the roster in front of me.
Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman likes skill and compete level in prospects and Ikonen boasts both. He also grades out high in hockey sense, another prioritized trait by Yzerman.
Philippe Paradis describes it as one of his best memories.
Surrounded by friends and family at the Bell Centre in Montreal, not far from his hometown of Normandin, Paradis was selected 27th overall by Carolina Hurricanes in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
As Paradis made his way to the stage, one TV analyst mentioned his height, 6-1, and his ability to shoot the puck – 95.7 mph in the hardest shot competition during the CHL Top Prospects Game.
A little more than 24 hours before the puck drops on a new season, Syracuse Crunch Head Coach Rob Zettler still didn't know who was going to start between the pipes.
"They'll likely get equal time early on, and then we'll see where it goes," Zettler said.
The two candidates have more than 280 games and a dozen professional seasons between them, so Zettler has time to let it pan out.