I missed most of the action today, but many other people were able to cover it in my stead. Since they’ve all pretty much said what I would, it seems silly for me to sit here and dissect the Syracuse Crunch’s schedule since you’ve all probably been there and done that already. However, just in case you missed something, here’s some links and some reaction tweets from today.
My reaction is basically one of pleasure, in that I was glad to see competition against our new Northeast Division rivals increase. From the official release linked to above:
The Crunch will face 14 opponents from four divisions during the 2014-15 season. Rochester and Binghamton join the Crunch’s division rivals, Albany, Bridgeport, Hartford and Springfield as the club’s most frequent opponent with eight games each. The Crunch will play 32 of their 76 games against Northeast Division opponents (Albany 8, Bridgeport 8, Hartford 8 and Springfield 8). Syracuse has 22 contests against the East Division (Binghamton 8, Hershey 4, Norfolk 4, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4 and Lehigh Valley 2) and 18 games against the Western Conference’s North Division (Adirondack 4, Rochester 8, and Utica 6).
I don’t ever remember a divisional schedule that equal before. That’s awesome, because it gives us the best chance at gaining crucial divisional points. While I am disappointed in the continued heavy presence of Rochester on our schedule, it’s more of a resigned disappointment than anything else. I get why we play Rochester with the frequency that we do, and I know it won’t change. With the divisional realignment, we are now in the same boat with Binghamton, to some extent, although at least the B-Sens are still an Eastern Conference rival. I AM happy that we will only be seeing each team 8 times, as opposed to the 10 or 12 it’s been in the past.
Also in the “resigned disappointment” category is the lack of true Western Conference teams. But, again, I get it. The schedule will never please anyone totally, and understandable concessions need to made.
As my colleague over at RC pointed out in those tweets linked here, Syracuse has a lot of back-to-backs this season, something that will push the conditioning of a fairly young team to the limit. But, the Crunch also has plenty of AHL workhorses in JP Cote, Mike Blunden, Jerome Samson, Mike Angelidis, Eric Neilson, Joey Mormina, etc. Those players know how this league works and should have the conditioning needed to carry some of the younger guys if needed.
Forward Jeff Costello was originally a bit of question mark for the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. He seemed to be a bit if a throw in player when the Lightning traded for defenseman Jason Garrison. Tampa Bay’s exclusivity rights to Costello expired on August 15, and assistant general manager Julien BriseBois originally said that the organization liked what they saw during the Lightning’s summer prospect camp in Brandon, Florida, but wasn’t quite ready to pull the trigger on signing the forward. The thought process was that Costello would be invited to the Lightning’s training camp in fall and the that brass would see from there whether they wanted to offer him a contract.
For whatever reason, that process has been skipped ahead, and the result is a pretty solid depth signing for Syracuse. Costello was signed to an AHL contract today, per the Syracuse Crunch:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Crunch have signed left wing Jeff Costello to a one-year, AHL contract Crunch General Manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Costello, 23, recently completed a four-year career at the University of Notre Dame (Hockey East). As a captain during the 2013-14 season the winger posted 22 points (13g, 9a) in 40 games for the Irish. During his collegiate career Costello totaled 82 points (41g, 41a) in 145 games. A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Costello was drafted in the fifth round, 146th overall, of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators. The Lightning acquired the rights to Costello on June 27 as part of a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.
Costello earned a bit of a name for himself this past summer when he shattered the glass during the Lightning’s prospect camp. Costello was also a part of the winning team during that camp’s 3-on-3 tourney.
If you’ve been following any AHL bloggers at all within the past few weeks, you’ve might have heard some kind of hubbub about the AHL expanding west. You also may have heard rebuttals/refusals to believe from people like myself, supported by those that actually work for the league, about it all being a bunch of crap. Certain writers and bloggers have been citing random sources that AHL teams have been purchased by NHL clubs, with those clubs then having an intent to move their team west. Mixed in with this all has been rumors and speculation about the CHL/ECHL/AHL switching cities, teams, joining forces, building the perfect Justice League and going off to fight crime. Or something.
Well, not-so-surprisingly, it certainly seems as though certain people have let their imagination run away with them. Chris Roy of The Maine Hockey Journal published this article today, citing several real sources (with names and everything!!) debunking every single rumor we’ve heard. It’s absolutely worth your time. Read, share, and preach.
(By the way: hi, everyone. I’m not dead.)
From the show’s official episode synopsis:
Alex made her return to the Power Play Post Show to talk about the Syracuse Crunch‘s very off 2013-14 season which included many injuries, call-ups and situations that left the Crunch struggling most of the season. Alex also talked about late AHL trade deadline acquisitions by the Crunch and how a player like Jonathan Marchessault will help the Crunch in this upcoming season. Lastly Alex and Bob talked about the Crunch’s move from the East Division to the Northeast Division for the upcoming season and effects that it will now have on the scheduling for East and Northeast teams.
If I remember correctly, I also rambled about the Tampa Bay Lightning, the relationship we have in this affiliation in comparison to previews affiliations, Ryan Callahan, smaller rink sizes and physicality, our previous problems with Russian players, Mike Blunden, and a couple of defensemen in a pear tree. I also continued my tradition of absolutely butchering players’ names, except this time I got to do it where everyone could hear me.
(Again, so many apologies, Andrei Vasilevski)
In addition to my rambles, hosts Bob and Megan discussed the new AHL divisions and the rules changes for the upcoming AHL season. They gave their views on the new overtime, fighting and helmet rules (you can read my views on this here). They also took a look at the eight (holy crap, EIGHT?!) AHL head coaching changes that have occurred during this off season.
If you haven’t clicked the link yet, please do so and support the show by giving it a listen! You can follow the Bob and the Power Play Post Show on Twitter, and you can also give Megan a follow as well. You can also like the Show on Facebook. Big thanks to the show for having me on again, it was great to be back!
The AHL has long been a testing ground for rules the NHL wants to see put into practice, and it looks like this upcoming season will bring changes for all of the clubs in the league in several areas. Here’s the release that talks about them:
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2014 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded Thursday, saw the approval of the following rules changes to be implemented beginning in 2014-15:
Rule 85 (“Overtime”)
- During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.
- Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.
- Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.
- If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.
Rule 20.4 (“Major Penalties”)
- An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.
Rule 9.6 (“Helmets”)
- A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.
“With the full support of the league’s Competition Committee and Player Development Committee, the Board has approved these changes with the betterment of our game and the safety of our players in mind,” said Andrews.
I ramble about all of this after the cut.
And be warned, when I say ramble, I mean ramble.
Read the rest of this entry »
After last season’s struggles, Crunch fans were hoping that the farm club wouldn’t be put in another position where call ups and untested player performance would decimate the season. Yes, call ups will happen, and, no, injuries can’t be helped, but an AHL fan always hopes that the pieces of a team have been put together well enough that it can withstand such events without a significant drop in team performance.
Well, it seems like special attention is being paid to that aspect, and attention is being paid well. The news was dropped today that the Lightning have signed AHL forward Jerome Samson. Here’s the release:
LIGHTNING SIGN FORWARD JEROME SAMSON
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Jerome Samson to a one-year, two-way contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Samson, 26, skated in 68 games with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League last season, recording 27 goals and 56 points to go along with 49 penalty minutes. He ranked first on the IceCaps and 12th in the AHL for power-play tallies with 11. The Greenfield Park, Quebec native ranked second on St. John’s for goals and was third for points. He also appeared in 17 AHL postseason games last season, posting three goals and six points, helping the IceCaps reach the Calder Cup Finals.
The 6-foot, 195-pound forward has skated in 46 career NHL games, all with the Carolina Hurricanes over parts of three seasons, notching two goals and nine points. Samson recorded an assist in his NHL debut on January 7, 2010 against the Nashville Predators. He registered his first career NHL goals during the 2011-12 season while playing for the Hurricanes.
The undrafted forward has skated in 424 career AHL games with the IceCaps, Charlotte Checkers and Albany River Rats, posting 160 goals and 336 points to go along with 306 penalty minutes. Samson was named to the AHL First All-Star Team following the 2009-10 season after he posted 37 goals and 78 points while playing for Albany.
Samson was ranked at number 10 on the Penguins Insider’s AHL Big Board. According to their rankings, Samson is “a perennial 20-goal scorer who isn’t afraid to battle on the boards.” Samson will be everything the Crunch should need him to be: he can score, he isn’t afraid to get physical, and at 424 career AHL games, he’ll be another voice of leadership and guidance in the Crunch’s fairly young dressing room. He can also be some depth insurance for Tampa Bay, just in case.
This looks like the off season jewel of a signing for the Crunch this summer. With young forwards abounding on Syracuse’s roster, having a player with that much leadership and potential ability on the ice and in the dressing room can’t be overstated. Samson sounds like he has a little bit of everything in him. This is a strong signing for Syracuse, and a great depth signing for the Lightning.
Here’s some of the Twitter buzz on the signing: