Matt Taormina’s season didn’t exactly get off to the start he anticipated. After a strong October in the AHL, where he scored two goals and netted 8 assists in 7 games for Syracuse, Taormina was sidelined with an upper body injury for nearly half of November. Although the injury was reportedly not connected to the back problems that plagued Taormina during the Calder Cup playoffs last season, many speculated that there was some kind of connection.
Once he came back from that injury, Taormina played in five more games for Syracuse. He registered no points during that stretch and sits at a -4 at the end of November. Yet, the call up wheel has apparently decided it’s his turn for a look with the Lightning as Tampa has recalled him to take the place of injured defenseman Eric Brewer. Brewer is day-to-day with a lower body injury sustained during morning practice before the Lighting’s game at Columbus this past Tuesday.
The pull on Syracuse should be a little lessened despite this recall by the return of defenseman Nikita Nesterov to the Crunch’s line up. Nesterov had been out ever since getting taking a shot off his shield against Binghamton on Nov. 27. He is expected to play this weekend.
Here is the full release from the team on Taormina’s call up:
LIGHTNING RECALL DEFENSEMAN MATT TAORMINA FROM SYRACUSE
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled defenseman Matt Taormina from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Taormina, 27, has skated in 13 games this season with the Crunch, posting two goals and 10 points to go along with eight penalty minutes. The Warren, Michigan native ranks first on the Crunch defense for points and ranks tied for first for goals and assists. He’s played in 187 career AHL games with the Binghamton Senators, Lowell Devils, Albany Devils and Crunch, collecting 24 goals and 105 points, including a career-high 10 goals and 50 points in 2009-10.
The 5-foot-10, 182-pound defenseman has appeared in 49 career NHL games, with the New Jersey Devils and Lightning, recording four goals and 12 points with a plus-three rating. He made his Lightning debut on April 6 last season against the New York Islanders.
Taormina was undrafted and signed as a free agent by the Lightning on July 6, 2012.
As we were among the first to report yesterday (which was thanks to observant Everblades fan
@SwampHockey), the ECHL had reported a transaction with goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis. The transaction had him supposedly being called up to Syracuse. I know I was confused by this, and several others expressed confusion, as well. The AHL had yet to report anything. Tampa beat writers confirmed the presence of both Ben Bishop and Anders Lindback on the ice in Ohio, where the Lightning were playing. Syracuse people said they had talked to both Crunch goalies just that morning and that both were well.
All of this had us wondering if maybe the recall was a clerical error. Maybe someone copied and pasted wrong. Who knows, right?
Well, as most of you probably know by now, Gudlevskis has, indeed, been recalled to the Crunch. The official release from the team reads,
Crunch recall Gudlevskis from Florida Everblades
Syracuse, NY – The Syracuse Crunch have recalled goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, Crunch General Manager Julien BriseBois announced today.
Gudlevskis, 21, has a 4-0-0-0 record with the Crunch this season to go along with a 1.92 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. Of his four wins, the Aizkraukle, Latvia native earned one shutout and two shootout wins. Gudlevskis stopped eight of the nine shootout attempts he faced with the Crunch. The 6-foot-3, 189-pound, goaltender has appeared in 11 games with the Everblades this season with a 7-4 record. Gudlevskis ranks third among ECHL netminders with a 1.83 goals-against average and tenth with a .925 save percentage.
Gudlevskis was drafted in the fifth round, 124th overall, by Tampa Bay in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in Newark, New Jersey.
As usual, there’s not a whole lot of information there. Both of Syracuse’s original goalies are still on the roster. Both Tampa goalies are still on their roster. So, what’s going on?
Syracuse.com’s article doesn’t give much in the way of information, either, as it sounds like Tampa is being exceptionally cagey about this. Here’s a few choice quotes I have pulled out (again, to be clear, these are from that article linked above, and not my own work):
Riku Helenius and Cedrick Desjardins are still here and healthy.
But Wednesday, Helenius did not practice.
“We are sorting things out,” Crunch coach Rob Zettler said after practice. “Right now we have three (goalies) until further notice.”
When asked if or when Helenius might practice again for Syracuse, Zettler was non-committal. Zettler said Helenius was not happy with the developing situation but remains positive.
Tampa Bay assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said earlier Wednesday there is nothing to read into the promotion of Gudlevskis to Syracuse other than he earned it with his play.
Asked about a timetable for thinning out the crowded Crunch crease, BriseBois cryptically responded the team will carry three netminders “until it’s no longer the case.”
You don’t have to do much reading between the lines to see that Riku is now the odd-man out in the organization. BriseBois went on to say the following:
It’s impossible for one goalie to carry the load.
So, clearly the organization feels that only one goalie in Syracuse has been ‘carrying the load.’ It isn’t much of a leap to assume that goalie is Ceddy, not Riku. It isn’t that much more of a leap to assume that Riku will soon be packing his bags. Raw Charge has some wonderful speculation on this from earlier today that you need to check out before I go on my rant, which you’ll read next.
Whatever happens next, I just want to say that I am disappointed in only one thing: the way this team has played in front of Riku Helenius. This team has not given either goalie the chances they deserve, to be honest, and I’m furious at the inability of the veterans on this team to take responsibility for winning hockey games. I was worried about this three weeks ago, was worried about this kind of thing affecting Riku and/or the other hard workers who actually show up every game, and I am absolutely pissed the hell off that it’s come to this.
I hope the veterans and the other guys who should have performed but haven’t are ashamed of themselves.
I want Riku to know that no one, especially himself, should be disappointed in his performance this season if this plays out the way it’s looking like it will. It never should have gotten this far. Maybe it won’t work out the way it’s looking, but if it does…
It just isn’t fair.
1. A few days ago, the AHL tweeted that Syracuse goalie Cedrick Desjardins had earned his 100th career win with the shutout victory over the Phantoms this past Saturday. Syracuse.com has finally picked up the story and has some good stats about him today. Go do the link clicky thing, would you?
2. Something odd has occurred: the ECHL is reporting that goalie Kristers Gudlevskis has been recalled to Syracuse. This has surprised many Crunch fans, seeing as the AHL has no note of this transaction and nothing has been said anywhere about the goalies being shuffled around for any reason. We’ll be keeping our ears open, as always.
3. Just a reminder: please be looking around the house for those tired teddy bears!
Syracuse Crunch to host Stanley Steemer Tired Teddy Toss on Dec. 14
Syracuse, NY- The Syracuse Crunch will be hosting the third annual Stanley Steemer Tired Teddy Toss when the Crunch host the Rochester Americans on Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m.
The Crunch and Stanley Steemer are teaming up this holiday season to collect new and gently used stuffed animals to be donated to The Salvation Army. On Dec. 14, when the Crunch score their first goal, fans will be asked to toss the stuffed animals onto the ice, where they will then be collected and refurbished by Stanley Steemer. All the refurbished stuffed animals will be donated to The Salvation Army.
Fans can also bring the new and gently used stuffed animals into the Crunch office beginning Monday, Dec. 2 through Saturday, Dec. 14.
My Crunch update for Week 10 is now live on Raw Charge. It covers the state of the team at the quarter mark, what’s going on with the rookies, why fans have every right to be annoyed with most of the vets on the team, and why the phrase “ECHL call up” is, for the most part, no longer something to be concerned about. Check it out!
Apparently the Crunch has signed forward Ray Kaunisto. The following is all from Jeremy Houghtaling, because, you know, I’m lazy and he’s awesome. It’s from Jeremy’s Twitter and has been reconstructed to be actual English (because, you know, Twitter):
Kaunisto has played 143 AHL games with Manchester/St. John’s. He had 17 goals, 23 assists and 129 PIM. He has been playing with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings this year and has 5 pts in 13 games.
Hockey DB tells me that Kaunisto was born in 1987, that he’s 6’4 and weighs 185 pounds. He spent most of last year with the Colorado Eagles, also of the ECHL, playing in 53 games and netting 7 goals and 16 assists. He also had 113 penalty minutes.
I assume he will be available when the Crunch face off against St. John’s tomorrow.
In the wake of the call up of, well, just about everybody, but the newest being Dana Tyrell, the Crunch has signed former Crunch player Philip-Michael Devos. Devos played in 70 games for the Crunch last season and netted 7 goals and 19 assists. He also had 5 assists during the Crunch’s playoff run to the finals last year.
Devos was a member of the Tampa organization for two years, but his contract was not renewed at the end of last season. PMD has been with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL so far this season, playing in 14 games and totaling 1 goal and 8 assists. He is currently listed on our roster with the number 88, which was his number last season.
This might provide a lot of incentive to Devos to show that Tampa was wrong. (I’m trying to be optimistic here) Syracuse has now lost their entire original first line AND had their second first line get screwed with. I’d guess Cedric Paquette will be the new center in the third edition of our first line, but I could be wrong. The Crunch drop the puck in Binghamton tonight at 7.
I have nothing to say. Here’s the release:
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Dana Tyrell from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Tyrell, 24, has skated in 16 games this season with the Crunch, posting three goals and four points to go along with eight penalty minutes. The Airdrie, Alberta native scored twice in the season opener on October 5 against the Binghamton Senators and he is one of two players on Syracuse to score a shorthanded goal.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound forward has appeared in 125 career NHL games, all with the Lightning, collecting seven goals and 24 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes. Last season, Tyrell recorded a goal and four points in 21 games with the Lightning.
Tyrell was originally selected by the Lightning in the second round, 47th overall, at the 2007 NHL Draft.