Defenseman Jean-Philippe Cote is finally making his return to the NHL after a seven year absence after signing a 2-year, 2-way contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday. Cote has been an integral part of the Lightning organization for its AHL squads the last three year, most recently with Syracuse.
In September, we called Cote an "elite player for the Lightning organization" for his mentoring roles with prospects, high character, and all-around likability.
Simply put, there are players with all the skill in the world that kids try to emulate, trying trick shots and near-patented moves. Cote's the type of person and player that a dad will take his son by the shoulders, turn him in Cote's direction, and say "be like him." Even if the kid never makes the NHL, he's a player and person his family can be proud of.
For a second-straight season, Vladislav Namestnikov spent most of December watching from the stands.
After getting off to more than a point per game pace, the Syracuse Crunch center had his sophomore season interrupted when he required surgery on his left hand, which was broken from blocking a shot against Hamilton at the Bell Centre in Montreal Nov. 22. The 21-year-old is now counting the days until he can return to the lineup.
"I'm even hungrier now," Namestnikov said. "I just want to get back as soon as possible. I can't wait."
Even with a hat trick, Crunch can't top Bears.
Kristers Gudlevskis allowed 3 goals on 37 shots before allowing 3 of 11 shooters convert in the penalty shot session for the SO loss.
SYR Rankin, (6) (Sergeev, Angelidis), 0:31
HER Deschamps, (6) (Segal, Schilling), 5:16
SYR Rankin, (7) (Angelidis, Paquette), 10:54
SYR Rankin, (8) (Angelidis, Sergeev), 7:49
HER Kolomatis, (4) (Deschamps, Segal), 18:01
HER Segal, (4) (Kolomatis, Schmidt), 16:58
SYR- Rankin, Paquette
HER- Stoa, Galiev, Mitchell
It should be noted the Syracuse lineup did not include Dana Tyrell or Matt Taormina, both of which were returned by Tampa Bay today, nor did it include the freshly signed and recalled J.P. Cote. So, perhaps tonight's result wasn't all that bad under the circumstances.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
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."
After getting pulled from a game earlier this week, Kristers Gudlevskis was eager to step back into the crease.
The Syracuse Crunch goalie looked at a few pucks hitting the pipes behind him as a positive omen, and finished with a 27-save shutout in a 1-0 win over the Rochester Americans at the Onondaga County War Memorial Saturday. The victory snaps a four-game losing streak for Syracuse.
"When you get those pipes, you start to feel comfortable," the Latvian netminder said. "You start to feel like it's your day. It's a lucky moment, it's help."