Features

Articles that are feature stories.

After Multiple Trades, Verhaeghe Producing for Syracuse Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Carter Verhaeghe is more well-traveled than most 22-year-old hockey players.

Originally drafted by his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013, Verhaeghe has been traded twice and split the last two seasons between the ECHL and the AHL.

Verhaeghe believes his experience has helped mold him into a nearly point-per-game player this year for the Syracuse Crunch.

"I've been through a lot in my short career so far, and I think that only helps me," Verhaeghe said. "I've played for a bunch of different coaches and different teams, and I think everything has contributed to the player I am now."

Stephens Shining on Crunch's Scoring Lines


By Jeremy Houghtaling

For Syracuse Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, Mitchell Stephens may have been on the fourth line, but he wasn't a fourth-liner.

With a glut of healthy forwards and Tampa Bay not calling for reinforcements early this season, Groulx had the rookie center the team's fourth line. Once the inevitable injuries happened, Stephens earned more time on the Crunch's scoring lines.

With a point in 12 of the last 15 games, Stephens has become one of Syracuse's most consistent contributors offensively.

"I remember sitting down with him at one point and telling him that we had no injuries, no call-ups, and it's not because he was playing on the fourth line that we saw him as a fourth liner. ... We had four healthy lines and those lines were made in order to have the team balance," Groulx said. "We didn't see him as a defensive player. I think he needed those 10 games to get more confident and feel the water a little bit to see what it's like to play in this league. Then he started scoring and putting up points. He hasn't stopped since then."

The BP Podcast, Episode 100

This BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 100 – The JF Soucy Edition, contains the following topics:

· The No. 100
· TB at the halfway point, going up or down?
· Entitlement drama?
· The best team in the NHL has needs
· Solutions for those needs
· WJC review
· Prospect movers and shakers
· #BPMailbag (Trade options ... Coffee options ... Cap options ... Etc. options)
· Supporting hockey journalism in Tampa Bay

Crunch's Masin Adding More Offense in Second Pro Season


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Dominik Masin is seeing quite an increase in point production in his second pro season.

The defenseman recorded nine points — more than he had all of last season — during the Syracuse Crunch's 10 game win streak from Nov. 22 to Dec. 15.

Not the flashiest player, Masin has focused on making simple plays and getting the puck on net.

"We've been scoring a lot and I'm happy that I can help the team with some points," Masin said. "I don't know, I guess I've been a little lucky too."

The BP Podcast, Episode 99

This BoltProspects Podcast, Episode 99 – The Great One Edition, contains the following topics (WARNING: Some technical issues I couldn’t correct on this one):

· The No. 99
· Gretzky to LA = Lightning?
· The Lightnings are good at the hockey
· 2003-2004 Lightning vs 2017-2018 Lightning
· In a vacuum: Slater Koekkoek’s development plan
· What to do with Sustr
· Interview with Ben Thomas
· Interview with Anthony Cirelli
· #BPMailbag (Take-backs on Drouin trade? … 3rd line options … Future impact prospects … Trade deadline wish list … TJ’s contract vs Kucherov’s future in TB)

Crunch Rookie Joseph Has Big Weekend After Meeting


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Mathieu Joseph was told to not worry about the statistics.

The Syracuse rookie, who averaged more than a point per game in junior, was held to a single assist over his first nine professional games. After a meeting with Crunch head coach Benoit Groulx, Joseph recorded four points in two games against the Rocket in front of friends and family in Laval.

Joseph is taking Groulx’s words to heart as he adapts to the pro game.

“He told me that he wanted me to have fun on the ice,” Joseph said. “My confidence wasn’t really there and I was trying to analyze the game too much. He gave me a little bit of a boost of confidence.”

The Random 17 (November 3, 2017)

This is the second edition of The Random 17, so if you didn’t see it before …

According to a non-scientific Google search, 17 is the most random number. It’s also my old hockey number so I’m going to title this weekly blog entry “The Random 17.” There’s also a nickname for 17 in British bingo, but that’s Dancing Queen. Never been much of an Abba fan, so forget that.

I’ve always been a big fan of Elliot Friedman’s “30 Things,” and imitation is the highest form of flatter, so here we go – 17 random thoughts on the Lightning and sports in general. Think of it as a podcast in text form.

Crunch's Thomas Looks to Be Impact Player at Both Ends of the Ice


By Jeremy Houghtaling

A deep playoff run last season was key to Ben Thomas’ development.

The defenseman went from earning a regular shift to more duties, including special teams, during his rookie season with the Syracuse Crunch. Each step of the way to the Calder Cup Finals added to Thomas’ confidence, and he frequently looked to join and support the rush.

Thomas looks to become more an impact player at both ends of the ice in his second pro season.

“I think it’s a part of my game. I like to jump in the rush and help create offense,” Thomas said. “I think now I definitely have the confidence to do that and get back into my position to be a good defender. It’s been one thing I’ve always liked to implement in my game, and I’m going to try and continue to do it.”

Cirelli Brings Big Game Experience to Crunch


By Jeremy Houghtaling

Anthony Cirelli is used to the big stage at the junior level.

The center led Oshawa to an Ontario Hockey League championship and won the Memorial Cup with the Generals in 2015. Cirelli won silver with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships last winter, after a trade in January, Cirelli led Erie to another OHL title and trip to the Memorial Cup.

The Syracuse Crunch rookie hopes his experience in big games translates to success at the professional level.

"I've been to the (Memorial Cup) finals a couple times. Losing that second one was kind of hard and losing in the World Junior final there was tough," Cirelli said. "But just being a part of those teams, knowing those guys, playing through long playoff runs and playing those pressure games helped take my development to the next level."

The Random 17

According to a non-scientific Google search, 17 is the most random number. It’s also my old hockey number so I’m going to title this weekly blog entry “The Random 17.” There’s also a nickname for 17 in British bingo, but that’s Dancing Queen. Never been much of an Abba fan, so forget that.

I’ve always been a big fan of Elliot Friedman’s “30 Things,” and imitation is the highest form of flattery, so here we go – 17 random thoughts on the Lightning and sports in general.

1. Big ups to Jon Cooper and the Lightning for their 3-1 start, especially the consistent effort and speed shown against big boys Washington and Pittsburgh. With their wins over those two clubs this week, Tampa Bay announced their presence as a legitimate Cup contender. But not so fast… the key now will be for the Lightning to play with the same intensity against the Calgarys and Floridas of the world when Hockey Earth isn’t watching. The contrast between the Lightning in front of the Zimmerman seats in Sunrise and the Lightning vs Ovechrosby is like night and day. Or Hedman vs. Sustr. Huge difference in effectiveness.

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