Pierre-Cedric Labrie estimates his first National Hockey League assist came about 200 feet from the Phoenix Coyotes net.
The Syracuse Crunch forward, up for more than a dozen games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, had chipped the puck past defenseman Rostislav Klesla, and his linemates, Trevor Smith and Martin St. Louis, were off to the races.
It wasn't the prettiest play, but it got the job done.
"Just a simple play," Labrie said. "Keep it simple. That's my type of game."
In his sixth professional season, Labrie has had to grind out a career by doing a little bit of everything on the ice.
The Lightning had five prospects at the 2013 Under-20 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, and four came away with medals.
Here’s a look how each prospect fared, and what their future might look like.
Nikita Kucherov, RW, Russia
7 Games Played, 5-3-8, +4, 4 PIM, 21 SOG
While Kucherov may only remember his missed shootout attempt against Sweden in the semifinals right now, years from now will look at his Bronze medal and be satisfied with his play throughout the competition. Kucherov was arguably Russia’s best forward in the tournament, though Mikhail Grigorenko (Sabres) was the only forward named among the team’s three best by the coaches at tournament’s end. In the opinion of TSN commentator Ray Ferraro, Kucherov was the team’s best forward. He and Grigorenko were by far the most consistent and dangerous forwards for the Russians at the event, and the two were responsible for 14 points together.
Florida Everblades 6 vs. Greenville Road Warriors 4
F Alex Hutchings, FLA: 1-0-1, E, 4 SOG, 0 PIM
Season totals: 26 GP, 10-11-21, -1, 22 PIM
D Charles Landry, FLA: 0-1-1, -1, 1 SOG, 0 PIM
Season totals: 28 GP, 1-7-8, +1, 21 PIM
F Maxime Langelier-Parent, FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 1 GP, 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM
(Syracuse Crunch contract)
D Daniel Milan, FLA: 0-0-0, E, 1 SOG, 0 PIM
Season totals: 15 GP, 1-0-1, -1, 12 PIM
G Pat Nagle, FLA: Did not play
Season totals: 13 GP, 5-5-1, 0 SO, 3.47 GAA, 327 S / 371 SA (.881 SV%)
Florida managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat Friday night, scoring five third-period goals, capped off by Alex Hutchings' empty-netter, in a span of roughly fourteen minutes to stun divisional rival Greenville. Matthew Pistilli, newly acquired from South Carolina, scored twice in his return to the Everblades. Pistilli previously scored seventeen goals and eighteen assists for Florida over the course of thirty-eight games split between the 2010-2011 and 2009-2010 seasons. Andrew Yogan, the first Florida-raised player drafted (4th round, 2010) by an NHL team (the New York Rangers), opened the game's scoring for the Road Warriors. With his second assist in as many games, Landry now has his first point-scoring streak of the season. Hutchings returned to the scoresheet after going pointless in Florida's last three matches. Carolina G prospect John Muse backed up Rob Madore, who stopped twenty-four shots in the match, as Pat Nagle was inactive for the Everblades. Maxime Langelier-Parent, still recovering from an injury sustained early in the season, were inactive. Florida (15-12-6, 38 PTS) continues its road swing with a match against Gwinnett (23-12-1, 47 PTS), currently atop the South division standings, on Saturday.
Cory Conacher tries to not think about what could have been.
With the National Hockey League and the players’ association still working to resolve the lockout, the 5-8, 179-pound winger, who was expected to be a candidate for the Calder Trophy, knows that nothing is guaranteed.
"Even if the NHL figures it out and I get a chance to play in Tampa, I can't expect to be the best player and get all the points," Conacher said. "I have to do the little things that will help Tampa Bay win, and that's what is most important."
One season removed from hoisting the Calder Cup and being named the American Hockey League's Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player – the fourth player to achieve both in the same season – the 23-year-old Syracuse Crunch forward still doesn't take anything for granted.
It starts with the term "shutdown defenseman."
After that, Keith Aulie rattles off the rest of his responsibilities, memorized not in a mirror but through repetition on the ice.
"I try to go out there, play hard, finish my hits, make my first passes, be tough for their forwards to play against, kill penalties, and be consistent back there," Aulie said before taking a breath.
Likely set to at least challenge for a spot on the Tampa Bay Lightning blueline this season, Aulie has taken his talents to the Syracuse Crunch during the NHL lockout. A team that has been near the top of the Eastern Conference in points and penalty minute leaderboard all season, the Crunch welcomed the 6-6, 229-pounder’s ability to log substantial ice time.