· The No. 56
· Trade deadline review (grab a pillow and some Band-Aids)
· Tampa Bay’s short-term future
· Tampa Bay’s long-term future
· Interview with Syracuse’s Matt Peca
· The return of the #BPMailbag (Black Aces prediction … Contract term worries? … What will next young TB star face?)
Matthew Peca knew exactly how much time he missed.
One day shy of five weeks on the shelf with an upper body injury, the Syracuse Crunch forward was counting the days until he could return. The 22-year-old scored on his first shift and finished with two points in a 3-2 win over Binghamton Friday, and added the game-winner in the shootout in a 5-4 victory over the Senators Sunday during a three-game weekend.
Peca made an immediate impact with his return and now he’s hoping to be a regular contributor as the Crunch make a push for the playoffs.
"I was just excited," Peca said of returning. "I felt in shape, I felt comfortable, and I knew my injury had healed so I was ready to get back. It didn't feel like I missed any time really."
This week’s “Darryl Sydor Edition” of the Bolt Prospects Podcast (also available on Lightning Power Play, Lightning Radio's iHeart station) includes the following topics:
· The No. 55
· Trade deadline preview (grab your popcorn)
· Koekkoek, Marchessault and fitting into the culture
Yanni Gourde is focused on the results more than his statistics.
One season after piling up a career-high 29 goals, the Syracuse Crunch forward realized his role has has shifted away from being the main triggerman on the ice. Over the last month Gourde has found chemistry with Tanner Richard and Mike Blunden on the first line, and has used his speed to consistently create scoring opportunities.
Gourde may not be on pace for another 29-goal season, but he is pleased someone is scoring them.
“I’m trying to go to the net and do the right thing,” said Gourde, who has seven goals and 22 assists in 48 games this season. “Right now it’s not going in, but I have to keep working on it. Right now (Blunden) is getting the goals and I’m happy.”
· The No. 54
· Lightning logic
· Shut the fridge door!
· Marchessault treatment making Drouin’s point for him?
· Matt Carle is bad at the hockey
· Koekkoek time
· Stamkos statement could say more than you think
· Time for the positive: Prospect making a move
· Interview with Brian Hart
· #BPMailbag (Are the Lightning good or not good? ... and more)
Brian Hart began the season on the bubble.
After participating in training camp with the Syracuse Crunch, the rookie forward began the season in the ECHL with Greenville. Hart was reassigned back to Syracuse and returned to Greenville three more times in the first three months of the season.
Called back up to the Crunch on Jan. 9 when the team was dealing with rash of injuries, Hart has taken advantage of the opportunity and earned a regular spot in the lineup.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries in the last couple months, and other guys have had to step up,” Hart said. “That’s given me an opportunity. You hate to see guys go down, but it gives other guys a chance. I’m just trying to make the most of the situation.”
Now past the All-Star Break of the 2015-2016 campaign, it's time for Bolt Prospects' Midterm Rankings. The year thus far might be summed up best by one word: adversity. Adversity has visited the big league club in the way of injuries, contractual uncertainties, and off-ice controversies. Nothing quite so soap operatic has besieged the Syracuse Crunch or the team's other young prospects, but adversity has found its way all the way down into the pipeline, as well.
· Interview with squid-throwing prospect Luke Witkowski
· Coach’s seat heating up quickly in Syracuse
· Crunch fans the Rodney Dangerfield of AHL fanbases
· DeAngelo drama
· When the Lightning losing is acceptable (and when it’s not)
· TB’s goaltender of the future to be determined by Stamkos?
NOTE: This was recorded before the Drouin suspension. A special edition of the podcast will be posted Thursday morning.
· The No. 52
· Sitting on the corner of Drouinsanity and Stammergeddon
· #BPMailbag (Vasy being shopped? ... DeAngelo timeline ... Drouin trade ideas)
While players certainly don’t look past games, there’s certainly events they look forward to.
The Syracuse Crunch’s weekend begins just like any other with a home-and-home against the Hershey Bears. But on Sunday, Syracuse welcomes representatives from all over the American Hockey League for the annual skills competition with the AHL All-Star Challenge set to follow on Monday night.
“It’s a tremendous experience,” said Crunch defenseman Matt Taormina. “I was fortunate to do it last year and experience how it was. The skills competition is an unbelievable time. You go out there, joke with the guys, have fun, and mess around. You get to know the guys a little better too, since we’re always enemies out on the ice.”