The Syracuse Crunch Blog With Lindsay Kramer

Note the new orange and gold tones! A brand new uniform with the brand new Ducks infused colors will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

ARTHUR:

Anaheim calling to the hockey world...

You may have missed it, but we recently added a widget to the left sidebar to syndicate the Crunch Hockey Blog, which is penned by Lindsay Kramer of The Post-Standard in Syracuse. Kramer has covered the AHL's Crunch since their inception 16 years ago, and you can find archives of his work for the paper's blog dating back to 2005 on Syracuse.com.

We anticipate we'll be linking his articles a lot here, and we recommend you check them out as often as you can next season. He's already written a great piece on the expectations of both the Ducks and the Crunch, and he broke Matt Clark's signing a full day before most Anaheim outlets and hours before the Brampton Battalion website announced it.

Also, we hope to chat with Lindsay from time to time and get his input on how the prospects are doing in Syracuse, and after the jump, we ask him about what we can expect from the new farm . . .

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ARTHUR:

The Crunch currently have the longest running independent ownership group in the AHL. What would you say has made that group special?

LINDSAY:

They are very dedicated to the market. Before the Crunch, four previous AHL teams had failed here. Owner Howard Dolgon took over with a strong vision of being patient and making it work, and, most importantly, he has put his money where his mouth is to back up virtually everything he's promised. It took awhile, but he convinced a skeptical fan base that he's here for the long haul. And he has been.

ARTHUR:

What would you say makes the Crunch a good place for a player to play? What would you say might make it a bad place for a player to play?

LINDSAY:

The front office treats the players very well. Whatever they need or problems they have, they try to help. There's a lot of little things, team parties, extra gifts, etc. They promote the players so that they feel like a part of the community. They don't get lost in a market this size. If they are popular - like Zenon Konopka and Scott Walker - they will have a second home here for a lifetime. SU is always top dog here, but there aren't any pro teams in the market or nearby that overshadow the Crunch. The travel is reasonable. The War Memorial is a great home ice advantage, especially when it's loud.

Not much that's bad. Obviously it's cold, lots of snow. It's a smaller market, so it's a little quieter than San Antonio or Chicago or Providence. The War Memorial is very cramped, only so much can be done with the facilities. Locker rooms are small. Players shower after games downstairs in a team room.

ARTHUR:

There's a lot of hockey and hockey history in upstate New York. What makes Syracuse special as a hockey city?

LINDSAY:

The fact that the AHL is finally working here after so many other teams (some in other leagues) failed. The city has simple hockey tastes. It wants a blue-collar, hard working team that uses the small home rink to its physical advantage. It loves grinders, and fighters are real popular here. It's that old Slapshot thing, parts of which were filmed here. A lot of that same hockey philosophy lives to this day. Fans want to win, of course, but they first want to see effort and a passion for the game from the players. The town loves underdogs that give their all (defenseman Dan Smith, goalie Karl Goehring, for example).

ARTHUR:

You recently wrote that a Crunch fan held up a 'Let's Go Ducks' sign at a game. Why do you think Crunch fans were disappointed with the Blue Jackets? What do you think they expect from the Ducks?

LINDSAY:

You could write a book on that. In a nutshell, after the team missed the playoffs three of the last four years, both Dolgon and the fans felt that Columbus was not financially committed enough to put a winner here. It's not just that the team had holes; it's that the holes were readily apparent to most but that the Blue Jackets did not address them aggressivley enough early in the season and waited until the Crunch was in must-win mode later in the schedule.

I think Crunch fans would be happy if the Ducks first and foremost address that and put a physical, hungry and competitive team here as soon as possible. Anaheim has a great reputation of digging up young players. Syracuse fans hope to see evidence of that ASAP. I don't know how realistic it is, but I think fans would like the organization to spend some money on a few minor league free agents.

ARTHUR:

Thanks Lindsay.

This was Anaheim calling to the hockey world, everyone. Don't forget to check out the Crunch Hockey Blog and Mr. Kramer's coverage of the team for The Post-Standard on Syracuse.com.

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