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Chirping The Bench: New Year, New Crunch?

Much to our surprise, the Crunch managed to end 2011 with a bang. The picked up five out of a possible six points this past week, breaking a post-Christmas slump for the team that dated all the way back to 2005 - the last time the Crunch won the game coming back after the holiday. Although the wins Wednesday and Saturday, and the OT loss Friday, were not pretty by any means, they were welcome nonetheless. We finally had players speaking up that hadn't managed to yet this season, and Kyle Palmieri was his usual fabulous self.

This probably won't last long, but I guess we'll enjoy it while we can.

Record (W-L-OTL-SOL): 14-13-3-1

Divisional standing: 4th

Conference standing: 11th (same as two weeks ago, top 8 make playoffs)

Top producer: Patrick Maroon, 36 pts. (14-22), 7th in the league

Top goal scorer: Kyle Palmieri (19 goals), 15th in the league

Roster moves during the past two weeks:

  • Kyle Palmieri (RW) was returned from ANA (thank the Lord)
  • Mark Fraser (D) was assigned to SYR on a conditioning assignment
  • John Kurtz (LW) was recalled to SYR from Elmira of the ECHL, where he had been on a conditioning assignment
  • Jean-Francois Jacques (LW) was recalled by ANA and remains there
  • Trevor Ludwig (D) was released from a PTO and returned to the ECHL
  • Nate Guenin (D) was returned from ANA to SYR

Top three best players from the last week:

  1. John Mitchell. He has finally found his game. In 21 games with the Crunch this season, Mitchell has scored 4 goals and 4 assists. 2 of those goals and 1 assist came during the last two games he played. He actually looked like a hockey player this past week. I didn't know what to do. I was lost because I couldn't scream his name in frustration anymore.
  2. Peter Holland. Peter scored two goals in both Wednesday's game against Springfield and Saturday's game at Bingo. I'd say he played his best week of the season so far.
  3. Both goaltenders. Yes, I said both. I'll give you a second to get over the shock. Okay, ready now? Iiro Tarkki was his usual fabulous self in Wednesday's win and Friday's loss. He almost always finds a way to keep this team in the game, but obviously he can't play every time. So, when we saw Jeff Deslauriers starting Saturday night, we all shifted a bit uncomfortably. Let's be honest, our confidence in him is about as big as a thimble. However, Deslauriers shined--yes, shined--Saturday night. Absolutely shined. I'd say it was his best game of the season. He stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced and made some amazing saves. He also managed to completely ignore the antics of Senator's goalie Robin Lehner (below), who wanted a piece of Deslauriers when a line brawl broke out in the second period. Lehner tore across the ice sans helmet, pads, and stick, was grabbed by a ref who then got hit and beat on as he dragged Lehner off to the dressing room. Deslauriers barely moved and never took off any equipment. When the dust cleared, the Crunch was handed a nifty 7 minute power play to end the second and start the third (during which a goal was scored).

I'm going to go crawl away now and take another nap. Let's just say there was some indulging on NYE. Happy New Year, fans! I hope 2012 brings us all a bit more satisfaction and higher numbers in that "W" column.