Radko Gudas leads the American Hockey League in plus=minus. - photo © Scott Thomas and used with permission
The Crunch are tops in pretty much every stat the AHL has despite quite a few ups and downs this season.
Basically, the kids are all right. Streaky, but all right.
As of Sunday (when this post was written), the Syracuse Crunch have the best record in the AHL. Our own Tyler Johnson is tied with the Grand Rapids Griffins' Gustav Nyquistfor for the league lead in scoring with 57 points.
Defenseman Mark Barberio is the highest-scoring defenseman in the league. His 37 points are one more than Norfolk's Sami Vatanen and Rochester's Brayden McNabb, who are both at 36 points. Defenseman Radko Gudas' plus-32 is also first in the league. Funny enough, the next two players behind him in the league standings for plus/minus are also members of the Syracuse Crunch: Tyler Johnson and Dmitry Korobov are second in the league with a plus-25 rating.
The Crunch's last twenty games have taken us on a roller coaster ride. Their 12-8 record includes an eight-game winning streak and a four-game losing streak. They've played like a playoff team and they've played like a basement team. Goaltending has been tight on some nights and not-so-tight on other nights. There's no pattern, and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to anything.
I'm not complaining, mind you, not really. Looking at some of the roster juggling that's been done lately, it isn't exactly surprising that things have gotten a little wacky on the ice. But it's been a ride.
We're in the home stretch now. The Crunch's regular season ends at home on April 21st,coinciding end of the league. Given this, I've added a new stat to my regular list at the bottom of the post: the magic number stat, which is how many points the Crunch needs to clinch a playoff berth. The AHL is nice enough to compile this stat for me daily, so I give full credit to the league for figuring it out.
Transactions of note:
3/5/2013: Cedrick Desjardins (G)...Recalled by Tampa Bay
3/5/2013: Pat Nagle (G)...Reassigned to Syracuse from Florida (ECHL)
3/4/2013: Danick Gauthier (LW)...Reassigned to Florida (ECHL) from Syracuse
3/3/2013: Ondrej Palat (LW)...Recalled by Tampa Bay
3/1/2013: Richard Panik (RW)...Reassigned to Syracuse from Tampa Bay
2/27/2013: Brendan Mikkelson (D)...Recalled by Tampa Bay
2/27/2013: Charles Landry (D)...Reassigned to Florida (ECHL) from Syracuse
2/27/2013: Pierre-Cedric Labrie (LW)...Recalled by Tampa Bay
2/26/2013: Matt Taormina (D)...Reassigned to Syracuse from Tampa Bay
Magic number to make the playoffs as of 3/10: 20 points
Regular season record (wins-losses-OT losses-SO losses): 36-17-3-4
Place in the conference standings (top 8 make the playoffs): First place
Place in division standings: First
Top scorer: Tyler Johnson, 31-26-57
Top scoring defenseman: Mark Barberio, 8-29-37
Top defenseman, +/-: Radko Gudas, +32
Top rookie: J.T. Brown, 8-14-22
Game attendance: 3/1: 5,415; 3/2: 5,863
Player notes: Tampa Bay defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was placed on waivers Sunday to be sent down to Syracuse. Forward Brett Connolly was awarded the AHL Player of the Month award for February.