Don’t be too quick to abandon ship, Tampa Bay Lightning fans. You may think you’ve been here before, but slow down, Alan has some good news for you:
Whatever happens in game seven, it won’t be history repeating itself. This isn’t the 2016 Tampa Bay Lightning. This is the 2018 Tampa Bay Lightning. And they’ll write their own history on Wednesday night.
The Lightning isn’t the only team that’s different, argues author and Washington Capitals writer Ted Starkey:
For the reputation the Capitals have delivered as a playoff underachiever over their history, this 2017-18 edition has seemed different, able to overcome some small breaks and bounces that would have proved fatal to other editions.
AHL/ECHL bubble player Troy Bourke, who spent the season moving back and forth between ECHL Adirondack and the Crunch, spoke in his exit interview about how much of an amazing experience it was being in the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time:
I think even just getting a little taste, you’re thirsty for more. Over the years now I think that’s what I’m going to be chasing. To be a fourth year pro and get my first taste of it, it was unbelievable.
Forward Olivier Archambault, who worked his way up from a professional tryout contract to a full AHL pact that runs through next season, discussed taking advantage of opportunities:
They gave me a real chance, and I took it. I’m really happy to be in a contract for next season, too...I enjoyed playing here. Unreal group of guys...it’s been a blast. I appreciate all they did for me...it’s made me a better hockey player.
Defensive prospect Ben Thomas believes his season went well:
Forward Mathieu Joseph felt that there was one big component to the Crunch’s success this season:
I think it was impressive the way we battled back after a tough start...Character, I think it’s a big part of (head coach) Ben’s value, too, and he’s a character guy. I think he just translated that to us. All year he was pushing us hard, veterans were pushing rookies, rookies were pushing veterans...you wanna play for the guy beside you. It felt like a family.
Forward Carter Verhaeghe gets the giant “AAWWWWW” of the day from his media day interview:
I had a lot of fun here in Syracuse, in front of great fans with a great group of guys. It was a lot of fun...There’s a lot of stuff that I’ll remember. I’ll remember these guys forever.
Goalie Connor Ingram knows he grew a lot this past season:
I learned a lot this year that it will be good to go into next year with...it was good to have the experience and the youth to keep everybody honest.
From the Press Box podcast covered a lot this past Tuesday, with topics ranging from how AHL Laval is handling this off season so far, the AHL Eastern Conference playoffs between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Toronto Marlies, the AHL Western Conference Finals, and the results of the IIHF World Championships. [AHL Report]
And, finally, before you take one more bite of bacon or look at your coffee very closely, we bring you this news out of Columbus Blue Jacket land, featuring a very exhausted prospect and a very, very long tapeworm. [DeadSpin]