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Quick Strikes: Crunch name Daniel Walcott IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year

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Ma-ma-man of the year, ma-man of the —

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Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGphoto.com

The Prospects

In honor of our Crunch editor @Allovimo (with our sympathy and best wishes), we’ll begin with Syracuse Crunch news today, and luckily, it’s lovely! For the second year in a row, the Syracuse Crunch have named Daniel Walcott the recipient of its IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award, given to the player who contributed the most to the community during the season.

All season Walcott recuperated from a preseason injury, but instead of focusing solely on rehabilitation, he poured his energy into the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, as well as attending as many other community fundraising activities with the Crunch as he could. This award also makes him a finalist for the AHL’s Yanick Dupre Memorial Award. [Syracuse.com]

The rest of the 30 nominees for the award are listed at TheAhl.com.

Justin poses an important question. Crunch Corner: Do You Want to be a Goalie? [Raw Charge]

The fact that three of the Crunch’s top defenders are also in Tampa isn’t helping anything. Cameron Gaunce is most likely going to be back soon, but Jan Rutta has played well enough in his limited time that the Lightning might keep him there through the playoffs. Erik Cernak isn’t coming back.

Speaking of goalies, Atte Tolvanen earned his first professional shutout last night. Welcome back, goalie depth!

Tolvanen stopped 34 shots and Andy Andreoff had the only goal in the game. Here is the recap of what was a pretty good game. [Raw Charge].

It was on another rush midway through the period that the Crunch finally found the back of the net. Cory Conacher busted the puck out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone. His pass to Alex Volkov was clean and allowed the rush to continue. With the Belleville defense chasing the puck, Volkov fed it over to Andy Andreoff and the veteran snapped it past Hogberg for the game-opening goal.

And this looks like fun:

You going? I might be going:

New Lightning prospect Jimmy Huntington made the QMJHL second all-star team. His frequent linemate and likely first overall pick next season Alexis Lafrenière made the first team and won the MVP award.

The Bolts

Ryan Kennedy points out a lot of similarities between the 2004 Cup champions and ... our team right now. [THN, paid content]

This year, however, Tampa Bay flirted with one of the best team performances in NHL history, and there are some intriguing similarities between the club that won the Cup in 2004 and the group that’s aiming to lift the chalice this June. Will the story have the same ending? Players from the 2004 champs, some of whom remain with the organization today, and the 2019 hopefuls both know that winning the Stanley Cup is incredibly difficult. But confidence is high across the organization, and if you’re looking for historical parallels, you don’t have to dig too deeply.

Even Connor McDavid thinks Kucherov should win the Hart: Kucherov making plenty of points for NHL’s MVP consideration [Associated Press]

“It’s not at all surprising. He was unbelievable last year, and seemed to get no recognition for it,” McDavid said, noting how Kucherov finished third in the NHL with 100 points last season. “They’re a team that scores a lot of goals. And he’s in on most of them. It’s pretty impressive.”

This is a small, sweet article about how much a guy likes this year’s team. [WBLZmedia]

And this is a large, interesting article about what TBL is doing in Victor Hedman’s absence: With uncertainty over Victor Hedman’s status, it’s Mikhail Sergachev’s time to shine for Lightning [The Athletic, paid content]

But what’s been really encouraging for the Lightning has been the play of Sergachev. Sergachev entered the season believing he was ready for a top-four role but has mostly been hovering in that third pair with Coburn. With Girardi out, Sergachev got to play in nine games in the top pair with Hedman, feeling a confidence boost in holding his own. He has logged 20 or more minutes in six of the past 11 games, 18 minutes or more in all but one. His season average is 17:49.

This could be a key moment in Sergachev’s development, getting a taste of a role he has always wanted. The key, Cooper said, is for Sergachev to be consistent, and “he’s getting better at it every night.”

The Game

My theory for why the playoff system was in question is that the Leafs fanbase didn’t feel like having their team meet Boston again in playoffs. Luckily it’s a non-question next season -- the NHLPA and NHL agreed to keep the current format for another year. [RMNB]

Do we HAVE to fix the Rangers’ Hartford problem? I guess Blueshirt Banter does. [BSB]

Unlike the Lightning, the lessons I want the Rangers to pull from Toronto are twofold; The first lesson: spend, spend, and spend. Not just on players but on the team itself. Adam pointed it out in February, but it is embarrassing that a team as rich as the Rangers refuses to pump any of that money into their development system the way that the Leafs have.

One of the smartest commentators on women’s hockey has weighed in on the CWHL over at Pension Plan Puppets, and her rant is worth reading. [PPP]

Then Dani Rylan... I was going to say lost her g*ddamned mind but no, Dani Rylan has not lost her mind, she is doing what she always ****ing does and pretending there is a plan, that there is money, that there are resources. Dani Rylan knows how much everyone loves shiny unicorns and Dani ****ing Rylan is here to sell them to you.

And just to cheer you up, a piece about that Blackhawks accountant/goalie. 15 minutes of ... insane - From accountant to NHL goalie [ESPN]

”That’s when a lot goes blank, like, instantly dark. There’s a lot of people running around and, like, commotion happening, but it’s one of the classic cases of it just being quiet. You can only hear the one person that’s speaking to you, and maybe you don’t want to hear them.”