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Conspiracy Theory

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
The Crunch had an off-site practice this afternoon and just a few minutes into the session, the lights went off leaving the team in the dark. Immediately, some thought that the Manitoba Moose had ordered the power outage to try and disrupt the Crunch.

As it turned out, an ice storm here overnight and into this morning was to blame. There was a power surge that knocked out the lights. In fact, some areas of the city didn't have any power at all. That's according to the manager of the practice rink.

Crunch forward Mark Rycroft said afterward that it was actually a good thing to have the lights go off. He felt it was sort of a fun break that gave the guys something to rally around. I don't know if the goalies felt that way, since some guys were shooting the puck down the ice in the dark.

Speaking of goalies – Karl Goehring has been amazing during the first three games of this series. He's 2-1 with a 1.45 goals-against average. Not bad for a guy who started the year on a tryout agreement with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, then went to the Norfolk Admirals before settling in with the Crunch.

A few weeks ago, there was concern amongst the Syracuse faithful because Karl wasn't on the playoff roster. An injury to Dan LaCosta opened the door for him and he has no intention in giving up the job. As usual, Karl deflects the praise to his teammates.

"Our team has been playing great defensively, from the forwards down to the defensemen," he said. "It makes my job easier knowing that they're going to clear out the area in front of me, so I can see the puck and if I leave a bad rebound, those guys are cleaning up my mess."

Jackets represented – Blue Jackets assistant coach Claude Noel is in town. He watched Tuesday's game and will be here for tomorrow's tilt. He's paying close attention to the likes of Derick Brassard and Gilbert Brule, but also is keeping his eyes open for others that might fit into the Blue Jackets future plans.

"We've had quite a few guys from this team this season, but I want to see how they play here because it's a little bit different," Noel said. "I think you watch the game, the body language and certain scenarios and the impact they have on the game. You can get a lot of information, and I want to get a read to see who's projecting to be on our roster next year."

New challenges – Manitoba is expected to add two key players to their line-up for the weekend. The first is defenseman Nolan Baumgartner who is being sent down by the Dallas Stars. The Moose acquired him at the AHL trading deadline and went on a 10-game winning streak. He was with the Stars because of injuries they had on the blue line, but now that Sergei Zubov is healthy, he was expendable.

The other player is forward Jason Jaffray, who has missed five weeks because of injury. Jaffray was Manitoba's third leading scorer this year (21-27-48) and played alongside top scorer Brad Moran (22-55-77), who has one point in the first three games of this series.

Crunch defenseman Marc Methot doesn't think these additions will change things much, "I know that they can handle the puck and that they're good players, but when we get a chance we have to finish our checks on those guys."

The schedule for the weekend is Game 4 Friday and Game 5 Saturday. You can listen to the games online, at or watch them on the B2 Network. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. ET for both games.

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