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Crunch Report: December 22, 2009

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2009-10 RECORD: 10-17-2-2, 24 points, (8-5-1-1 home, 2-12-1-1 road), seventh place, East Division


Saturday, December 26 @ Hershey (21-8-0-2, 44 points), first place, East Division


Tuesday, December 15 @ Rochester ROCHESTER 5 Crunch 3
Friday, December 18 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wilkes-Barre 5 CRUNCH 2
Saturday, December 19 vs. Albany Albany 5 CRUNCH 2


It has been a bumpy few years for Crunch center Tomas Kana. After being selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round, 31st overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, he spent one more season playing in his native Czech Republic before making the jump to North America for the 2008-09 campaign.

After struggling in the early part of last season with Peoria, Kana was reassigned by St. Louis to the club’s ECHL affiliate in Alaska, where he was able to find some offense, putting up 20 points (6g, 13a) in 30 games.

Kana ended up playing in a total of 18 games with Peoria last season and potted his first AHL goal in his 18th game on February 18 vs. San Antonio. After spending the first 11 games of this season back in Alaska, Kana was acquired by Columbus along with Brendan Bell from St. Louis in exchange for Pascal Pelletier on December 8, 2009.

So far, Kana is taking advantage of his second chance in the AHL with the Crunch, tallying three goals in six games, including one in each of the club's last two contests.

He tied the game at the 14:18 mark of the second period on Friday night vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton when his wrister from the slot beat John Curry. On Saturday vs. Albany, Kana put the Crunch on the board seven and a half minutes into the second period when he stuffed home a cross-ice feed from Jared Aulin just to the right of the goal mouth. He was the only 'plus' player for Syracuse in the 5-2 loss and was named the game's third star for his effort.

The Syracuse Crunch will be a traveling bunch over the next few weeks, as the club is scheduled to play eight of its next nine games away from the War Memorial at Oncenter. The team travels to Hershey this Saturday before taking a trip down to the Lone Star State for three games in three nights vs. Houston, San Antonio and Texas on December 28, 29 and 30, respectively.

The Crunch will then squeeze in its only home game during the stretch on January 2 vs. Albany before heading back out for a season-high five-game road trip that starts in Hartford on January 3 and ends in Springfield on January 15. Starting with a January 16 home match-up with Rochester, the Crunch play 24 of their final 39 games at the War Memorial at Oncenter.

The Syracuse Crunch and the Crunch Foundation, the club’s charitable arm, have been in the spirit of giving during this holiday season. The club recently held a blood drive with the American Red Cross on December 18 and have been accepting donations for Toys for Tots over the past several weeks.

On December 18, approximately 45 people showed up to Memorial Hall at the War Memorial at Oncenter from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. to donate blood, including 19 first-time donors. In all, 35 pints of blood were donated, which is estimated to help over 100 patients.

The team has also been working with Toys for Tots over the past several weeks to help underprivileged children during the holiday season. The Crunch accepted donations for Toys for Tots at their home games on December 9, 11, 18 and 19, filling over four bins full of new and unwrapped toys.

In addition, the Crunch sent players Bates Battaglia, Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman and Dan Fritsche to Dick's Sporting Goods at the Great Northern Mall on December 17 to shop for items to donate to Toys for Tots.


The Crunch travel to Hershey Saturday to face the first-place Bears in the first of six meetings between these two clubs this season. These two teams will face each other as division rivals for the first time since the 2001-02 campaign, when both teams competed in the Western Conference's Mid-Atlantic Division. Although just 246 miles from each other, this marks just the third time in 16 years that these two clubs will compete within the same division, with the other being the Crunch's inaugural 1994-95 season, when both teams battled it out in the AHL's Southern Division. The Crunch were 0-2-0-0 against the Bears last year and are 26-36-12 in 74 all-time meetings with Hershey.

The Crunch lost back-to-back home games in regulation this past weekend for the first time since February 16 and 20 of last season…Syracuse had its 15-game home winning streak over Albany snapped Saturday night…Saturday night’s game was the Crunch’s last of 2009…The Crunch’s only home game over its next nine contests is January 2 vs. Albany…The Crunch are now 3-14-1-1 over the past two seasons in the month of December…Syracuse has let up eight third period goals over its past three games and 41 on the season, which ranks last in the AHL…On Friday vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Alexandre Picard moved into soul possession of tenth place on the Crunch’s all-time list in games played (217)…Maksim Mayorov appeared in his 100th Crunch and AHL game vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday.

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