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Crunch Report: December 9

by Blue Jackets Staff / Columbus Blue Jackets

2009-10 RECORD: 9-12-2-2, 22 points, (7-2-1-1 home, 2-10-1-1 road), seventh place, East Division


THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Wednesday, December 9 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (11-10-1-1, 24 points), fifth place, East Division
Friday, December 11 vs. Adirondack (10-11-2-0, 22 points), sixth place, East Division
Saturday, December 12 @ Binghamton (12-10-2-1, 27 points), third place, East Division


LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

Friday, December 4 @ Binghamton - BINGHAMTON 5, Crunch 0
Saturday, December 5 vs. Binghamton - CRUNCH 3, Binghamton 2

HOME TEAM IN CAPS


SHAKE IT UP:
The Syracuse Crunch continued their roster shakeup this week. Earlier today, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired veteran defenseman Brendan Bell and center Tomas Kana from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for right wing Pascal Pelletier and assigned them to the Crunch.

In a separate transaction, the Crunch traded center Brock McBride to the Peoria Rivermen for future considerations.

Bell, 26, has appeared in 22 games with Peoria this season and ranks ninth in scoring among AHL defensemen with four goals, 13 assists and 26 penalty minutes. In 325 combined AHL games from 2003-09 with St. John's, Toronto, San Antonio, Binghamton and Peoria, Bell has accumulated 36 goals, 126 assists and 346 penalty minutes.

In addition, Bell has skated in 101 career NHL contests with Toronto, Phoenix and Ottawa, notching seven goals, 21 assists and 51 penalty minutes. A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Bell was originally selected by Toronto in the third round, 65th overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Kana, 22, has appeared in 11 games with Alaska (ECHL) this season, recording six assists and 10 penalty minutes. He skated in 18 games with Peoria last season, registering one goal and 15 penalty minutes. A native of Opava, Czech Republic, Kana was selected by St. Louis in the second round, 31st overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

On Monday, December 7, the Crunch signed veteran center Daniel Tkaczuk to a professional tryout contract.

Tkaczuk, 30, appeared in 274 combined AHL games in four seasons from 1999 – 2003 with Saint John, Worcester (IceCats) and Bridgeport, amassing 59 goals, 107 assists and 168 penalty minutes. He also skated in 19 NHL games, all with Calgary, during the 2000-01 season, notching four goals, seven assists and 14 penalty minutes.

He has appeared in 12 games with Charlotte (ECHL) this year, collecting six goals, 12 assists and 18 penalty minutes. Before returning to North America this season, Tkaczuk spent the previous six (6) campaigns from 2003-09 in Europe with Lukko Rauma (Finland), Milan (Italy), Ingolstadt (Germany) and Duisburg (Germany), appearing in a combined 229 games, totaling 72 goals, 122 assists and 227 penalty minutes.

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Tkaczuk was selected by Calgary in the first round, sixth overall, in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

IN A TIGHT SPOT: When it comes to playing in tight games, the Crunch have been one of the better teams in the AHL this year. Syracuse is one of only three teams that have yet to lose a one-goal game in regulation and have gone 7-0-2-2 in games decided by one tally this season. Six of the seven one-goal wins have come at the War Memorial at Oncenter.

Not only do the Crunch play in tight games, but they are also in a very tight and competitive East Division. Although they sit in seventh place, only five points separate them from third place Binghamton.


UPCOMING GAMES:

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS):
The Crunch welcome in the Baby Pens to the War Memorial at Oncenter on Wednesday night for the first time this year and fourth of eight overall meetings between these two clubs. Syracuse took the last match-up, a 4-3 victory at Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza back on November 28, and are 1-1-0-1 against division rival Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so far this season. Dan Fritsche (1g, 2a) and Alexandre Picard (1g, 2a) lead the Crunch in scoring against the Penguins this year, while Dustin Jeffrey paces his club and all players in the season series in scoring with six points (2g, 4a). John Curry has been in net for both Wilkes-Barre/Scranton wins and posted a 2.40 goals against average and .917 save percentage against the Crunch this year.

ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS (PHILADELPHIA FLYERS): The Crunch will meet the Adirondack Phantoms Friday for the third of eight overall games and second contest at the War Memorial at Oncenter between these two clubs this year. The home team has won each game. Kevin Lalande, who was in the net for the Crunch's home-opening 6-1 victory over the Phantoms back on October 10, stopped 25 of 26 shots in that game. Adirondack's Jon Matsumoto has notched three points (2g, 1a) against the Crunch and leads all players in scoring in the season series.

BINGHAMTON SENATORS (OTTAWA SENATORS): The Crunch travel down I-81 for the second time in just over a week and third meeting in seven days with Binghamton on Saturday. These clubs are all even in the season series with two wins apiece, both by the home team. The two games at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena have not been kind to the Crunch, as they have been outscored by a combined 11-2 margin. Three of David Liffiton's four assists on the year have come against Binghamton while six (6) Crunch players have tallied two points against the B-Sens this year. Senators' left wing Josh Hennessy leads his club and all players in the season series with six points (2g, 4a).

CRUNCHABLES:
The Crunch scored two power play goals in a game Saturday for the first time since October 17… The Crunch scored the first goal Saturday for the first time since a November 21 win over Hartford, a span of five games… With his five penalty minutes vs. Binghamton Saturday, Jon Mirasty moved past Jody Shelley into sole possession of fourth place all-time in that category (523 PIM)… Syracuse moved its home record against East Division opponents to 5-1-0-0 with Saturday's win over Binghamton… Saturday marked just the third time this season the Crunch have won when scoring less than four goals.

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