The Spitfires looked like they had lost more than just a game Saturday when newly acquired defenceman Slater Koekkoek left the game in overtime with an injured shoulder.
Koekkoek, who hurt his shoulder last year in a game against Windsor while with the Peterborough Petes, was forced to sit out Sunday's game in Oshawa.
"Nothing to fret," Koekkoek said as he carried a case of water onto the team bus Sunday. "It feels good.
"I just slid into the boards feet first and don't know what happened, but it's nothing big. It feels OK."
In fact, Koekkoek, who earned his first point with the Spitfires with an assist Saturday, tried to convince the team to play him Sunday in Oshawa. The club will re-evaluate him to see if he will miss any further time.
"It's still All In to me dammit." - Felonious Python
Syracuse Crunch coach Jon Cooper's hope all along was that one of his two good goalies, Dustin Tokarski and Riku Helenius, eventually take over as the starter.
As the season moves toward the halfway point, it looks like Tokarski has a firm grip on that job description.
Tokarski has won each of his last seven starts (including his second shutout of the season Jan. 4 at Norfolk), allowing 14 goals in that span with a 1.97 goals-against average and 0.910 save percentage. His 17 wins are second in the AHL and his 2.28 goals-against average is 10th in the league. He has has only one regulation loss in his last 13 appearances
"Tic is a little ahead right now. It's fair to say he's No. 1 right now,'' Helenius said.
"I had a little slump there near Christmas. Two games, two losses. It doesn't change things. Coop said it's not going to change anything. You just have to keep working hard in practice. Especially in hockey, things can change quickly.''
Alex Hutchings was called up, probably to fill in for Panik while he serves his suspension.
"He plays the game at a much faster pace than when we first saw him a couple years ago,'' said Crunch coach Jon Cooper. "He's turned himself into a good hockey player. He was the one guy who got burned by the lockout. The kid has the ability to put the puck in the net.''
"It's nice to get the call whenever you can. With the lockout ending, there's going to be lots of holes,'' Hutchings said after practice on Thursday. "For now, it looks like I'll have an opportunity to play this weekend. If that's the case, I have to make the most of my opportunity.''
"I think I would have had a better opportunity to make the team right off the bat (without the lockout),'' Hutchings said. "It's tough when you get sent down. You just have to stay focused. Don't go there and shrug your shoulders.
"This league is better. I'm not going to think of points right off the bat. I'm just going to work my butt off, produce as much as I can.''
Something tells me it won't be too serious. Does anyone know which shoulder it is?
If he went through a full practice then yeah it shouldn't be real serious, but if they are flying him all the way here it could be with the same shoulder. Our medical director Dr. Guttentag was the one who looked at and okay-ed his shoulder when he was at the combine.