Friday night’s game will be the first time that last year’s Calder Cup champions return to the city they won it for. Coach Jon Cooper and nearly the entire team moved to Syracuse after Tampa Bay changed their AHL affiliate in the offseason.
Here are a few thoughts from the team (courtesy of Lindsay Kramer of the Syracuse Post-Standard):
Mark Barberio: “I think the fans will be happy to see us. I don’t think there are any hard feelings from the fans to the players.”
PC Labrie: “I don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, they won’t boo us.”
Tyler Johnson: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen the away locker room in that building. I might be a little lost.”
Coach Jon Cooper: “All we were doing here (when Norfolk visited Syracuse) was looking at the jerseys (of Norfolk). Now it will be the fans, the building, the people we worked with. This will be a tough one.”
The Crunch sit atop the East Division with a 20-7-2-3 record while the Admirals are pulling up the rear with a 14-15-1-0 record. The reunion will no doubt be special, but the Crunch players and staff are surely looking to start 2013 on the right foot and can’t take this weekend’s games lightly.