So, how have you been? The plan was not to put this post after the last one posted at the end of January. Alas, that is what happened so let’s get to it.
The Syracuse Crunch 2018-2019 season has ended a lot sooner than most fans and followers of the American Hockey League expected. Thus, I am writing this at the beginning of May instead of the middle of June. While that may seem bitter, the season was on all accounts a huge success for the team and some of the players. For a recap, I suggest you head over the this RawCharge article here: It was a very good year for the Syracuse Crunch.
For me though it is all about the photography I so enjoy doing for the Crunch. Here are my favorites since the last time (er, post). I am starting with one which overlaps a bit as it is from December. I discovered this one when a fan asked me for a photo of Ross Colton and this is the one I sent him. I know Ross was impressed when he signed it for the fan.
Syracuse Crunch Ross Colton (22) with the puck against the Binghamton Devils in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, December 7, 2018. Syracuse won 5-0. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/4.2, ISO 1600, EV +1.3, 34mm (51mm DX) Focal Length.
While I wish I could have straightened it more as that would have clipped the end of Ross’ stick, this photo has a lot of elements I love in a hockey photo: flying ice chips, a player’s facial expression and excellent background with the opposing players and goalie.
This next one is why I hope still sport photos never go out of style. The frozen action while static shows a fluid motion as Andy Andreoff (15) was able to redirect the puck over the outstretched glove of Utica Comets goalie Ivan Kulbakov (31).
Syracuse Crunch Andy Andreoff (15) flips the puck over Utica Comets goalie Ivan Kulbakov (31) for a goal in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, February 1, 2019. Syracuse won 4-0.
You may have noticed on the first two photos, I grudged them up a bit with added contrast and clarity to pull out detail in the ice and players. Even us sport photographers like to get creative from time to time.
Hockey players like to get creative, too. Here Laval Rocket Dale Weise (21) is doing his best to not make contact with the puck as kicking it into the net is a no-no. Nevertheless, Crunch goalie Eddie Pasquale (80) was up to the task.
Syracuse Crunch goalie Eddie Pasquale (80) makes a save despite the screen by Laval Rocket Dale Weise (21) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. Syracuse won 4-2. Nikon D500/70-200VRII, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 1400, EV +1.3, 200mm (300mm DX) Focal Length.
Nice pivot, Mr. Weise.
This next photo got me curious as to why these two hockey players on opposing teams might be all smiles in the mist of a scrum along the boards. While I have nothing to go on as Troy Bourke was sent to Orlando before I got a chance to ask him, I believe he and Sam Jardine knew each other from their time with the San Antonio Rampage back in the 2016-2017 season. Or, Referee Brandon Schrader is one funny guy.
Syracuse Crunch Troy Bourke (20) and Toronto Marlies Sam Jardine (25) share a laugh with Referee Brandon Schrader (46) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, February 23, 2019. Toronto won 3-2 in overtime. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +1.6, 140mm (210mm DX) Focal Length.
Either way, it made for a fun and unexpected photo in the middle of a very competitive game.
Here is another flying ice photo, enough said!
Syracuse Crunch Mitchell Stephens (67) checks Lehigh Valley Phantoms Zach Palmquist (7) in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, March 1, 2019. Syracuse won 4-0. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/3.8, ISO 1400, EV 1.6, 23mm (34mm DX) Focal Length.
Again, the wide angle aspect of the Nikon 18-140mm lens comes into play to catch the action.
Many of the players, coaches and people who are around the Crunch daily have remarked how close the 2018-2019 team became over the course of the long season. I think this photo shows that closeness not only between two players but between the fans and their team.
Syracuse Crunch Alexander Volkov (83) and fans celebrate the goal by Cory Conacher (89) against the Utica Comets in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Syracuse won 6-2. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +1.6, 140mm (210mm DX) Focal Length.
This photo also shows my battle with the Syracuse Crunch blue uniform color. To me this is very close to what I see with my eyes. However, if I have to lighten the photo in any way, the blue gets much brighter (see the photos at the beginning of this post as a reference). I created some Lightroom Develop Pre-Sets as the season progressed. Still need some tweaking to get more consistent.
Hockey is a full contact sport. Players of various sizes skate at full speed in the confined 100 wide by 200 long feet of ice. Many collisions happen all the time along the boards which are easy to capture. Mid-ice ones not so much but I did get this one during the short playoff run the Crunch had.
Syracuse Crunch Boris Katchouk (13) and Cleveland Monsters Ryan Collins (6) collide over a loose puck in American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup Playoff action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Friday, April 19, 2019. Cleveland won 5-3. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/6.3, ISO 4000, EV +1.3, 85mm (127mm DX) Focal Length. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/6.3, ISO 4000, EV +1.6, 85mm (127mm DX) Focal Length.
Boris and Ryan here are about the same size and basically stopped each other in mid-stride going for the puck.
I would like to finish this photo recap with two photos of the unsung heros (many fans consider them villains) of each AHL hockey game, the Linesman. These guys skate the whole game and, except for the face-offs at the beginning of each period, handle all the face-offs, call every off-sides and icing and can help out the referees when it comes to a couple of penalties like Too Many Men on the Ice and Delay of Game when the puck leaves the defensive zone without being deflected.
Here Linesman Peter Feola slides into position to determine Crunch Alex Barré-Boulet (12) crossed the Blue Line with the puck on-sides.
Syracuse Crunch Alex Barré-Boulet (12) crosses the Blue Line onside according to Linesman Peter Feola (33) against the Rochester Americans in American Hockey League (AHL) action at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Rochester won 5-2. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +1.6, 140mm (210mm DX) Focal Length.
Linesman also have to be adept at avoiding the puck as players send it up and down the ice. A referee or linesman contacting the puck could alter the play for the benefit or deterrence of one team or the other. Here Linesman Tyson Baker (88) show us his jumping ability. Mind you, this is on skates.
Linesman Tyson Baker (88) jumps to avoid a puck during an American Hockey League (AHL) Calder Cup Playoff game between the Syracuse Crunch and Cleveland Monsters at the War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Nikon D500/18-140VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +1.6, 140mm (210mm DX) Focal Length.
Gee, I wonder if Dunkin’ Donuts would want to use this photo?
That concludes this season of exciting Syracuse Crunch hockey. I will now be covering high school field lacrosse and indoor box lacrosse until baseball starts up in early June. Sigh, I’d rather be shooting hockey. Is it October yet?