Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blair Yaworski and his debut Pro Hockey Year

Yale Guy Upbeat
Yaworski trusts his chance will come
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
By Lindsay Kramer
Staff writer

When his Syracuse Crunch teammates want to make rookie forward Blair Yaworski mad, they call him by the nickname of "Harvard."

Yaworski has nothing against that school, except that he graduated from Yale.

"It's similar to calling me a bad name," he said before practice Tuesday. "But I take it. I like to have a little bit of fun with it."

At least one other moniker is more appropriate for Yaworski survivor. For now, he seems to have won the right to stick with Syracuse as part of its safety net up front. But as is the case with all depth players, that's always a day-to-day proposition.

Yaworski was a free agent coming out of school, and he showed enough in the Crunch's preseason to earn an AHL/ECHL deal. While other potential depth players were released or sent down, Yaworski kept his head low and plugged away in Syracuse. He has played in 13 of the Crunch's 16 games, mostly as a fourth-liner.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't have a clue," Yaworski said of his status. "It's a little bit stressful. It can be the last shift in the game, or the last shift in the AHL. You don't want to make a negative impact on your team."

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Yaworski is pointless so far, though Syracuse coach Ross Yates insists he has shown offensive skills in practice. Displaying those in a game is another issue though, especially since power plays and penalty kills cut into what normally would be Yaworski's even-strength shifts.

The normal steady run of injuries and callups have made Yaworski's place on the roster at least somewhat secure for now. But until he gets a chance to show his potential in meaningful minutes, he has to approach practices as his own personal games.

"I do my job when called upon in a game. If I don't get a whole lot of ice time in a game, practice means that much more to me," he said. "I may be sitting in the weeds. It's a long season. My chance will come."

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