Best Of The Web: February 22 – March 1

Friday, 03.01.2013 / 10:55 AM
Peter Pupello  - Lightning Beat Reporter

LITTLE GIANT

Kudos to Lightning rookie forward Cory Conacher, who in his first year in the National Hockey League, has not only burst onto the scene, but now also onto the cover of a magazine.

This past week, Conacher was featured on the cover of The Hockey News, alongside Montreal Canadiens rookies Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

The spread is part of the publication’s rookie issue, showcasing the league’s top first-year players up to this point in the season, with the headline that reads: “The awesome stories behind the NHL’s new big things.”

In all actuality, Conacher is not big at all, at least in stature, as he stands just 5-foot-8. His game, however, seems to fit the description perfectly.

Entering Friday’s games, Conacher leads all NHL rookies with 18 points, coming on seven goals and a league-best 11 assists.

The new-found fame even earned him some early praise from his family, as Kelin Conacher had this on Twitter, as a shout-out to his brother:

“Sweet pic of my bro @conhockey19 on the cover of the Hockey News #LittleGiant #Proud”

Now that I think of it, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Lightning superstar in the making grace the front cover of The Hockey News, is it?

Just ask Steven Stamkos.

GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Syracuse Crunch head coach Jon Cooper may not have certain players with him in the American Hockey League at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he is out of touch with what’s going on regarding his former pupils who are currently with the big club in Tampa Bay.

With Crunch alums Cory Conacher, Alex Killorn, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Keith Aulie and Richard Panik all playing in the NHL, Cooper has become quite the fan from the sidelines since each made the jump from the AHL to the NHL at one point or another this season.

I would guess Cooper regularly keeps in touch with the guys by dialing in a weekly phone call or two, but if one thing is for sure, and it is that he frequently gives each individual a special shout-out every time the player achieves a special milestone with the Lightning.

Here are a few examples:

From @CoopersLaw to @AKillorn19:

“Harvard Degree, check! Calder Cup Ring, check! NHL debut at MSG, check! #Earned”

And, there’s this one:

“Congrats @AKillorn19 on 1st NHL goal #ManyMoreToCome”

And this one:

From @CoopersLaw:

“Panik Attack’s 1st National League goal is a game-winning to energize the Battling Bolts. Congrats, doing us proud!”

And this one, although not to a former Crunch player, but rather to New York Rangers prospect and the son of Lightning player development coach Steve Thomas:

“Congrats on 1st National League game, awesome! Where's the Stump sweeper? Saw the 2 on your stat line and got excited. #MixInAPIM”

That Jon Cooper. What a guy, huh?

STARSTRUCK

Speaking of Lightning rookies, it seems that Cory Conacher had quite a week.

Not only did he land the cover of this week’s issue of The Hockey News, but he also had the opportunity to pose for a picture with former New York Rangers defenseman and Hockey Hall-Of-Famer Brian Leetch.

The photo can be seen here, followed by this accompanying Tweet from @conhockey19:

“Got to meet one of the greatest d mans of all time tonight, even better it was with an old linemate”

Just think, one day some other rookie might just be posing for photos with Conacher.

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