Lightning rookie Conacher comes to NHL with credentials - WFLA News Channel 8

Lightning rookie Conacher comes to NHL with credentials

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Cory Conacher is only 5'8'' just like Martin St. Louis.

Conacher was also undrafted like St. Louis.

He can also score goals like St. Louis.

How often does he hear the comparisons?

"Too much, almost," said Conacher, the Lightning rookie winger. "I like to hear them, obviously. He's an idol to me. But I keep telling people I have a long way to go to be able to live up to his name."

After setting the school scoring record at Canisius College, Conacher took the ice with St. Louis for the first time as last year's Lightning training camp.

"Even meeting St. Louis, not just playing with him, but being in the same dressing room with him was a dream come true," said Conacher. "I work hard because I see what he's done."

Conacher made it to the final cut at last year's camp, but didn't make the team.  "They gave me a good opportunity last year," he said. "I played in three exhibition games. I was not disappointed at all to be sent down."

He was sent to Norfolk, but he played with a purpose. Conacher scored 80 points and won the MVP of the AHL. He helped lead the Norfolk Admirals to the Calder Cup. "What a year it was," he said. "I got the chance to play on a championship team. It was a good first year, a dream of a year."

During the lockout, Conacher got a chance to log more minutes in the minors with the Syracuse Crunch. Again, he was among the team scoring leaders.  He was an easy choice to make the Lightning this year, and in training camp, he was skating on the same line with Vincent Lecavalier, another one of his heroes.

TSN analyst Bob McKenzie even picked Conacher to win this season Calder award, given to the NHL's rookie of the year.

"Hopefully I can show the coaches that I'm ready for that next step," he said.


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