Namestnikov, Vladislav

AHL Game Night: 10-19-12 Crunch at Devils

Tic gets on track.

SYR-3
ALB-2

Dustin Tokarski (pictured) allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for his first victory of the season. That was a very solid rebound performance, especially in the Third Period, after an ugly stat line on opening night. So Tic just raised Riku, and we'll see what Helenius can do tomorrow to answer. It's great to have two really good young goaltenders who are the cusp of making the jump to the bigs pushing each other.

First Period
ALB Hoeffel, (1) (Josefson), 0:58
SYR Johnson, (4) (Palat, Conacher), 7:45 (PP)
ALB Tedenby, (1) (Sestito), 16:44

Second Period
SYR Brown, (1) (Killorn, Namestnikov), 10:44 (PP)
SYR Angelidis, (3) (Barberio, Nightingale), 16:44

Third Period
NO SCORING

Mike Angelidis and Mark Barberio were the game's first and third stars. Tic was robbed.

J.T. Brown scored his first goal as an AHLer to tie the game up in the second stanza.

There's a little rust on this Syracuse team that still needs to be knocked off. The east-west guys are still getting their timing back and the north-south guys, stylistically, are clearly ahead. So, I'd definitely say the Paniks and the Connollys are still feeling things out. It'll come, though. It's good to be 2-0-0-1 knowing these guys aren't close to what they're capable of yet.

For being such a young pup, Vladislav Namestnikov is holding his own. His power play assist from the Hershey game got switched to Cory Conacher shortly after the game, but he got his second helper of the season tonight and looks every bit as feisty as the scouting report says he is, even despite being on the skinny side. It wouldn't shock me, at all, if he had a really good second half once Coach Cooper gets him settled in. There's a slightly built guy wearing #12 for the Crunch who had a similar story last season.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-13-12 Bears at Crunch

Syracuse hangs on hard against one of the league's perennial powers.

HER-3
SYR-4

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 26 shots for the victory, in a successful return to North American hockey. This battle between Helenius and Dustin Tokarski for the top spot between the pipes in Syracuse is going to rage all season, and both guys are going to be better for it. It's an embarrassment of riches to boast two guys who won championships last season in the AHL and Finnish SM-liiga, respectively. Good. Problem. To. Have.

First Period
SYR Angelidis, (2) (Wyman), 11:23 (SH)

Second Period
SYR Johnson, (3) (Conacher, Palat), 5:36
HER Mitchell, (1) , 7:26 (SH)
HER Almeida, (1) (Taffe, DiSalvatore), 14:36
SYR Conacher, (2) (Taormina), 18:44

Third Period
SYR Connolly, (1) (Barberio, Conacher), 5:02 (PP)
HER DiSalvatore, (1) (Kundratek, Taffe), 13:04 (PP)

Cory Conacher (pictured) and Tyler Johnson were the game's first and second stars. For my money, Conacher was the best player in the league the first half of last season and Johnson the best in the second half. Why wouldn't they lead the Crunch in the home opener this year? With a little offseason rest, Conacher looks every bit the pesky scorer that tore up the league to start last year.

Brett Connolly scored the winner to notch his first point of the season. It's only a matter of time until J.T. Brown and Richard Panik follow suit.

No offense to our friends in Hershey, but I have to confess to being a little stunned that this year's version of the Bears is the least stacked, on paper, I've seen in a while. Sure, there's some fine players like Orlov and Holtby, but without the likes of Bourque or Giroux, this year's team lacks the fear factor of many recent editions. It's going to be interesting to see how the division plays out over the course of the season.

The Crunch travel to Albany next on Friday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10-12-12 Crunch at Americans

A Syracuse comeback takes away a point on opening night.

SYR-5
ROC-6 (SO)

Dustin Tokarski allowed 5 goals on 24 shots and 1 of 5 shooters to convert for the shootout loss. That's an ugly stat line for a young man trying to stave off a Riku Helenius challenge for the starting job.

First Period
RCH Tropp, (1) (Hodgson), 0:24
SYR Barberio, (1) (Namestnikov, Killorn), 5:28 (PP)
RCH Tropp, (2) (Adam, Schiestel), 14:52
RCH Foligno, (1) (Porter, Mancari), 16:12

Second Period
RCH Pysyk, (1) (Rankin, Varone), 3:22
SYR Angelidis, (1) (Wyman), 19:14

Third Period
SYR Conacher, (1) (Palat), 1:42
SYR Johnson, (1) (Conacher, Taormina), 8:01
SYR Johnson, (2) (Conacher, Palat), 10:09 (PP)
RCH Mancari, (1) (Brennan, Foligno), 12:42 (PP)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
SYR- None
ROC- Mancari

Cory Conacher (pictured) was the game's second star after posting 1 goal and 2 assists on opening night.Tyler Johnson had a pair of goals and Ondrej Palat also had a multi-point night with a pair of helpers. Youngster Vladislav Namestnikov also posted his first professional point on an assist on Mark Barberio's game opening goal.

I'm stunned that Syracuse threw out a shootout lineup of Palat, Connolly, Panik, Johnson, and Conacher and got nothing. That's five stud prospects with a lot of skill and... nada. I wouldn't have bet on that.

Syracuse outshot Rochester 34-25 in the game, and was very game to come out of a three goal hole to get a point out of the night. When Johnson pulled Syracuse ahead for the first time in the Third Period, you even had to think for a moment that maybe that killer instinct from Norfolk last season was still in effect. There was plenty of good, plenty of bad, and plenty of coachable moments for Jon Cooper to work on the team with after this one.

On to Syracuse tomorrow and the home opener against perennial power Hershey.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Scoring Projections for Lightning Forwards in Syracuse

Despite the large void the NHL lockout created, the hockey season is already long underway. Various amateur and professional leagues throughout North America and Europe have wrapped up their preseasons and are set to begin or are already in the thick of regular season action. 

The Lightning's new AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, open their 2012-2013 season tonight with an impressive roster that boasts the nucleus of last season's Calder Cup-winning roster and an infusion of talent with varying professional experience: (J.T. Brown, Brett Connolly, Danick GauthierRiku Helenius, Dmitry Korobov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Jared Nightingale, Matt Taormina and J.T. Wyman). In the absence of big-league action, watching much of the (currently foreseeable) lifeblood of the Lightning's future skate and bond together is a much-welcomed tonic.

Bolts Increase the Population of Syracuse

The Tampa Bay Lightning assigned 18 players to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL ahead of what appears to be an NHL lockout, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Among the players moving to New York are reigning AHL Most Valuable Player Cory Conacher, former No.6 overall pick Brett Connolly, and last year's late-season signing, J.T. Brown. Others include recently signed prospects Vladislav Namestnikov, Danick Gauthier, Dmitry Korobov, and Riku Helenius. The additions of Connolly, Brown, Namestnikov, and Korobov will make the Crunch a stronger team, which is scary considering they were already among the favorites to claim the Calder Cup.

The full list of new Syracuse residents includes forwards Brown, Conacher, Connolly, Gauthier, Alex Hutchings, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Namestnikov, Ondrej Palat, Richard Panik; defensemen Mark Barberio, Radko Gudas, Korobov, Charles Landry, Dan Milan; and goaltenders Helenius, Dustin Tokarski, and Pat Nagle.

We'll offer some opinions shortly on who could end up in ECHL Florida with the Everblades and who likely stays in Syracuse.

Bolt Prospects 2012 NHL Entry Draft Coverage: Forwards

The strength of the Lightning organization remains at the forward positions, where the team still boasts an impressive mix of star veterans like Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, and Ryan Malone, and the game's best young star, Steven Stamkos. The team will spend some of its offseason tweaking its third line, and they made overtures to Swiss star Damien Brunner to try to improve their scoring depth on the wings. But, ultimately, the team should feel pretty solid offensively. Keeping the puck out of the back of their own net has always been the bigger challenge.

Bolt Prospects 2012 NHL Entry Draft Coverage: Introduction

With the Lightning prospect season finally completed, it is now time to turn our attention to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. While the team's prospect system enjoyed unprecedented success, the team's struggles at the NHL level last season left the Lightning with a draft pick bonanza after a bevy of pre-deadline deals. Heading into the draft, the Lightning currently holds a pair of first round picks, and at least one second round pick following the trade of picks 37 and 50 to Nashville in the Anders Lindback trade.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-27-12

2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup

Shawinigan Cataractes 2 vs London Knights 1 (OT)

C Vladislav Namestnikov , LDN: 0-0-0, -1, 2 SOG, 2 PIM (holding), 0 Hits
MemCup Totals: 4 GP, 2-0-2, -3, 4 PIM
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 4-14-18, +10, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 63 GP, 22-49-71, +15, 50 PIM

Shawinigan won the Memorial Cup for the first time in their history (43 years) when undrafted Russian import player Anton Zlobin, a 40-goal scorer in the regular season, scored late in the first overtime for the Cats. It was Zlobin’s second goal of the game. He will re-enter the draft this year.

Columbus prospect Michael Chaput, a former Flyers draft pick acquired in a trade, was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Lightning prospects Brad Richards and Dustin Tokarski have won it in the past.

Shawinigan was only the second team to win the tiebreaker, semifinals, and finals en route to the championship (Windsor Spitfires).

Current Lightning prospect Vladislav Namestnikov was involved in three prime scoring chances, including one in overtime when he was stationed at the side of the net and he had the puck bounce over his stick. Earlier in the game he set up longtime linemate and former Lightning camper Seth Griffith for a nifty one timer that was saved. Namestnikov used his speed to chase down Coyotes first rounder Brandon Gormley, but instead of beating him to the puck he faked like he was going to challenge for the puck from the inside, then darted around him to the outside, lifted Gormley’s stick, stole the puck, pivoted, and found a trailing Griffith for the shot.

Early in the third period Namestnikov was the victim of a late hit and he hit the boards hard – possibly his head. He remained on the ice for a few minutes before being escorted to the bench by a trainer. He was out on the power play seconds later, but had a bad giveaway then looked shaky on his skates as he prevented a scoring chance at the other end of the rink. He didn’t see the ice again until overtime, and he didn’t look like himself in the extra session.

Next year Namestnikov will be in the AHL or back in the Ontario Hockey League. His skill set, speed, and vision project as first-line quality, but his frame is slender and he will be knocked around easily at the NHL level. Plus, Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman likes his prospects to patiently develop if the situation allows it. Namestnikov is already signed to an NHL contract. He has a long offseason of weight training ahead of him.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-22-12

2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup

London Knights 3 vs Edmonton Oil Kings 1

C Vladislav Namestnikov , LDN: 0-0-0, E, 1 SOG, 0 PIM, 1 Hit
MemCup Totals: 3 GP, 2-0-2, -2, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 4-14-18, +10, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 63 GP, 22-49-71, +15, 50 PIM

London put themselves in position for a possible automatic bid to the Memorial Cup’s championship game with a 3-1 win over WHL champion Edmonton on Tuesday night. Lightning prospect Vladislav Namestnikov was scoreless for the second straight game, though he was 6/8 on faceoffs to help the effort. Ryan Rupert (2012), Bo Horvat (2013), and Greg McKegg (Leafs) scored for London. Rupert’s goal came off a bad turnover by possible Lightning 2012 first round draft pick Griffin Reinhart, arguably Edmonton’s top defensive defenseman. The game was not broadcast on NHL Network in the U.S., but will be shown tomorrow morning on the network. If Saint John beats Shawinigan on Wednesday, London will receive an automatic bid to the finals. If Shawinigan wins, the Cataractes get the automatic bid as they defeated London. The Knights beat Saint John in their first game. At the least, London has a spot in the semifinals. They’ll play the winner of a game between Edmonton and the loser of Saint John and Shawinigan.

Memorial Cup Game Night: 5-20-12

2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup

London Knights 2 vs Shawinigan Cataractes 6

C Vladislav Namestnikov , LDN: 0-0-0, -2, 3 SOG, 0 PIM, 4 Hits
MemCup Totals: 2 GP, 2-0-2, -2, 2 PIM
Playoff Totals: 19 GP, 4-14-18, +10, 18 PIM
Season Totals: 63 GP, 22-49-71, +15, 50 PIM

Desperate for a win after their loss to Edmonton on Friday, Shawinigan came out flying and peppered London goalie Michael Houser with 32 shots, beating him with five. A 33rd shot was scored into an empty net. Lightning prospect Vladislav Namestnikov created several chances for his Knights and nearly scored on a partial breakaway while shorthanded and being hit from both sides in the first period. He remains fearless around the net, throwing his body into traffic if it means it gives his team a better chance of scoring. He led London with 4 hits and was 8 of 11 on faceoffs. The slender-built Russian got caught back on defense while on a power play and was unable to block a Shawinigan shot which ended up in the back of the net for a shorthanded goal. He drew more praise for his skills from the TSN play-by-play crew and dazzled with a few stickhandling moves to get himself in position for a shot. He and former Lightning camper Seth Griffith are showing the chemistry they’ve had all season this week at the Memorial Cup. London plays next on Wednesday against WHL champion Edmonton.

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