The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned prospect right wing Steve Downie and defenseman Ty Wishart to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manage Brian Lawton announced today. Downie's reassignment likely comes as a result of a report in the Columbus Dispatch today that veteran center Chris Gratton has been claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets on re-entry waivers. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had been playing for Nolfolk and he will join the Jackets for the trip to Western Canada which begins on Tuesday in Calgary.
Gratton, 33, is a veteran of 1,086 NHL games, scoring 214 goals and contributing 353 assists. Jackets General manager Scott Howson said the move would not prevent the Jackets from searching for another center before the trade deadline.
Downie, a 5-foot-10, 192-pound native of Newmarket, Ontario, posted one goal and three points with 34 penalty minutes in 11 games after being recalled from Norfolk on January 26. Wishart, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, appeared in three games with the Lightning after being called up on February 16. He registered an NHL career high with 15:52 of ice time last night with Tampa Bay in Carolina.
Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 41 shots in the loss. The Lightning were outshot 41-13 in the contest. Mercy.
08:30 CAR Staal (27), (Samsonov, Ruutu)
01:53 TB Prospal (14), (Halpern)
14:30 CAR Jokinen (7), (Brind'Amour)
03:38 CAR Corvo (10), (Whitney, Samsonov)(PP)
04:17 CAR Corvo (11), (Whitney, Staal)(PP)
The Lightning's penalty kill has been abhorent as of late.
Ty Wishart had 3 hits in 15:52, his highest amount of ice time this season.
Steve Downie had 7 penalty minutes, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 7:03.
Matt Smaby had 2 penalty minutes and was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 23:20. A rare hitless night for the Minneapolis Sledgehammer.
David Koci had 2 penalty minutes and 2 hits in 10:44.
Close, but no cigar.
Karri Ramo allowed just 2 goals on 40 shots in regulation and overtime before surrendering goals to both shooters he faced for the shootout loss. One of his goals during regulation was pretty soft, but it's hard to complain about a .950 save percentage in the game. Unfortunately, the shootout has been really tough for Karri all season, and Patrik Elias absolutely de-jocked Ramo on the game winning shootout goal.
04:33 TB Malone (20), (St. Louis, Lecavalier)
12:55 TB Malone (21), (Lecavalier, Smaby)
02:16 NJ Clarkson (11), (Zubrus)(PP)
01:13 NJ Parise (35), (Zajac, Langenbrunner)(PP)
NJ- Parise, Elias
The effort level tonight from the whole team was much higher than in the Chicago game, and the club actually outpaced New Jersey 41-40 in shots tonight. Steve Eminger played 30:04? Holy cow!
Ty Wishart had 1 blocked shot in 9:05. He's been pretty invisible on this recall. That's good in some ways and not so good in others.
Steve Downie had 1 hit in 8:42.
Matt Smaby had 1 assist, 7 penalty minutes, and was +1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 20:29. He's really coming into his own as an NHL player now.
It's a shame that no one but the young kids showed up.
Karri Ramo allowed 5 goals on 49 shots for the loss. The game could've be 8 or 9 to 3 without Ramo. The Lightning got outshot 19-3 in the first period and 15-7 in the third. That's just hanging your goaltender out to dry. The kid deserved better. He showed flashes of what he was prior to this season's disappointments.
11:53 CHI Keith (7), (Havlat, Seabrook)
12:58 TB Stamkos (8), (Melichar, Krajicek)
10:28 TB Stamkos (9), (Prospal, Roberts)(PP)
11:38 TB Stamkos (10), (Eminger, Prospal)(PP)
19:12 CHI Toews (19), (Kane, Barker)(PP)
01:46 CHI Kane (18), (Campbell, Toews)(PP)
12:46 CHI Bolland (13), (Havlat, Keith)
15:59 CHI Toews (20), (Brouwer, Kane)
The team completely laid down after Stamkos' hat trick. It was bizarre, and sickening. I give him a lot of credit for playing hard to the final horn to break up a potential empty net goal. I wish some of the veterans on the team showed that much pride.
Ty Wishart had 1 shot in 8:02.
Steve Downie had 17 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit in 6:28.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 6 hits and 4 blocked shots in 22:00, which was a high among the defensemen.
At least Ramo got some work.
05:02 WSH Semin (21), (Backstrom)
13:21 WSH Ovechkin (38), (Semin, Backstrom)
19:20 WSHS Morrisonn (2), (Steckel, Gordon)
05:33 WSH Green (22), (Semin)(PP)
09:30 TB Malone (19), (Lecavalier)
13:31 WSH Fehr (8), (Fleischmann)
Two AHL goaltenders and both your best d-men on the shelf is not the way you want to face this Caps team. The Lightning actually had their chances to make a game of it, but Washington's stars finished their chances. The Lightning's did not.
Steve Downie was -1 with 1 shot, hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:49.
Matt Smaby was -3 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 4 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 20:12.
David Koci had 2 shots in 8:43.
Dollars to donuts, Stamkos' penalty shot was in.
Mike McKenna allowed 2 goals on 23 shots for the loss. Tampa Bay outshot the Thrashers 41-24, but a soft goal by McKenna ended up being the margin.
01:24 TB Roberts (4), (Downie, Stamkos)
09:52 ATL Stuart (1), (Perrin)(SH)
02:02 ATL Kozlov (18), (Peverley, Havelid)
19:50 ATL Kovalchuk (23), (unassisted)(EN)
Steve Downie had an assist, 2 shots, and 1 hit in 9:59.
Matt Smaby had 1 shot, 5 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 18:58.
David Koci was +1 with 1 hit in 6:48.
Roberts goes from goat to hero in the span of a couple of nights.
Mike McKenna had a 28 save shutout for his first career NHL win.
13:34 TB Roberts (3), (Eminger, Stamkos)
Roberts, who got played like a fiddle by Matt Cooke to help cost his team a point in the standings against the Pens, tipped in an Eminger point shot for the game winning goal tonight. I sense mayhem on the message boards.
Steve Downie was +1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 9:37. He limped off after getting hit with a puck, so we'll have to see if he's ready to go next time out.
Matt Smaby got himself a 5 for fighting early in the game and also had 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 19:22. Tonight was a really good night for Smaby. He got an opportunity to show the coaching staff what he can do with more ice time, and he was solid. He was even surprisingly good at pinching in and keeping plays alive at the blueline in the offensive zone. I've been extremely impressed since he came back from his injury. It looks to me like he may very well stick this time.
David Koci played 1:31 in the game.
Amazing. Truly a game that Pittsburgh had no business winning.
Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the overtime loss in his first NHL start. He can thank a lazy referee for one of those goals.
15:25 TB Malone (16), (Recchi, Ranger)
05:00 TB St. Louis (19), (Lecavalier, Eminger)
16:52 TB Lecavalier (24), (Prospal, St. Louis)
02:25 PIT Malkin (23), (Dupuis)
14:06 PIT Eaton (2), (Sykora)
16:31 PIT Sykora (20), (Malkin, Crosby)(PP)
04:44 PIT Malkin (24), (Staal, Orpik)
It's the kind of stuff that makes you want to vomit. The Lightning completely controlled this game, and the drip, drip, drip. Paul Ranger with a turnover led to Pittsburgh's first goal. Then Gord Dwyer refuses to try to move on a harmless play around the boards that ends up eventually in the back of the net on a shot by Mark Eaton that bounces off Eminger's shin pad and in. Then Gary Roberts takes an absolutely idiotic penalty flexing his pimp hand on Matt Cooke. Tying goal goes in. Pittsburgh wins it late on a goalmouth scramble. Vomit. So much good effort in this game wasted by bad luck and stupidity by veteran players. Seriously, Gary Roberts got played by Cooke like a violin. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Steve Downie was -1 in 9:15 with 1 shot and 4 hits.
Matt Smaby was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot.
06:27 NYI Hunter (13), (Nielsen, Okposo)(PP)
08:29 NYI Streit (9), (Weight, Comrie)
09:52 NYI Martinek (1), (Park, Witt)
03:05 TB Lecavalier (23), (Recchi, Murphy)(PP)
I think you now readjust your goals for the season to trying to finish with a winning record, but playoffs is likely out of the question. There will be a lot of folks trying to lay tonight's loss at the feet of Karri Ramo, and he did allow two soft goals, but the Lightning only scored 1 goal on an AHL caliber club with Yann Danis in net. That's absolutely unacceptable.
Steve Downie had 2 shots, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot in 7:44. He doesn't play enough, in my opinion.
Matt Smaby had 4 shots and 2 blocked shots in 10:38. He, also, probably doesn't play enough minutes. He absolutely destroyed Blake Comeau and drew a penalty in the process behind the net in the first period tonight.
The NHL league office is a mockery.
07:03 PHI Richards (17), (Knuble, Gagne)
17:55 TB Prospal (13), (Ranger)(PP)
08:05 PHI Jones (2), (Richards, Carle)(PP)
14:41 PHI Richards (18), (Lupul, Jones)
07:59 PHI Carter (31), (Hartnell, Timonen)
10:47 PHI Hartnell (18), (Vaananen, Niittymaki)
13:08 PHI Carter (32), (unassisted)
What do you do when the league won't even allow you to compete? What do you do when you know that any borderline call and Toronto will go get on the phone and rule against you? I am amazed the NHL still hasn't gotten egg all over their face yet for the obvious bias and conflict of interest their decision a few seasons ago to move video replay to a "war room" in Toronto, and the subsequent effect it's had on the objectivity of the video officiating. It's been, what, four seasons now? And, the next borderline call that goes the Lightning's way will be the first. Two nights. Three video goal reviews. Every single damned one of them went against the Lightning.
In the first period, Mark Recchi may have kicked a puck in front of him which he whacked at and touched before it crossed the goal line. It wasn't obvious on video but the audio very clearly registered the sound of Recchi's stick hitting the puck. The goal was called good on the ice by the referee, but the decision was overturned by Toronto, despite a lack of conclusive evidence. In the third period Steven Stamkos batted a puck in on a rebound off Philly's goaltender Antero Nittymaki. The goal was immediately disallowed on the ice as batted in by a stick above the crossbar. This time? Toronto hides behind a lack of conclusive evidence and upholds what the referee's original call was. Same game. Same refs. Same video goal "war room." And the exact opposite calls. The other constant? Both were goals that would've been huge for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Waved off. And, every single person who has followed the Lightning in the past four seasons knew what the outcome of the review would be long before the ref hung up the phone. I mean, hell, 6'9" Zdeno Chara could whack a puck in with a high stick at his eye level three seasons ago and it counted in Toronto's eyes because it was against the Lightning, but 6'1" Steven Stamkos, standing legs apart lower to the ice for balance, bats a puck in at around shoulder height and it's "inconclusive." It's become a joke. They might as well name Vince McMahon the NHL's comissioner at this point.
Steve Downie had 2 penalty minutes, 2 shots, and 3 hits in 11:25. He would've had a helper had Stamkos' goal counted, but that was before Toronto got involved.
Matt Smaby had 2 shots and 2 hits in 13:45. It's striking how comfortable he has looked in these past two games. Have I mentioned I think this league is a joke?
David Koci got in a fight and had 1 blocked shot in 4:08. I wish he'd go to Toronto and slug every biased nitwit manning the "war room."
Now, don't get me wrong. There's no telling how the game might've turned out had either of the goals counted. Antero Nittymaki played a great game, stopping breakaways by Jeff Halpern and Marty St. Louis and a subsequent penalty shot by Marty St. Louis. There's no guarantee a 2-1 Lightning lead would've led to a Lightning victory or that the Lightning cutting a third period deficit to 3-2 would've led to a Lightning comeback. The point is, the league did not even allow the Lightning to compete in this game. They didn't allow the Lightning to have a chance. There was only one outcome possible to this game thanks to Toronto, and that was a victory by Philadelphia. And, that's a farce.