Norfolk makes a big time statement.
Cedrick Desjardins allowed 1 goal on 28 shots for the win.
WBS Wallace, (7) (Sterling, Hutchinson), 5:39 (PP)
NOR Durno, (5) (Fornataro), 11:43
NOR Jones, (6) (Vernace, Berry), 0:46
NOR Jones, (7) (Quick, Milam), 12:27
NOR Berry, (3) (Jones, Gudas), 19:19 (EN)
Blair Jones' stat line for the season is becoming borderline ridiculous. The fourth year pro now has 7-9-16 in 12 games with a +7 rating. It's been a very different Blair Jones this season. Last year, after being sent down, his production went in the toilet, just as it did in past seasons. But Jones seems to be working even harder after being sent down this time.
Kevin Quick now has 7 assists in his first 14 games this season and a +7 rating. His AHL career high in points was 9 points in 49 games in 2008-2009. I'm legitimately interested in seeing if Quick continues to improve and starts to knock on the door for an NHL cup of coffee in the second half of this season, because I really believe he's a perfect fit, stylistically, for what Guy Boucher is trying to do in Tampa Bay. Radko Gudas is another guy who, after my trip to Norfolk, I think could really fit what Boucher is doing a year or two down the road. He got his fourth assist tonight in this, his rookie campaign and he's a really nice +8. The guy was a big plus player in junior too, you'll recall, with a +45 in Everett last year.
There's just so many players down in Norfolk legitimately knocking on the door for the NHL, and another wave of guys like Quick and Gudas potentially coming in behind them. It's taken over four seasons, between that last year in Springfield when the 2005 draftees like Jones came in and the three subsequent years in Norfolk, to get to this point, but the future is finally here, and it's exciting times.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Norfolk's weekend has the sour taste of a two point weekend that should have been a four point weekend.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 7 goals on 29 shots for the overtime loss. Rebound control was the culprit. With the exception of the last goal, he was making the first stop and his positioning wasn't bad. But, he was kicking rebounds up the slot and the Admirals defense was not clearing them out. I thought he played better than Desjardins did last night, but neither was acceptable, obviously.
POR Mancari, (7) (Byron), 3:27
NOR Szczechura, (5) (Giliati, Mihalik), 5:36
NOR Roy, (2) (Barberio, Szczechura), 13:27
POR Whitmore, (4) (Turnbull), 2:01
NOR Simek, (3) (Pouliot, Harju), 6:30
NOR Fornataro, (3) (Szczechura, Wright), 13:47
POR Whitmore, (5) (Crawford, Turnbull), 9:36
NOR Wright, (3) (Szczechura, Fornataro), 10:03 (PP)
POR Stuart, (3) (Brennan, Biega), 10:29
NOR Harju, (5) (Simek, Pouliot), 11:28 (PP)
POR Turnbull, (1) (Roloff, Whitmore), 12:59
POR Schiestel, (2) (Roloff, Turnbull), 14:54
POR Gragnani, (3) (Mancari, Biega), 1:05
Paul Szczechura was the game's second star. Juraj Simek was, in my opinion, the best Admiral tonight. He showed excellent hand-eye coordination batting a puck out of air for his goal, and that line he has with Pouliot and Harju in one of the best in the league right now.
Through two periods, the defense was much improved tonight. I don't know if that's a function of Mike Flanagan being back to run the defense after Steve Thomas did it last night, but they were better at taking care of details within five feet of their own blueline, with the exception of Portland's first goal. The last period was just the intersection of a team letting its foot off the gas once Harju scored on a semi-soft goal to make it 6-4 and some bad luck with rebounds going right onto Pirates' sticks. The biggest play of the game was the 2-on-1 goal Portland scored to make it 6-5, where Michael Vernace got completely lost. I'm not surprised he was -3 tonight. He's struggling with his positioning and the way he surrenders the blueline on the rush, they might need to start calling him Versailles.
My revalation of the night was Stefano Giliati, who is a speedy little sparkplug who was either generating scoring chances or popping people all night long. He got his first point as an Admiral tonight, and I was impressed. I'm surprised they don't play him more.
I liked the way rookies Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas played. Barberio ended up a team high +2 along with Mihalik, and although his skating is mediocre, he's outstanding at reading the play in the offensive end. He's a very crafty player. He has a ways to go, but I enjoyed what I saw. Gudas appeared in both games this weekend, and he was quiet for most of five periods of hockey, but he was very visible in the third period tonight. He and Wishart are the only two Admirals who routinely step up at their blueline and give a pop, but what surprised me about Radko was how he carried the puck offensively a couple of times. The skill set is there, and it's real. Like Barberio, he's a couple of years off, but there's something to work with there, and he and Mihalik make a decent little pairing. The reunification of Czechoslovakia going on with that pairing.
It makes me puke that a goaltender as bad as Leggio managed to backdoor his way into two wins this weekend. That's annoying.
I'll be leaving Norfolk tomorrow morning, but I just wanted to close by encouraging Lightning fans to make the trip if you're looking for a weekend trip. This is an entertaining team, with the highest scoring offense in the league, and this is a good town. I enjoy coming to Norfolk because it reminds me a lot of Tampa, and I think you'll feel the same way to if you come up here.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Harju and Durno bite the Pack.
Cedrick Desjardins (The Entertainer) stopped 24 of 25 shots for the win.
HFD Kennedy, (2) (Newbury, Byers), 10:05 (PP)
NOR Durno, (3) (Harju), 1:52
NOR Jones, (3) (Roy, Desjardins), 7:19 (PP)
NOR Angelidis, (2) (Durno, Gudas), 15:33
NOR Milam, (3) (Quick, Wright), 14:25
NOR Jackson, (1) (Harju, Mihalik), 15:10
Norfolk heads to Syracuse Friday night.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have trimmed their roster by 21 players today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. The team now has 28 players in camp. All 21 players will report to the Norfolk Admirals training camp, which begins on Tuesday.
The prospects that were reassigned to Norfolk include forwards Mitch Fadden, Stefano Giliati, Alex Hutchings, Juraj Simek, and the barely graduated James Wright and Paul Szczechura; defensemen Mark Barberio, Radko Gudas, Scott Jackson, Vladimir Mihalik, Kevin Quick, and Ty Wishart; and goaltenders Jaroslav Janus and Dustin Tokarski.
Forwards Matt Fornataro and Tim Marks, who were invited to the Tampa camp as try-outs, have AHL contracts with the Admirals and will join the Lightning organizational players for the opening of the Norfolk training camp on Tuesday.
Angelidis, Fritz, Jones, Mihalik, Simek, and Szczechura must all clear waivers before their reassignment to Norfolk is complete.
Yeah, we at BoltProspects always liked Magnus Paajarvi in his draft year.
Dan Ellis allowed 5 goals on 21 shots for the loss. Ugly stat line.
TB 4:33, Jones 1 (Purcell, Persson)
EDM 15:09, Paajarvi 1 (Belle, Plante)
EDM 18:34, Cogliano 1 (PP) (Foster, Paajarvi)
EDM 6:50, Paajarvi 2 (PP) (Penner, Plante)
EDM 7:57, Hall 1 (PP) (unassisted)
EDM 9:52, Paajarvi 3 (SH) (Foster)
TB 17:19, Ashton 1 (PP) (Wright, Clark)
Not an entirely surprising outcome, I suppose, considering Edmonton had most of its regular skaters going against the Lightning's lower liners, AHLers, and prospects. The only thing really concerning is to allow 5 goals on 21 shots in that scenario. Still, I wouldn't read much into tonight unless they get blown out in Calgary against the Fighting Feasters on Saturday with most of the regulars in.
Carter Ashton had 1 goal and was +1 with 1 shot and a slashing minor in 13:26. I'm of the opinion it would behoove the Lightning to, at the very least, use the 9 game tryout on Ashton. If he can stick on the team and develop over the course of the year, he could give the Lightning a lot of roster flexibility in February.
Brett Connolly was even with 1 shot in 12:13. I think he'll get a contract and then be ushered away to Prince George fairly soon.
Radko Gudas was even with 1 shot in 13:51. I doubt he makes it past the first round of cuts. He needs to get stronger and he needs some seasoning in Norfolk.
Johan Harju was -1 with 1 shot in 13:20. He got more ice time than the 9:30 Linus Omark got for the Oilers. I expect him to be on the bubble another week.
Blair Jones was -1 in 12:53. He could not duplicate what he did against the Hawks, which is the story of Blair's pro career. Probably on the bubble another week.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 with 1 shot and a hooking minor in 16:43. He might survive the first round of cuts, but I doubt he survives the second.
Niklas Persson had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 shots in 16:09. Niklas seems to be on track to make the team. In fact, he might be the first of the bubble guys to move into the safe column.
Dana Tyrell was even with 2 shots in 14:02. He'll stay on the bubble another week, I think.
Michael Vernace was -1 with 1 shot in 22:02. He got a ton of ice time given Boucher's familiarity with him, but he was awful, by all accounts.
Box score from Yahoo! Sports.