The following are the official statistics for Lightning prospects playing within the Canadian Hockey League as of January 23, 2006. Leading the way are possible future linemates Stan Lascek, whoâ€™s second in the QMJHL in points and first in assists, and Justin Keller, whoâ€™s second in the WHL in points and first in goals.
Stanislav Lascek, RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL): 42GP, 30-63*-93, 60PIM, (+28), 12 PPG, 3 SHG
Justin Keller, RW, Kelowna (WHL): 46GP, 37*-26-63, 56PIM, (+7), 14 PPG, 1 SHG
Radek Smolenak, LW, Kingston (OHL): 42GP, 27-26-53, 76PIM, (+6), 8 PPG, 1 SHG
Blair Jones, C, Moose Jaw (WHL): 45GP, 19-28-47, 43PIM, (+7), 10 PPG, 1 SHG
Whatever momentum this team built up in Friday and Saturday's victories, it was quickly halted today.
Gerald Coleman was shelled allowing 8 goals on 32 shots faced. After a great first couple of months to his pro career, Coleman's record is now under .500 and he has an abyssmal .880 save percentage. Honest question: exactly what was served by making a 21 year old goaltender stay in the third period of a snowman shellacking? Does this organization want to ruin this young man's confidence? What is clear at this point is that the Tampa Bay Lightning made a huge mistake not signing a veteran AHLer to tandem with Brian Eklund in Springfield. As a consequence, you have two young netminders in Springfield who are reeling, and the only recourse this club has is to call up one of two equally inexperienced young netminders both of whom are also struggling because of the roster shuffling in Johnstown. I blogged about this before the season and I hope this is a lesson learned: you cannot underestimate the importance of veteran mentorship and patience in developing young goaltenders. The way the Lightning handled the early part of Brian Eklund's career should have been the model for the way they handled Coleman and Boutin. They may pay dearly in the long run for trying to force these young men, especially Coleman, do too much too soon in their careers.
Marek Kvapil scored his 10th goal of the season on the power play. Hopefully he can continue to improve and hit that 20 goal mark by the end of the regular season. And in another positive development: Gerard Dicaire had a power play assist putting him at 2 points in his 4 games back from Johnstown. It cannot be underestimated just how much the Lightning organization would benefit from Dicaire reemerging as a prospect to the level he was at in his first camp. Chris Dingman scored Springfield's second goal with a helper going to Doug O'Brien. Here's another guy I'd like to see continue to ratchet up his game and go for that 30 point plateau.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Due to an injury to Cody Rudkowsky, Jonathan Boutin has been named the starter for the ECHL All-Star Game for the American Conference. The game will take place January 25th in Fresno, CA.
Morgan Cey stopped 27 of 34 shots faced in the loss. Justin Kelly paced the Chiefs with a goal and an assist.
Post mortem at ECHL.com.
A little confidence goes a long way.
Springfield dominated outshooting Lowell 33-18. Brian Eklund got back-to-back wins stopping 16 of 18 shots faced. It looks now like he has regained the starter's job from upstart Gerald Coleman. Marek Kvapil scored the overtime game winner to go with an assist on Dan Cavanaugh's game opening goal. Lightning prospects Dennis Packard, Gerard Dicaire and Doug O'Brien also had helpers in the game. For Dicaire, it was his first AHL point of the season.
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.