TAMPA BAY, Fla. â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have hired Jon Cooper to be the head coach of the American Hockey Leagueâ€™s Norfolk Admirals today, Admirals General Manager Julien BriseBois announced. Cooper joins the Admirals from the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League.
â€œWe are pleased to announce Jon as the head coach of the Admirals today,â€ BriseBois said upon making the announcement. â€œHe has excelled at a championship level in each location he has coached and we are happy he elected to continue his career in the Lightning organization. Jon is a perfect fit as we strive to restore a winning culture for our players and the fans in Norfolk.â€
Cooper, a native of Prince George, British Columbia, has spent the previous two seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, posting an 84-27-9 record. He also led the Gamblers to two Anderson Cups, awarded to the USHL regular season champions, and one Clark Cup, given to the playoff champions.
â€œI am honored and humbled to be offered this great opportunity with organizations led by first class individuals such as Jeff Vinik, Ken Young, Steve Yzerman, Julien BriseBois and Guy Boucher,â€ Cooper said. â€œWith strong leadership from the ownership level down through both franchises, everyone is working towards making the Lightning and the Admirals an organization to be proud of and Iâ€™m honored that theyâ€™ve asked me to be part of it.â€
During his first season behind the bench in Green Bay, Cooper helped lead the biggest one-year improvement in USHL history after the Gamblers went from 32 points in 2007-08 to 82 points and the USHLâ€™s best record in 2008-09. Cooper was recognized for his efforts following the 2008-09 season, being named the 2009 USHL General Manager of the Year.
Last season Cooper led Green Bay to its second consecutive Anderson Cup as well as the Clark Cup Championship, the teamâ€™s first since 2000. He guided the team to a 45-10-5 record, the best in Gamblersâ€™ 16-year franchise history. Cooper was also awarded the USHL Coach and General Manager of the Year honors.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman and 2010 draft pick Radko Gudas to a three-year, entry level contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. Gudas most recently participated in the Lightningâ€™s 2010 Development Camp, held in Tampa July 10-14.
Gudas, 6-foot, 202 pounds, played in 65 games with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League last season, recording seven goals and 37 points with a plus-45 rating. He led the team in plus/minus and penalty minutes with 151. Gudas also led all Everett defensemen in points and assists. He also skated in three playoff games with the Silvertips, recording two assists.
The blog Latvian Hockey is reporting forward Juraj Simek has been released from his tryout with KHL club Dynamo Riga. Simek, who scored a career high 21 goals and 36 points last season with Norfolk in the AHL, was cut loose after just two exhibition games with the team. Riga's decision may open the door for the Lightning to re-sign the speedy, two-way forward. In three professional seasons in the AHL, Simek had 37 goals and 75 points in 204 regular season games.
Angelis, 25, spent the last four seasons with the Albany River Rats of the AHL, where he amassed 42 goals and 43 assists in 235 regular season games. Prior to his pro career with Albany, the undrafted Angelidis played four seasons with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL, where he received not only the OHL's Dan Snyder Trophy as the league's Humanitarian Player of the Year, but also the award for the entire Canadian Major Juniors. The 6'1" and 210 C/LW scored 78 goals and 54 assists in 240 regular season games for Owen Sound.
Update: The Lightning have confirmed the signing. The official press release is below...
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent center Dominic Moore to a two-year contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
â€œDominicâ€™s skating ability, strength on face-offs and versatility will be a great edition to our line up,â€ Yzerman said. â€œWeâ€™re pleased to welcome him to the organization.â€
Moore, 6-foot, 196 pounds, has played in 374 career NHL games with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens. He has amassed 45 goals, nine power-play goals, three shorthanded goals, three game-winning goals, 128 points and 243 penalty minutes. Moore has also played in 23 career Stanley Cup Playoff games with New York and Montreal.
(Tampa Bay Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Vladimir Mihalik (mih-HAHL-ihk) and signed free agent blue-liners Mathieu Roy (WAH) and Michael Vernace (vuhr-NAYS) to one-year, two-way contracts today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Mihalik, 6-foot-7, 244 pounds, played in 75 games with the Norfolk Admirals last season, recording two goals and 18 points. He ranked third among Admirals defensemen for points and was tied for fourth overall with a plus-6 rating. Mihalik also played in four games with Tampa Bay. Following the regular season he went on to represent his native Slovakia at the IIHF World Championships, where he recorded one goal in six games.
A native of Presov, Slovakia, Mihalik has played in 15 career NHL games, all with the Lightning. During his career he has notched three assists. He has also played in 204 career AHL games, all with Norfolk, recording five goals and 49 points with 193 penalty minutes.
(Lightning press release) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed left wing Chris Durno to a two-way, one-year contract, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Durno, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, played in 41 games with the Colorado Avalanche last season, recording four goals and eight points with a plus-3 rating. He set NHL career highs for games played, goals, assists, points and shots on goal. Durno also appeared in one Stanley Cup Playoff Game with the Avalanche. He has played in 43 career NHL games with Colorado during the previous two seasons.
The Scarborough, Ontario native has played in 293 career American Hockey League games with the Norfolk Admirals, Milwaukee Admirals, Portland Pirates, San Antonio Rampage and Lake Erie Monsters. He has amassed 89 goals and 175 points. He scored 20 goals or more on two occasions (2005-06, 2007-08). Durno played in 17 games with Lake Erie last season, notching 10 goals and 18 points.
Durno has also played in 147 career ECHL games with the Gwinnett Gladiators, registering 52 goals and 124 points. Before joining the professional ranks, Durno played his college career at Michigan Tech where he played in 130 games, recording 22 goals and 48 points.
Latvian media outlet apollo.lv is reporting that Lightning forward prospect Martins Karsums has signed a two-year contract with Dynamo Riga of the KHL. Karsums was loaned to Riga during last season, and has had a somewhat protracted negotiation process this summer to formally sign with his hometown club. Karsums and Riga agreed last week to a letter of intent. Training camp for the 2010-11 season started today and will last until July 30.
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed center Marc-Antoine Pouliot (MAHRK ahn-TWAHN poo-Lâ€™YAHT) to a one-year, two-way contract, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Yzerman also named Wayne Fleming to the position of assistant coach today. Fleming brings more than 30 years of coaching experience, both internationally and at the NHL level, most recently with the Edmonton Oilers.
"We are pleased to make Marc-Antoine a member of the Lightning organization today," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He fits the mold for the type of person we want on our roster and we look forward to seeing what he can show us in training camp this fall. He will add depth at the forward position and has a great chance to become a contributor in Tampa Bay."
"Wayne is a well-known person in the world of hockey," Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher said. "He has an extensive resume both in the NHL and internationally. Wayne brings new information, ideas and a wealth of professional and NHL experience. He is familiar with a number of our current players, having previously coached Lecavalier, St. Louis and others. I needed someone with experience as well as an open mind and he certainly fits that perfectly. I think heâ€™s the perfect fit for our staff.
"Along with Daniel Lacroix and Martin Raymond, there are three key traits that these three gentlemen have in common. They care about people, they have tremendous enthusiasm and their work ethic is unsurpassed."
TAMPA BAY â€“ The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided arbitration with center Nate Thompson today, re-signing him to a one-year contract, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced this afternoon. The restricted free agent had been scheduled for an arbitration hearing on July 22. It is reported the deal is a one-way contract worth $625k, the one-way contract being the important piece Thompson was pursuing with a possible arbitration ruling.
"We are pleased to get Nate signed to his contract today, thereby avoiding the arbitration process," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He will add depth up front for us and getting the contract signing behind him allows Nate to focus on conditioning and preparations for training camp. We are happy to have him back."
Thompson, 6-foot, 207 pounds, played in 32 games with the Lightning last season after being claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders on January 21, 2010, recording a goal and four points. He also stood out in the face-off circle, winning 219 of 385 draws taken (56.9 percent). Before joining the Lightning Thompson had registered a goal and six points with 39 games with New York.? Between Tampa Bay and New York he set career highs for assists with eight, points with 10 and tied his career high with two goals.