UPDATE: The Lightning have confirmed the signing of Simek to a one-year, two-way contract.
Reports surfaced just a few days ago that Simek had been cut from his try-out agreement with Dynamo Riga of the KHL after the team's second exhibition game. At that time, Latvian hockey news outlet icebox.lv was reporting that Simek intended to return to the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning's AHL affiliate he had been playing for since the Bolts acquired him in 2008 along with Lukas Krajicek for Shane O'Brien and Michel Ouellet.
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...