Springfield Falcons

Content regarding the Springfield Falcons organization.

Falcons To Name New Coach Monday

According to the [i]Springfield Republican[/i], the Tampa Bay Lightning and Springfield Falcons will introduce the Falcons' new coach on Monday, May 22. The press conference, which is open to the public, will be hosted by Springfield GM Bruce Landon, Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster, and Tampa Bay Assistant GM Claude Loiselle. No one in the Lightning or Falcons front offices are leaking the identity of Dirk Graham's replacement, only saying that Feaster had final say on the coach and Landon has called him "an outstanding individual." Among the coaches speculated to be named are former Peoria Rivermen coach Steve Pleau, Owen Sound (Ontario Hockey League) coach Mike Stothers, Iowa Stars assistant Paul Jerrard, and former Falcons assistant Gord Dineen. The press conference will be held at 1 p.m. EST at Springfield's MassMutual Center.

Lightning Confirm Talks Underway With Three Prospects

Bolt Prospects has received confirmation from the Lightning that they have entered contract talks with three prospects: C [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url], LW [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] and G [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url]. Jones, who turns 20 in September, [i]would[/i] be elligible to suit up for Springfield next season should he and the Lightning reach agreement on an entry level deal. We're told all three prospects' talks are proceeding slowly due to financial differences. Of the three, only Keller must be signed by June 1st to avoid re-entry into the draft. Jones, who stands at 6'2" 195 lbs, finished 6th in the WHL in scoring for Moose Jaw this season posting 35 goals and 85 points in 72 games en route to being named a Second Team WHL All Eastern Conference Team selection. Jones also finished second in WHL playoff scoring with 9 goals and 21 points in 22 games. Justin Keller finished 5th in the WHL in scoring this year with 88 points and first in goals with 51. The Kelowna Rocket winger was the Western Conference nominee for WHL Player of the Year and named First Team WHL All Western Conference. Karri Ramo helped HPK capture the Finnish SM-liiga championship. The young goaltender was 7th in the league in save percentage (5th amongst goaltenders with 10 or more appearances) with a .929 mark and also had a 2.16 GAA. Ramo also appeared for Finland in the U-20 World Junior Championships.

Steve Pleau to Springfield?

According to the Peoria Journal Star Head Coach Steve Pleau of the Peoria Rivermen [url=http://www.pjstar.com/stories/051106/RIV_B9PGUQC1.077.shtml]has decided not to return as the team's coach next season and is said to be interested in pursuing the vacancy in Springfield.[/url] Peoria finished 46-26-3-5 last season, Pleau's first as a head coach, good for 100 points and third in the AHL Western Conference's ultra tough West Division. Pleau had spent 7 years as the assistant coach with Worcester and has spent 8 years in total coaching at the AHL level for the St. Louis Blues organization. His father Larry Pleau is the Blues GM. Steve Pleau will not be able to speak to the Lightning, however, until his contract expires with the Blues on July 1st.

Evaluating Springfield

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The 2005-2006 Springfield Falcons finished with a 28-48-4-3 record for 65 points, which placed the team 6th in the Atlantic Division and 12th of 13 teams in the Eastern Conference a full 20 points out of a playoff spot. The season was a modest 8 point improvement over last year's team which finished 24-47-3-6 with 57 points. At year's end Head Coach Dirk Graham and Assistant Coach Phil Russell were dismissed from the team.

Playoff Taxi Squad, Rumble and Andreychuk

The St. Pete Times is reporting that the Lightning have summoned several of its players from Springfield to join the club as its taxi squad for the playoffs. [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url], [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url], Norm Milley, Jason Jaspers, Zdenek Blatny, [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url], Mitch Fritz, [url=doug-obrien]Doug O'Brien[/url] and [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] will practice in parallel with the team as the playoffs go forward. In the article, Tom Jones also states that Darren Rumble will stay in Springfield as an assistant next season but that he is not a candidate for head coach. In addition, GM Jay Feaster sinks the sentimental idea of Dave Andreychuk becoming Falcons head coach because the team is looking for an experienced bench boss and because Andreychuk simply has no interest in coaching. If the Lightning are looking to promote from within, that points to only two people: Bill Barber (unlikely) or Johnstown head man Frank Anzalone.

Vesce Named AHL Rookie of the Month

Although it feels somewhat like a posthumous medal with the Falcons out of playoff contention, Ryan Vesce [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox2989.shtml]has been named AHL Rookie of the Month.[/url] Vesce had 3 goals and 12 points in the final 9 games of the Falcons' season.

Falcons Announce Award Winners

The Falcons annual award winners [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox2987.shtml]were named this weekend.[/url] The mood of the franchise is no doubt somber after a disappointing season and the dismissal of Coach Graham and Coach Russell, but the following players can take some pride in the honors they've earned: Unsung Hero (Flo Kurdziel) Award: Norm Milley Good Sportsmanship (Kay MacDonald) Award: Ryan Vesce Best Defensive Player (Fred Cowell) Award: Dan Cavanaugh Courage, Determination and Work Ethic (Dick Casey) Award: [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url] Good Guy (Jim Denver) Award: Mitch Fritz Player's Player (Roland Brault) Award: Mitch Fritz Winger of the Year: [url=marek-kvapil]Marek Kvapil[/url] Fan Favorite (Furmano’s Foods) Award: Jason Jaspers Most Valuable Player (Ross Lowe Memorial) Award: Jason Jaspers

Graham/Russell Dismissed

Springfield Falcons head coach Dirk Graham [url=http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGBP9DDX4ME.html]has been relieved of his duties by the Tampa Bay Lightning[/url] according to the Tampa Tribune. In addition, the club will not renew the contract of assistant coach Phil Russell. Graham has been given the option of taking another job in the organization.

Game Night: 4/15 Pirates at Falcons

The Springfield Falcons finished the season today 28-43-3-6 with 65 points, *good* for 6th in the Atlantic Division. POR-6 SPR-4 [url=gerald-coleman]Gerald Coleman[/url] was run from the game after allowing 4 goals 12 shots faced in the first period. Rookie Gabe Winer went the rest of the way stopping 17 of 19 shots faced. Ryan Vesce led the way with 2 assists for the Falcons to finish first on the team in scoring. Goals were scored by [url=darren-reid]Darren Reid[/url], his 8th of the season, Zdenek Blatny, Kevin Croxton and Norm Milley. [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] had an assist in the game while Mike Ouelette also had a helper which was his first professional point. Bolt Prospects will do a more comprehensive write up on the Falcons season soon. Game sheet from [url=http://ahl.leaguestat.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1002105]TheAHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 4/14: Falcons at Pirates

One more game left to go... SPR-1 POR-3 Gabe Winer actually did pretty well in his AHL debut stopping 39 of 42 shots faced. [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] scored the Falcons' lone goal, his 14th of the season, on the power play. He'll be a member of the Lightning's playoff taxi squad. Positive thinking. Game sheet from [url=http://ahl.leaguestat.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1002090]TheAHL.com.[/url]
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