Wright, James

CHL Game Night: 1-29-10

QMJHL

Acadie-Bathurst Titan 3 @ Moncton Wildcats 6
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-2-2, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season Totals: 47 GP, 11-33-44, +29, 48 PIM

Barberio has 19 points in his last 14 games. He’s within two points of his career high (46), set two seasons ago in 70 games. Moncton, which scored four times on the power play, has won 12 straight.

OHL

Barrie Colts 4 @ Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 0
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 48 GP, 32-23-55, +31, 38 PIM

This was a big win for conference-leading Barrie over their closest competitor in the East (10 points back).

Kitchener Rangers 5 @ Sudbury Wolves 2
W Matias Sointu, SBY: 1-0-1, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 33 GP, 6-9-15, -1, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 12 GP, 3-2-5, -6, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM

Sointu scored his first goal since December 17, but thanks to the WJCs and time missed with injury, that was only four games ago for him.

Oshawa Generals 0 @ Ottawa 67’s 6
G Michael Zador, OSH: Loss, 6 saves on 9 shots
Season Totals: 34 GP, 13-16-2-1, 3.45 GAA, .897 sv%, 2 SO

Zador had won two in a row, but couldn’t make it out of the first period at East Division-leading Ottawa. Kevin Balie allowed three goals on 33 shots the rest of the way. Oshawa sits in sixth in the Eastern Conference.

WHL

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 @ Regina Pats 3
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 1-0-1, +1, 5 PIM (fighting vs. Spencer Edwards), *Third Star*
Season Totals: 45 GP, 19-20-39, -7, 82 PIM
With Regina: 17 GP, 6-7-13, +1, 30 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

Ashton (pictured) scored the game winner with 94 seconds left in the third period. The Pats are on a 6-0-0-1 streak and are within five points of the conference’s eighth spot with a game in hand on the two teams holding that position.

Vancouver Giants 2 @ Kamloops Blazers 1 (SO)
C James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

Wright started the game on a line with Lance Bouma (Flames 3/2008) and Tomas Vincour (Stars 5/2009). He was wearing his familiar No.19, which was taken before his arrival from Tampa. The Giants got a late goal from Vincour, then won the shootout 2-1 to break a losing streak.

CHL Game Night: 1-24-10

QMJHL

Moncton Wildcats 5 @ Quebec Remparts 2
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-1-1, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season Totals: 45 GP, 10-30-40, +28, 48 PIM

Barberio has points in 11 of his last 12 games. Moncton completed the weekend road trip through Quebec 3-0, with all their wins coming in convincing fashion. Barberio hit 40 points for the third straight season, though he’s well on pace to smash his career high of 46 points set in 70 games two years ago.

OHL

Sudbury Wolves 3 @ Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 5
W Matias Sointu, SBY: Did not play (injured).
Season Totals: 31 GP, 5-9-14, E, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 10 GP, 2-2-4, -5, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM

Saginaw Spirit 0 @ Oshawa Generals 3
G Michael Zador, OSH: Win, shutout, 32 saves on 32 shots, *First Star*
Season Totals: 32 GP, 12-15-2-1, 3.47 GAA, .897 sv%, 2 SO

A huge performance for Zador, and he did it for a team that can’t seem to close the floodgates when it comes to the opposition scoring. The win breaks a personal six-game losing streak for Zador. It’s his second career shutout, and first since a 37-save performance on October 9 against Erie.

WHL

Regina Pats vs. Kootenay Ice (Postponed)
RW Carter Ashton, REG:
Season Totals: 44 GP, 18-20-38, -8, 77 PIM
With Regina: 16 GP, 5-7-12, E, 25 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

This game was postponed due to extreme weather and travel conditions.

Vancouver Giants 1 @ Portland Winterhawks 3
C James Wright, VAN: Did not play.
08-09 Season: 71 GP, 21-26-47, +26, 54 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

Wright is expected to (re-)join the Giants this week after being assigned to Vancouver by Tampa Bay. An interesting perspective on the James Wright story was posted on the Vancouver Sun’s web site: The Wright man for the Giants, but the wrong time for NHL career

CHL Game Night: 1-22-10

QMJHL

Moncton Wildcats 6 @ Victoriaville Tigres 2
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 1-0-1, +2, 2 PIM, 5 SOG
Season Totals: 43 GP, 10-26-36, +29, 46 PIM

Barberio has points in nine of his last 10 games. After a slow start, he’s been very consistent this season and could be heading toward an NHL contract. He’s within 10 points of his career high, set two seasons ago in 70 games. Moncton has won eight in a row and 17 of their past 19. This was an impressive, dominant road win over a team ranked No.6 in the entire CHL.

OHL

Belleville Bulls 0 @ Ottawa 67’s 3
C Richard Panik, BEL: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 39 GP, 11-10-21, +8, 29 PIM
With Bulls: 6 GP, 2-1-3, -7, 10 PIM
With Windsor: 33 GP, 9-9-18, +15, 19 PIM

RW Kyle DeCoste, BEL: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM (tripping)
Season Totals: 41 GP, 13-8-21, -9, 39 PIM
With Bulls: 28 GP, 11-7-18, -7, 21 PIM
With SSM: 13 GP, 2-1-3, -2, 20 PIM

DeCoste was at or a near a point-per-game pace well after the trade from the Soo to Belleville, but he’s since fallen well off that pace. He hasn’t had a point in six games. Panik, meanwhile, hasn’t scored in three. Ottawa outshot Belleville 34-18.

Barrie Colts 6 @ Sudbury Wolves 4
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, *First Star*
Season Totals: 45 GP, 30-23-53, +30, 38 PIM
W Matias Sointu, SBY: Did not play (injured).
Season Totals: 31 GP, 5-9-14, E, 12 PIM
With Sudbury: 10 GP, 2-2-4, -5, 6 PIM
With Ottawa: 21 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 6 PIM

Hutchings (pictured) was back on the scoresheet with another multi-goal game – his seventh of the season. He hit 30 goals for the second time in his career. He’s four off his career high for goals (34), set last season in 63 games. As for Sointu, it was reported this week the injury he sustained at the WJCs was the result of a puck to the face. Ouch.

Oshawa Generals 3 @ Kingston Frontenacs 6
G Michael Zador, OSH: 14 saves on 15 shots
Season Totals: 31 GP, 11-15-2-1, 3.59 GAA, .894 sv%, 1 SO

Zador didn’t start the game, but was admirable in relief of starter Kevin Bailie, who allowed four goals on 11 shots. Kingston added an empty netter late.

WHL

Swift Current Broncos 5 @ Regina Pats 6 (SO)
RW Carter Ashton, REG: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
Season Totals: 43 GP, 18-18-36, -10, 77 PIM
With Regina: 15 GP, 5-5-10, -2, 25 PIM
With Lethbridge: 28 GP, 13-13-26, -8, 52 PIM

Regina got at least a point in their fifth game in a row, a streak which has included two shootout wins over the Broncos. Swift Current (51 points) is ninth in the Eastern Conference and Regina (46 points) 10th. They’re both chasing eighth-place Red Deer (52 points).

Vancouver Giants 2 @ Tri-City Americans 4
C James Wright, VAN: Did not play.
08-09 Season: 71 GP, 21-26-47, +26, 54 PIM
With Tampa Bay: 43 GP, 2-3-5, -9, 18 PIM

Wright is expected to (re-)join the Giants next week after being assigned to Vancouver by Tampa Bay. The Giants (29-18-1-2) are currently leading the B.C. Division and as a result are the second seed in the Western Conference behind the Americans.

Lightning Return James Wright to WHL; Claim Nate Thompson Off Waivers

Steve Ewen of the Dub Hub is reporting that forward James Wright has been reassigned to his junior team, the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. From the Dub Hub phone interview with Wright, "I'm disappointed to be sent home. Any hockey player is disappointed when he doesn't make the team. But I'm going to try to keep a good head on my shoulders and play hard. They [Lightning] need to make the playoffs and this it the route they're going and it's hard for me but I do understand." Wright doesn't turn 20 until March 24th, so he is currently ineligible to be assigned to the Norfolk Admirals.

Earlier today, the Bolts claimed LW/C Nate Thompson off of waivers from the New York Islanders. Thompson, a 2003 6th round pick of the Boston Bruins signed a three-year entry level contract with the Bruins in 2005, but was claimed off waivers by the Islanders in October 2008. This past summer the Islanders resigned Thompson to a one-year contract.

NHL Game Night: 1-6-10 Lightning at Sabres

The Lightning shouldn't be down 3-0 before I unwrap my sub sandwich. Seriously.

TB-3
BUF-5

Mike Smith allowed 5 goals on 35 shots. I'm going to make a bold prediction that he won't be one of the NHL's weekly three stars in back-to-back weeks.

First Period
BUF 0:23, Myers 4 (Connolly)
BUF 1:11, Hecht 9 (Rivet, Tallinder)
BUF 2:11, MacArthur 11 (Mair, Lydman)
TB 12:03, St. Louis 10 (Stamkos, Malone)
TB 13:25, Hedman 4 (unassisted)

Second Period
BUF 1:19, Stafford 10 (Roy, Rivet)(PP)
TB 5:34, Lecavalier 10 (Downie, Lundin)
BUF 7:25, Pominville 11 (Lydman, Connolly)

Third Period
NO SCORING

I give the Lightning credit for not laying down after falling behind so much, so early. However, you've got to be more prepared to play a hockey game and you've got to protect the front of your net better.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 1 shot, 4 hits, and he was 78% on draws in 9:06. He picked off a Ryan Miller clear and almost assisted on Jones' first goal of the season. No dice, though. Still, it was a nice play. Tonight was Konopka's 41st game of the season, which graduates him from overage prospect status on Bolt Prospects. So, congratulations to Zenon Konopka on becoming an NHLer.

Paul Szczechura had 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 12:43.

James Wright was scoreless in 9:31. Tonight was also Wright's 41st game of the season, which graduates him from prospect status on Bolt Prospects. Congratulations to the pride of Saskatoon on becoming an NHLer.

Blair Jones had 4 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 10:53. That first goal of the season seems close.

Victor Hedman scored a highlight reel goal and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 20:48. He made a bad little turnover close to his own blueline, used his speed and reach to recover and break up a pass, and then swooped from his zone into the Buffalo zone and sizzled a snap shot right past Miller to get the game to 3-2. It was an amazing individual effort, and 6'6" 230 lbs guys shouldn't be able to skate that well. That's the second or third time this season he's taken over a rush a la Dan Boyle and created a goal with his speed and skill. Hedman's next game will graduate him from prospect status on Bolt Prospects.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Day: 1-2-10 Penguins at Lightning

The Lightning start 2010 with a signature victory.

PIT-1
TB-3

Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 26 shots for the win. He got the benefit of three posts and the goal he allowed was off a bad rebound, but who cares? Just win, baby.

First Period
TB 1:03, St. Louis 9 (Ohlund, Stamkos)
PIT 17:15, Guerin 13 (Staal, McKee)

Second Period
TB 14:26, Konopka 2 (Downie, Stamkos)

Third Period
TB 7:11, Downie 8 (Ohlund, Lecavalier)

So the Lightning reach the halfway point of the season at 16-15-10, 1 game over .500 with 42 points in the standings. They're now just a single point out of eighth in the East and they currently sit alone in 9th place pending the outcome of Atlanta's game against the Isles tonight.

Want to win a city over? Tomorrow is the Bucs last game of the season. The Rays don't start Spring Training up for a little while. The Lightning are about to have the stage to themselves and they went out and thumped the defending Stanley Cup champs in front of a crowd of 20,000+ in a very entertaining style of game. That's a signature victory and a good way to pull the partisans in for the second half. The Lightning will need the support, because they'll need to crank it up even more in the second half to make the postseason. I suspect it'll take 92-94 points to get in. Right now they're on a pace for 84. No rest for the wicked.

It's been like a breath of fresh air since Jones was recalled and Krajicek was sent down and the roster finally took, more or less, the shape I think most of us expected it to at the start of the season (sans, of course, Paul Ranger). Having the youthful physicality of guys like Jones and Matt Smaby (+1 with 3 hits tonight and didn't mind telling Ruslan Fedotenko what to do with himself at one point during the game) has started to give the Lightning the personalty it was lacking for the first third of the season. I'm fine with it being a young team and I'm fine with there being a few more mistakes, because I think having some more jam and some more hustle helps light a fire under the whole team. This is going to be an exciting second half to watch unfold. I don't think we're going to be talking about lottery position come March this year.

Zenon Konopka had a goal and 2 penalty minutes to go along with 2 shots, 1 hit, and a 57% faceoff percentage in 8:31. Game winning goal! Konopka will graduate from overage prospect status on Bolt Prospects in his next game. It's hard not to love the guy.

Paul Szczechura had 4 shots, 1 hit, 2 blocked shots, and he was 22% on draws. The turning point of the game, in my opinion, was a second period penalty kill where Szczechura's group was on for the full two minutes and Paul was forced to play without a stick. He showed incredible athleticism to stay in passsing and shooting lanes and he actually got his feet on a couple of Penguins attempts. I think you could see the Lightning's energy level go to 11 after they killed that penalty off, and Konopka scored the winner shortly thereafter.

James Wright was -1 in 6:13. He will graduate from prospect status here on Bolt Prospects in his next game.

Blair Jones had 3 shots and 1 hit in 13:13. The goals are going to come. He could've had one in the third period on a rebound off a Szczechura slap shot, but Fleury was very quick to stop the bid. If he keeps getting 3-4 shots a game, though, they're going to start going in. He's got a very good shot. Ask the Admirals fans.

Victor Hedman was -1 with 1 hit in 22:37. Big Victor is 2 games away from graduation here on Bolt Prospects. In other words, expect the new Midterm Rankings soon.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-30-09 Canadiens at Lightning

Tough to lose a 2-1 game in OT.

MTL-2
TB-1 (OT)

Mike Smith allowed 2 goals on 35 shots for the overtime loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
MTL 9:53, Gionta 9 (Markov, Gomez)

Third Period
TB 3:52, Foster 6 (Hedman, St. Louis)

Overtime
MTL 3:32, Plekanec 9 (Cammalleri)

The Lightning are now one game away from the midway point of the season and still sitting on a .500 record. The point tonight moves the team into a four way tie for 8th in the East with Philly, Atlanta, and the Rangers. That's the good news. The bad news is that the team's on an 82 point pace. That won't hold up if the goal is to make the playoffs. Last season it took 93 points to make the postseason in the East (91 in the West).

Zenon Konopka had 1 shot, 1 blocked shot, and was 89% on draws in 8:02.

Paul Szczechura had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 13:15.

James Wright was -1 with 1 hit in 8:01.

Blair Jones had 4 shots and 1 blocked shot in 15:48.

Victor Hedman had a helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 2 blocked shots in 22:27.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-28-09 Bruins at Lightning

Back to .500 with the biggest win of the season.

BOS-1
TB-2

Mike Smith allowed 1 goal on 32 shots for the win.

First Period
TB 18:59, Tanguay 6 (Lecavalier, Foster)

Second Period
TB 19:48, St. Louis 8 (Foster, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
BOS 12:30, Sturm 12 (Savard, Chara)

We're two games away from the midway point of the season and the Lightning have squared up their record at .500, just a few points out of 8th in the playoff chase.

Zenon Konopka had 5 penalty minutes in 7:20. Konopka is 3 games away from graduation here on Bolt Prospects.

Paul Szczechura had 2 blocked shots and was 58% on draws in 14:07.

James Wright had 1 hit in 6:28. Wright is now 3 games away from graduation here on BP.

Blair Jones had 4 shots, 1 hit, and 3 blocked shots in 14:42. I loves me some Blair Jones.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, and 2 hits in 21:07. Hedman is now 4 games away from graduation here on BP.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-26-09 Thrashers at Lightning

Steve Downie doles out coal to the visiting team.

ATL-3
TB-4

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 27 shots for the win.

First Period
ATL 11:48, Antropov 10 (Kovalchuk, Afinogenov)
TB 13:34, Downie 7 (Lecavalier, Ohlund)

Second Period
TB 4:44, Lundin 1 (Lecavalier)
ATL 16:54, Reasoner 3 (Hainsey, Bogosian)

Third Period
TB 5:04, Tanguay 5 (Downie, Lecavalier)
TB 6:45, Malone 19 (St. Louis, Stamkos)
ATL 16:50, Kovalchuk 22 (Antropov, Bogosian)

The Lightning played a near flawless third holding the Thrashers to 0 shots for over 3/4 of the final frame before giving the obligatory cheap goal to Kovalchuk. Fortunately they'd already staked themselves to a two goal lead, thanks in part to the play of Steve Downie, who had 1 goal and 1 assist. Downie also made a key clear with a little under a minute left in regulation. He's starting to come on now, and if he keeps it up he could find himself with a nice little 40-50 point campaign at the end of the year. Future looks bright.

Speaking of which, Matt Smaby: 7 hits. He's not fancy. He's not pretty. He's a blunt instrument, like a hammer, and you need to have guys like that to be successful. I'll take one Matt Smaby over a dozen smallish figure skaters like Lukas Krajicek, because Smaby can change the tone of a game with the way he plays. For instance, he folded up Evander Kane's shoulder like an Oragami crane in the third simply by locking up Evander, leaning on him, and finishing his check with authority. It was not a flashy play. He didn't break the glass. But he knocked Kane out for a couple of shifts.

Zenon Konopka was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 2 blocked shots.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot, 1 blocked shot, and was 50% on draws in 16:04.

James Wright had 7 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 9:31. He actually picked a fight with 12 foot tall Boris Valabik. Brave? Certainly? Smart? Lets just say that, in my opinion, a guy like Little or Kane would've been more in his weight class. Thank goodness the linesmen stepped in fast.

Blair Jones was +1 with 2 blocked shots in 14:10. He had his stick in the passing lanes all night long and he was absolutely driving the Thrashers insane on the forecheck and on the penalty kill. He's a lot like Smaby. He's not pretty or flashy. In fact, he lost his balance and face planted himself into the boards at one point on the third, which was mildly amusing. He's a blunt instrument. But you need guys like that on your checking line. See: Dingman, Chris, circa 2003-2004. It's guys like Downie, Smaby, and Jones that really have me high on the future right now. Guys like Stamkos, for instance, are not playing as well as they can. Hedman's still acclimating to the NHL. So, it's not the big draft picks who are the show right now. It's Downie, and Smaby, and Jones, and I love it.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 2 penalty minutes and 3 blocked shots in 24:16. He also perfectly executed the sleeper hold on Bryan Little at one point in the game.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night: 12-21-09 Lightning at Islanders

The Lightning's road trip is over. But, after two wins, the season isn't, thankfully.

TB-4
NYI-2

Mike Smith allowed just 2 goals on 38 shots for the win.

First Period
NYI 16:47, Hunter 6 (Bailey, Hillen)(PP)

Second Period
TB 6:20, Stamkos 21 (St. Louis, Malone)
NYI 16:25, Thompson 1 (Okposo, Nielsen)
TB 19:41, Lecavalier 9 (Tanguay, Malone)

Third Period
TB 2:48, Malone 17 (Stamkos, Foster)(PP)
TB 11:39, Malone 18 (St. Louis, Lecavalier)(PP)

The Lightning have climbed back to within 1 game of the .500 mark and 2 points of 8th place in the Eastern Conference.

Paul Szczechura had 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots, 4 hits, and was 75% on draws in 14:05.

James Wright had 1 shot and 2 hits in 7:17.

Blair Jones had 2 shots and 2 hits in 12:34.

Victor Hedman was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 hit, and 4 blocked shots in 19:47.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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