Szczechura, Paul

NHL Game Night 3/7: Hurricanes at Lightning

The worst 40 minutes of hockey in Lightning history.

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Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 7 shots before being pulled for Karri Ramo. Ramo was then the beneficiary of some of the worst defense in the NHL and allowed 6 goals on 22 shots (and took the back door loss to boot) before being pulled at the end of the Second Period. McKenna stopped all 8 shots he faced the rest of the way. Honestly, there was only 1 questionable goal in the lot (by Ramo, on a shot that deflected off Stamkos' stick and through his five hole). Other than that, all of the other eight goals were quality goals that were either odd man rushes or terrible defensive zone breakdowns.

First Period
07:01 CAR Staal (29), (Brind'Amour)(SH)
09:40 CAR Staal (30), (Cole, Ruutu)
10:09 CAR Babchuk (9), (Pitkanen)
12:43 TB St. Louis (24), (Stamkos, Szczechura)

Second Period
02:41 CAR Corvo (12), (Cole, Staal)
03:48 CAR Brind'Amour (9), (Samsonov (25), Cullen)(PP)
06:03 CAR Ruutu (18), (Samsonov, Corvo)(PP)
12:48 CAR Staal (31), (Larose, Ruutu)
16:45 CAR Staal (32), (Ruutu, Cole)

Third Period
3:30 TB Lecavalier (28), (Malone, Prospal)
9:12 TB Malone (23), (Prospal, Lecavalier)

Here's an FYI to Len Barrie and Oren Koules: Lightning Nation is pissed off. They're more than a bit peeved by the fact that they have to watch a defense comprised of two cast offs who couldn't even get regular ice time for the Florida Panthers, a cast off who couldn't even get out of the minors for the Carolina Hurricanes, a goon who shouldn't even be playing defense in the NHL, Charminy soft Lukas Krajicek, and Matt Smaby, who is the one guy in the bunch who doesn't deserve to be shot, stuffed, and mounted on the wall at the Bear Mountain Resort. This defense is a disgrace, and it's patently obvious that the season is being tanked from the blueline out. When the lone silver lining is, "Oh, well we picked up two points on the Isles in the Tavares/Hedman derby," that's just not acceptable. Honest to goodness, if you're going to ice a corps that bad, why not just call up Vladimir Mihalik and Ty Wishart? I'd rather give minutes to the kids than a has-been and some never-will-bes.

Noah Welch was -2 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in an obscene 27:22 of ice time tonight. He and Cory Murphy's first period should be a warning to pregnant women of what happens if you drink while you're carrying your child. How does a guy who couldn't even get in the lineup for Florida end up here playing 27:22 two games later? I can't figure out if this movie is a comedy or a tragedy, boys and girls.

Smaby was +1 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 16:49. I'm kind of surprised that his ice time was so low because he was very visible in the physical game. That said, even he made his fair share of mildly stupid plays tonight.

David Koci was -2 with 4 penalty minutes and 1 hit in 11:59. If David Koci is an NHL defenseman then I'm an international playboy.

Paul Szczechura had an assist and 2 penalty minutes with 3 shots, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 11:30. I haven't really been impressed with Paul since he came back from his injury, but he showed flashes again tonight, especially in garbage time in the third period.

Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 11:27. Chad made the point on the message boards that, athletically, he's reminiscent of Ruslan Fedotenko. That's true, but unlike Fedotenko, Karsums is terrible along the wall. I don't think it's lack of want to and he seems sturdy on his skates. He just seems clueless about his body position. Oh, and he made a nice fat turnover that ended up in the back of the net on Anton Babchuk's goal. From Latvia to Russia with love.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Game Night 3/3: Penguins at Lightning

Trade deadline tomorrow.

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Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the lost. He made some solid saves, but struggled with his rebound control. Still, I think if he gives the Lightning more games like this (.900+ save percentage and no softies) they'll be pretty satisfied.

First Period
07:38 PIT Kunitz (18), (Kennedy)
12:23 TB Prospal (17), (Lecavalier, Malone)
16:44 PIT Kunitz (19), (Sykora, Malkin)(PP)

Second Period
12:26 PIT Cooke (9), (Dupuis, Talbot)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts were held out pending likely trades or waiver claims tomorrow.

Matt Smaby was +1 with 1 shot, 2 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 22:33.

David Koci was -1 with 1 blocked shot in 6:43. Pittsburgh's third goal was on him.

Brandon Segal had 1 hit and 1 blocked shot in 14:45. First impressions: he didn't look completely out of place as far his skating goes. If he gets more decisive when he goes to the wall, I think he could do some business up top.

Paul Szczechura had 2 shots, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 13:53.

Box score and extended statistics from TheAHL.com.

Szczechura, Segal Recalled to Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled right wing Brandon Segal and prospect center Paul Szczechura from the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton. This is Segal’s first career NHL call-up.

Segal, 6-foot-2, 214-pounds, has appeared in 52 games with the Admirals this season. His 21 goals and 41 points both rank second on the club. Those marks are also AHL career highs for the sixth-year professional. This season, Segal also has a +1 rating, 70 penalty minutes, four power play goals, one shorthanded goal and two game-winning goals with the Admirals this season.

Szczechura off IR; Reassigned to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned center Paul Szczechura to the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton. He has been sidelined with a lower body injury since January 13.

Szczechura, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound center, had appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk prior to his first NHL call-up on December 1. He was leading the team with 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points at the time. He also was tied for ninth in the AHL in scoring and tied for tenth in the league in goals at the time.

Szczechura made his NHL debut on December 2 with the Lightning in Philadelphia. Since then, he has played 18 games with Tampa Bay, scoring two goals and two assists with six penalty minutes. Szczechura, 23, signed a two-year deal as a free agent with the Lightning on April 24.

NHL Game Night 1/13: Lightning at Sharks

The Lightning finally implode under the weight of injuries and youth.

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Karri Ramo allowed 7 goals on 42 shots in the loss. He was mediocre on a night where the Lightning needed a lot better to stay competitive. His rebound control wasn't there all night, although a couple of the rebound goals San Jose got came off of initial shots that were tipped on the way in. Still, you saw the difference tonight between what Mike Smith has been doing all season in controlling rebounds and what Ramo couldn't do.

First Period
02:17 SJ Setoguchi (20), (Thornton, Murray)
14:19 SJ Thornton (10), (Marleau, Blake)(PP)

Second Period
07:47 TB Stamkos (5), (Recchi, Artyukhin)
10:00 SJ Thornton (11), (Setoguchi, Marleau)
17:21 SJ Michalek (10), (Cheechoo, Vlasic)(PP)
19:56 SJ Clowe (18), (Pavelski, Michalek)(PP)

Third Period
00:34 SJ Pavelski (12), (Michalek, Murray)
02:12 SJ Plihal (5), (Staubitz, Semenov)

This is a critical next 36 hours or so for the coaching staff. They can't allow the team to quit or pout based on what happened tonight. They went 2-2-0 on the west coast swing. Is that perfect? No. But, it's acceptable given the rash of injuries on defense and the fact they had to play two games with just 3 or 4 NHL caliber defensemen. The team showed briefly tonight that their system can work, even against a team as deep and as talented as San Jose, just like it worked against LA and Anaheim. This is where Tocchet's got to make sure the room stays fully invested in the foundation that's being laid.

David Koci was +1 with 12 penalty minutes and 5 hits in 9:08. He got some shifts on defense in the third period once things got out of hand. When you're down six goals, why the heck not?

Paul Szczechura left the game after 3:10 of ice time with an injury.

Kevin Quick was -1 with 1 shot in 15:40 in his NHL debut. He made an ill-advised pass that eventually led to San Jose's last goal. Other than that, he wasn't bad. He didn't look timid and he used his wheels to keep pucks moving and the play in front of him. I was struck by how much better he looked at this level than Mihalik or Wishart. It's just 1 game for Kevin, and it was just 1 game for Wishart, but I have to wonder if the pecking order in the organization may get a second look now.

Vladimir Mihalik was -2 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 blocked shots in 15:25. He really needs a brain transplant. With his size and athleticism, he could be a world beater if you could wire the six inches of gray matter between his ears properly.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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