Is this the season everything changes in the Lightning minor league system?
Riku Helenius allowed just 1 goal on 21 shots for the win. It speaks highly on the Admirals' goaltending situation that Helenius is essentially the backup even though through three starts he has a mind-biggling 1.35 GAA and .938 save percentage.
NOR Szczechura, (5) (Tyrell), 0:58
NOR Lundin, (1) (Szczechura, Mihalik), 9:31 (PP)
NOR Simek, (2) (Bochenski), 2:18
NOR Bochenski, (8) (Mihalik, Jones), 5:38
NOR Jones, (2) (Bochenski, Graham), 9:58
NOR Hall, (2) (Syroczynski, Jones), 16:49
SYR Fritsche, (2) (Mayorov, Picard), 17:51
Jones' re-emergence highlights what makes this version of the Admirals different: an unprecedented amount of forward depth. The win moves Norfolk into fourth place in the AHL East Division, and they are now just four points out of first place with a game in hand on the front-running Hershey Bears.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
.500 and bigger and better things hopefully ahead.
Dustin Tokarski allowed just 1 goal on 31 shots for the win.
NOR Parrish, (2) (Szczechura, Lundin), 2:00 (PP)
NOR Syroczynski, (1) (Hall, Karsums), 16:11
WBS Bayda, (7) (Caputi, Letestu), 18:10
Tokarski, tryout Matt Syroczynski, and veteran Mark Parrish were the game's three stars. Back from the dead, Martins Karsums now has a three game points streak. Paul Szczechura and Mike Lundin are also riding three game points streaks as well.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Admirals got a sweep just when they needed it.
Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 20 shots for the win.
MTB Maxwell, (1) (Leblanc), 8:34
NOR Szczechura, (4) (Tyrell, Parrish), 9:12
NOR Karsums, (1) (Lundin), 17:38
NOR Hall, (1) (Keller, Quick), 9:43
Dana Tyrell and Paul Szczechura were named the game's first and second stars. Martins Karsums and Adam Hall finally scored their first goals of the season. The Admirals climb back to within 1 game of .500 with the win.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Finally, the Admirals start to put it all together.
Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 16 shots for the win.
NOR Bochenski, (5) (Smolenak, Lundin), 2:44 (PP)
NOR Bochenski, (6) (Szczechura, Jackson), 5:48
NOR Szczechura, (2) (Bochenski, Smolenak), 3:39
NOR Craig, (5) (Mihalik, Lundin), 7:59
POR Byron, (2) (Mancari, Generous), 9:02
POR Ennis, (5) , 11:52
There was a lot of talk about learning how to finish games coming off a road trip where Norfolk squandered leads in two of three games. Although the Admirals allowed the Pirates to cut a 4-0 lead in half in the second period, they shut the door completely in the third, allowing the Pirates just 6 shots in the final frame.
Who are you and what have you done with Vladimir Mihalik? Mihalik protected one of his teammates in the first period after a big hit by dropping the mitts, earning an instigator misconduct in the process. He then returned to the game and added a helper on Ryan Craig's goal to go with his 17 penalty minutes. New season, new Vladdy.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune has released the roster for the Tampa Bay Lightning's only pre-season home game Friday night against the Atlanta Thrashers. 2009 1st round draft picks Victor Hedman and Carter Ashton highlight six prospects that will get important starts in a star-filled lineup in front of an expectant home crowd. After playing 27+ minutes against Dallas Wednesday night, Hedman will get a chance to showcase why he was the #2 overall pick this summer. Ashton will line up on right wing alongside franchise center Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay on what presumes to be Tampa's top line. A heady start for the young power forward whom most believe is headed back Lethbridge for one more year of juniors. Forwards Paul Szczechura, Richard Panik and Blair Jones get their second consecutive starts after playing Wednesday against the Stars. Jones tallied the go-ahead goal in the third period before the Bolts succumbed to a shootout loss. Prospect goaltender phenom Dustin Tokarski will relieve Mike Smith for the third period and demonstrate to the home crowd as to why he won the 2008 Memorial Cup.
The expected forward lines for Friday's game are:
Joining Hedman on the blueline for a second straight game are David Hale, Kurtis Foster, and Mike Lundin. Mattias Ohlund will be making his Lightning debut and Lukas Krajicek rounds out the Bolt defensive corps. Joining Tokarski in net is Lightning #1 goalie Mike Smith in his first game action since a concussion prematurely ended his 2008-09 season.
The Lightning's minor leaguers drop one in a shootout to half of the Stars' first stringers.
Antero Nittymaki allowed 2 goals on 15 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Jaroslav Janus who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots in the third and overtime before going 2/3 in the penalty shot session for the overtime loss. All in all, a very good performance for a young man who has been challenged to earn a pro contract.
DAL 9:28, Eriksson 1 (PP) (Modano)
DAL 18:51, Richards 1 (PP) (Modano, Neal)
TB 5:45, Fedoruk 1 (Mclean)
TB 19:31, Mclean 1 (PP) (Foster, Downie)
TB 5:55, Jones 1 (Halpern, Miller)
DAL 16:46, Neal 1 (Richards, Eriksson)
DAL - Richards
Winners? Brett McLean, who is also looking for a contract, drops 1 goal and 1 assist. The Kurtis Foster experiment gets off to a decent start with a power play assist, a +1, and 4 shots on goal. Richard Panik earns 15 minutes of ice time, which is a team high for forward prospects not named Steve Downie or Drew Miller. And Janus? Probably got a contract.
Steve Downie had a helper and was +1 in 17:03 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 hits. Still my pick to win the job on the Lecavalier/Tanguay line.
Drew Miller had 1 helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:43.
Paul Szczechura was -1 in 12:22 with 1 shot on goal and 2 hits. He was also 33% on draws. If there was a loser in this game, in the race to win a roster, maybe it was Szczechura.
Dana Tyrell was -1 in 12:09 with 2 shots and 1 hit. He had a breakaway opportunity shorthanded he was stopped on. Coach Tocchet said he wanted to see if Tyrell could kill penalties. Shortie breakaways don't hurt.
Martins Karsums had 1 shot and 3 hits in 12:55. He also was stopped in the shootout session.
Blair Jones notched a rebound goal and was +1 in 12:42 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He also was stopped in the shootout session. Tocchet moved Jones over to right wing with Halpern and Miller, which is ostensibly two-thirds of the likely third line. It was a good opportunity for Jones and he did pretty well with it.
Matt Lashoff was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 18:36. No hits? Matt, brother, do you read the website? We need to see some jam, my friend.
Richard Panik had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:00. I find it fascinating he got more shifts and more ice time than guys like Tyrell and Karsums who are closer to the NHL, particularly on the power play. They have sky high hopes for this young man, clearly.
Oh, yeah. Victor Hedman? 27:15 in his first NHL preseason game. Are you kidding? 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot. That's unbelievable, really.
The Tampa Bay Lightning take the ice Wednesday night in Dallas, TX for their first pre-season game against the Dallas Stars. Five of BoltProspects' Top 7 ranked prospects, including the top three ranked prospects, will help kick off the Lightning's 2009-10 hockey season. Highlighting the Tampa roster will be 2009 #2 overall pick, Swedish blueline phenom Victor Hedman. Hedman will be joined by fellow 2009 draftees Richard Panik and Jaroslav Janus. Forwards Steve Downie and Dana Tyrell along with defenseman Matt Lashoff round out the remaining top prospects that will be showcased in tonight's opener. Forwards Blair Jones, Martins Karsums, and Paul Szczechura represent three more Top 20 prospects that are fighting for roster spots on the Lightning's bottom lines with overagers Drew Miller and Zenon Konopka.
The expected forward lines for Wednesday's game are:
Joining Lashoff and Hedman on the blueline are newcomers David Hale and Kurtis Foster along with former prospects Matt Smaby and Mike Lundin. Joining Janus in net is 2009 free agent acquisition Antero Niittymaki.
All bad things must come to an end.
Mike McKenna allowed 4 goals on 15 shots for the loss before giving way to Karri Ramo, who allowed 2 goals on 11 shots the rest of the way. The Lightning have a signing decision with McKenna coming up this offseason, and I doubt allowing a goal to go through him and then being pulled was the final impression "Mack" wanted to make on management. Just my opinion, but we've probably seen the last of McKenna with the development of Riku Helenius in the AHL and the arrival of Dustin Tokarski to the pro ranks next season.
07:10 ATL Armstrong (21), (Bogosian, Enstrom)(PP)
16:30 ATL Perrin (7), (Reasoner, Exelby)(SH)
17:17 TB Pettinger (8), (Halpern, Quick)(PP)
09:15 ATL Kovalchuk (43), (White, Hainsey)
14:09 ATL Hainsey (6), (Peverley)(PP)
16:32 ATL Armstrong (22), (Kozlov, Peverley)
00:46 TB Stamkos (23), (unassisted)
06:20 ATL Stuart (5), (Reasoner)
The Lightning end up dropping from 31 wins and 71 points a year ago to 24 wins and 66 points this season. You know, for the amount of crap OK Hockey and their GM Brian Lawton talked garbage about the former GM, coaches, and scouts, I sure hope they man up and take accountability for the fact they did even worse this season, and then learn some valuable lessons (like defense and coaching are important, for instance). Post mortem to follow in the coming days. Draft lottery Tuesday night.
Noah Welch was -1 with 3 shots and 1 hit in 14:58. He came on toward the end after an awful start to his stint with the Lightning. My preference would be to have Welch as a depth player in the organization offering veteran presence to the Norfolk Admirals next season. I'd love to see he and Richard Petiot wear the battleship next year.
Zenon Konopka was -1 with 7 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 9:05. He was also 57% on draws. He does offer energy to the fourth line in the form of being an agitator and fighter, but I wanted to see more on the forecheck from Konopka. I like a fourth line that chews the ends off the boards, personally.
David Koci was -1 in 6:01. Long term, I think the Lightning need to draft and cultivate somebody who can play 8-10 minutes a night and fight the other team's heavies. I'm not sure Koci is that guy.
Paul Szczechura was -1 with 4 shots, and 3 hits in 17:05. He was also 36% on draws. In the last week or two, I don't think there's another bubble guy who helped his stock more to make the team next season than Szczechura.
Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot in 11:26. I didn't see enough from Karsums to make me believe he shouldn't be ticketed for Norfolk next season, if he stays in North America.
Kevin Quick got his first NHL point, and assist, and was -1 with 1 shot in 14:57. There were shifts he looked overmatched tonight defensively and he reminded you that he's still got a couple of years in the making.
Matt Lashoff was -3 with 2 shots and 1 blocked shot in 23:02. He'll want to burn the tape of this game, methinks.
Vladimir Mihalik was -1 with 2 blocked shots in 15:59. In his final callup of the year, his positioning and poise seemed to improve. However, you'd still like to see the assertiveness and aggression level go way up. He is just way too soft for a man his size right now. There's no excuse for anybody to ever physically beat him coming out from behind the net or the corners.
Game outing by the young defense.
Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 32 shots for the loss in his final start of the season.
00:36 TB Stamkos (22), (Konopka, St. Louis)
09:19 WSH Laich (21), (Backstrom, Green)(PP)
05:37 WSH Laich (22), (Green, Nylander)
06:08 WSH Steckel (8), (Bradley, Aucoin)
12:53 TB Pettinger (7), (Szczechura, Mihalik)
19:55 WSH Green (31), (unassisted)(EN)
Noah Welch had 3 hits and 3 blocked shots in 21:52. He's improved lately. I can't deny it.
Zenon Konopka had an assist and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 12:54. He was also 100% on draws. He had a strong first period, but got shuffled down to the lower lines later in the game.
David Koci had 2 penalty minutes in 6:30.
Paul Szczechura had 1 assist, 2 shots, and 1 blocked shot in 16:31. He was also 50% on draws. He's really putting a stamp on the end of this season to make his case to be on the team next year. He's been flying the past couple of games.
Martins Karsums was -1 with 1 shot and 2 hits in 11:30. Karsums was the antithesis of Szczechura tonight, making the case why he belongs in Norfolk next season. He didn't get back in time on Washington's winning goal.
Kevin Quick had 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 11:54. My gosh can he skate and my gosh does he have no fear with the puck on offense. Offensively, Kevin Quick's balls are so big their gravity effects the tides. I still say he needs to prove he can be a dominant player at the AHL season next year before he makes the jump in 2010-2011. However, he sure does remind you of Dan Boyle.
Vladimir Mihalik had 1 assist and was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 13:14. He made a couple of nice plays, including a good pass that resulted in the Stamkos goal. He was in better position tonight, so his skating looked less awful. You could still time the release of his shot with a sun dial, though.
Geoff Kinrade was -1 with 1 shot, 1 hit, and 2 blocked shots in 17:32. Sullivan even used him at the end of the game when the extra attacker was out. I was fairly impressed. He skates really well. Not Kevin Quick well, but well enough that you notice it. Contract?
The Panthers missed the playoffs again. Haaaa haaaa!