Jones, Blair

Jones Could Make Lightning Season Debut Tonight

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forward Blair Jones from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Jones, 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, has gotten off to a hot start with the Admirals this season, recording four goals and 10 points with a plus-3 rating in seven games. He is tied for the team lead for goals, is second for points and tied for third in assists. Jones played in 63 games with the Admirals last season, notching nine goals 30 points. He also represented Norfolk in the AHL All-Star Game and won the Reebok Hardest Shot Competition (100.7 mph).

A native of Central Butte, Saskatchewan, Jones has played in 38 career NHL games, all with the Lightning. He has registered one goal and three points with 12 penalty minutes during his career. Last season Jones played in 14 games with the Lightning, recording 10 penalty minutes and averaging a career-best 12:50 in average ice time.

Jones was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fourth round, 102nd overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
--Tampa Bay Lightning press release

AHL Game Night: 10/23/10 Admirals at Devils

3/6 on the power play tends to equal a win.

NOR-3
ALB-2

Dustin Tokarski allowed 2 goals on 22 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Wishart, (3) (Pouliot, Jones), 5:41 (PP)

Second Period
NOR Jones, (4) (Wishart, Pouliot), 2:54 (PP)
ALB Perkovich, (2) (Anderson), 12:40
ALB Mills, (2) (Davis), 15:08

Third Period
NOR Szczechura, (4) (Roy, Jones), 14:55 (PP)

Blair Jones and Paul Szczechura were the game's first and second stars. The Admirals outshot the Devils 32-22 in the match.

Norfolk improves to 5-1-0-0 on the season. They close out their road trip tomorrow afternoon in Worcester, who they swept last weekend. Next weekend, the Admirals draw the Atlantic Division's first place team, the Portland Pirates, in a two game set at Scope that should be a good early season test for the club.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10/9/10 Admirals at Senators

Consulting the Cheap and Easy Headline Generator (tm) for this one: "Seven is heaven in the Admirals' opener."

NOR-7
BNG-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 36 shots but found himself awash in seven sweet goals of support to earn the victory.

First Period
BNG Keller, (1) (Locke, Butler), 13:20

Second Period
NOR Milam, (1) (Pouliot), 5:16
BNG O'Brien, (2) (Daugavins, Hale), 8:02
NOR Wishart, (1) (Quick, Fornataro), 9:43 (PP)
NOR Jones, (1) (Pouliot, Quick), 13:56
BNG Butler, (2) (Locke, Keller), 15:31
BNG O'Brien, (3) (Benoit), 15:45
NOR Milam, (2) (Quick), 16:10 (PP)
NOR Jones, (2) (Simek, Pouliot), 16:34
NOR Angelidis, (1) (Mihalik, Harju), 17:47

Third Period
NOR Fornataro, (1) (Wright, Szczechura), 17:57

Blair Jones and Troy Milam were the game's first and second stars. Milam played in Finland the past couple of years, but before that he put up 37 points in 75 games for Manchester in 2007-2008, so he has legitimate AHL chops (and he's a righty shot, too). That's a very good signing by the Ads.

M.A. Pouliot and Kevin Quick each had assists in triplicate. With the effort, Quick is already three-quarters of the way to matching his point production of all last season. I'm thinking he might like the new coach and system. Matt Fornataro also had multiple points with one goal and one assist.

You know, on paper, this Admirals team should be a low scoring team that leans on their outstanding goaltending. They have depth, but other than maybe Johan Harju they don't have any guys who are Brandon Bochenski-type snipers. But they used that depth to overwhelm Binghamton tonight. You get the sense there are a lot of hungry Admirals players knocking on the door for NHL opportunities. And, the great thing is that while they got the win and established a lot of confidence in their offensive abilities, they made enough mistakes that Coach Cooper should be able to stay on his team and keep them away from the demon that is complacency.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/26/10 Lightning at Flames

My kingdom for some goaltending.

TB-4
CGY-5 (SO)

Cedrick Desjardins allowed 4 goals on 23 shots and 1 goal on 2 shootout attempts for the penalty shot session loss.

First Period
TB 0:27, Lecavalier 1 (unassisted)
CGY 6:59, Brodie 1 (PP) (Giordano, Kotalik)
CGY 10:20, Brodie 2 (PP) (Giordano, Kotalik)

Second Period
CGY 8:30, Conroy 1 (Kronwall, Cunning)
TB 9:45, Gagne 1 (Stamkos, St. Louis)

Third Period
CGY 6:33, Kotalik 1 (Glencross, Giordano)
TB 8:59, Lecavalier 2 (PP) (Kubina, St. Louis)
TB 18:48, Stamkos 1 (PP) (Kubina, St. Louis)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB - NONE
CGY - Kotalik

Vincent Lecavalier was named the game's third star.

What did we learn from this preseason road trip? Three good things and one very ominous thing. 1.) The Lightning offensive firepower does translate from paper onto the ice. 2.) The Lightning's lower line depth is better than at any time I can remember. Even in the Stanley Cup season, the team was a little thin. 3.) Guy Boucher's system, right now, is translating to drastic reductions in the shots on goal the Lightning are giving up. But, 4.) All of that is for naught if the Lightning can't find a goaltender who can stop at least 90% of the shots they face. Get well soon Mike Smith, and get back on schedule soon, Dan Ellis.

Blair Jones was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits in 10:51 of ice time.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/23/10 Lightning at Oilers

Yeah, we at BoltProspects always liked Magnus Paajarvi in his draft year.

TB-2
EDM-5

Dan Ellis allowed 5 goals on 21 shots for the loss. Ugly stat line.

First Period
TB 4:33, Jones 1 (Purcell, Persson)
EDM 15:09, Paajarvi 1 (Belle, Plante)
EDM 18:34, Cogliano 1 (PP) (Foster, Paajarvi)

Second Period
EDM 6:50, Paajarvi 2 (PP) (Penner, Plante)

Third Period
EDM 7:57, Hall 1 (PP) (unassisted)
EDM 9:52, Paajarvi 3 (SH) (Foster)
TB 17:19, Ashton 1 (PP) (Wright, Clark)

Not an entirely surprising outcome, I suppose, considering Edmonton had most of its regular skaters going against the Lightning's lower liners, AHLers, and prospects. The only thing really concerning is to allow 5 goals on 21 shots in that scenario. Still, I wouldn't read much into tonight unless they get blown out in Calgary against the Fighting Feasters on Saturday with most of the regulars in.

Carter Ashton had 1 goal and was +1 with 1 shot and a slashing minor in 13:26. I'm of the opinion it would behoove the Lightning to, at the very least, use the 9 game tryout on Ashton. If he can stick on the team and develop over the course of the year, he could give the Lightning a lot of roster flexibility in February.

Brett Connolly was even with 1 shot in 12:13. I think he'll get a contract and then be ushered away to Prince George fairly soon.

Radko Gudas was even with 1 shot in 13:51. I doubt he makes it past the first round of cuts. He needs to get stronger and he needs some seasoning in Norfolk.

Johan Harju was -1 with 1 shot in 13:20. He got more ice time than the 9:30 Linus Omark got for the Oilers. I expect him to be on the bubble another week.

Blair Jones was -1 in 12:53. He could not duplicate what he did against the Hawks, which is the story of Blair's pro career. Probably on the bubble another week.

Vladimir Mihalik was -1 with 1 shot and a hooking minor in 16:43. He might survive the first round of cuts, but I doubt he survives the second.

Niklas Persson had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 shots in 16:09. Niklas seems to be on track to make the team. In fact, he might be the first of the bubble guys to move into the safe column.

Dana Tyrell was even with 2 shots in 14:02. He'll stay on the bubble another week, I think.

Michael Vernace was -1 with 1 shot in 22:02. He got a ton of ice time given Boucher's familiarity with him, but he was awful, by all accounts.

Box score from Yahoo! Sports.

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