Late tonight, after the conclusion of the Admirals' game against the Adirondack Phantoms, the Lightning and GM Brian Lawton announced that Head Coach Darren Rumble has been relieved of his duties. Assistant Coach Jim Johnson has been named the new Head Coach and Assistant Coach Leigh Mendelson will remain with the team. Rumble departs the Admirals, officially, with a 50-61-6-5 record in one and a half seasons with the team, although he unofficially assumed the role of Head Coach midway through the 2007-2008 season. Norfolk is currently 17-23-2 this season, which is last place in the AHL's East Division and six points out of a playoff spot.
In my mind, two things contributed to Brian Lawton's decision to make a move. First, although the Lightning have promoted several players to Tampa Bay this season, Norfolk returned a very deep roster dotted with numerous NHL and AHL veterans. While it may not have been fair to expect this team to be competing with Hershey for the division title, this roster probably should be in the thick of the pack in the East Division fighting for second or third, not in last place. The second factor is that, although some prospects like Blair Jones and Dustin Tokarski are having excellent seasons, some of the Lightning's most prized prospects have struggled, namely Matt Lashoff and Dana Tyrell.
The Admirals have got to win these close division games if they have any shot of climbing into the playoffs.
Jaroslav Janus allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss. It's the first time in four AHL starts this season that Janus has had a sub-.900 save percentage in a game. He has yet to taste victory as a pro despite his .919 season save percentage.
NOR Wishart, (5) (Jones, Parrish), 9:23 (PP)
ADK Kolanos, (8) (Matsumoto, Nodl), 13:54 (PP)
ADK Beaulieu, (2) (Klotz, Clackson), 10:20
ADK Matsumoto, (17) (Kolanos, Laliberte), 11:05
NOR Wishart, (6) (Jones, Janus), 11:16
Box score from TheAHL.com.
NORFOLK, Va. â€“ Norfolk Admirals and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect forward Blair Jones has been named to the Canadian AHL All-Star team for the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic to be played next week at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. Jones will replace Admirals leading scorer Brandon Bochenski, who was named a starter to the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team but is currently on NHL recall to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Jones, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, has six goals and 13 assists in 27 games for the Admirals in 2009-10. Currently he is third on the team in assists and tied for fourth in points. The fourth-year pro has also played in 14 games with Tampa Bay this season, recording ten penalty minutes and averaging 12:50 in ice time per game.
Following up from a story from Monday, the Tampa Bay Lightning are reporting via Twitter that prospect forward Blair Jones has been reassigned to the Norfolk Admirals after clearing waivers at noon on Tuesday. Still no word on the destination of prospect forward Martins Karsums after he cleared waivers on Monday.