Smolenak, Radek

Bolt Prospect Radek Smolenak Signs With Czech Club

Lightning prospect Radek Smolenak has signed a two-year deal with Czech Extraliga club HC Sparta Praha. Smolenak, a 2005 3rd round pick of the Lightning, had a disappointing 2009-2010 campaign where he scored 9 goals and 27 points in 60 games for AHL clubs Norfolk and Abbotsford. Smolenak was loaned to Abbotsford late in the season after rumored disciplinary problems and a falling out with Head Coach Jim Johnson of the Admirals. Smolenak signed a one-year deal with the Lightning in training camp after being cut at the end of the KHL preseason by Nizhnekamsk, and he also appeared in 1 game for the Chicago Blackhawks at the start of the season in a short stint in that organization after being claimed on waivers.

The Lightning have the option of extending a qualifying offer to Smolenak in order to retain his NHL rights.

Bolt Prospects Says Farewell to the Chiefs

On a rather sad note, today will mark the final game for the ECHL's Johnstown Chiefs in Johnstown, PA. The franchise, owned by former NHL GM Neil Smith, has been plagued by financial problems for years and will be moving to Greenville, SC next season. Johnstown was the Tampa Bay Lightning's ECHL affiliate for three years between 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. Three of the Lightning's prospects who played in Johnstown have since seen time in the NHL: Radek Smolenak, Jay Rosehill, and Andre Deveaux.

I can honestly say that, outside of Norfolk Admirals fans, I don't think there's been an affiliate's fan base that was more supportive of their club than the fans of the Johnstown Chiefs. I'm sure this is a major blow for a town that has had some challenges over the past few years. Bolt Prospects salutes the fans of the Johnstown Chiefs and we hope that Johnstown, PA gets another franchise soon.

Bolts Send Smolenak to Abbotsford

TAMPA BAY, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned forward Radek Smolenak to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton.

Smolenak, 23, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound left wing from Prague, Czech Republic, appeared in 39 games with the Admirals this season, scoring seven goals and 14 assists with 49 penalty minutes. After skating in one regular season game with the Chicago Blackhawks to start the season, he was re-claimed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 10 and was reassigned to Norfolk. He was signed by the Lightning to a one-year contract on September 12.

AHL Game Night: 1-29-10 Admirals at Falcons

Norfolk remains undefeated in regulation under Jim Johnson, but fails to secure the second point.

NOR-2
SPR-3 (OT)

Jaroslav Janus stopped 31 of 34 shots for the overtime loss.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NOR Simek, (12) (Smolenak, Jackson), 11:02
SPR Fretter, (18) (Trukhno, Pokulok), 13:03
SPR Plante, (2) (David, Wiseman), 16:15

Third Period
NOR Fornataro, (3) (Wishart, Smolenak), 0:24 (PP)

Overtime
SPR Reddox, (11) (Tarkir, Minard), 1:32

Janus was named the game's third star. A scoring change took away a point from Ty Wishart on the winning goal against Hartford, so tonight's assist is actually his 20th point of the season. The question remains the same though: why not 30? He's got it rolling, and shows no signs of letting up. Radek Smolenak is starting to step up in clutch time of the season. He has 2 goals and 6 points on the current road trip, on which the Admirals have claimed 9 of a possible 10 points in the 5 games.

Norfolk stays at 2 games under .500 with 45 points in 47 games and remains in 4th place in the East Division. However, due to the crossover rules this season, it's highly likely that only the top 3 teams in the East will make the postseason. The Admirals picked up a point on 5th place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to move 1 point ahead of the Penguins with the Pens holding 2 games in hand. They also picked up a point on Binghamton to move 3 points up on the Sens with the Senators holding 4 games in hand. That's the good news. The bad news is that they lost a point to Adirondack, which is now 2 points up on Norfolk with 2 games in hand.

And that leads to a huge 4-point tilt tomorrow night between Norfolk and the Phantoms. If Norfolk wins in regulation, they'll move into a tie with Adirondack for the final playoff spot in the East at 47 points. I suspect that's why Jim Johnson saved Dustin Tokarski for that matchup. He's 2-0-0 in his starts on this road trip, including the big 1-0 shutout in Lowell last Sunday.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-27-10 Admirals at Wolf Pack

Jim Johnson is 4-0-0 as Head Coach.

NOR-5
HFD-4

Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 27 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Lashoff, (4) (Simek, Hale), 2:51 (PP)
HFD Byers, (12) (Locke, Roche), 10:05 (PP)
NOR Parrish, (11) (Fadden, Wishart), 14:12

Second Period
HFD Crowder, (10) (Ambuhl, Owens), 2:42
HFD Roche, (1) (Locke), 6:49
NOR Tyrell, (2) (Cruthers), 10:10
NOR Hale, (1) (Smolenak, Lashoff), 19:09 (PP)

Third Period
HFD Locke, (19) (Williams, Heikkinen), 15:08 (PP)
NOR Fadden, (2) (Fornataro, Jackson), 17:14

Mark Parrish was named the game's first star. It's absolutely amazing. After being nowhere statistically for the first half of the season, Mitch Fadden and Dana Tyrell have stepped up and found the scoresheet regularly on this road trip. After going 38 games without a goal, Tyrell now has a goal in each of the past couple of games. And, after going scoreless for the first 15 games of his pro career, Fadden now has 1 goal and 5 points in the past 4 games.

After a scoring change on the game winning goal, Ty Wishart now has 4 multi-point games in his last 6 contests. He's got 20 points now. Why not 30? You can also file Matt Lashoff having his first multi-point night of the season tonight in the category of good news. Much like Radek Smolenak, who started to get on track in the last game and had an assist tonight, the Admirals need Lashoff to start playing to his potential if they're going to push their way into the playoffs.

All in all, despite allowing 4 goals, the Admirals can feel very good about tonight's win considering their captain, Ryan Craig, is away from the team temporarily while he and his wife are having a baby. With the win, Norfolk now creeps to just 2 games under .500. More to the point, the Admirals have jumped to with 1 point of Adirondack for the final playoff spot in the East Division, with Adirondack holding 2 games in hand. They're tied with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 44 points with the Penguins also having 2 games in hand. They've also moved 2 points ahead of Binghamton, but the Senators hold 4 games in hand.

Norfolk gets a day off before heading back to Springfield, which is in last place in the Atlantic Division, on Friday night. Here's the big one, though: circle it on your calendars. Norfolk has a colossal 4 point divisional tilt in Adirondack on Saturday night. Looking at the schedule, the formula for the Admirals to make the playoffs is pretty simple: they have 14 road games left and 20 at home. They're playing 2 games over .500 on the road by and games under .500 at home. If they can start protecting home ice better and win the lion's share of the 4 point divisional tilts left on their schedule, they will get in. Norfolk has 4 games left against Adirondack (2 home/ 2 away), 6 games left against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (4 home/ 2 away), and 3 games left against Binghamton (0 home/ 3 away).

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-23-10 Admirals at Monarchs

Jim Johnson is 2-0-0 as Head Coach.

NOR-5
MAN-3

Jaroslav Janus allowed 3 goals on 20 shots for the win. He has to be basking in all this goal support he's suddenly getting.

First Period
MCH Gauthier, (7) (Holloway, Cavanagh), 3:42
NOR Smolenak, (6) (Craig, Mihalik), 19:08

Second Period
NOR Fadden, (1) (Wishart, Parrish), 3:32 (PP)
NOR Fornataro, (2) (Quick, Fadden), 6:05
MCH Walker, (3) (Clune, Elkins), 17:25

Third Period
MCH Westgarth, (8) (King, Kolomatis), 10:13
NOR Hall, (9) (Smolenak, Krajicek), 16:59
NOR Smolenak, (7) (Wishart), 19:18 (EN)

Adam Hall and Mitch Fadden were the game's first and second stars. Norfolk outshot Manchester, which is in first place in the Atlantic Division, by a stunning 49-20 margin. The recent changes to the Norfolk staff have, if nothing else, lit a fire under the team.

Fadden scored his first AHL goal in the game and has 4 points over the past 2 games after going scoreless for the first 15 games of his pro career. The consensus on Fadden has always been that if he commits himself to hustle defensively and physically, and he learns to train like a pro, he can be a scorer not just at this level but up top in the NHL as well. He's struggled with some injuries and he'll probably need a big boy workout regime to build himself up this offseason to help prevent those, but the effort level has been way up with Fadden and the floodgates have finally opened this weekend. The Lightning have to be very pleased to see him coming on.

Speaking of which, Ty Wishart has 3 multi-point games in his last 4 contests. He's playing his way into the conversation for next year's Lightning blueline.

The best news for the Admirals may have been 2 goals and 1 assist by Radek Smolenak. With Brandon Bochenski up in Tampa and Martins Karsums off in Riga, Latvia, Norfolk needs all hands on deck in the scoring department. Smolenak had just 2 points in the 15 games prior to tonight's contest. Smolenak had 24 goals last season, but he only had 5 coming into tonight. He needs to get hot as the Admirals try to climb the ladder back into playoff contention.

Norfolk picks up 2 points on Adirondack and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and keeps pace with Binghamton with the win. So, the Admirals move within 4 points of the Penguins for the final playoff spot. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Phantoms, who are 3 points ahead of the Ads, have 2 games in hand on Norfolk and the Senators, who are 2 points ahead of the Ads, have 3 games in hand. So, every point is extremely precious for Norfolk right now.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 1-2-09 Admirals at Phantoms

Janus loses a squeaker in his return to the Admirals.

NOR-2
ADK-3

Jaroslav Janus allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the loss. Interesting factoid: Janus makes three members of the Admirals from the mean streets of Presov, Slovakia (Mihalik and Simek).

First Period
ADK Matsumoto, (15) (Laliberte, Nodl), 5:09
NOR Simek, (8) (Wishart, Syroczynski), 17:04 (PP)
ADK Nodl, (4) (Mormina, Laliberte), 19:59

Second Period
NOR Simek, (9) (Smolenak, Krajicek), 8:15
ADK Legein, (16) (Curry, Mormina), 9:44 (PP)

Third Period
NO SCORING

Juraj Simek was named the game's second star.

In 19 games since returning to Norfolk from his recall to Tampa, Ryan Craig has just 3 goals. With Brandon Bochenski now up with the Lightning, it's going to be critical for Craig, along with other guys like Radek Smolenak, to step up. On a similar note, don't you wish the Lightning's more touted prospects all were playing as well as an unheralded guy like Juraj Simek?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 12-4-09 Admirals at Phantoms

Love that headline on the press release from the Admirals. Move over Iverson.

NOR-2
ADK-1 (OT)

Dustin Tokarski stopped 22 of 23 to get a win the Admirals absolutely needed to have.

First Period
ADK Kolanos, (4) (Dingle, Bellamy), 3:42

Second Period
NOR Smolenak, (3) (Lundin, Mihalik), 17:47

Third Period
NO SCORING

Overtime
NOR Craig, (9) (Smolenak, Jackson), 1:32

Ryan Craig (aka The Answer) and Radek Smolenak were the game's first and second stars. That's what you have to love about this year's version of the Admirals: sweet, sweet depth up front. Blair Jones has been hot as a firecracker and earned his callup. Last season that would've crushed the Ads. This season you've got a 20 goal, 50 point capable guy like Smolenak just waiting to pick up where Jones left off.

Vladimir Mihalik snapped a five-game pointless streak with a helper and pulled himself back to even in plus-minus for the season. Kudos to Scott Jackson for keying Craig and Smolenak's winning 2-on-1 in overtime. Jackson's posted a very respectable +8 rating so far this year.

Norfolk outshot Adirondack 36-23 in the game. I'm still waiting for when these shot imbalances are going to turn into some nice blowouts in the Admirals' favor rather than these nail biters. Norfolk's played so many close games this year. Norfolk can get back to .500 tomorrow night, but they'll have to do it in Hershey, which may be the toughest place in the AHL to go win a hockey game as a visitor.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 11-14 Admirals at River Rats

Another one gets away from the Admirals late.

NOR-1
ALB-2 (OT)

Riku Helenius allowed 2 goals on 27 shots for the overtime loss. That's a tough fate for a goaltender who played over 58 minutes of shutout hockey tonight. He didn't get the goal support he's become accustomed to, however.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NOR Smolenak, (1) (Jones, Bochenski), 4:46
ALB Dwyer, (8) (Carson, FitzGerald), 18:05

Overtime
ALB Boychuk, (5) (Dwyer, Paiement), 1:46

Radek Smolenak was named the game's third star. If I told you coming into the year that it would take 17 games for Radek to get his first goal and the team would be .500 and sitting in fourth in the division without his goal production, you'd have laughed at me, I'm sure.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

AHL Game Night: 10/10 Monarchs at Admirals

Spoon!

MAN-0
NOR-2

Dustin Tokarski pitched a 26 save shutout in just his second professional start. Exciting.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NOR Bochenski, (2) (Simek, Szczechura), 5:54
NOR Craig, (1) (Wishart), 19:20 (EN)

Tokarski and Brandon Bochenski were the game's first and second stars, respectively.

Norfolk outshot Manchester 39-26 in the game. Radek Smolenak was in the lineup after being reclaimed off waivers from the Blackhawks.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

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