The club reports a lingering eye injury to Chris Gratton, as well as injuries to Ryan Craig (back) and Jason Ward (ankle), and the desire to sit Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Brad Richards opened up three forward spots, but the club will dress just 10 forwards. Keller, who had 13 goals in an injury-plagued season for Springfield last year and 51 the year before in Kelowna to lead the WHL, flew to Detroit from Norfolk this morning to join the team for the morning skate.
Tonight's lineup, per TBL.com:
On Sunday at the Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex in Chesapeake, Radek Smolenak scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals to propel Team White past Team Blue 6-4 in the Admiralsâ€™ annual Blue vs. White intra-squad scrimmage game.
Boxscore (Team, Period/Time, Scorer, Assists):
1. BLUE 1/5:38 Rob Klinkhammer (Unassisted)
2. WHITE 1/9:40 Stan Lascek (Unassisted)
3. WHITE 1/10:14 Matt Radoslovich (Lance Monych, Vladimir Mihalik)
4. BLUE 1/11:50 Mike Falk (Rob Klinkhammer)
5. BLUE 2/6:21 Dana Tyrell (Mathieu Melanson)
6. WHITE 2/9:59 Radek Smolenak (Daine Todd, Vladimir Mihalik) (Power Play)
7. WHITE 2/13:20 Radek Smolenak (Marek Kvapil, Jay Holladay)
8. WHITE 3/7:58 Justin Keller (Brandon Elliott)
9. BLUE 3/16:24 Dana Tyrell (Unassisted) (Shorthanded)
10. WHITE 3/19:17 Justin Keller (Justin Taylor)
Penalties, goaltender stats, Norfolk cuts and scrimmage stats from the week on the flip.
According to the Hampton Roads Daily Press, former Johnstown Chiefs head coach Frank Anzalone has been named "Development Coach" for the Norfolk Admirals. Anzalone spent the last two seasons tutoring the Lightning's prospects at the ECHL level and has a reputation for being a strong teaching coach.
Also in the article, Admirals GM and Lightning Assistant GM Claude Loiselle singles our Justin Keller, Marek Kvapil, and free agent tryout Justin Taylor for praise. Taylor, a 24 year old 6'4" 210 lbs center, spent the past three seasons with Omaha and Lowell in the AHL. Last season with the Ak Sar Ben Knights he registered 8 goals and 20 points in 51 games with 20 penalty minutes.
This just in... according to the Virginian-Pilot's Paul White, Lightning style training camps are grueling. Who knew?
Also, Head Coach Steve Stirling praises Justin Keller, Chris Lawrence, Brandon Elliot, Jay Rosehill, Jonathan Boutin, and Dana Tyrell. Also, Marek Kvapil scored two goals on the first day of scrimmages.
Long time readers of the website know that the staff here at Bolt Prospects has a bit of a chequered past with that other hockey prospects website, Hockeysfuture. Without getting to deep into the specifics, after years of myself, Chad and Tim working the Lightning page on that website we as a group had a falling out with management over what seemed to us to be obvious bias in their decision making process against us and the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't something that happened overnight and we didn't leave all at once but eventually Tim had the idea to start a blog and we seized on it and started making plans. The rest, as they say, is history.
Long time readers of this website also know that we've never been afraid to call out Hockeysfuture for what we've seen as continuing bias in the product over at that website. One of the most obvious points of contention we had with HF was their refusal for almost two years to assign a writer to cover the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't until shortly after the Lightning internet community responded strongly to an incident in which a high ranking HF writer called prospects Blair Jones and Justin Keller trash and Bolt Prospects' subsequent smackdown of said writer that HF finally conceded and assigned longtime writer and all around standup guy Phil Laugher to cover the team's prospects. Laugher earned his street cred with the Lightning fan base when he apologized publicly to Lightning fans about a year prior when HF released a set of rankings that had NHL regular Paul Ranger 9th in the organization, soon-to-be NHL regular Nick Tarnasky 19th in the organization, and Keller and Russian superprospect Vasily Koshechkin out of the rankings altogether.
Under Laugher, it has been our website's opinion that the product on HF has improved by leaps and bounds. Considering he's been struggling upstream against an online editor who clearly has ulterior motives, their site has actually become tolerable over the last year. As such, we've had an unofficial truce with HockeysFuture over the past 14 or so months. Unfortunately, Phil didn't write the horribly divorced from reality draft review HF just put out for the Lightning, a piece so bad I got multiple e-mails from the Bolt Prospects staff within moments of their reading it. Considering their strong negative reaction to the article, I'm afraid we as a site have to respond.
Now, admittedly I have no idea who Elisa Hatch is. And let me just say ahead of time, it's not her fault Hockeysfuture's editors and management decided to put her in a difficult situation and its not her fault they offered her so little editorial support in the course of writing this article. Nearest as I can tell this is Hatch's first solo article at HF and unfortunately, without knowledgable editors who actually care about the subject matter, the quality of the work suffered.
Bottom line: several of the contentions of the article are diametrically opposed to the professional opinions of several reputable scouting outlets including the Lightning's scouting staff, THN, Red Line Report and the NHL Central Scouting Service. You don't have to take it from us that the article is flawed. Take it from those other professionals.
Tonight was a make-up for a game that was snowed in a week or two ago.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 2 goals on 5 shots before being pulled for Kevin Beech who allowed 2 goals on 23 shots the rest of the way to take the loss in his first AHL game. Daniel Corso had 2 assists in the game with the Falcons' goals coming from Kyle Wanvig, Norm Milley and Justin Keller. David Spina, Eric Healey and Nick Kuiper added individual helpers. Wanvig was named third star of the game.
MCH Tukonen, (11) (Murray), 1:55
MCH Jackman, (15) (Werner, Moulson), 4:28
MCH Tukonen, (12) (Ryan, Werner), 8:14
SPR Wanvig, (16) (Spina, Healey), 13:32
SPR Milley, (24) (Corso), 16:52 (PP)
MCH Werner, (5) (Murray), 15:14
SPR Keller, (13) (Corso, Kuiper), 10:06
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
And the season continues to grind down to the bitter end.
Interesting note for those looking for silver linings: Keller's goal totals pro-rate to about 20 goals for a full season had he not missed so much time with the injury he had in December. That's not a bad rookie campaign, especially for a player who is so undersized. That's something to build on, which is critical. Aside from Chris Lawrence, there's not much scoring help coming through the pipeline with the possible exception of the X factor that is the Kazionovs. So, whatever solutions to the minor league offensive woes there can be for next season have to come from within and have to come from the young forwards already under contract stepping up.
HER Werner, (1) (Laing, Arsene), 4:10
SPR Keller, (12) (Henrich, Milley), 8:41 (PP)
HER Tenute, (22) (Wilson, Klepis), 6:37
HER Miles, (1) (Hedlund), 11:40
SPR Wanvig, (14) (Healey), 3:54
HER Bourque, (20) (Steckel, Laing), 15:46
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
With the weight of the affiliation dissolving seemingly lifted off their shoulders, Springfield responds.
Jonathan Boutin stopped 29 of 31 shots faced for the win. Veteran Eric Healey led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist while new Falcon Joe Rullier had a trifecta of assists. David Spina added 2 goals and the Falcons' other newcomer, Nick Kuiper, had two helpers. Stephen Baby had the other Falcons goal and Justin Keller, Dan Cavanaugh and Norm Milley had individual assists. ATO player Dusty Collins was -1 with 2 shots on goal in his professional debut.
Kyle Wanvig and Ryan Munce were not available for the game due to travel problems presumably because of the snowstorm that has enveloped the Northeast. Karri Ramo was not listed as a healthy scratch in Springfield's game recap, for those who need fuel for the speculation he has been recalled.
SPR Healey, (25) (Keller, Milley), 11:04
SPR Healey, (26) (Rullier, Kuiper), 18:33 (SH)
HFD Bourret, (12) (Degon, Lampman), 4:27 (PP)
SPR Baby, (2) (Rullier, Healey), 16:25 (PP)
SPR Spina, (9) (Rullier), 19:44 (SH)
HFD Olver, (1) , 8:34
SPR Spina, (10) (Cavanaugh, Kuiper), 17:57 (EN)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Gerald Coleman gets some small measure of revenge.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 34 shots in the loss. Daniel Corso and PJ Atherton had the Falcons goals. Individual assists belonged to Matt Smaby, Norm Milley, Dan Cavanaugh and Justin Keller. Tonight's game turned on a 5 minute high sticking penalty in the second period on Marek Kvapil which Portland cashed in on twice to assume a lead they never relenquished the rest of the way.
SPR Corso, (15) (Smaby, Milley), 6:53 (PP)
POR Carter, (11) (Salcido, Wilson), 7:06 (PP)
POR Salcido, (6) (Carter, Wilson), 8:52 (PP)
POR Keith, (10) (Hartigan, Weinrich), 9:45 (PP)
SPR Atherton, (2) (Cavanaugh, Keller), 7:37
POR Hartigan, (25) , 13:16
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
Total third period implosion.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 19 shots before giving way to Jonathan Boutin who fared even worse allowing 2 goals on 5 shots. Justin Keller and Norm Milley had Springfield's goals with assists belonging to Marek Kvapil, Jay Rosehill and Daniel Corso. Unfortunately, after hanging around for the first 40 minutes of the game, Springfield self destructed and allowed 4 goals in the final frame. The Falcons also had an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead early in the game on a David Spina penalty shot, but Spina failed to score and a Bruins goal in the final minutes of the first evened the game up.
Positives: with Kyle Wanvig up in Tampa on recall, Kvapil was moved back up to the second line with Keller and Spina and the three responded. Kvapil had the assist and 2 shots on goal, Spina had 4 shots and Keller had a team high 5 shots on goal. Hopefully the youngsters can keep it up. Remember, a couple of years ago Paul Ranger and Evgeny Artyukhin really came on at the end of the year (especially Ranger in the last dozen games) and it catapulted them into the NHL early the next year. Even though Springfield's playoff chances are slim and none, these young players still have a lot of developmental time left to capitalize on and once the college and junior team seasons start to end there will be an opportunity for the Lightning to identify some players to sign to ATO contracts with a view toward shaping next year's roster. There's still a lot to play for here.
SPR Keller, (10) (Kvapil, Rosehill), 2:10
PRO Rosa, (2) (Karsums, Lashoff), 19:21
PRO Trevelyan, (19) (Hoggan, Zinger), 6:16
PRO Trevelyan, (20) (Walter), 2:23
PRO Rosa, (3) (Talbot, Zinger), 7:07
SPR Milley, (19) (Corso), 7:30
PRO Karsums, (13) (Glenn, Lashoff), 14:32 (PP)
PRO Curry, (4) (Pelletier), 15:12 (PP)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.