Yanni Gourde took the ice Tuesday as determined as ever.
The 5-9 left-winger signed a new deal -- an American Hockey League contract with the Syracuse Crunch for the rest of this season and a two-way deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning over the next two years -- last weekend. But Gourde, who spent time with three teams over the past two years, isn’t completely satisfied with his new found stability.
"It's awesome to feel that type of security right now," Gourde said. "But hockey is day-by-day. Every practice is important, and every time I step on the ice I need to improve myself to get better."
We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 10, 2014 is … Jonathan Drouin, C/W, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL – Canada).
We’re sorry, Jonathan.
Last week in our Bolt Prospect of the Week write-up, we made special note of the fact that Matt Peca had done something that super-prospect Jonathan Drouin had never done – get six points in one game.
Artem Sergeev saw his opportunity and responded.
With three significant injuries to the Crunch blueline, Sergeev has thrived with increased ice time. The 20-year-old rookie defenseman has averaged close to 20 minutes a night and played in all situations, as Syracuse has gone 4-2 to snap out of a recent slide.
For Syracuse Crunch coach Rob Zettler, Sergeev has elevated his play in the last few weeks.
"I've really liked his physical play," Zettler said. "He's been smart. He uses his body well. He's a big, thick guy and he's strong. He's starting to understand how he can best use it to his advantage, and he's done that lately."
Even after one of the biggest performances of his young career, Kristers Gudlevskis tempered any excitement with perspective.
The Syracuse Crunch goalie made 55 saves, as Latvia nearly stunned Canada in the quarterfinals of the winter Olympics in Sochi late last month. The Herculean effort earned Gudlevskis praise worldwide.
But in his first practice back with the Crunch Tuesday, Gudlevskis was back to focusing on the task at hand.
"It was only one game," Gudlevskis said. "So I need to show everybody I'm really consistent every game all season long. I think only then I'm going to prove myself."
The BP Mailbag returns after its own Olympic break (the Games aren’t going to watch themselves and multi-tasking is a challenge when hockey is on).
The questions, please…
@BoltProspects Would you part with Namestnikov for a Dmen like Alex Edler #BPMailbag
The Canucks’ Alex Edler, a 27-year-old defenseman, is rumored to be on the trading block. With the trade deadline on Wednesday, speculation is picking up steam.
Edler fits a lot of criteria for what I think the Lightning should be looking for: 300-plus games played, puckmover, second-pair capable, and power play contributor.
He also has good size (6-3), which Yzerman likes in a defenseman. There are a lot of things to like.