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Bolts Reassign Josef Melichar to Admirals

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned defenseman Josef Melichar to the Norfolk Admirals, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. There is no word on a possible replacement recall from Norfolk like Matt Lashoff, so it is anticipated that Marek Malik is ready to return to the Lighting lineup.

Melichar, a 6-foot-2, 222-pound native of Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic, has played in 30 games with the Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes this season, recording eight assists. He made his Tampa Bay debut February 12 and has averaged 17:15 in ice time while recording four assists in 15 games with the Lightning.

Melichar has appeared in one game with Norfolk this season, making his Admirals debut on February 8 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He has also appeared in 25 games with Albany of the AHL, recording a goal and five points.

Update:
Erik Erlendsson of the Trib says that Lashoff is expected to be called up tomorrow.

AHL Upholds Downie Suspension

The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has unanimously voted to uphold the League suspension levied against Tampa Bay Lightning prospect and Norfolk Admirals right wing Steve Downie last week. The Board convened via conference call this afternoon to hear the Admirals’ appeal.

Downie was suspended for twenty (20) games on Mar. 5 under the provisions of AHL Rule 41.2 for deliberately striking an official with his stick during a Feb. 28 game at Hershey.

Lightning Recall Richard Petiot

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled overaged prospect defenseman Richard Petiot from the Norfolk Admirals on an emergency basis, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.

Petiot, 26, is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound native of Daysland, Alberta who has skated in 46 AHL games between the Admirals and the Toronto Marlies this season, recording three goals, 14 points and 59 penalty minutes. He made his Admirals debut on Sunday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Originally drafted in the fourth round, 116th overall, by Los Angeles at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Petiot made his NHL debut with the Kings against the Atlanta Thrashers on January 19, 2006, and recorded two penalty minutes in two games with the Kings. He was acquired by the Lightning from Toronto on March 4, 2009 in exchange for Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward, Andy Rogers and a fourth-round pick in 2009.

In 162 career AHL games with the Norfolk, Toronto and Manchester, Petiot has recorded 10 goals, 37 points and 192 penalty minutes. Prior to turning pro Petiot played four seasons at Colorado College (2001-05), tallying 11 goals, 33 points and 220 penalty minutes. In 2005 he helped the Tigers reach the NCAA’s Frozen Four.

Segal Recalled to Tampa, Again

With Gary Roberts announcing his retirement earlier today and Paul Szczechura being a game-time decision tonight with a wrist injury, the Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled right wing Brandon Segal from the Norfolk Admirals.

Segal, 6-foot-2, 214-pounds, appeared in his first career NHL game Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, skating 14:45 and recording one hit, one takeaway and one blocked shot.

Segal has appeared in 52 games with the Admirals this season. His 21 goals and 41 points both rank second on the club. Those marks are also AHL career highs for the sixth-year professional. This season, Segal also has a +1 rating, 70 penalty minutes, four power play goals, one shorthanded goal and two game-winning goals with the Admirals this season.

Segal, Petiot Assigned to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned right wing Brandon Segal to the Norfolk Admirals, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced today. Segal, 6-foot-2, 214-pounds, appeared in his first career NHL game Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, skating 14:45 and recording one hit, one takeaway and one blocked shot. Segal's reassignment to Norfolk likely comes at the expense of the deadline day acquisition of right wing Martins Karsums, who is expected to be in the lineup for Friday's lineup against the St. Louis Blues.

The Lightning also announced that they have reassigned defenseman Richard Petiot to the Admirals. Petiot, 26, is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound native of Daysland, Alberta. He was acquired by the Lightning yesterday in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Szczechura, Segal Recalled to Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled right wing Brandon Segal and prospect center Paul Szczechura from the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton. This is Segal’s first career NHL call-up.

Segal, 6-foot-2, 214-pounds, has appeared in 52 games with the Admirals this season. His 21 goals and 41 points both rank second on the club. Those marks are also AHL career highs for the sixth-year professional. This season, Segal also has a +1 rating, 70 penalty minutes, four power play goals, one shorthanded goal and two game-winning goals with the Admirals this season.

Gratton Claimed; Wishart, Downie Reassigned

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned prospect right wing Steve Downie and defenseman Ty Wishart to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manage Brian Lawton announced today. Downie's reassignment likely comes as a result of a report in the Columbus Dispatch today that veteran center Chris Gratton has been claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets on re-entry waivers. The 6-4, 220-pound forward had been playing for Nolfolk and he will join the Jackets for the trip to Western Canada which begins on Tuesday in Calgary.

Gratton, 33, is a veteran of 1,086 NHL games, scoring 214 goals and contributing 353 assists. Jackets General manager Scott Howson said the move would not prevent the Jackets from searching for another center before the trade deadline.

Downie, a 5-foot-10, 192-pound native of Newmarket, Ontario, posted one goal and three points with 34 penalty minutes in 11 games after being recalled from Norfolk on January 26. Wishart, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, appeared in three games with the Lightning after being called up on February 16. He registered an NHL career high with 15:52 of ice time last night with Tampa Bay in Carolina.

Lightning Recall Wishart

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled defenseman Ty Wishart from the Norfolk Admirals on an emergency basis, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced.

Wishart, 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, has played in 46 games with the Admirals this season, recording one goal and four points with a plus-2 rating. Wishart scored his first professional goal on December 19 against Albany.

Wishart has played his first two career NHL games this season with the Lightning, recording one assist. He made his NHL debut on January 3 versus Carolina and then notched his first NHL point with an assist on January 21 versus Buffalo. The 20-year-old was acquired by the Lightning from San Jose on July 4, 2008. He was drafted by the Sharks in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Szczechura off IR; Reassigned to Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned center Paul Szczechura to the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton. He has been sidelined with a lower body injury since January 13.

Szczechura, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound center, had appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk prior to his first NHL call-up on December 1. He was leading the team with 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points at the time. He also was tied for ninth in the AHL in scoring and tied for tenth in the league in goals at the time.

Szczechura made his NHL debut on December 2 with the Lightning in Philadelphia. Since then, he has played 18 games with Tampa Bay, scoring two goals and two assists with six penalty minutes. Szczechura, 23, signed a two-year deal as a free agent with the Lightning on April 24.

Goalie-Go-Round

As the Super Bowl party leaves Tampa Bay on Monday, the goaltending situation for the Bolts is almost as suspenseful as last night's 4th quarter. Both the Tampa Tribune and St. Pete Times are reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning have (unofficially) signed Norfolk Admirals netminder Mike McKenna to an NHL contract in the aftermath of successful biceps tendon surgery to Olaf Kolzig on Saturday. Kolzig is expected to miss the remainder of the season rehabbing his repaired left arm. During the intermission of Friday night's game against Philadelphia, Lightning GM Brian Lawton hinted that McKenna was one of the alternatives being considered for the backup role to Mike Smith for the balance of the season. McKenna practiced with the team Monday morning ahead of flying out with the team to Long Island for Tuesday night's tilt against the struggling Islanders.

McKenna's signing triggered the reassignment of prospect goaltender Riku Helenius to Norfolk, presumably to start the remaining four games of fellow prospect goalie Karri Ramo's suspension. Ramo is currently serving a six game AHL suspension for leaving the bench during a late game on-ice altercation last week. In the interim, Admirals signed goaltender Tyler Sims to a PTO late last week to serve as the team's backup goaltender while Ramo serves out his suspension.

However, in surprising turn of events, both Tampa papers broke the news today that Mike Smith would not make the trip to New York with the team, citing an upper body injury to the Lightning's No.1 goalie, along with news that Ramo was being recalled from Norfolk on an emergency basis. It is unlikely that the recall will delay the completion of Ramo's suspension as the Admirals do not play again until Friday, and there's been no definitive word on whether McKenna or Ramo will start against the Islanders. Lawton, in a quote from the St. Pete Times, indicated that Smith's injury is fairly minor and he may join the team Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

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