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.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 3/15

Luca! Luca! Luca! He's done it again! ... Barberio gets a goal against Ward's Screaming Eagles in regular season finale ... Another multi-point night for Fadden ... Jung stellar, but Edmonton's nearly choked this opportunity away.

AHL Game Day 3/15: Admirals at Phantoms

Admirals run out of gas late on the road.

NOR-2
PHI-3

Riku Helenius allowed 3 goals on 29 shots for the loss.

First Period
NOR Konopka, (14) (Bochenski, Lundin), 18:43 (PP)

Second Period
PHI Bartulis, (1) (Matsumoto), 0:40
NOR Zingoni, (5) (Hooton), 2:09
PHI Ross, (23) (Sirianni, Kane), 2:46

Third Period
PHI Ross, (24) (Kane, Curry), 2:40 (PP)

Pete Zingoni was named the game's third star.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 3/14

Capitals force Game 7 ... DeCoste and Wright score in season finales ... Spokane vs. Tri-City postponed due to food poisoning ... Jung and Edmonton lose, but get help from Saskatoon.

NCAA Game Night: 3/14

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 2
Massachusetts Minutemen 1 @ #4 Northeastern Huskies 4
Best of three series tied 1-1
D John Wessbecker UMASS: 0-0-0, -1

Game 2 was much more of what was expected...Game 3 Sunday.

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 2
UMASS-Lowell River Hawks 4 @ #7 Vermont Catamounts 2
UMASS-Lowell wins best of three series 2-0
F Matt Marshall Ver: Did not play

Vermont goes 1 for 6 on PP and is upset in Round 1. Catamounts now sit back and watch rest of tourney play out. Being ranked in top 10 for most of season, they should be an easy bet for a NCAA tournament bid.

AHL Game Night 3/14: Admirals at Senators

Vengeance wore a blue jersey tonight.

NOR-5
BNG-2

Craig Kowalski allowed 2 goals on 34 shots for the win.

First Period
NOR Bochenski, (26) (Konopka), 19:53

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
BNG Mauldin, (17) (Regin, Hamel), 0:16
NOR Smolenak, (19) (Lawrence, Quick), 0:53
NOR Simek, (6) (Jones, Henley), 1:23
NOR Zingoni, (4) (Konopka, Boyle), 1:52
NOR Jones, (17) (Simek, Hooton), 9:20
BNG Mauldin, (18) (Regin), 11:08

Kowalski and Radek Smolenak were the game's first and second stars. Smolenak is just one goal away from hitting 20 for the first time in his professional career. Meanwhile, Blair Jones moved just 3 goals shy of accomplishing the same feat.

Two Chris Lawrence sitings in as many nights?

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Game Night 3/14: Lightning at Panthers

God I love beating the Florida Panthers.

TB-4
FLA-3 (SO)

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 37 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping all three shooters for the big shootout victory. Ramo has helped his club claim 5 of the last 6 available points, all in road games. The young man is staking his claim to be Mike Smith's backup next season. We're watching a boy becoming a man under some very tough circumstances.

First Period
15:49 FLA Frolik (18), (Booth)

Second Period
17:11 FLA Booth (25), (Stillman, Weiss)(PP)
18:21 TB Murphy (5), (St. Louis, Stamkos)(PP)

Third Period
05:35 FLA Booth (26), (Weiss, Frolik)
13:42 TB St. Louis (26), (Krajicek, Petiot)
16:30 TB Halpern (5), (Petiot, Prospal)

Overtime
NO SCORING

Shootout
TB- Stamkos
FLA- NONE

Noah Welch was -1 with 2 penalty minutes, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots in 10:19.

Matt Smaby was +1 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 25:36. Whereas Ramo is growing up before our eyes, I dare not call Smaby anything less than a grown-ass man out there right now.

Paul Szczechura had 1 shot and 1 hit in 14:01. He was also 36% on 11 draws.

Martins Karsums had 5 hits and 1 blocked shot in 9:28. There's something Ryan Johnson-esque about the way he racks up hit totals despite being physically ineffective.

Richard Petiot had 2 assists and was +2 with 5 hits and 2 blocked shots in 21:36. He skates like a horse, but somehow he manages to get the job done. He's completely outshined Noah Welch so far, which I doubt anybody saw coming when the two overage prospects were acquired at the deadline.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Remembering Bill Davidson

Tragically, the Lightning had a death in the family this week, as former owner Bill Davidson passed away at the age of 86. Davidson, who built a billion dollar business, sports and entertainment empire, won three NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, one NHL championship with the Lightning, one IHL championship with the Detroit Vipers, and three WNBA championships with the Detroit Shock. In short, Davidson left a tradition of success wherever he went, whether it was in building his family's glass company into a global giant, or building the Palace of Auburn Hills without a dime of public money.

I don't know if I'm the best person to write about Bill Davidson, because I always got the impression from watching Davidson that if you locked he and I in a room we probably wouldn't have agreed about anything: politics, business, sports, etc. Then again, maybe that makes me the perfect person to write about Davidson's impact on the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise, because I've never really viewed Davidson through the lens of doe-eyed admiration or sentimentality.

Did I have disagreements with the way Davidson ran the Lightning? Sure. I especially had disagreements with the trust he places in Palace Sports and Entertainment executive Tom Wilson who, in a fit of PR genius, was quoted in the Detroit papers the day after Davidson bought the Lightning as claiming PS&E didn't care about the hockey team and only was interested in turning the then Ice Palace and the parcels of land surrounding it into a profit generating machine. Davidson ran the Lightning with a patience, coolness, and dispassion that, in my mind, surely came from being an owner who wasn't from Tampa and probably always viewed the Lightning as a stepchild to his beloved Pistons. Some of his budget decisions probably prolonged the time it took for the Lightning to rebuild, and the faith he also placed in some of the former hockey operations people from his Detroit Vipers probably also prolonged the time that Lightning fans had to suffer watching last place hockey.

But, with that said, I can't argue that Bill Davidson didn't improve the condition of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise immeasurably in the time that he owned it. It's also inarguable, in my mind, that the franchise has slid backwards, to a degree, since he sold the team. Davidson and his PS&E management brought professionalism and real-world experience to a franchise that had been nothing short of a zoo in the years that it was owned by Japanese consortium Kokusai, and flamboyant braggart Art Williams. He might have done it at a slow and steady pace, but he brought a championship to a Lightning team that only managed two playoff wins in all the preceeding years before he bought the club.

That, ultimately, is the only objective way we can measure a man's success in his life's endeavors, whether they're in his family, his business, or in a multi-million dollar sports franchise. Did you leave it better off than when you came into it? Bill Davidson left the Lightning better off than when he gained control of the team, turning it from one of the NHL's longest running jokes into a team that, for a time, was touted as the very model of how a franchise should be run in a small, Southern market. That's the legacy Bill Davidson left behind, and that's why this writer and everyone at Bolt Prospects extends our condolences to the family and friends of Bill Davidson on this sad day. And, that's why, no matter what happens, the Davidson family will always have a place in the Tampa Bay Lightning family.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 3/13

Victoria fails to clinch ... Barberio and Moncton don't fail to clinch ... Luca! Luca! Luca! ... Tokarski beats Fadden's Americans to keep pace with Kelowna ... Wright and Vancouver lose again ... CHL playoff race updates.

NCAA Game Night: 3/13

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 1
Massachusetts Minutemen 2 @ #4 Northeastern Huskies 1
D John Wessbecker UMASS: 0-0-0, Even

UMASS pulls a big Game 1 upset on the road over top team in country. Go for knockout blow Saturday in Game 2.

Hockey East Tournament - Round 1 - Game 1
UMASS-Lowell River Hawks 4 @ #7 Vermont Catamounts 3 OT
F Matt Marshall Ver: Did not play

Lowell scores with two seconds left in first overtime period...Vermont faces elimination.

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