KHL Game Day: 9/26

Karri Ramo allowed 1 goal on 19 shots as Omsk smoked Togliatti 5-1. Vasily Koshechkin allowed 3 goals on 8 shots in the first period before being pulled for the loss. Former Lightning player Eric Perrin had an assist in the match for Omsk, which also has former NHLer Jaromir Jagr.

Denis Kazionov did not play in Ekaterinburg's 3-2 loss to Chelyabinsk.

Dimitry Kazionov scored his first goal of the season and had 2 shots in 13:06 as Kazan defeated Yulayev 4-3.

Johan Harju was -1 in 14:34 as Dynamo Moscow fell to Novgorod 2-1.

Lightning Send 10 to Admirals

(Norfolk Admirals/Tampa Bay Lightning release)

The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, assigned ten players to the Admirals today including six players returning from the 2008-09 Norfolk squad, Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. Returning to the Norfolk roster from last season are goaltender Riku Helenius, defensemen Vladimir Mihalik and Ty Wishart, and forwards Blair Jones, Juraj Simek and Paul Szczechura. Goaltenders Jaroslav Janus and Dustin Tokarski and forwards Martins Karsums and Dana Tyrell have also been assigned to the Admirals.

Karsums and Jones Waived

According to a report published by Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, the Tampa Bay Lightning waived prospect forwards Martins Karsums and Blair Jones Friday for purposes of reassignment to the Norfolk Admirals. The fate of Karsums and Jones will be known at noon on Saturday, but Karsums reportedly has a European out-clause in his contract and it is speculated that he would return to Europe instead of accepting reassignment to the AHL.

CHL Game Night: 9/25

Not a great night statistically for Lightning prospects.

Ashton Returned to Junior

Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times is reporting that in addition to the waiver move made with Radek Smolenak last night, the club has returned 2009 first round pick Carter Ashton to Lethbridge of the WHL after an impressive first camp with the team.

Crisdotero points out something interesting regarding Smolenak's waiver claim: the Blackhawks start the season in Finland this year and are in a situation similar to the Lightning last season when they started in Prague, Czech Republic. The Hawks have a handful of nicked up forwards and therefore are likely to carry a few spare players on the roster that won't be on the team after it returns to North America. If the Hawks waive Smolenak after they come back to the states, the Lightning will get first right to reclaim Smolenak. So, the Lightning may get the benefit of Smolenak getting a handful of NHL games worth of experience and retaining his services to boot.

The Lightning are expected to make more cuts tomorrow, presumably with a view toward leaving the bulk of the Admirals' roster in Norfolk before leaving town to continue their preseason slate.

Everblades Sign Wessbecker

The Florida Everblades of the ECHL announced Friday that the team has signed former Lightning prospect defenseman John Wessbecker to a contract for the 2009-10 season. Wessbecker's signing comes on the heels of his participation in the AHL Houston Aeros training camp. Wessbecker, a 2005 7th round pick by the Lightning, graduated last spring from the University of Massachusettes-Amherst. The Lightning relinguished their right to Wessbecker by not signing Wessbecker to an NHL entry-level contract by the August deadline.

"John is a big stay-at-home defenseman, I believe with his size and reach he will effectively keep opposing forwards out of our zone," said Everblades coach Malcolm Cameron. "He's not flashy, but he possesses a very good shot, plays physical and moves the puck well."

"I'm extremely excited to be going to Florida, they have a great set-up down there," said John Wessbecker. "I'm ready to see what types of opportunities await me."

Blackhawks Claim Smolenak Off Waivers

The official web site of the Chicago Blackhawks are reporting that the team has claimed Lightning prospect forward Radek Smolenak off waivers today. It was expected that the Lightning would be trimming their 40+ camp roster after Thursday night's preseason game in Winnipeg ahead of Friday night's exhibition scrimmage between the Bolts and Admirals at the Scope in Norfolk, VA. It is presumed that the Lightning placed Smolenak on waivers Thursday with the purposes of reassigning him to the Norfolk Admirals.

NHL Preseason Game Night: 9/24 Oilers at Lightning (in Winnipeg)

I'm starting to believe in James Wright.

EDM-3
TB-4 (OT)

Mike Smith was in net and stopped 28 of 31 shots for the victory.

First Period
TB - Malone 3 (Stamkos, St. Louis) 04:13
TB - St. Louis 2 (Lecavalier, Tanguay)(PP) 17:21

Second Period
EDM - Nilsson 1 (Gagner, Gilbert)(PP) 15:52
EDM - Cogliano 1 (Grebeshkov) 19:32

Third Period
EDM - Gilbert 2 (Brule) 04:13
TB - Foster 1 (Hedman, Wright) 18:23

Overtime
TB - St. Louis 3 (Malone, Lecavalier)(PP) 4:53

Kind of like last night, I felt this game was more an affirmation of what the Lightning have than an answer to any questions about what they need or don't have. The team is going to have two good scoring lines and a very good power play, as expected. Vinny hating TSN commentator Ray Ferraro went out of his way to complain about what a bad night Vincent Lecavalier was having, and then he goes and assists on the winning goal off the faceoff late in overtime to cap a multi-point night. Yeah Ray, he stinks.

James Wright continues to shine in this marathon week of games that will finally, mercifully, come to an end tomorrow night with the scrimmage in Norfolk. He got an assist on the tying goal by Kurtis Foster where he won a key assist late and set a nice screen in front. He's played better than some guys who are three year AHL pros who should be knocking on the door for NHL jobs.

On the down side: Lukas Krajicek is awful. He just stinks. Turned the puck over on Gilbert's go-ahead goal and took a penalty in overtime that took one or two really big saves by Mike Smith to erase. He just stinks. I spent the last 25 minutes of play hoping that thing on Tocchet's chin would leap out and strangle Lukas. If Brian Lawton doesn't jettison Krajicek, well, I may pull my hair out this season.

Box score from Yahoo Sports.

KHL Game Day: 9/24

Karri Ramo allowed 2 goals on 18 shots in Omsk's 2-1 loss to Nizhnekamsk.

Vasily Koshechkin allowed 1 goal on 35 shots and had 2 penalty minutes in Togliatti's 3-1 win over Yulayev.

Dimitry Kazionov was -2 with 2 penalty minutes and 1 shot on goal in 8:51 in Kazan's 5-4 shootout win over Astana. Former NHLer Alexei Morozov scored the shootout winner for Ak Bars.

Johan Harju had 3 shots and was 65% on draws in 14:09 in Dynamo Moscow's 2-1 loss to Chekhov. Harju has just a lone assist in his first 6 games in Russia since leaving the Swedish Elitserien.

CHL Game Night: 9/24

OHL

Erie Otters 3 @ Windsor Spitfires 8
C Richard Panik, WSR: 2-0-2, , +2, 0 PIM, *Third Star*

Panik scored his first OHL goal as the second period was coming to a close, then opened the scoring for the third period. He earned Third Star honors for his efforts. With all the stars in the Windsor lineup at last, including the surprise return of Scott Timmons (Panthers), it was undrafted Justin Shugg with a hat trick, two assists, and a plus-four rating for Windsor to lead the offensive show.

Guelph Storm 4 @ Barrie Colts 6
LW/C Alex Hutchings, BAR: 2-0-2, +1, 0 PIM, *Second Star*
Season totals: 3 GP, 2-3-5, +2, 0 PIM

Hutchings, who had 34 goals last season, scored his first two of the year to help Barrie to a 6-4 win over Guelph. Hutchings’ second goal came while shorthanded.

Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds 5 @ Peterborough Petes 3
RW Kyle DeCoste, SSM: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (tripping)
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM

After being the worst team in the OHL last season, the Greyhounds are off to an impressive 3-0 start. DeCoste was back in the lineup for the Soo (still no report as to why he missed the second game), but did not register a point. SSM overcame a 2-0 deficit starting the second period to take the win.

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