Elmira Advances in ECHL Playoffs

The playoff seasons of Lightning prospects Riku Helenius and Kevin Quick will last at least another week as Elmira defeated Trenton in a decisive Game Seven matchup in Trenton 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Helenius lost Game Two, allowing 6 goals on 38 shots in a 6-5 defeat. He has spent the rest of the series backing up Michael Teslak.

Quick joined the club for a 5-0 shutout win in Game Three after finishing up the regular season with the Lightning in Atlanta. Quick is scoreless in 5 games with a -3 rating.

Elmira now moves on to face Cincinnati in the second round of the playoffs, beginning Friday night. The Cyclones survived a 7 game encounter with Wheeling in their opening round playoff series. They were the top team in the ECHL's North Division during the regular season.

Volts Too Strong for Oceanic; Giants Take Lead

[b][i]N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/21[/b][/i] Drummondville has Oceanic on ropes … Giants get late goal to lead series … Cunti and Wright continue to get points … Note on Vancouver-Kelowna rivalry … Fargo begins Lincoln series Wednesday.

Two More Bolts at Worlds

A current Lightning player, a prospect, and a recent prospect will be suiting up for their respective countries at the upcoming World Championships in Switzerland.

Harju Named to Team Sweden

According to the IIHF web site, Tampa Bay Lightning forward prospect Johan Harju has been named to the preliminary roster of the Swedish team for the 2009 World Hockey Championships. Harju recently announced that he had signed a contract to play with the Moscow Dynamo of the KHL for the 2009-2010 season, foregoing a possible pro contract with the Lightning. Harju finished the 2008-09 SEL season scoring 27 goals and 22 assists in 55 games for Lulea.

Prospect phenom Victor Hedman, the likely 2009 1st round draft pick by the Lightning, was omitted from the Team Sweden preliminary roster.

Giants Survive in OT

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/19

Wright and Cunti get assists, but only one prospect can enjoy a victory.

Tampa Bay Lightning 2008-2009 Season Wrap-Up

I hope some lessons were learned this season in the OK Hockey hierarchy. After spending the entire summer pointing the finger at the previous coach, GM, and scouts and slinging money around the free agent market like three drunken sailors on shore leave, I hope Oren Koules, Len Barrie, and Brian Lawton learned it takes more than flash to build an elite organization. Defense and coaching, for instance, are two very important components to any hockey team that OK Hockey neglected to adequately address heading into the season. When the club traded Filip Kuba to Ottawa for Andrej Meszaros, thereby making Paul Ranger the grizzled veteran of their d-corps, even Stevie Wonder could see trouble on the horizon for the Lightning. Lawton and Company’s reticence to address the obvious deficiency was puzzling, and turned out to be one of the ultimate downfalls of the season. And, of course, there was the unmitigated disaster of naming Barry Melrose the team’s Head Coach. Melrose could barely coach his way out a wet paper sack 13 years ago before he became a talking head on ESPN. What on earth possessed Oren Koules to believe his buddy had become Scotty Bowman in over a decade of inactivity, I’ll never know.

There's More

Rockets Strike First

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/18

WHL Playoffs – Conference Finals

Kelowna Rockets 4 @ Vancouver Giants 2
Kelowna leads Best of 7 series 1-0
C James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM (hooking)
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 3-5-8, +2, 6 PIM
Season totals: 71 GP, 21-26-47, +26, 54 PIM

Kelowna strikes first in the Western Conference Finals, gaining a 3-0 lead in game one and hanging on for the win. James Wright was a team-worst minus-3 for Vancouver, one of those being on the ice with likely top-5 pick Evander Kane and Conference MVP Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Penguins) in the game’s final minute for the empty net goal. Mikael Backlund (Flames) had two goals and an assist for First Star honors. Kelowna has won 5 straight games. Game 2 is Sunday in Vancouver.

Lightning co-owner Len Barrie was reportedly set to be in attendance for the game. His son, Tyson, was scoreless for the Rockets. Tyson was drafted one spot ahead of Kane in the WHL Bantam Draft a few years ago.

Volts Put Up Snowman vs. Oceanic

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/17

QMJHL Playoffs – League Semi-Finals

Rimouski Oceanic 1 @ Drummondville Voltigeurs 8
Drummondville leads Best of 7 series 1-0
W/C Luca Cunti, RIM: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 3-4-7, +4, 10 PIM
Season totals: 57 GP, 20-25-45, +10, 32 PIM

Rimouski has their work cut out for them against the high-powered Volts, and they found that out early in Game 1. Drummondville had a 3-0 lead after one period and blew open a 4-1 game entering the third with four in the final period alone. Game 2 is Sunday in Drummondville.

Rehab and Rest Have Tyrell on Track

Airdrie Echo

Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick ahead of schedule in recovery from December knee injury

It wasn’t the way he envisioned spending his winter months, but Dana Tyrell is making the best of a bad situation and is hoping to hit the ice this summer stronger than ever.

After completely tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and partially tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during a Dec. 18 World Junior exhibition game against Sweden, Tyrell has taken to the arduous task of rehabbing the knee with his trademark hard working approach.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old has been working on the knee with a Hockey Canada physiotherapist at Canada Olympic Park, along with his trainer of over two years, Doug Crashley.

“My (physiotherapist) says it’s ahead of schedule so things are moving along quickly,” Tyrell said after a recent morning workout session at COP. “It’s a six month recovery, but I’ve seen guys I’ve been training with in here that are at a five month point and I’m ahead of them already.”

To read the rest of the story, click here: Airdrie Echo

Ramo to Play for Finland

According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo will suit up for the Finns at the upcoming World Championships in Switzerland.

Despite the numbers, Ramo was very good the last half of the year for Tampa Bay filling in for the injured Mike Smith. Ramo started the year in AHL Norfolk and recently graduated from prospect status here at Bolt Prospects.

Ramo, pictured here with Finland's junior team in 2005, will be joined in the Finland nets by Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Ramo played last year for Finland as a back-up.

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