Now that we're in a lull in the hockey world (and talking about logos to pass the time), I thought it would be a good time to roll out a couple of features we've been kicking around here at Bolt Prospects for a while. Without much fanfare, the Lightning will reach a bit of a milestone this coming season as it will be their 15th in the NHL. The franchise is coming of age. 5 playoff appearances, 2 division titles and a Stanley Cup later the Lightning are no longer the league's fledgling Southern experiment. The Lightning, the first of their expansion cousins to hoist Lord Stanley's chalice, have proven hockey can work south of the Mason Dixon and have etched their place in the sport's history with blood, sweat and unyielding effort.
To celebrate this milestone, Bolt Prospects would like to take you on a trip down memory road to a fairgrounds halfway to Brandon, a baseball stadium in St. Petersburg, and a Forum that used to be a Palace. In these places, which now only exist in our recollection, we saw dozens of world class athletes put on the Lightning sweater and challenge the elite of the NHL. This, we think, is the best of the best: Bolt Prospects' All-Time Lightning Team:
Since the Lightning's new logo unofficially leaked on the internet a couple of days ago there's been a groundswell of outrage in the Lightning fan base. I hate to divert from the primary focus of the website which is covering prospects to talk about fashion issues, but seeing as this is the identity of the franchise we're talking about, I understand why passions are riding high amongst the fan base. And, seeing as Erik Erlendsson posted it on his blog, I figured he gives us professional cover to do so as well.
In my opinion, the logo itself isn't terrible. The font on the text is tragically cartoonish though, like they came straight out of the old Batman television series and Adam West and Burt Ward just "Bam, splat, bort, biffed, Tampa Bayed" a bad guy. It's HORRIBLE. It's way too childish and too kitschey. It's hard to take that logo seriously as a result.
For my money I've always loved the Lightning's secondary logo with the silhouette of the state in the background. I've always thought that was the classiest part of the Lightning's uniform. Give me jet black jerseys (like the Springfield Falcons' home jerseys with some simple blue trim around the waist, maybe even have the same white old school lace ties in the front too), jet black pants with the lightning bolts on the side, and jet black socks and switch the primary and secondary logos in order on the hierarchy and that's the uniform I would want. Simple, elegant, fierce. You know when they say "(Insert name of color here) is the new black." When they say that I always wonder why not just go ahead with black? It worked for Spinal Tap with their album cover on Smell the Glove did it not?
Kidding aside, what do you all think? The new logo designs are posted after the jump.
Long time readers of the website know that the staff here at Bolt Prospects has a bit of a chequered past with that other hockey prospects website, Hockeysfuture. Without getting to deep into the specifics, after years of myself, Chad and Tim working the Lightning page on that website we as a group had a falling out with management over what seemed to us to be obvious bias in their decision making process against us and the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't something that happened overnight and we didn't leave all at once but eventually Tim had the idea to start a blog and we seized on it and started making plans. The rest, as they say, is history.
Long time readers of this website also know that we've never been afraid to call out Hockeysfuture for what we've seen as continuing bias in the product over at that website. One of the most obvious points of contention we had with HF was their refusal for almost two years to assign a writer to cover the Lightning's prospects. It wasn't until shortly after the Lightning internet community responded strongly to an incident in which a high ranking HF writer called prospects Blair Jones and Justin Keller trash and Bolt Prospects' subsequent smackdown of said writer that HF finally conceded and assigned longtime writer and all around standup guy Phil Laugher to cover the team's prospects. Laugher earned his street cred with the Lightning fan base when he apologized publicly to Lightning fans about a year prior when HF released a set of rankings that had NHL regular Paul Ranger 9th in the organization, soon-to-be NHL regular Nick Tarnasky 19th in the organization, and Keller and Russian superprospect Vasily Koshechkin out of the rankings altogether.
Under Laugher, it has been our website's opinion that the product on HF has improved by leaps and bounds. Considering he's been struggling upstream against an online editor who clearly has ulterior motives, their site has actually become tolerable over the last year. As such, we've had an unofficial truce with HockeysFuture over the past 14 or so months. Unfortunately, Phil didn't write the horribly divorced from reality draft review HF just put out for the Lightning, a piece so bad I got multiple e-mails from the Bolt Prospects staff within moments of their reading it. Considering their strong negative reaction to the article, I'm afraid we as a site have to respond.
Now, admittedly I have no idea who Elisa Hatch is. And let me just say ahead of time, it's not her fault Hockeysfuture's editors and management decided to put her in a difficult situation and its not her fault they offered her so little editorial support in the course of writing this article. Nearest as I can tell this is Hatch's first solo article at HF and unfortunately, without knowledgable editors who actually care about the subject matter, the quality of the work suffered.
Bottom line: several of the contentions of the article are diametrically opposed to the professional opinions of several reputable scouting outlets including the Lightning's scouting staff, THN, Red Line Report and the NHL Central Scouting Service. You don't have to take it from us that the article is flawed. Take it from those other professionals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Paul Ranger to a three-year contract, Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster announced. Ranger, 22, appeared in 72 games for the Lightning in 2006-07, recording four goals, 24 assists and 42 penalty minutes. He ranked third among Lightning defensemen in goals and points.
â€œPaul Ranger is a very good young hockey player who should only continue to develop and get better,â€ Feaster said. â€œHe has played some important minutes for us over the past two seasons and we expect he will be called on even more in the upcoming campaign. Now that he has become a regular NHL player, we look forward to him continuing to develop all aspects of his game, including contributing more to the team's offense. We are thrilled to have him under contract for the next three years.â€
According to Chris Heisenberg's 2007 NCAA Hockey Recruiting Page, Lightning 2007 3rd round pick Luca Cunti has pledged his commitment to the St. Cloud State University Huskies of the WCHA for next season.
The St. Cloud Times reported on Saturday that Cunti did indeed commit to the Huskies. However, this is presuming Cunti can negotiate all the paperwork for the NCAA Clearinghouse in time.
In the event he doesnâ€™t join the Huskies this fall, he remains on the protected list for the USHLâ€™s Chicago Steel.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed defenseman Mike Lundin to a two-year, entry level contract, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
Lundin, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound native of Apple Valley, Minnesota, spent the 2006-07 season with the University of Maine Black Bears. During his senior year he played in all 40 games and scored six goals with a total of 20 points. He tied for the team lead in goals by a defenseman and ranked second in points by defensemen. Lundin scored five goals on the power play and ranked first on the team among defensemen, tied for sixth overall. He set career highs for goals, points and power-play goals.
Despite an attempt by the Lightning to sign 2007 sixth round pick Johan Harju and bring him North America this summer, Bolt Prospects has learned that the forward has elected to stay in the Swedish Elite League for another year.
Harju, an overage draftee at 21 years of age, was thought to be a strong possibility for the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Harju had 12 goals, 10 assists and 22 points in 55 games for Lulea of the SEL last season. Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said the forward was extended a contract offer, but Harju wants to stay in Sweden for at least one more year.
Three players drafted by the Lightning last month have been placed on protected lists for USHL clubs.
Sunday, July 1 was a USA Hockey roster cut down date and USHL teams, which had been carrying 30-man active rosters at the time, had to cut down to 25 players. USHL teams will be allowed to carry 25 players until the final reduction date of September 30 when they have to drop down to their 23-man active roster.
Russian Hockey Digest's Yura Zyuzin has released his site's Top-20 Most NHL Ready Russian Prospects. Checking in at 9th on the list is Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin while in 18th is hulking winger Evgeny Artyukhin.
Kudos to Zyuzin for using Artyukhin's Bolt Prospects administered "R2" nickname in his report.
The Burlington Free Press is reporting Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis has been named part of the University of Vermont's 2007 Athletic Hall of Fame class. The ceremony will be held October 6.
Among the seven named were former Bolt Eric Perrin and Boston Bruin Tim Thomas.
St. Louis, Perrin and Thomas were the cornerstones of UVM's most successful men's hockey teams. They led the Catamounts to UVM's onle ECAC Division I regular season title and to the Frozen Four of the NCAA Division I tournament, where they lost a controversial double-overtime game to Colorado College.