Lightning fans who know me know that when it comes to this team's prospects I've been a big booster of the concept of Karri Ramo making it to the NHL sooner rather than later. However, for Ramo to make the team out of camp would be an improbable event because the business side of the game all but precludes it. The Lightning have invested roughly $4 million dollars in the tandem of Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis heading into the 2007-2008 season, and the team learned this summer that Denis is virtually untradable at this point in time after such a poor campaign last season. I won't even attempt to argue for Ramo's promotion to the bigs from a business standpoint, because it doesn't make sense.
But from a hockey standpoint it makes all the sense in the world, and it makes sense on two levels...
Different day, same results. Sunday's scrimmage ended in yet another 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White, duplicating Saturday's result. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog, Team Black's goal came from the prospective fourth line with Nick Tarnasky getting the goal off an Andre Roy feed. Team White's goal was scored by free agent signing Michel Ouellet off a pass by Brad Richards.
Erlendsson calls out overage prospect David Schneider for a couple of positive plays in today's game. Schneider spent the past four seasons in Finland playing in the SM-liiga for TPS and HPK and was a teammate of Karri Ramo when the two won a championship in 2005-2006. Schneider was signed to anchor the Norfolk Admirals' power play and should provide some offensive spark to the Ads' attack.
Also on the positive side, today was another strong outing for the Lightning's goaltenders particularly Ramo and veteran Marc Denis. Erlendsson had Denis stopping 17 of 17 shots faced while Ramo stopped 16 of 17 including a 3-on-1 chance by Dan Jancevski.
According to Tampabaylightning.com, day one of camp scrimmages ended in a 1-1 tie between Team Black and Team White. Team White's goal was scored by winger Kyle Wanvig off assists from Brad Richards and Doug Janik while Team Black's goal was scored by Vincent Lecavalier off assists from Vaclav Prospal and Paul Ranger.
Wanvig and Janik continue to make a strong impression after good showings in camp during physical testing on Thursday and Friday. Erik Erlendsson also notes in his blog that Wanvig was displaying a strong physical presence throughout the game to go with his goal. The Lightning's top-12 forwards appeared to be set going into training camp, but Wanvig appears to be playing his way into the discussion of who will be the first forward called up at the very least.
Erlendsson notes none of the defensemen vying for the team's #6 and #7 defenseman jobs separated from the pack, and that all three goaltenders played well with wunderkind Karri Ramo stopping 16 of 16 shots faced including a penalty shot by rookie pro Mike Lundin.
After a positive experience for him in Traverse City, goaltender Torrie Jung returned to Kelowna and got in a full game's work Friday for the Rockets. Jung, who is battling veteran Kristofer Westblom for the No.1 duties, stopped 27 of 30 shots in a 3-1 loss to Kamloops. The Rockets are 1-5 in the preseason with one game left.
No other Lightning prospects were in WHL preseason action Friday.
Denis Kazionov was scoreless in Novokuznetsk's 4-3 loss to Dynamo.
Anton But was scoreless in St. Petersburg's 6-4 loss to Ufa.
Evgeny Artyukhin was scoreless in Omsk's 4-3 overtime loss to CSKA.
Albert Vishnyakov had Spartak's only goal in a 4-1 loss to Novgorod.
Alexei Glukhov was scoreless in Cherepovets' 2-1 win over Khabarovsk.
Evgeny Artyukhin was scoreless as Novosibirsk shut out Omsk 2-0. R2 had 2 penalty minutes in the match.
Both Albert Vishnyakov and Denis Kazionov were scoreless as Spartak defeated Novokuznetsk 2-1. Visnyakov had 2 penalty minutes in the game.
Anton But was scoreless in St. Petersburg's 2-1 win over Novgorod. But had 2 penalty minutes in the match.
Not only did the Lightning open their 15th season with the start of their NHL training camp today, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) began their 2007-2008 regular season.
St. John Sea Dogs 1 @ Lewiston MAINEiacs 4
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 2 SOG
Game Notes: League champion Lewiston opened their defense of the President's Cup with a sound win over St. John. The MAINEiacs scored four unanswered goals, including three in the third period. Ward and Lewiston's power play went 1/8. Ward had no goals and seven assists in 58 games with limited ice time last season in Lewiston.
The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) began their games this past weekend. Seventh round pick (2007) Justin Courtnall was scoreless for the Victoria Grizzlies, who fell to the visiting Nanaimo Clippers 3-1. The Grizzlies play their second game on Saturday. Courtnall had 5 goals and 9 assists in 53 games for Burnaby (BCHL) last year.
Since Jay Feaster took over as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2002, two things have stood out as being top priorities with the organizationâ€”winning and work ethic.
Success is earned.
In this meritocracy system, Feaster will do whatever it takes to win, and if a player doesnâ€™t perform up to expectations, he is in danger of losing his spot on the depth chart, if not the roster.
Starting off their pro careers on the right foot is essential for young prospects in the organization, such as the 20 that finished eighth out of eight teams in last weekâ€™s Traverse City (TC) prospects tournament in Michigan. Individual performances aside, winning is priority number one with the club and the last-place finish is not sitting well with the general manager.
â€œI am not pleased with the results,â€ Feaster made sure to tell Bolt Prospects before providing player evaluations.
Bolt Prospects has been the only site archiving the Lightning's Traverse City statistics since the team began participating in the tournament. This post is to archive this year's statistics, which come courtesy of Pointstreak, and to link to past years statistics for comparison purposes.
Crisdotero also blogged some quotes from Lightning GM Jay Feaster today regarding the play of the team's prospects at the Traverse City tournament.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Feaster raves about the play of forward Radek Smolenak and admits several organizations expressed praise for Smolenak's play and lauds defenseman Mike Lundin's strong play in the tournament.
Bolt Prospects will have more on the Lightning organization's reaction to the Traverse City tournament later this week.