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.
Damian Crisdotero reports on his blog that prospect defenseman Vladimir Mihalik has been pulled from the Lightning camp roster due to a pulled groin muscle. He will be replaced on the roster by overage prospect David Schneider.
Erik Erlendsson also indicates on his blog that part of the Lightning's decision to remove Mihalik from Tampa camp was due to Mihalik having no realistic chance of making the team at this point in his career. Ouch.
Luca Cunti is just happy to be here.
Wearing a St. Cloud State hockey T-shirt, on Tuesday he began his assimilation with the rest of the Huskiesâ€™ freshmen.
A forward from Switzerland, Cunti attended his first class earlier in the day, then was one of the first to arrive for an afternoon workout at the National Hockey Center.
While eight other incoming recruits started school last week, Cunti is a late addition. He committed in July and it wasnâ€™t until little more than a week ago that he made the decision and processed the necessary paperwork in an effort to begin college this year instead of in 2008.
Heâ€™s still waiting for clearance by the NCAA, but expects to be able to play when the team opens the season next month.
To read the rest of this story, see the St. Cloud Times.
The Lightning prospects finished dead last in the Traverse City prospects tournament today, losing the 7th place game to the Dallas Stars' prospects 6-5 in a shootout.
Goaltender Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on just 20 shots before surrendering 2 on 7 attempts in the shootout session. Helenius dropped to 0-2-1 for the tournament.
Mike Lundin paced the Lightning with a pair of goals including a dramatic talley with 2 seconds left in the game and the goaltender pulled to force overtime. Mitch Fadden and Stanislav Lascek each had 1 goal and 1 assist while tryout invitee Jason Reese chipped in 2 assists. Dusty Collins had the other Lightning goal. Ian Duval, Radek Smolenak, and Vladimir Mihalik added individual helpers.
Smolenak finishes the tournament as the Lightning's leader in scoring with 7 points in 4 games while Fadden, Lundin, and Mihalik all finish tied for second with 4 points each.
The Lightning prospects allowed 3 unanswered third period goals tonight to fall to the Atlanta Thrashers' prospects 6-4. The Lightning now finish the round robin phase of the tournament 0-3 and will play in the 7th place game.
Forward Radek Smolenak had 1 goal and 2 assists in the game to continue his track record of success at Traverse City. Center Mitch Fadden struck for 1 goal and 1 assist in the game for his first points of the tournament. Tryout forward Daine Todd and defenseman Vladimir Mihalik had the Lightning's other goals. Dane Crowley, Mike Lundin, and Chris Lawrence added individual helpers.
Netminder Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 37 shots before being pulled late in the game for the extra attacker.
Smolenak is now tied for 2nd among all scorers in the tournament. The Lightning and Stars prospects will face off tomorrow at 2 pm in the 7th place game.
Canada put the final touches on a masterpiece tonight beating the Russian U20 team 6-1 in the final game of the Canada/Russia Super Series. With the victory, the Canadians finish the series with an unbeaten 7-0-1 record. Lightning prospect Dana Tyrell was scoreless in the game. He finishes the series with 1 goal.
The entire tournament is archived online for viewing at HockeyWebcasts.com.