Now that the new affiliation agreement between the Lightning and the Norfolk Admirals is in place, I want to take this opportunity to welcome Ads fans to Bolt Prospects. I've seen a lot of questions being asked around the internet about the Lightning's minor league system and their previous affiliations in the AHL. I would encourage anyone who has questions to poke around Bolt Prospects. Check the blog archives for stories and game reviews. And, by all means, feel free to register here at Bolt Prospects and talk to the growing community of Lightning fans.
For those wanting to know even more, I would recommend spending some time here on Bolt Prospects thumbing through the player profiles on the Prospects page. Bolt Prospects prides itself on having the most complete and most detailed Lightning prospect profiles on the internet and we're the only site on the web that conducts evaluations of a team's prospects three times a season, so we think we've developed a very valuable source of Lightning prospect information.
For those wanting to know where the Lightning minor league system is going, I think it's important to look at it's past. With that in mind, I would point you toward this article I wrote in May of 2003 prior to the Lightning's full affiliation with Springfield which details the team's history of minor league affiliations. Although I'm loathe to point any web traffic toward Hockeys Future, to my knowledge the article is the most complete history on the Lightning's minor league system.
Finally, for those looking for information about who the Lightning might be bringing into the system for next season's team, I would suggest taking a look at one of our prior blog posts here on Bolt Prospects which speculates on eight possible additions to the organization once the summer hits. While it is just speculation at this point, I think it's a decent starting point as a primer for the offseason to come. And, with the exception of one addendum I would make in that we have learned the Lightning are making a run at signing goaltender Vasily Koshechkin this summer, I think it's pretty complete.
In closing, I'd just like to add one thing about the Lightning organization and their minor league operation. A lot of negative things have been written about the Lightning's affiliation in Springfield over the past three years. Much of it is probably fair because although I honestly believe the Lightning's minor league system has improved greatly over that time period, especially in terms of their talent level, the results did not come in Springfield. But, while it is true to say the team's youngsters have underperformed over the past three years (especially this year), it's not true to say the Lightning don't care about their developmental system or about winning at the AHL level. Over the past three years Jay Feaster and the Lightning have invested heavily to acquire numerous veteran free agents to try and help the Falcons and in a proven winning coach in the AHL in Steve Stirling. We cannot promise that the transition to our organization and our system of play will be pain free and easy. Obviously it hasn't been over the past few years in Springfield. But, I can promise that the Lightning organization will always put forth an honest effort to make the Admirals a winner and to acheive the ultimate long term goal of winning championships at the AHL level.
The Virginian Pilot reports the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League announced today they have signed a five-year affiliation deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Pilot reports Tampa Bay executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster said at the press conference that the Lightning was not happy with the on-ice results at Springfield and vowed to put a winning team in Norfolk.
Norfolk has never missed the AHL playoffs.
Current Springfield head coach Steve Stirling and assistant coach Darren Rumble will remain under contract to the Lightning and will coach the Admirals next season.
Tampa Bay will provide the Admirals with the full roster of players.
In the Lightning's official press release, Feaster said:
â€œWe are very excited by the opportunity to partner with such an outstanding organization as Norfolk and such a committed owner in Ken Young. Throughout our discussions and negotiations Kenâ€™s passion for and commitment to his team, the organization and the wonderful fans of the Admirals has been abundantly evident and we look forward to working with him for a very long time.
â€œWhile the development of players has always been important to the Lightning organization, the need to develop players is even more critical as a result of the NHLâ€™s new collective bargaining agreement. We are committed to the ongoing development of our players and we remain convinced that our players will develop faster and more completely in a winning organization.â€
Young added the following:
â€œI could not be happier to have the Admirals affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning. We are thrilled to be able to partner with such a successful and first-class organization for the next several years. Personally, I have watched the Lightning from their inception and through winning the Stanley Cup. I am confident that our fans in Hampton Roads will continue to see winning hockey at the highest level.â€
For more information on Young and the affiliation history of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Hampton Roads, Virginia, see tampabaylightning.com.
Kamloops 3 @ Prince George 4 (overtime)
Prince George wins best-of-7 series 4-0
Break out the brooms. Vladimir Mihalik and Prince George used a two-goal third period to tie Kamloops, then got a goal from Sharks first rounder Devin Setoguchi on their first shot of overtime to defeat the Blazers 4-3 and sweep their first round series. Two of the games (1, 4) went into overtime and games 2 and 3 were decided by just one goal. Kamloops held home-ice advantage to start the series. Mihalik did not register a point in Game 4, but was plus-1 with 2 PIM. For the series, Mihalik was scoreless and minus-3 with 6 PIM.
Everett 1 @ Spokane 3
Best-of-7 series tied at 2
Top-seeded Everett lost their 1-0 lead in the game and 2-1 lead in the series when Spokane scored 3 third period goals (1 empty net) to take a 3-1 home win over the Silvertips. Dane Crowley was scoreless and minus-1 for Everett. Game 5 is Friday night in Everett.
Kyle Wanvig auditioning for a job next season?
Jonathan Boutin allowed 4 goals on 27 shots before being lifted for Kevin Beech who stopped 7 of 7 shots the rest of the way. Kyle Wanvig had both Falcons goals and David Spina, Sylvain Dufresne, Nick Kuiper and ATO Justin Fletcher added assists. Spina, it should be noted, has 4 goals and 7 points in his last 5 games (keep him). Wanvig was named second star of the game.
LOW Murphy, (17) , 7:53
LOW Marshall, (7) (McGillis, Magnan), 12:18 (PP)
LOW Gionta, (6) (Mills, Pandolfo), 13:16
SPR Wanvig, (17) (Spina, Dufresne), 17:21 (PP)
LOW Pelley, (14) (Minard, Tallackson), 3:27
SPR Wanvig, (18) (Kuiper, Fletcher), 10:29 (PP)
Game sheet from TheAHL.com.
The Springfield Falcons today have announced the signing of left wing Jacob Micflikier to an amateur tryout contract. Mcflikier, 22, spent the past four seasons with New Hampshire of the Hockey East conference. While with the Wildcats, he earned a reputation as one of the team's best scorers with his career year of 20 goals and 44 points in 42 games set in his sophomore season. As a junior, Micflikier led his team in scoring with 16 goals and 42 points in 37 games. As a senior this year, the 5'8" 180 lbs. forward had 11 goals and 38 points in 35 games. Prior to attending New Hampshire, Micflikier starred for two seasons for Sioux Falls in the USHL compiling 55 goals and 111 points in 120 games. As a young rookie to junior in 2001-2002, Micflikier played with Buffalo's Thomas Vanek and current Johnstown Chief Eric Przepiorka.
Owen Sound 3 @ London 6
London leads best-of-7 series 3-0
Sergei Kostitsyn (Montreal) had a hattrick to put Owen Sound on the brink of elimination as London defeated Marek Bartanus and the Owen Sound Attack 6-3. The Attack outshot the Knights by double-digits for the third time. Bartanus was scoreless and even in the game. Game 4 is in Owen Sound on Thursday.
Mississauga 1 @ Sudbury 3
Sudbury leads best-of-7 series 2-1
Upset-minded Sudbury posted a 3-1 home win to take a 2-1 series lead over Mississauga, the Eastern Conference's second best team. Chris Lawrence was scoreless and even for the IceDogs after scoring 2 goals on Sunday in Game 2. Game 4 will be Thursday in Sudbury.
Kamloops 3 @ Prince George 4
Prince George leads best-of-7 series 3-0
The Cougars got two third period goals for a 4-3 comeback win over Kamloops at home on Tuesday night. The win puts Prince George in the driver's seat with a 3-0 series lead over the Blazers. All three games have been decided by one goal. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Prince George. Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless, had a minor penalty, and was minus-2 for Prince George, and has zero points and a minus-4 rating for the series.
Everett 2 @ Spokane 3
Everett leads best-of-7 series 2-1
Despite a late Silvertips comeback attempt, it wasn't enough to prevent the Chiefs from getting a much-needed win and narrowing the series to 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday in Spokane. Dane Crowley had an assist and was even for Everett in the game.
In a bizarre 10:30 AM start in Cincinatti, Special K strikes.
Ryan Munce allowed 1 goal on 26 shots for the win. Marek Kvapil had 2 goals and 1 assist in his first game down with the Chiefs. Zbynek Hrdel had the other Chiefs goal and Radek Smolenak added an individual assist. Kvapil, Munce and Hrdel were named the game's three stars.
Johnstown is now 3 points behind Reading for the final North Division playoff spot with 2 games in hand.
JHN Hrdel, (10) (Kvapil, Smolenak), 2:18 (PP)
CIN Lisabeth, (18) (Ehgoetz, Gleed), 12:09
JHN Kvapil, (1) , 13:37
JHN Kvapil, (2) , 19:05 (EN)
Game sheet from ECHL.com.
Marc Denis allowed 3 goals on 17 shots for the loss before being replaced by Johan Holmqvist who stopped 7 of 7 shots in relief before Florida tacked on a pair of empty net markers. Brad Richards and Filip Kuba had the Lightning goals. Jason Ward, Eric Perrin and Martin St. Louis added assists.
Four games left in the season and the Lightning no longer control their division title and at night's end they will likely be just 2 points out of 9th place. Oh yeah, and they've got to go on the road and play the defending champions next in Carolina. Heckuva time to start squeezing the sticks too tightly.
If Jason Ward is smart, he'll take less to stay in Tampa and continue playing on Brad Richards' line.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Welcome to the Superleague playoffs young man...
Linkopings claimed a commanding 3-1 series lead over #1 seed Farjestads today wiining 4-1 in Game Four of their semifinal playoff series. Lightning prospect blueliner Andreas Holmqvist did not suit up for Linkopings in the match.