Baker Hoping For Another Chance

Matthew Wuest of the [i]Halifax Daily News[/i] has written an interesting feature on Acadia forward Kevin Baker, who is one of the 41 prospects in camp this week. Baker, a former Kings draftee who played professionally with Lowell and St. John a few years back, just wants a chance to get back into professional hockey. He's getting that this week with the Lightning. Also in the feature, Lightning scout Darrell Young, who lives in Halifax, states the Lightning have spent approximately $100,000 this week to bring in players they think may be able to contribute somewhere in the organization. Young tells the [i]Daily News[/i] the organization is in search of offense, "and [Baker's] shown he can provide it." "We think with the rule changes, [Baker] has a chance," Young says.

Day 4 Prospect Camp Scoring summary

I was watching individual play versus the puck so a couple of goals snuck up on me. Anyway the White once again rebounds from a loss to put a 5 - 1 pasting on the Black. 1. White: Mihalik (either Keller or Wheat) Whichever ever forward it was made a stop along the far wall near the blue line. Mihalik stepped in picked up the loose pick took about two big strides in and from well above the right circle, near the slot area, put a nice wrister high glove side on Pearce. (Not a good evening for Joe) 2. White: Woolger (Fuller, Wheat) Wheat kept the play in, Fuller scooted it to Woolger, wrister from low right circle.

Day 4 Prospect Camp Teaser

Two things: If meritocracy is truly alive in the Lightning organization, Brian Woolger and Torrie Wheat continue their tryout at Traverse City. I've been to 3 of the 4 games and they've (along with Fuller) have been in the top 2 lines performance wise each game. Tonight the dominated: shots, scoring chances, the scoresheet,possesion time in the offensive zone and they play hard in all 3 zones. Woolger rung up 2 with wheat helpers. The second one was a one-timer blasted so hard you could hear the Feaster suite gasp, then chuckle. Woolger listed at LW, has centered all week. I outlined what I specifically wanted to focus on tonight and this line was one of them since they were productive collectively the first two games, but I could not identify what made them so successful. I was taken with Wheat's play from the first shift and Woolger kept popping up everywhere he needed to be. Fuller is a solid complement, but these two make the line. Towards the end of the game though was a defining moment from Wheat. He had carried the puck 1 on 3 just across the blueline and stopped right in front of the door where the lightning enter the rink from the locker room to wait for help. Our boy Quick lined him up and destroyed him. His upper body snapped backward into the bench probably at about 75 degrees bent back. His head then snapped right and hit the glass seperating the seats from the bench. He went down in a heap & the Lightning brass rose a bit to see how badly hurt he was (looked horrible - never seen a spine bent back that sharply). He was up in a few seconds (didn't pop-up) went up and down the ice a couple of times and finished his shift with a scoring chance about 6 feet to Ramo's right that a D'man jumped in front of. Needs 20 lbs. of muscle, but he's a Productive player tools or no.

Bolt Prospects Shatters Previous Traffic Records

As of roughly 7pm tonight, Bolt Prospects has registered 7,056 hits from non-staff members in the last 72 hours with people looking in to see the latest news on prospect camp. Two or three months ago I would've thought we were hot stuff just to break 3,000 hits in a week, and we'll probably have 12,000 or so hits easily this week (in the middle of the offseason, no less). I am humbled and deeply thankful to all our readers and I know when I speak for all the BP staff when I say just how appreciative we are of the web community that's coming together here. It's one thing to say it's going to happen and chart it out on paper, it's quite another to see it all come together. This is too cool. Thank you.

European Club Team Rankings

In quite impressive fashion, [url=http://www.hockeyarchives.info/top.htm]hockeyarchives.com has released their ranking of the top 250 European club teams.[/url] The rankings are based on both the 2005-2006 season as well as previous seasons' performances in both league play and interleague play. The rankings help paint a portrait of which Lightning prospects are playing for top level franchises and which have latched on with lesser clubs: The top 10 are: 1. Metallurg Magnitogorsk (RUS) [b]2. Ak Bars Kazan (RUS), Dimitri Kazionov[/b] 3. HV 71 Jonkoping (SWE) 4. Karpat Oulu (FIN) 5. Frolunda Goteburg (SWE) 6. Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (RUS) 7. Avangard Omsk (RUS) 8. Slavia Prague (CZE) 9. Farjestad (SWE) [b]10. Linkopings (SWE), [url=andreas-holmqvist]Andreas Holmqvist[/url][/b]

Springfield AHL's Most Improved Team?

Canoe.ca columnist Patrick Williams gives his list of offseason winners and losers in the AHL and Springfield not only comes out in the "winners" category, but Williams suggests the Falcons may be the league's most improved team. Williams cites the potential additions of defensemen Andy Delmore and Doug Janik, as well as center Eric Perrin as reasons for Falcons fans to be optimistic this year. Williams also mentions Johan Holmqvist as a possibility, but it is doubtful the Swede will be in Springfield to begin the year.

R-2 Headed for Holdout?

Erik Erlendsson of the [i]Tampa Tribune[/i] reports today that negotiations are not going well between the Lightning and restricted free agent winger Evgeny Artyukhin. "I'm not sure what his thinking is right now," Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster told the [i]Tribune[/i]. "Some of the things his agent has told us are very inconsistent with his role and bargaining position." "R-2," or "Arty" as he's called by his teammates, is projected to have a significant role in the Lightning's future, but struggled at the end of last season and saw his minutes fall considerably. He finished the year with four goals and 13 assists in 72 games. In the playoffs, Artyukhin was up to just over 8 minutes a game and added a goal. Artyukhin is the only member of the Lightning yet to be signed, and it doesn't appear that will happen any time soon. Of note: The article also lists cap hits for every player currently under contract with the Lightning and expected to make the parent club.

NMU Coach: NHL Contract Could be in the Cards for Collins

Today, the [i]Arizona Republic[/i] published an article stating the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Arizona, would finally be getting an ice rink. According to Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Dusty Collins, Gilbert's favorite son, it's coming just a little too late as Collins was in town to prepare for this week's Lightning Prospect Camp but had trouble finding ice on which to practice. While the fact that Gilbert, Arizona may be getting an ice rink affects little to no one among Lightning prospect followers, the fact that the article sheds some light on Collins' future should. Collins, a 6-3 center for Northern Michigan University (NMU), was a surprise fifth round pick of the Lightning in 2004 because of his work ethic -- a prioritized ingredient for choosing who does and does not receive a contract offer for Tampa Bay.

Day 3 Scoring

Enter Stanislav: As if on Chad's cue, the young Slovak with 47 goals and 135 points in the Q last season decided to host his coming out party Thursday. Taking Blair Jones's opening faceoff and drawing a penalty by the returning Andy Rogers in :38, Lascek was granted the first of what would be many, many penalty shots/shootout attempts on this day. His first on Joe Pearce's blocker side would be deflected high into the glass. The next a teed up slapper thru traffic in front at 4:16 would make his water bottle dance. The Justin Keller - Blair Jones - Stanislav Lascek line continued to dominate the opening 30 minute period facing Andy Rogers - P.J. Atherton and the checking line of Todd Griffith - David Desharnais - Ryan Gibbons. Alexandre Imbeault the surprise scratch.

Bolts Sign Sarich, Avoid Arbitration

Tampabaylightning.com is reporting the Lightning have re-signed defenseman Cory Sarich to a one-year, $1.9 million contract. The deal allows the Lightning and Sarich to avoid a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for July 31. Tampa Bay General Manager Jay Feaster stated in the official press release that Sarich left some money on the table in order to fit into the team's stretched financial structure. Sarich, 27, a 6-foot-3, 204-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan played in all 82 games for the third consecutive season in 2005-06, recording a goal, 14 assists and 79 penalty minutes. In 2003-04 he was one of three defensemen to appear in all 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Lightning.
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