AHL Game Night 4/4: River Rats at Admirals

Tough night for the Lightning's newest prospects in Norfolk.

ALB-5
NOR-2

Jonathan Boutin allowed 5 goals on 30 shots for the loss.

First Period
NOR Segal, (10) (Jones, Smolenak), 7:24 (PP)
ALB Blanchard, (8) (McLeod, Angelidis), 15:22

Second Period
ALB Cottreau, (3) (Petruzalek, Johnson), 5:05
ALB Sutter, (1) (Johnson, Samson), 7:12 (PP)
ALB Jensen, (10) (Engel, Ward), 16:26

Third Period
ALB Samson, (21) , 3:19
NOR Kearns, (8) (Koci, Lawrence), 4:17

Dane Crowley was -2 in his pro debut with 2 shots and 6 penalty minutes. Dana Tyrell took a team low -3 rating with 2 shots on goal. Oof.

Box score from TheAHL.com.

Admirals Sign Crowley to ATO

Despite indications earlier in the week that the two sides were far apart on an agreement, the Norfolk Admirals announced today they have signed defenseman Dane Crowley to an ATO contract. Crowley was selected by the Lightning in the 6th round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and recently completed his final season of junior hockey with Everett of the WHL. Crowley had 10 goals and 29 points to go with 131 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Silvertips this season.

NHL Game Night 4/3: Lightning at Capitals

The kid deserved better tonight.

TB-1
WSH-4

Karri Ramo allowed 3 goals on 39 shots in the loss. Ramo held the game at 1-1 despite a 2 to 1 shot disparity in favor of the Capitals until a third period power play allowed the Caps to break the deadlock for good. With just a little more goal support, Ramo might've had a signature win to close out his season.

Matt Smaby was -1 in 16:20 tonight with 5 hits and 1 blocked shot. He also took a pair of minors: one for tripping and one for holding.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Milley, Lascek Headed to Europe

Eurohockey.net is reporting that veteran AHLer and Lightning farm hand Norm Milley has agreed to play for Wolfsburg in the German DEL league next season.

The website is also reporting that Lightning prospect Stanislav Lascek, who has spent much of this season with Mississippi of the ECHL, has agreed to play next season for Zvolen in Slovakia. Lascek, who was drafted as an overage player in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, finished second in the QMJHL in scoring in his final year of junior hockey but has been underwhelming in two seasons of professional hockey that have been spent largely in the ECHL.

Milley's departure leaves an opening for a veteran forward to be retained or signed for Norfolk of the AHL next season. Milley leaves the Lightning organization after three seasons which have included 182 games split between Springfield and Norfolk of the AHL and 14 games of NHL service with Tampa Bay during the 2005-2006 season. Milley has scored 63 goals and 154 points in his 182 games of AHL service with the franchise. He will be missed.

It is not completely clear what Lascek's status will be given that he still has a year left on his NHL Entry Level deal. Whether or not the Lightning retain Lascek's rights, it does appear his departure may give the Lightning some relief on the 50-man roster front where potentially difficult signing decisions need to be made for currently contracted prospects Mike Egener and Marek Kvapil and minor league contracted players Adam Henrich and Rob Klinkhammer.

NHL Game Night 4/2: Lightning at Hurricanes

Congratulations to Jeff Halpern on hitting 20 goals. That's the silver lining in tonight's mess.

TB-2
CAR-6

Mike Smith allowed 6 goals on 32 shots in the loss.

Matt Smaby was -1 in 22:09 with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 2 blocked shots. That's the first time in his NHL career he's broken the tape on 20 minutes of ice time, so it's a small milestone.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

AHL Game Night 4/2: Admirals at Phantoms

Marc Denis deserved better.

NOR-0
PHI-1

Denis stopped 38 of 39 shots for the loss and was named second star of the game.

First Period
PHI Zingoni, (20) (Ross), 4:56 (PP)

Second Period
NO SCORING

Third Period
NO SCORING

Box score from TheAHL.com.

NHL Draft Lottery Set For April 7th

The NHL has announced the lottery drawing for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft will take place on April 7th at 8 pm. The drawing will be carried live in the US on Versus and NHL Network.

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After signing forward Dana Tyrell (Prince George - WHL), center Jamie Bates (Quinnipac University), defenseman Sean Hurley (Brown University), and center Andrew Fournier (Plymouth - OHL), whl.ca is reporting the Norfolk Admirals have signed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daryl Boyle to an Amateur Tryout Agreement.

A 21-year old Lethbridge, Alberta product, Boyle's Western Hockey League career came to an end Sunday night when the Wheat Kings fell 4-0 in game six of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with Lightning prospect Mitch Fadden and the Hurricanes.

In a 4-year WHL career, Boyle, a 6-1, 202-pound rearguard, scored 31 goals and 131 points in 262 games for the Wheat Kings. In 47 playoff games, he had three goals and 17 points. During the club's first round series against Lethbridge, the club's 2007-08 Most Valuable Player led the Wheat Kings in scoring with a goal and six points.

In 61 games this season Boyle had 10 goals and 41 points, as well as a plus-16 rating and 74 penalty minutes. He had 49 points and a plus-19 rating in 72 games in 2006-2007.

One interesting fact to back-up the character-first philosophy: Boyle, Fournier, Bates, and Hurley all were captains of their respective clubs this past season. Tyrell, the only Lightning draftee of the bunch, was an alternate captain and is expected to be Prince George's leader next year.

Helenius, T-Birds move on to WHL Semi Finals

In a very exciting game seven of the Thunderbirds' first round of playoffs, Riku Helenius was named the game's number one star stopping 31 of 33 shots before 3,077 fans at Key Arena to lead Seattle to a 4-2 win.

This was a game where special teams and the goaltending of Riku Helenius was the difference between the closely matched teams of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets. The Rockets went 0 for 8 on the powerplay, including a minute and 44 second 5 on 3 and a four minute high sticking call. The birds also netted a short handed goal in this contest. Riku was very good when he had to be and Torrie Jung did not play for the Rockets. The Thunderbirds will now take on the Tri City Americans beginning Friday night.

Game 7: (5) Kelowna Rockets 2 @ (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 4
Seattle wins Best of 7 series 4-3

G Torrie Jung, KEL:
Game: Did not play
Series: 1 GP, 0-0, 3.82 GAA, .850 sv%

G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Win, 31 saves on 33 shots, *First Star*
Series: 6 GP, 3-3, 2.65 GAA, .903 sv%

What’s Next for Jung: Torrie Jung had an up-and-down year that was “highlighted” by a constant fight for playing time. Just when Jung seemed to secure the No.1 goaltender spot from overager Kristofer Westblom, it seemed like he’d endure some bad luck and/or a losing streak. Barring unforeseen circumstances, a No.1 fight won’t be happening next year in Kelowna. Jung has put in his time for two years and next year the Rocket’s playoff hopes will be clearly on his shoulders. It will be interesting to see how Jung prepares for this new role this summer through offseason workouts and pre-season preparation. How he performs as a No.1 next year will determine his professional future. The Rockets were the second youngest team in the WHL this year and will return the league’s runner up for top scorer and Californian, Colin Long (100 points), as well as likely top-5 pick, defenseman Luke Schenn, who was reportedly impressive in the Seattle series. They will be one of the preseason league favorites and how Jung plays will go a long way to determining their 2008-2009 success.

*Chad contributed to this report. (And thanks to BP Guest Writer Ffan23 for the first-hand game report.)

Deal to put Crowley in Norfolk falls through

According to Everett Herald Silvertips writer Nick Patterson, a potential deal that would have put Lightning draftee Dane Crowley in Norfolk to end the season has fallen through.

Crowley, a defenseman, was coming off a year in which he scored 10 goals and 29 points in 66 games for Everett of the WHL. Prior to last year Crowley scored 17 points in 29 games with the 'Tips after being acquired from Swift Current at the 2007 WHL trade deadline.

Any potential NHL contract between Tampa Bay and the WHL overager this summer was thought to be dependent on reasonable contract demands from the Crowley camp. It appears this is already off to a bad start, if indeed there is anywhere to go from here.

It is unknown at this time whether the contract in question was an AHL amateur tryout agreement or an NHL entry deal.

Crowley was a sixth round pick of the Bolts in 2006.

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