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Tampa Bay Lightning 2008-2009 Season Wrap-Up

I hope some lessons were learned this season in the OK Hockey hierarchy. After spending the entire summer pointing the finger at the previous coach, GM, and scouts and slinging money around the free agent market like three drunken sailors on shore leave, I hope Oren Koules, Len Barrie, and Brian Lawton learned it takes more than flash to build an elite organization. Defense and coaching, for instance, are two very important components to any hockey team that OK Hockey neglected to adequately address heading into the season. When the club traded Filip Kuba to Ottawa for Andrej Meszaros, thereby making Paul Ranger the grizzled veteran of their d-corps, even Stevie Wonder could see trouble on the horizon for the Lightning. Lawton and Company’s reticence to address the obvious deficiency was puzzling, and turned out to be one of the ultimate downfalls of the season. And, of course, there was the unmitigated disaster of naming Barry Melrose the team’s Head Coach. Melrose could barely coach his way out a wet paper sack 13 years ago before he became a talking head on ESPN. What on earth possessed Oren Koules to believe his buddy had become Scotty Bowman in over a decade of inactivity, I’ll never know.

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Rockets Strike First

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/18

WHL Playoffs – Conference Finals

Kelowna Rockets 4 @ Vancouver Giants 2
Kelowna leads Best of 7 series 1-0
C James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIM (hooking)
Playoff totals: 12 GP, 3-5-8, +2, 6 PIM
Season totals: 71 GP, 21-26-47, +26, 54 PIM

Kelowna strikes first in the Western Conference Finals, gaining a 3-0 lead in game one and hanging on for the win. James Wright was a team-worst minus-3 for Vancouver, one of those being on the ice with likely top-5 pick Evander Kane and Conference MVP Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Penguins) in the game’s final minute for the empty net goal. Mikael Backlund (Flames) had two goals and an assist for First Star honors. Kelowna has won 5 straight games. Game 2 is Sunday in Vancouver.

Lightning co-owner Len Barrie was reportedly set to be in attendance for the game. His son, Tyson, was scoreless for the Rockets. Tyson was drafted one spot ahead of Kane in the WHL Bantam Draft a few years ago.

Volts Put Up Snowman vs. Oceanic

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/17

QMJHL Playoffs – League Semi-Finals

Rimouski Oceanic 1 @ Drummondville Voltigeurs 8
Drummondville leads Best of 7 series 1-0
W/C Luca Cunti, RIM: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 3-4-7, +4, 10 PIM
Season totals: 57 GP, 20-25-45, +10, 32 PIM

Rimouski has their work cut out for them against the high-powered Volts, and they found that out early in Game 1. Drummondville had a 3-0 lead after one period and blew open a 4-1 game entering the third with four in the final period alone. Game 2 is Sunday in Drummondville.

Rehab and Rest Have Tyrell on Track

Airdrie Echo

Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick ahead of schedule in recovery from December knee injury

It wasn’t the way he envisioned spending his winter months, but Dana Tyrell is making the best of a bad situation and is hoping to hit the ice this summer stronger than ever.

After completely tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and partially tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during a Dec. 18 World Junior exhibition game against Sweden, Tyrell has taken to the arduous task of rehabbing the knee with his trademark hard working approach.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old has been working on the knee with a Hockey Canada physiotherapist at Canada Olympic Park, along with his trainer of over two years, Doug Crashley.

“My (physiotherapist) says it’s ahead of schedule so things are moving along quickly,” Tyrell said after a recent morning workout session at COP. “It’s a six month recovery, but I’ve seen guys I’ve been training with in here that are at a five month point and I’m ahead of them already.”

To read the rest of the story, click here: Airdrie Echo

Ramo to Play for Finland

According to the International Ice Hockey Federation, Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo will suit up for the Finns at the upcoming World Championships in Switzerland.

Despite the numbers, Ramo was very good the last half of the year for Tampa Bay filling in for the injured Mike Smith. Ramo started the year in AHL Norfolk and recently graduated from prospect status here at Bolt Prospects.

Ramo, pictured here with Finland's junior team in 2005, will be joined in the Finland nets by Nashville's Pekka Rinne. Ramo played last year for Finland as a back-up.

Double-Deflection Gives Vancouver Game 7 OT Win; Eagles Come Up Short in Quebec

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/14

Two prospects going home ... one moving on.

Tokarski Named CHL Goaltender of the Week

(CHL Release) The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Dustin Tokarski of the Spokane Chiefs is the ADT CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending April 12. With a record of 3-0-1-0, Tokarski posted a goals-against-average of 1.27 and a save percentage of .956 in four games.

Lightning To Pick 2nd at 2009 NHL Entry Draft

The New York Islanders won tonight NHL Draft Lottery securing the #1 overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. That means the Lightning have secured the second pick in the draft, which is considered to have two top superstar caliber prospects.

Lightning fans, meet 6'6", 200 lbs. defenseman Victor Hedman, the future of the blueline.

Hedmania is sweeping the land as we speak.

Cape Breton, Quebec To Play Game 7

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/13

QMJHL Playoffs – Conference Semi-Finals

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 0 @ Quebec Remparts 3
Best of 7 series tied 3-3
D Michael Ward, CB: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 3 SOG
Playoff totals: 10 GP, 1-5-6, +6, 14 PIM
Season totals: 65 GP, 7-27-34, +9, 105 PIM

Quebec forces Game 7 with a shutout win in Game 6. The Remparts got a goal in the second period, then a power play marker with under 2 minutes left in the third. They would add an empty netter shortly after. Kelsey Tessier (Avalanche) had the game winner and the empty net goal. Charles Lavigne (undrafted) stopped 34 shots in net for Quebec, who were outshot by Cape Breton 34-22. He had 6 shutouts in the regular season, but this was his first in the playoffs. Lavigne starts in front of Jonathan Roy, son of Quebec coach and GM Patrick Roy. Game 7 is Tuesday in Quebec City.

Fargo Advances; Wright Helps Vancouver Force Game 7

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 4/13

Wright's big game sends series to seventh game ... Fadden finished ... Witkowski scores first playoff goal as Force advances.

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