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.
Congratulations to Jeff Halpern on hitting 20 goals. That's the silver lining in tonight's mess.
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.
Marc Denis deserved better.
Denis stopped 38 of 39 shots for the loss and was named second star of the game.
PHI Zingoni, (20) (Ross), 4:56 (PP)
Box score from TheAHL.com.
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.
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.
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%
Whatâ€™s Next for Jung: Torrie Jung had an up-and-down year that was â€œhighlightedâ€ 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 heâ€™d endure some bad luck and/or a losing streak. Barring unforeseen circumstances, a No.1 fight wonâ€™t be happening next year in Kelowna. Jung has put in his time for two years and next year the Rocketâ€™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 leagueâ€™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.)
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.
QMJHL FIRST ROUND - EASTERN DIVISION
Game 6: (5) Lewiston MAINEiacs 1 @ (4) Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 2 (OT)
Cape Breton wins Best of 7 series 4-2
D Michael Ward, LEW:
Game: 0-1-1, +1, 5 min. major for charging + game misconduct
Series: 5 GP, 0-3-3, +3, 13 PIM (Plus a game misconduct. Was suspended for Game 1)
Lewiston will not repeat as QMJHL champions as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles overcame a 1-0 third period deficit to force overtime, then winger Murdock MacLellan scored just his fifth goal of the year at 9:46 of the extra session to clinch the series for CB. According to the Lewiston Sun-Journal, Ward stepped into a check at the right point with 2:15 to play in the second period and leveled CBâ€™s Chris Culligan. Ward was kicked out and Culligan received a minor for roughing after the fact.
Whatâ€™s Next for Ward: After a slow start to the season offensively, Ward came on over the second half and followed that up with 3 points in 5 playoff games. The 6-3, 200 pound defenseman also displayed more of a mean streak in the final month. Primarily a defensive-defenseman, Ward could break out statistically next season in the Q much the same way Paul Ranger did for Oshawa of the OHL a season after his draft year. Ward could be a two-way minute-eater for Lewiston next year and top 35 points and 100 PIM.
Atlanta dealt a blow in their own quest for Steve Stamkos.
Mike Smith allowed just 1 goal on 23 shots for the loss. Can I just say, "Case in point?" After seeing Karri Ramo go 2-0-1 including a sterling effort against the division leading Canes, Smith got well quickly to play the Thrashers tonight and with only a smidge of goal support he would've won. That's what having two young lions competing for the starting job will do for the Lightning. You won't get that if Smith isn't being pushed because he has a sad sack retread as a backup.
19:40 of even hockey for Matt Smaby with 1 shot on goal and 3 hits. The fact Matt has been even with over 18 minutes of IT in both of these one goal nailbiters only helps his resume going into next season in pursuit of an NHL job. And I'll pose the question again: if Smaby finishes out the year continuing to garner 5-6 minutes more IT than Mike Lundin, does that mean he's passed Lundin on the depth chart? When I heard Coach Tortorella's comments about Ramo and Lundin, I obviously was strongly against sending Ramo down to the minors next season. However, if Lundin doesn't hit the weight room hard this offseason and get the upper body strength he desperately needs, Coach might have a legitimate point about the young blueliner.
WHL FIRST ROUND - EASTERN CONFERENCE
Game 6: (6) Brandon Wheat Kings 0 @ (3) Lethbridge Hurricanes 4
Lethbridge wins Best of 7 series 4-2
C Mitch Fadden, LET:
Game: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM (hooking)
Series: 6 GP, 2-6-8, -2, 4 PIM (plus 10 min misconduct)
Fadden and Lethbridge finally put Brandon away after letting the Wheaties back into the series 3-2. Lethbridge scored twice in the first period Sunday, then added two early third period goals to cement the series win and end their two-game losing streak. This is the first series win for Lethbridge since 1997. Theyâ€™ve been 0-6 in first round match-ups since that year.
Fadden finished the series with 8 points, which is one better than the 7 he posted last year (2-5-7) in one playoff round (6 games) for the â€˜Canes.
Because of No.2 Reginaâ€™s upset loss to Swift Current, Lethbridge is the second-highest seed remaining in the Eastern Conference. They will play Kootenay in the Conference Semi-Finals. Kootenay, the 5 seed, defeated Medicine Hat 4 games to 1. Lethbridge was 1-5 vs. Kootenay this year, with their one win being a 7-1 shellacking February 12. That series will open Friday. No.1 Calgary, who defeated Moose Jaw 4-2, will host Swift Current.
In the West, the top seeded Tri-City Americans will await the winner of Tuesdayâ€™s Game 7 between Seattle and Kelowna. Vancouver will play Spokane in the other series. All 3 top seeds in the Western Conference swept their first round series.