The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forwards Radek Smolenak and Paul Szczechura from the Norfolk Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton. It is the first NHL call-up for both players.
Smolenak, a 6-foot-3, 183-pound left wing from Prague, Czech Republic, has appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, scoring eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points. He leads Norfolk and is tied for third in the American Hockey League with 93 penalty minutes. He is the only player among the top 50 of both penalty minutes and scoring in the AHL. Smolenak also has three power play and one game-winning goal to go along with a +3 rating. Smolenak was drafted in the third round (73rd overall) by the Lighnting in 2005.
Szczechura, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound center, has also appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, leading the team with 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points. Szczechura is tied for ninth in the AHL in scoring and is tied for tenth in the league in goals. His +7 rating is best among Admirals forwards and he also has one power play, one shorthanded and one game-winning goal. Szczechura signed a two-year deal with the Lightning on April 24. Prior to that, he played under an AHL contract as a rookie in 2007-08, scoring 14 goals and 12 assists with the Admirals after being acquired from the Iowa Stars on January 15. Despite appearing in only 24 games with Norfolk last season, Szczechura led the team in scoring by a rookie and tied for the overall team lead in game-winning goals with three. He netted points in his first ten games with the Admirals â€“ the longest scoring streak ever by a Norfolk rookie and tied for the fourth longest streak overall.
Big games from Cunti and Jung ... Tyrell and PG in trouble.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have reassigned goaltender Riku Helenius to the Admirals from their ECHL affiliate, the Augusta Lynx, Admirals General Manager Mike Butters announced on Sunday.
Helenius, a 6-foot-3, 202-pound goaltender from Palkane, Finland, appeared in two preseason games for the Admirals, going 1-1-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average and .840 save percentage. He did not play in a regular season game with Norfolk prior to being reassigned to Augusta on October 16.
The 20-year-old went 3-4-1 in his first eight games of North American professional hockey with the Lynx this season, posting a 4.41 goals-against average and .874 save percentage. He recorded his first pro win in his pro debut, stopping 44 of 46 shots on October 21 at Gwinnett.
Helenius was originally drafted in the first round (15th overall) by Tampa Bay in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
The Lynx survived a 42 shot onslaught by the Charlotte Checkers snapping an 8 game losing streak by winning in a 2-1 shootout. Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius did not dress for the Lynx after being recalled by Tampa to the Norfolk Admirals. Both Chris Lawrence and Kevin Quick failed to convert on their shootout attempts.
Checkers owner Michael Kahn has been linked as one of the possible investors to prop up the Lynx $300,000 budget shortfall.
Augusta 2 @ Charlotte 1 SO
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; E; 0 PIM; 1 SOG
F Chris Lawrence: 0-0-0; E; 2 PIM (boarding); 1 SOG
Augusta's record now stands at 6-10-1-2, and next play on Thursday night against the Mississippi Sea Wolves in Gulfport, MS.
In a home game marred by reports of financial trouble by the 10-year old Augusta franchise, the visiting Charlotte Checkers were merciless defeating the Lynx 6-2 behind a 4 goal 2nd period. Chris Lawrence assisted on the Lynx third period goal. Riku Helenius backed up Mike Brodeur before being recalled to the Norfolk Admirals. This was 2nd straight game that the Lynx lost by a score of 6-2.
Charlotte 6 @ Augusta 2
G Riku Helenius: did not play
D Kevin Quick: 0-0-0; -1; 0 PIM; 5 SOG
F Chris Lawrence: 0-1-1; +1; 0 PIM; 0 SOG
Augusta falls to 5-10-1-1, and complete the home-and-home series with the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday.
I would love it if someone in the organization figured out how to protect a third period lead.
Mike McKenna allowed 3 goals on 33 shots for the loss.
HER Osala, (16) (Bouchard, Perreault), 3:01
NOR Potulny, (2) (Bochenski), 4:11
NOR Curadeau, (1) (Bochenski), 0:40
HER Giroux, (17) (Aucoin, McNeill), 10:15 (PP)
HER Joudrey, (2) (Bourque, Gordon), 17:50
Brandon Bochenski was named the game's second star.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Tukonen, who was selected 11th overall by Los Angeles in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, floundered for three years as a pro in the Kings organization before returning to Finland where he has played for Lukko Rauma this season, amassing 5 goals and 13 points in 22 games this year. The 22 year old winger was once touted as an up-and-coming power forward type in the Olli Jokinen mold, but his lack of intensity saw him score just 14 goals and 36 points in 62 games in his career season in the AHL, his rookie professional year in 2005-2006.
Hutchinson's departure removes a one-way contract from the Lightning's ledger. The defenseman has had respectable numbers in the minors, with 1 goal and 14 points in 20 games, but the emergence of prospect Blair Jones as the right-handed triggerman on Norfolk's power play was likely the final straw that made Hutchinson expendable.
Game stars for Jung, Fadden, and Tyrell ... Tokarski's struggles continue.
Lightning can't climb out of a three goal first period hole.
15:20 COL Leopold (4), (Svatos)(PP)
17:21 COL Wolski (3), (Svatos, Arnason)
18:57 COL Wolski (4), (Arnason, Svatos)
12:17 TB Lecavalier (10), (Ranger, Malone)
03:42 COL Jones (2), (McCormick, Clark)
09:19 TB Malone (7), (Eminger, Stamkos)(PP)
15:31 TB Stamkos (3), (Lecavalier, Eminger)(PP)
Obviously Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos have started to come around in recent games, but keep an eye on Steve Eminger. The former high Capitals pick is finally starting to live up to his considerable offensive potential.
It may not come together in time to save this team's playoff ambitions, but we're starting to see some components of this team's future start to come together, both in Tampa and in Norfolk where there are a handful of players starting to get in line to make a move to the next level. Losses aside, I'm starting to get excited about some of the new foundation that is getting laid down.
Steve Downie had a fight and a blocked shot in 7:39.
Stamkos had 1 goal and 1 assist and was -1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 21:42. He was also 50% on draws.