Bolt Prospects 2008-2009 Midterm Prospect Rankings

With about a month to go in the regular season over in Europe, and a little over a couple of months left to go in North America, the 2008-2009 season has turned out to be a good one for the prospects of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Asked to buoy the Lightning's sagging playoff hopes and to compensate for a spate of injuries on the top club's blueline, the team's youth has served admirably and done their part to help right the ship for Head Coach Rick Tocchet's club. Heading into the stretch run of the season, it looks like the youth in the Lightning organization may be priming for a big finish, capping a 2008-2009 season that in many ways has been a validation of the work that's been done by the club's scouts and developmental people, past and present.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/27

Cunti's hot streak continues ... Tokarski comes up short again for CHL award.

AHL Suspends Ramo

The Pilot Online is reporting the American Hockey League has suspended Norfolk goalie Karri Ramo for six games. Ramo left the bench last Friday to join a game-ending brawl vs. Lake Erie.

Shortly after the final horn of Norfolk's 3-2 loss to Lake Erie, the Pilot states, Ramo came on to get a piece of Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman, who along with teammate Tom Fritsche, was battling Norfolk's Steve Downie. Fritsche got into it after leaving the Lake Erie bench and also drew a six-game suspension.

Fritsche was assessed a game misconduct for his actions, but Ramo was not penalized.

It is unclear when Ramo will begin serving the suspension as he was recalled to Tampa earlier this week. The Admirals recalled Riku Helenius from ECHL Mississippi to replace Ramo.

Update (Pete):
According to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, the Lightning are expected to send Ramo down to Norfolk for the next few weeks in order to serve his suspension and, in the meantime, Riku Helenius will be recalled to serve as Mike Smith's backup with the Lightning.

Of course, that leaves the question of who Norfolk will get to backup Mike McKenna?

NHL Game Night 1/27: Canadiens at Lightning

Key point of the game: Lightning kill the 5-on-3 in the first period to keep it 2-1.

MTL-3
TB-5

Mike Smith allowed 3 goals on 34 shots for the win.

First Period
03:08 TB Malone (14), (Artyukhin)
07:15 MTL Lapierre (9), (Markov, Komisarek)
08:06 MTL Kovalev (13), (unassisted)

Second Period
02:49 TB Lecavalier (22), (St. Louis, Murphy)(PP)
14:57 TB Prospal (12), (Krajicek)
17:08 TB Downie (3), (Eminger, Stamkos)

Third Period
11:04 TB St. Louis (18), (Lecavalier, Meszaros)(PP)
11:26 MT Lapierre (10), (Latendresse, Gorges)

That last goal on the 2-on-1 by St. Louis from Lecavalier, my Lord. That belongs hung on a wall in a museum somewhere. That's art, folks.

Good news and bad news. The good news is Toronto and Carolina lost. So, the Lightning finally jump over Toronto and gain 2 points on Carolina and idle Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, Florida won, so the Lightning only gain 1 point on 8th place (8 points back) with the Panthers leapfrogging the Hurricanes. The Lightning hold 1 game on the Canes with the Panthers having 1 in hand on the Lightning. That second period laydown in the last game against Florida is still haunting them.

Steve Downie had 1 goal and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes, 1 shot and 1 hit in 8:55. He's very noticable, in a good way, on the handful of shifts he's out.

David Koci was -1 in 2:10.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

Bolts Promote Downie, Ramo, and Helenius

In a series of back-to-back promotions with the Lightning system, Tampa Bay Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced on Monday that the Bolts have recalled prospect forward Steve Downie from the Norfolk Admirals. In addition, the Lightning announced that they also recalled prospect goaltender Karri Ramo from the Admirals to Tampa on an emergency basis.

Downie's recall was expected, with the Lightning indicating last week that he would be recalled after the NHL All-Star break -- a move that would prevent him from participating in the AHL All-Star game Monday night. However, Ramo's emergency recall was a bit of a surprise, as the St. Pete Times reported on Monday that Tampa veteran netminder Olaf Kolzig suffered a setback during the All-Star break with respect to his injured left arm, and was placed back on IR.

With Ramo recalled to Tampa, the Lightning announced on Tuesday that prospect goaltender Riku Helenius has been reassigned from Mississippi (ECHL) to Norfolk to back up Admirals goalie Mike McKenna. Helenius was assigned to the Gulf Coast last Friday, backing up Sea Wolves and former Bolt prospect goaltender Ryan Munce in two weekend games but seeing no game action.

ECHL Weekend Update: 1/23-1/25

The Mississippi Sea Wolves returned to action this weekend after a brief pause for last Wednesday night's ECHL All-Star game. Lightning goaltending prospect Riku Helenius was reassigned to the Gulf Coast from Norfolk on Friday and was on the bench backing up former Bolt prospect Ryan Munce against the visiting Charlotte Checkers. Helenius again backed up Munce Sunday afternoon at home against the South Carolina Stingrays. The Sea Wolves split the weekend games against division rivals, with Helenius seeing no game action.

Friday, January 23, 2009
Charlotte 6 @ Mississippi 5 OT

G Riku Helenius: did not play

Sunday, January 25, 2009
South Carolina 2 @ Mississippi 4

G Riku Helenius: did not play

The road ahead this week for the Sea Wolves include stops in Johnstown Wednesday and Friday, followed by a tilt against Wheeling on Saturday.

NCAA Game Night: 1/25

Harvard Crimson 5 @ #18 Dartmouth Big Green 5 OT
F Alex Killorn Har: 0-0-0, 3 SOG, -1
Season totals: 19 GP, 3-7-10, 38 PIM, -9

The Crimson (4-11-4) go 4 of 8 on the PP and Islander prospect center Doug Rogers nets a hat trick to earn a big tie against a ranked conference team.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/25

Fadden gets an OT winner ... Barberio back in the goal column ... Cunti scores again.

N.A. Juniors Game Night: 1/24

A big game for Courtnall, who like Witkowski and Wright is within one point of equaling career highs for points in a season ... Tokarski vs. Pickard once again ... Jung firmly established among WHL goaltending leaders.

Lightning to Sign Top Swedish Prospect Harju

The Swedish newspaper the Norlandska Socialdemokraten is reporting (link in Swedish) that the Lightning have signaled their intention to sign Swedish sniper Johan Harju at the end of this season. Lulea GM Lars Bergstrom is quoted in the paper as being resigned to the fact that Harju and his teammate, Edmonton prospect Linus Omark, will be headed to North America next season. Harju, who was drafted by the Lightning in the 6th round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, has played much of this season at second line center for Lulea, but can also play left wing. The 22 year old, 6'3" 205 lbs forward is currently tied for 12th in the Elitserien in scoring with 20 goals and 34 points in 44 games. Those 20 goals are tied for 4th best in the league and his 9 power play goals are tied for 3rd best.

Hat tip to Sotnos from the message boards.

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