It's Official: Stirling New Falcons Bench Boss

Springfield [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox3000.shtml]has indeed announced that Steve Stirling will be the new Head Coach of the Springfield Falcons.[/url] Stirling was let go from the New York Islanders after posting an 18-20-4 record last season. Overall, in the NHL, he boasts a 56-49-11-8 record over parts of two seasons on the Island. Prior to that, he was head coach of the Islanders' affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he posted an 83-51-19-7 record as head coach and in 2001-2002 was named THN Minor Pro Coach of the Year, and before that an assistant with the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL. Before joining the pro ranks Stirling coached in the NCAA for 15 years with Division II/III Babson College and Division I Providence College.

Stirling to be Named Springfield's Next Head Coach

The [i]Springfield Republican[/i] is reporting Steve Stirling will be named head coach of the Springfield Falcons at a press conference today. Stirling will be the seventh coach in Falcons history, taking over for the recently reassigned Dirk Graham. The [i] Republican[/i] reports Stirling is the first coach in Springfield with NHL coaching experience since Jimmy Roberts in 1991. Stirling coached the New York Islanders in 2003-2004 and also guided the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Calder Cup Finals in 2001-2002.

World Championships Day Seventeen

Sweden tastes double gold. Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even in limited time as Johan Holmqvist stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 4-0 shutout to win gold at the World Championships. The victory comes on the heels of Sweden's golden run at the Olympics. In the bronze medal game, Finland beat Canada 5-0 on the strength of Fredrik Norrena's 37 save shutout performance. Norrena adds World Championship bronze to his Olympic silver medal from earlier this year. So concludes the Lightning's 2005-2006 season for all its prospects, including overage prospects. In the next month Bolt Prospects will release its Final Rankings for the season and preview the June Entry Draft. Thanks to our readers for a great season.

Sypek: Two Frontrunners for Falcons Job

Fran Sypek, in today's Springfield Republican, [url=http://www.masslive.com/sypek/republican/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1148197406149430.xml&coll=1]says the Lightning have two front runners for the vacant Springfield Falcons coaching job which will be announced tomorrow.[/url] Former Islanders bench boss Steve Stirling and Owen Sound Attack coach Mike Stothers are said to be the favorites for the job. Stothers may be the favorite. Prior to his three years as head coach of the Owen Sound junior program, he was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Phantoms with Bill Barber, and most importantly, for Jay Feaster's Hershey Bears for two seasons. His recent work tutoring youth at the junior level is a likely positive. His lack of head coaching experience at the pro level may be a negative. Steve Sterling was fired as head coach of the New York Islanders after holding the job for a year and a half. Prior to his stint in the NHL he was head coach of the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.

World Championships Day Sixteen

Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even in limited time as Sweden defeated Canada 5-4 today to advance to the finals of the World Championships. Johan Holmqvist stopped 28 of 32 shots faced for the Swedes. And, in the other semifinal, the Czech Republic defeated Fredrik Norrena and Finland 3-1. The netminder stopped 18 of 20 shots faced in the loss before the Finns allowed an empty net marker late in the match. Tomorrow, Canada will play Finland in the Bronze Medal Game before the Czechs and Swedes square off for the gold.

Falcons To Name New Coach Monday

According to the [i]Springfield Republican[/i], the Tampa Bay Lightning and Springfield Falcons will introduce the Falcons' new coach on Monday, May 22. The press conference, which is open to the public, will be hosted by Springfield GM Bruce Landon, Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster, and Tampa Bay Assistant GM Claude Loiselle. No one in the Lightning or Falcons front offices are leaking the identity of Dirk Graham's replacement, only saying that Feaster had final say on the coach and Landon has called him "an outstanding individual." Among the coaches speculated to be named are former Peoria Rivermen coach Steve Pleau, Owen Sound (Ontario Hockey League) coach Mike Stothers, Iowa Stars assistant Paul Jerrard, and former Falcons assistant Gord Dineen. The press conference will be held at 1 p.m. EST at Springfield's MassMutual Center.

Koshechkin Transfers to Khimik

[url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/index.php]According to Russianprospects.com[/url], goaltender [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] has signed a new contract to play with Khimik of the Russian Superleague. The young netminder finished second in the Superleague in GAA, save percentage and shutouts last season with Lada Togliatti. Koshechkin will battle with St. Louis Blues draft pick Konstantin Barulin for starting duties with Khimik.

Lightning to Sign Johan Holmqvist?

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet [url=http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/sport/story/0,2789,827707,00.html]is reporting the Tampa Bay Lightning is showing interest in signing Swedish World Championship team netminder Johan Holmqvist.[/url] Holmqvist, who turns 28 within the week, was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 7th round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. The 6'1" 190 lbs netminder has appeared in just 3 NHL games in his career, but was a regular AHL starter with Hartford and Houston prior to returning to Sweden to play the past two seasons with Elitserien club Brynas. Holmqvist's biggest acheivement in North American hockey came in the 2002-2003 season when he won the Jack Butterfield Trophy as the MVP of the Calder Cup playoffs.

World Championships Day Fourteen

Fredrik Norrena posted his second shutout of the tournament today stopping all 20 shots he faced in Finland's 3-0 win over Belarus. With the win the Finns advance to the Semifinal Round to face the Czech Republic. In the other semifinal matchup, Canada will play Sweden. Both matches are scheduled for Saturday.

World Championships Day Thirteen: Quarterfinals

Martin Cibak was -1 with 1 shot on goal as Slovakia fell 4-1 to Canada today in the Quarterfinal Round of the World Championships. Also, Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even as Sweden roared past Team USA 6-0 to secure their spot in the Semifinal Round as well. Finland and Fredrik Norrena play Belarus tomorrow in one of two remaining Quarterfinal matchups.
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