Evaluating Springfield

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The 2005-2006 Springfield Falcons finished with a 28-48-4-3 record for 65 points, which placed the team 6th in the Atlantic Division and 12th of 13 teams in the Eastern Conference a full 20 points out of a playoff spot. The season was a modest 8 point improvement over last year's team which finished 24-47-3-6 with 57 points. At year's end Head Coach Dirk Graham and Assistant Coach Phil Russell were dismissed from the team.

Playoff Game Night 4/23: Lightning at Senators

Series tied 1-1. Lightning take home ice away from Ottawa. Were it not for one bad period, Ottawa would be down 2-0 in this series. They. Are. Chokers. OTT-3 TB-4 John Grahame stops 21 of 24 in the win. Lightning settled down after an uneven first period to outshoot Ottawa 36-24. But it took the goal of the year by Dan Boyle to even the score at 3 in the third period to really shift the momentum in full in this series. [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url], who received a ton of ice time in this game, notched his first two NHL playoff points on helpers on Boyle's goal and Brad Richards' breakaway goal. He was even in 21:57 with 1 shot, 2 hits and 1 blocked shot. [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] was even in 14:49 with 2 shots, 3 hits and 1 block. [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] played 3:41 and was -1 with 1 shot. Win game three and watch Ottawa crumble. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS030112.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

CHL Playoffs Tonight: 4/22

[b]WHL[/b] The Moose Jaw Warriors have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in their series against Medicine Hat winning tonight 4-3 in overtime. Both of Moose Jaw's wins have come on Medicine Hat ice putting the Tigers squarely behind the eight ball going into game three. [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] was scoreless and -1 in the game.

HPK/Assat Game Four

HPK are the champions of the Finnish SM-liiga. HPK defeated Pori Assat 4-1 today to win their SM-liiga championship series 3-1. Miika Wiikman stopped 17 of 18 shots faced in the game. For Lightning prospect [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url], who was Wiikman's backup for the series, the championship completes the worst to first transition from his Lahti Pelicans club of last season which finished dead last in the standings to HPK this season where he now can claim an SM-liiga championship.

CHL Playoffs Tonight: 4/21

And then there was one... [b]WHL[/b] Moose Jaw won game one of their WHL Eastern Conference Final series against Medicine Hat 3-2 to take a 1-0 series lead. [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] had a power play assist in the win. Through 14 postseason games thus far Jones has 6 goals and 15 points.

Playoff Game Night 4/21: Lightning at Senators

Opportunity lost. Ottawa leads the series 1-0. TB-1 OTT-4 John Grahame, who played well, stopped 34 of 37 before Ottawa tacked on an empty net goal. Grahame held Ottawa scoreless through 40 minutes before allowing three in the third period, only one of which by Spezza he could really be faulted for. The good news is that the Lightning got 36 shots on goal on Ray Emery. The shame is that they seemingly could not finish to save their lives. The team hit a couple of crossbars that could've meant a critical 2-0 or even 3-0 lead and had multiple other chances that they squandered. They have to bury those chances and get another good goaltending performance from John Grahame to even the series in game two. [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] was even in 16:00 in his first career playoff game. He had 2 shots and 1 hit. [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url] played 15:38 of even hockey with 1 shot, 2 hits and 2 blocked shots. [url=evgeny-artyukhin]Evgeny Artyukhin[/url] had 2 hits in 3:22. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS030111.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Keller Nominated for WHL Player of the Year

Lightning prospect winger [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] has been [url=http://whl.ca/news/?id=4304]nominated out of the Western Conference for WHL player of the year.[/url] Keller finished the WHL regular season 1st in goals and 5th in overall scoring before his Kelowna Rockets lost to Everett in the second round of the playoffs. Out of the Eastern Conference, goaltender Justin Pogge of Calgary may be the favorite to win the award.

CSS Final Rankings Completed

I haven't seen them officially released anywhere yet, but Bolt Prospects does have access to the CSS's password protected site and they have complete their Final Rankings for the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Bolt Prospects will go into more detail on some of these players later in the summer, but for now, here's a sampler: [b]North American Skaters[/b] 1. D Erik Johnson, 6'4" 222 lbs, USNTDP (US) 2. C Jordan Staal, 6'4" 215 lbs, Peterborough (OHL) 3. C/W Jonathan Toews, 6'1.5" 195 lbs, North Dakota (WCHA) 4. C Derick Brassard, 6'0.5" 172 lbs, Drummondville (QMJHL) 5. C Phil Kessel, 6'0" 189 lbs, Minnesota (WCHA)

HPK/Assat Game Three

HPK is now just win away from claiming the SM-liiga championship as they defeated Assat in game three today 5-3 to take a 2-1 series lead. Miika Wiikman was again in net and stopped 30 of 33 shots faced en route to being named the game's third star. [url=karri-ramo]Karri Ramo[/url] again served as backup.

CHL Playoffs Tonight: 4/19

[b]WHL[/b] There was no tomorrow for either Moose Jaw or Calgary in game seven of their second round WHL playoff series where Moose Jaw triumphed over the Hitmen 3-1 to win their second round WHL playoff series. The Warriors took the lead for good in the game on the strength of a Steven Gillen shorthanded goal off an assist from [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones.[/url] Jones, already tabbed by the Calgary Sun as the clear cut MVP of this series, was +1 in the game.
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