Tampere Cup Underway

The education of young [url=riku-helenius]Riku Helenius[/url] at the elite level of European hockey continued today. Despite allowing 6 goals in his team's opening match of the Tampere Cup today against Swiss team SC Bern, Helenius got the W in penalty shots 7-6. Former Kelowna Rocket Lauris Darzins had the winning goal in the shootout. It should be noted SC Bern has several former NHLers on their roster including Sebastien Bordeleau, Christian Berglund and Simon Gamache. Ilves faces its toughest test of the tournament tomorrow against Russian Superleague power Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The third stage of the Lada Cup will also take place Thursday.

Cibak to Sweden

Former Lightning center Martin Cibak has signed with Vastra Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. Cibak, who was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Lightning this summer, had two goals and six assists in 65 games for Tampa Bay this past season. He had one assist in six games for Tampa in their Stanley Cup run of 2004. Cibak essentially lost his job with the Lightning when management decided they wanted more physical play and offense from the fourth line next season.

Lada Cup Day Two

Dimitri Kazionov stayed hot today scoring a goal and adding a helper despite Kazan's 4-3 loss to Nizhnekamsk in Russian preseason action. In the day's other match, Red Wings prospect Igor Grigorienko had 2 goals and an assist as Togliatti laid the wood to Ufa 6-1. Lightning prospect [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] again sat in favor of Mike Fountain.

Baker Lands in ECHL

According to the [i]Halifax Chronicle-Herald[/i], Kevin Baker, the 27 year-old Acadia Axemen forward who was trying to get back into professional hockey starting with the Lightning tryout camp last month, has signed an ECHL contract with the Texas Wildcatters. Baker only managed one assist in five games for Team Black in camp scrimmages and was not offered an invitation to Springfield's upcoming camp. Baker's ECHL contract allows for a tryout with the Houston Aeros of the AHL. Baker won the Atlantic University (Canada) scoring title last season and helped Acadia to its first league title in 10 years. He was selected as the most outstanding player in Canadian university hockey.

Lada Cup Day One

Wearing #67, Dimitri Kazionov scored a goal today in Kazan's opening match of the Lada Cup against Ufa. Unfortunately, Ak Bars fell in the contest 5-3. Lada Togliatti toppled Nizhenkamsk 2-1 in their opening match. [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] got the day off for the home team in favor of pro veteran Mike Fountain who may split time this season between the pipes with Koshechkin.

Lada Cup Begins Tomorrow

Preseason hockey in Europe continues tomorrow with the beginning of the Lada Cup. [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] and host team Togliatti will square off with Superleague teams Salavat Yulayev, Ak Bars Kazan (Dimitri Kazionov) and Nizhnekamsk. On Wednesday, the Tampere Cup will begin with [url=riku-helenius]Riku Helenius[/url] and Ilves facing Brynas from Sweden, Elsbaren Berlin from Germany, Metallurg Magnitogorsk from Russia and cross town rival from Finland Tappara.

But Transfers To SKA, Koshechkin Still With Lada

Preseason action is underway throughout Europe and Anton But, who had been rumored to possibly be considering a move to North America, surfaced at the LENVO tournament in St. Petrsburg with host club SKA and notched a goal in the five game tournament last week. Albert Vishnyakov had a helper for Moscow Dynamo in the tournament while Dimitri Kazionov was scoreless for his new club Kazan. In the Bashkortostan Cup in Ufa, goaltender [url=vasily-koshechkin]Vasily Koshechkin[/url] was named best netminder in the tournament for long time club Lada Togliatti. To see Koshechkin in the box score was surprising as [url=http://russianprospects.com/public/news_archive.php?year=2006]earlier reports had Koshechkin transferring to Khimik to tandem with Konstantin Barulin.[/url] The confusion likely stems from Avalanche netminder prospect Vitaly Kolesnik's move to Khimik from North America. Koshechkin went 2-0-1 in the tournament with one shutout allowing 7 goals in three games. In Finland, with Tuuka Rask currently in Lake Placid, NY tending goal for Finland's junior team in international action, [url=Riku-Helenius]Riku Helenius[/url] has been getting the lion's share of the netminding duties for Ilves. Helenius [url=http://www.ilves.com/pisteporssi_hp.php]has made three starts thus far in the preseason with 2-1 record and a 4.00 GAA.[/url] On Tuesday Helenius helped defeat SM-liiga club JYP 3-2, rebounding from a 7-3 loss in the Sputnik Cup final to SaiPa in which he stopped 44 of 51 shots faced. Ilves defeated KalPa 4-3 on the 4th with Helenius stopping 20 of 23 shots faced. Ilves' next game with be on the 16th against Swiss club SC Bern, which may be the return of Rask to the lineup for Ilves.

D'Aversa to Play for Columbus at Traverse City

Springfield Falcons camp invitee and Lightning prospect and tryout camp participant Jonathan D'Aversa [url=http://www.redwingscentral.com/camps/2006-07/rosters/Columbus.html]will play for the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect team in the upcoming Traverse City prospect tournament.[/url] The young defenseman out of Sudbury of the OHL is looked at as a potential signee for Johnstown of the ECHL. Hat tip to reader GoBoltz56 from the comments.

Grover Will Not Be a Falcons Tryout

The Washington Capitals' farm team, the Hershey Bears, [url=http://www.hersheypa.com/events/hershey_bears/detail.php?id=1756]announced several signings yesterday including the signing of former Lightning defenseman Timo Helbling.[/url] They also, however, have announced the signing of defenseman Don Grover who had been invited to Springfield Falcons camp as was looked at as a possible option for the team's affiliate in Johnstown. [img]http://images.usatoday.com/life/_photos/2004/09/07/inside-grover.jpg[/img] Grover appeared in the recent Lightning prospect and tryout camp and was scoreless over the course of the week's scrimmages. Defensemen Clayton Barthel has been invited to join the team's entry in Traverse City and defenseman Jon D'Aversa was also invited to Springfield Falcons camp.

Falcons Add Defenseman

Today, the Springfield Falcons announced the signing of 28 year-old defenseman Sylvain Dufresne. The 6-foot-2 defenseman spent last season with Rochester of the AHL, scoring two goals and seven assists in 61 games. The Ex-Chicoutimi Sagueneen and Sherbrooke Beaver has spent seven years in professional hockey, but last year was his first full season in the AHL. Dufresne's best offensive season came in 2003-04 with Flint of the UHL (76 GP, 17-39-56).
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