Happy Holidays From Bolt Prospects

'Tis the night before Christmas and the entire staff of Bolt Prospects would like to wish you and your family Happy Holidays. Now get to bed before Santa arrives, or he'll leave you with a lump of coal or worse, a Panthers jersey.

The Injury Situation Organization Wide

In Tampa, Pavel Kubina [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBY4ZSFLHE.html]continues to nurse a groin strain which may or may not prompt the recall of a defenseman from Springfield by Monday's game against Carolina.[/url] Fatigue along the backline was obvious for the Lightning in their game against Buffalo last night as they were forced to go with five defensemen again for the duration of the contest. If a defenseman is recalled, Timo Helbling or Doug O'Brien appear to be the two most logical options for the Lightning. In Springfield, on top of the recalls of Ryan Craig and Darren Reid, winger Zbynek Hrdel [url=http://www.tribune-democrat.com/sports/local_story_356001320.html]is expected to be out for a couple of weeks with a knee injury.[/url] The Falcons had originally decided to recall Justin Kelly, Randy Rowe and winger Brandon Elliot to the Falcons, but Elliot broke his hand in a fight in his last ECHL game prompting Adam Henrich to be recalled instead. Rowe suffered an abdominal injury that also kept him from being recalled and likely won't be back until December 30th. In Johnstown, Mike Egener is finally close to returning from his own knee injury. He should be a welcome addition to the Chiefs lineup. However, the Chiefs have lost not only Rowe and Elliot, but will be without veteran Paul Caponigri for two to three weeks with a concussion also suffered in the midst of a fight.

SKA Leaves Coal in Koshechkin's Stocking

SKA St. Petersburg defeated Lada Togliatti 2-0 yesterday. As a result, Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin's record on the season drops to 14-5-2. Koshechkin still leads the league in save percentage (.948), goals against average (1.21) and shutouts (tied with Travis Scott with 8).

Game Night 12/23: Sabres at Lightning

All I want for Christmas is my hockey team to get the chip back on its shoulder. Right now this club is doing nothing to dissuade its critics up north from the idea the 2004 Stanley Cup team was nothing more than a flash in the pan. Question is, do these Lightning care enough to prove it wasn't? BUF-4 TB-1 Vincent Lecavalier was given a one game suspension for a high sticking incident that was ruled to be intentional and thus did not play tonight. Pavel Kubina also did not play and thus the team went with 5 defensemen tonight. John Grahame stopped 27 of 30 in the game before the Sabres tacked on an empty net goal. Honestly though, it means little if the club is going to provide so little goal support for him. Paul Ranger played 20:18 of even hockey. Ryan Craig played 10:08 and registered three shots on goal. Darren Reid played 7:43. Evgeny Artyukhin, after taking an early hooking call, was the low man amongst rookies with 6:26 of ice time. I hope this team takes the opportunity over the next two days to reflect on where it is, how it has allowed itself to fall so far behind in its own division, and what will happen if they don't show up to work ready to play 60 minutes of desperate hockey on Monday. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020517.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 12/23: Falcons at Bruins

The losing streak grows to three games... SPR-1 PRO-5 The Falcons' gloss as road warriors has definitely lost its luster in the past couple of weeks. Goaltender Gerald Coleman stopped 25 of 30 in the defeat and the Falcons are now just 2 games over .500. Recalls Adam Henrich and Justin Kelly played, but failed to hit the scoresheet. Organization wide, it seems, this holiday break comes at a good time to regroup. Game sheet from [url=http://ahl.leaguestat.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1001450]TheAHL.com.[/url]

Ramo Defeats Latvia in WJC Tune Up

In a move that is possibly indicative of who Finland's starter will be for the upcoming World Junior Championships, [url=http://www.finhockey.fi/taustasivut/artikkeliarkisto/?num=179088]Karri Ramo defeated Latvia 3-1 yesterday in exhibition play.[/url] Finland outshot Latvia by over a 4 to 1 margin leaving Ramo to make just 8 saves on a miniscule 9 shots.

Game Night 12/22: Lightning at Rangers

If they had played 60 minutes of hockey instead of 30, they'd have won this game. TB-2 NYR-4 It was surprising to see this Lightning team come out so flat in the first period considering what transpired in the game against Carolina. The good news is that, despite the loss, I think John Grahame played very well stopping 32 of 35. He made a handful of very good saves late in the 2nd period that gave the Lightning an opportunity to steal a point or two. But, alas, their penalty kill was running around a bit when Tom Poti blasted a slapshot from the high slot right up Broadway to win the game. Ryan Craig has already settled into John Tortorella's regular rotation with 14:42 of ice time tonight and 1 shot on goal. He's exceptional at mucking on the forecheck below the goal line as he demonstrated again tonight, however his skating is a liability on the rush as evidenced by a turnover he made in the second period when a Ranger defenseman simply stepped up, not respecting his skating, took the puck and sent his team away on an odd man rush that nearly resulted in a goal and did result in Paul Ranger taking a penalty. Ranger played a stronger, more physical game tonight and was reqarded with more ice time. He was a -1 in 19:27 tonight blocking three shots. Evgeny Artyukhin played a more modest 8:49 with one shot on goal and sat for much of the second half of the game after taking a goaltender interference penalty while driving to the net on a one-on-one play. Darren Reid had one shot on goal in 3:38 of ice time. As with Tarnasky earlier this season, I don't believe it is positive to play a prospect so little over a long period of time. I'm sure Reid isn't complaining about the extra zeros on his paycheck, but it's not the best for his development if Torts doesn't have enough faith in Reid to play him more than the six shifts he got tonight. For the Lightning as a whole, it doesn't get any easier with Buffalo next on tap. Hard to believe, but the Lightning have now allowed more goals this season than they've scored with an overall differential of -1 on the season. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/standings/index.html]NHL.com.[/url]

Chicoutimi Still #1

Stanislav Lascek's Chicoutimi Sangueneens of the QMJHL [url=http://www.lhjmq.qc.ca/lang_en/index.php?page=232&id_nouvelle=919&PHPSESSID=079d33dfcd943d9da0b02bbf6aac3932]remain in first place[/url] in the latest Bank of Montreal CHL rankings. The Sangueneens have been in the #1 slot for three weeks in a row now and currently hold a 26-7-1-2 record this season. Lascek leads the way for the Sangueneens and the QMJHL as a whole with 78 points in 35 games. Lascek and his teammate Marek Zagrapan will be featured performers for Team Slovakia in the upcoming U-20 World Junior Championships. The Bank of Montreal rankings are decided through the votes of a panel of NHL scouts. Stanislav Lascek currently ranks in the top-10 in the QMJHL in all of the following statistical categories: Points (1st) Goals (10th) Assists (1st) Plus/minus (6th) Shorthanded goals (T-7th) Shots on goal (2nd)

Goc an Olympian Too

Team Germany has announced that defenseman Sascha Goc will represent that nation's contingent at the Olympics in Turin as well. Surprisingly, defenseman Timo Helbling [url=http://www.iihf.com/news/iihfpr0606.htm]was not selected to join Team Switzerland for the games.[/url]

Norrena an Olympian

TSN.ca is reporting the Finnish national team [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=147920&hubname=]has named Lightning overage goaltending prospect Fredrik Norrena its third string netminder for the Turin Olympics.[/url] Norrena beat out the Flyers' Antero Nittymaki and Bruins' Hannu Toivonen, among others, for the honor.
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