The seemingly never-ending story of Swiss prospect Luca Cunti, St. Cloud State University, and the NCAA Clearinghouse has concluded another chapter and Cunti is one step away from full clearance because of it.
Bolt Prospects has been informed by the Lightning that the NCAA Clearinghouse has approved Cunti for Division I play "academically." The club considers this a major accomplishment on Cunti's part as it necessitated his cramming for and passing the GED.
According to the club, the last remaining hurdle is obtaining Cunti's amateur status through the Clearinghouse and he will be set -- finally -- to play Division I hockey this year for the Huskies. In the meantime, the Lightning reports Cunti is proceeding with his classes and training hard off and on the ice with St. Cloud.
Final approval could come within the next few days, but the club cautions there is "nothing in stone though just yet."
Kind of a mixed bag in this game.
Karri Ramo stopped 20 of 23 shots faced for the win. He was hung out to dry on the Wings two early goals but did manage to retain composure and made some key stops in the second before surrendering a soft goal in the third. More good than bad.
Martin St. Louis potted a pair of goals with double assists going to Jason Ward and Brad Richards. Andre Roy and Andreas Karlsson also had goals. Vaclav Prospal, Craig MacDonald, and Filip Kuba all had individual helpers.
Big winner of the night: Craig MacDonald who probably just made the Lightning's opening night roster by virtue of Ryan Craig's slipped back disc. He had an assist and was +1 with 3 shots on goal to celebrate.
The other big winner of the night: the Lightning power play which might've found a temporary solution with Martin St. Louis filling in for Dan Boyle on the point.
Finally, for the winners, Mike Lundin gets 12:02 of ice time with one shot on goal. However humble that might be, it was more than Janik and Lampman got tonight. The door may be open for Matt Smaby to charge back into the race now if he can play a strong, confident game Thursday night.
I wouldn't label any losers in this game although the quest for Ramo, Mathieu Darche, and Kyle Wanvig looks to be coming to a close. Ramo and Darche look like strong possibilities for recall down the road though.
Victoria Grizzlies 1 @ Powell River Kings 3
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 0-0-0, 2 PIM
Game Notes: Justin Courtnall did not hit the scoresheet for the Grizzlies in their loss at Powell River, the second time in two nights Victoria has fallen to the Kings. Courtnall, who was called for roughing in the game, has one goal and two assists in six games so far this season for the 1-2-1(Ties)-2 (OTL) Grizzlies.
Lewiston MAINEiacs 1 @ St. John Sea Dogs 6
D Michael Ward, LEW: 0-0-0, -3, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Game Notes: The defending league champion MAINEiacs continue to struggle and their 1-4-0(OTL)-0(SOL) record is the worst in the league. The clubâ€™s loss in New Brunswick Sunday was their fourth loss in a row after opening the season with a win. Ward has no goals and two assists in five games. He is also minus-5 with 12 PIM.
We can dissect this thing in comments, but I just want to throw these rankings out as Exhibit A as to why we do things the way we do here at Bolt Prospects. Hockey's Future has a habit of releasing their first rankings either before or during teams' training camps and preseason games and their final rankings before the hockey season finishes. We do the opposite (and do a midseason set of rankings) and the reason we do it should be pretty clear.
For instance, they have Mike Lundin at 14. Now it appears Lundin might have a 50/50 or better shot of making the Lightning's opening night roster. How is that going to reflect on HF's rankings if they have Lundin at 14 when he's in the NHL? That's why we do our rankings in early October after camp and the preseason is over.
It only takes a couple of good weeks of camp, a couple of good preseason games, and one or two injuries for a middle of the pack prospect to dramatically improve their stock and radically alter the landscape of a team's system. And it happens all the time in the NHL.
That is very well what Lundin may be doing right now, and why we're going to wait to see how this plays out before passing any judgements. It's fair. It's prudent. It's the right thing to do. We wish HF's upper management would adopt the same policy. It would improve the quality of their product.
Erik Erlendsson has the lineup for tonight's game against Detroit.
At first blush, it looks like Karri Ramo is going to get the start tonight in net. Count me as in favor of Ramo having about a 34 save shutout tonight and really putting the Lightning brass under the gun. A little controversy is healthy.
More importantly though, Torts is going with seven defensemen and it looks to me like these might be the seven he is currently thinking of keeping in Tampa while Dan Boyle recovers from wrist surgery. Doug Janik and Bryce Lampman will be the #5 and #6 defensemen tonight while Mike Lundin will be the #7. Is this a signal that Matt Smaby is on the outside looking in?
On Sunday at the Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex in Chesapeake, Radek Smolenak scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals to propel Team White past Team Blue 6-4 in the Admiralsâ€™ annual Blue vs. White intra-squad scrimmage game.
Boxscore (Team, Period/Time, Scorer, Assists):
1. BLUE 1/5:38 Rob Klinkhammer (Unassisted)
2. WHITE 1/9:40 Stan Lascek (Unassisted)
3. WHITE 1/10:14 Matt Radoslovich (Lance Monych, Vladimir Mihalik)
4. BLUE 1/11:50 Mike Falk (Rob Klinkhammer)
5. BLUE 2/6:21 Dana Tyrell (Mathieu Melanson)
6. WHITE 2/9:59 Radek Smolenak (Daine Todd, Vladimir Mihalik) (Power Play)
7. WHITE 2/13:20 Radek Smolenak (Marek Kvapil, Jay Holladay)
8. WHITE 3/7:58 Justin Keller (Brandon Elliott)
9. BLUE 3/16:24 Dana Tyrell (Unassisted) (Shorthanded)
10. WHITE 3/19:17 Justin Keller (Justin Taylor)
Penalties, goaltender stats, Norfolk cuts and scrimmage stats from the week on the flip.
Seattle Thunderbirds 2 @ Kamloops Blazers 3 (OT)
G Riku Helenius, SEA: OTL, 24 saves on 27 shots
Game Notes: Heleniusâ€™s first regular season game in North America was looking strong as he had a shutout through the first half of the game, but the T-Birds couldnâ€™t hold a 2-0 lead and fell in overtime, 3-2 in Kamloops. Helenius is wearing No. 30 for Seattle.
Lethbridge Hurricanes 2 @ Medicine Hat Tigers 4
C Mitch Fadden, LET: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM
Game Notes: With his secondary assist, Fadden helped Lethbridge to an early 2-1 lead but the Hurricanes couldnâ€™t hang on and dropped the second of a home-and-home series with the Tigers. The Hurricanes won on Friday. Fadden has a goal and an assist in two games this year.
Son of a gun. Dan Boyle had a freak accident involving a skate falling out of his locker after tonight's preseason game against the Capitals. According to Erik Erlendsson's blog the blade of the skate caught Boyle's wrist, which will now require surgery.
The good news is that Vincent Lecavalier's undisclosed injury is evidently not serious.
The Lightning's first round of cuts have been posted on tampabaylightning.com. All have been assigned to Norfolk.
The battle for the last defensive spot goes down to Smaby, Lundin, Bryce Lampman, and Doug Janik.