North American hockey officially got underway this weekend with the QMJHL dropping the puck on preseason action this Saturday. Lightning prospect defenseman Michael Ward was named the game's second star in a 5-4 loss to Acadie-Bathurst after posting a goal and an assist on the power play. Ward was selected by the Lightning in the 7th round of this summer's NHL Entry Draft.
The Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled the teamâ€™s updated logo and new RBK Edge uniforms today at IceFest 2007 at the St. Pete Times Forum. Lightning players Martin St. Louis, Chris Gratton, Filip Kuba and Johan Holmqvist were joined by local media celebrities for the unveiling. The Lightning logo, which has undergone changes for the first time since the franchiseâ€™s inception in 1992, can be seen along with photos of the new home and away jerseys at www.tampabaylightning.com.
In related news, the Norfolk Admirals will unveil their new look September 4. According to the Virginian-Pilot, the new Admirals uniforms will combine elements of the team's former Blackhawks-styled attire with a nod toward the Lightning's colors.
University of Vermont graduate Arthur Femenella will not be able to attend next month's prospect tournament in Traverse City, Michigan after all.
According to the Lightning, Femenella, a 6-7, 240-pound defenseman/forward, had surgery last week to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and will be out until November.
Taking Femenella's place in Michigan will be recently signed defenseman Justin Fletcher. A 2007 graduate of St. Cloud State, Fletcher was signed by the Lightning this spring. Fletcher played well enough on an ATO with AHL Springfield late last season to earn a one-year contract with Tampa Bay. His inclusion on the Traverse City roster will help bring more offense from the blueline.
Contradicting reports from earlier this summer, Eurohockey.net is reporting Lightning prospect Denis Kazionov has transferred to Novokuznetsk of the Russian Superleague. Previous indications were the younger Kazionov might play for CSKA this year.
And in long overdue news, Eurohockey.net also reports that Lightning prospect Albert Vishnyakov transferred to Spartak in May from Dynamo.
Preseason games are finally underway throughout Europe with most teams participating in preseason tournaments and individual preseason games.
Last Tuesday, Andreas Holmqvist made his debut for his new club Frolunda on the team's first pairing in a 3-2 win over Djurgardens. Holmqvist assisted on the game's opening goal by Niklas Andersson. Frolunda is one of several teams from Sweden and Finland vying for the Nordic Trophy.
Johan Harju's club Lulea got underway last Friday in a 4-4 tie against Brynas. No box score was available from the game. Lulea dropped a 3-2 match to Sodertalje the following day. Again, no box score was available.
So, although details aren't readily available from overseas, it is clear that hockey season has indeed arrived.
The Mississippi Sea Wolves have announced the signing of enforcer Bill Kinkel. The 23 year old left winger split last season between Florida and Utah of the ECHL scoring 6 goals and adding 167 penalty minutes in 47 games. Originally a 9th round pick of the New Jersey Devils in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Kinkel has one full season of AHL experience on his resume having played 56 games for Houston in 2005-2006 scoring 3 goals, 6 points, and racking up 190 penalty minutes. The 6'5" 239 lbs. forward played his junior hockey for Kitchener and Kingston of the OHL. His career season came in his final year of junior in 2003-2004 for the Frontenacs when he had 12 goals and 23 points with 174 penalty minutes in 62 games.
It has been brought to my attention in the last couple of days by BP reader Freadrich43 that my understanding of the August 15th signing deadline for NCAA players has been incorrect. I had been operating under the impression that NCAA players leaving school did not have to be signed until August 15th of the year after they graduated. This, as it turns out, was incorrect and I thank Freadrich43 for bringing it to my attention. An NCAA prospect must be signed by August 15th of the summer following their graduation for their rights to be retained by the NHL club.
Site rules are that only players whose rights are held by the Lightning can be included on the Prospects page. That means that for the last year PJ Atherton was incorrectly included on the page. While this wasn't necessarily a catastrophic oversight considering Atherton played last season inside the organization under a minor league contract, we still strive for 100% accuracy. So, I apologize. The fault was mine.
The rule also will effect three other prospects who have been included on the Prospects page: Dustin Collins, Arthur Femenella, and Joseph Pearce. With Collins and Femenella both slated to appear for the Lightning in Traverse City at the start of September and likely to attend Norfolk Admirals camp later on in the Fall, I have been forced to decide what to do with them until their participation in those events are complete. The decision I've reached is to remove Pearce, who was not invited to Traverse City, from the page immediately and leave Collins and Femenella on until Bolt Prospects releases its Preliminary Rankings in early October. If neither receives an NHL contract by that time, they will be removed from the page as well.
Just to reiterate, I'm sorry. While it's not a huge mistake in the grand scheme of things, I know that our readers expect and deserve nothing less than complete accuracy. For the future, now that we have clarification on how the rule works, we will be sure to promptly and correctly update the Prospects page after an NCAA player graduates.
The Mississippi Sea Wolves have announced the signing of veteran fan favorite Travis Lisabeth. The 27 year old left winger played four seasons for the Sea Wolves before spending the last two with Edinburgh of the British EIHL and Columbus of the ECHL in 2005-2006 and Phoenix, Pensacola, and Cincinnati of the ECHL last season. The 6'0" 200 lbs forward scored 20 goals and 51 points in 60 games last season with 85 penalty minutes. Lisabeth's career season came in 2004-2005 with Mississippi when he scored 26 goals and 59 points in 70 games. He played his four year junior hockey career for Kitchener and Kingston of the OHL.
More on the eight forward invitees announced today for the Traverse City prospect tournament:
Erlendsson scooped us. Chad's going to be upset. A little.
In any event, Erik Erlendsson of the Trib has posted the Lightning's roster for the upcoming Traverse City prospect tournament. The team will include 8 free agent invitee forwards as well as unsigned recent college graduates Dustin Collins and Arthur Femenella. The tournament will be held between September 7th and 11th in Traverse City, Michigan.
Sadly, only three of the recent 2007 draftees will suit up for the Lightning in the tournament (Mitch Fadden, Torrie Jung, and Michael Ward). 2nd round pick Dana Tyrell will miss the tournament to participate with Team Canada in an upcoming international event while 3rd round picks Luca Cunti and Alex Killorn will miss the event because they would have to pay their way to attend in order to keep NCAA elligibility.
Bolt Prospects will have more on the tryout invitees later today.