Game Night 11/11: Lightning at Thrashers

OK, OK, is this finally rock bottom? TB-2 ATL-5 I would've preferred Gerald Coleman's debut had come under better circumstances. The Tampa Bay Lightning just blew a two goal lead and allowed themselves to be beaten by an ECHL level goaltender. That's the plain, unvarnished truth. I have no doubt that the word of closed door players only meetings is right around the corner. There needs to be a "come to Jesus" for this team. And it's clear to me that it is no longer Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor's ship to fix. They have fulfilled their charge to nurse a bunch of kids into an NHL contender and Stanley Cup champion. Those kids are all grown up, and those kids are the ones who now need to step up and take ownership of what is happening to this team. There are about $15 million dollars being tied up in three players on this team: Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards. We can talk about the unstable goaltending or the fact Darryl Sydor couldn't defend his way out of a wet paper sack right now, but that ignores the obvious. In all of these games where the Lightning knew going in they had a goaltender with flagging confidence or a wet behind the ears rookie between the pipes they still only managed to score a couple of goals against Atlanta, New York and Montreal. The timely goal scoring has simply not been there. Much of the reason for that is that the Tampa Bay Lightning simply have not made the commitment in moment-of-truth situations in this six game losing streak to make the hard, dirty play. To shoot the puck and crash the net. This team is still looking for answers in tic-tac-toe plays that never work when you're struggling instead of putting on their hard hat, grabbing their lunch pail and doing what it takes to get points in crunch time. It's time to start making that commitment again. It's time to start talking about accountability again. But the one's stepping up in those closed door meetings to talk about accountability need to be the $15M men. It's time to grow up. It's time the torch was passed. It's time that Vincent Lecavalier no longer leads the team in zeros and the end of his check but also he leads vocally in the dark times. And no, I'm not blaming Vinny or saying he's dogging it. Quite the contrary, he's one of the few players on this team playing decent hockey right now. But he can't just sit back anymore while Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor do all the heavy lifting in the locker room. Nor can Brad Richards. Nor can Martin St. Louis. This is their time, and if things are going to turn around they need to make this, unequivocally, their team. Right now. By the grace of God, this team plays in such an awful division 2 games under .500 can still find you in second place ahead of Florida. But that won't last forever. It's time to get back to work.

Cey/Henrich Reassigned to Johnstown

The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that the Springfield Falcons have reassigned Morgan Cey and Adam Henrich to Johnstown of the ECHL. Cey is expected to make his first professional start this weekend after missing the first month of the season with a groin pull. For Henrich, the demotion is his second wake-up-call trip to the ECHL. Johnstown still seeks its first victory of the season.

Todd Rohloff: One Man MASH Unit

The Springfield Republican [url=http://www.masslive.com/falcons/republican/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1131698513104841.xml&coll=1]reports that Todd Rohloff underwent surgery yesterday to repair his broken nose. [/url]Rohloff's beak straightening comes as his third run in with the injury bug this season. He was already sidelined for much of Lightning camp with back spasms and missed weeks of action after hurting his knee in a spill in the Falcons' opening night victory.

Smolenak Loses, Too

Not to be outdone on this horrific night in the world of Lightning hockey, prospect Radek Smolenak, the only Lightning CHL prospect in action Thursday night, failed to hit the scoresheet and sat for five minutes for a checking-from-behind major as Kingston dropped a 5-3 decision at Toronto. Toronto's win snapped a five-game home losing streak.

Game Night 11/10: Ranger at Lightning

Is this rock bottom? NYR-5 TB-2 I want to vomit. Need more analysis? OK, I want to projectile vomit. This team can't seem to buy a timely goal or save in the third period and now even bounces are going off the back of opposing players' necks and into the net. Sub-.500, terrible. You don't want to see the game sheet.

Game Night 11/10: Monarchs at Falcons

Sickening. MAN-6 SPR-5 (SO) To blow a 3 goal lead in less than five minutes in inexcusable. There's good points and there bad points (used to be good ties and bad ties, but the cliche has to change with the times), tonight was a bad point for the Springfield Falcons. And there's not a heck of a lot more you can say about it. Game sheet from [url=http://stats.theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1001190]TheAHL.com.[/url]

Norrena Wins Opening Game of Karjala Cup

Lightning goaltending prospect Fredrik Norrena defeated Russia today in a shootout 3-2 to open the Karjala Cup tournament. The Finnish netminder stopped 20 of 22 shots faced before stopping all three Russian shooters faced in the shootout.

Rogers Ejected as Kelowna Crushes No. 7 Prince George

Andy Rogers of the Prince George Cougars was ejected in the third period of a 7-1 blowout loss to Justin Keller and the Kelowna Rockets Wednesday night. Down 6-1 late in the third, Rogers took a checking-from-behind major penalty and subsequently a five minute fighting major against 6-foot-1 Kelowna winger Liam Couture. Both received game misconducts. Rogers was minus-one at that point in the game. Keller, on the other hand, had a goal and an assist to go with a plus-one rating for the game. His goal was his 13th of the year. Kelowna, who has struggled of late, had no problem with the 13-6-0-2 Cougars, the CHL’s No.7 team in the most recent CHL Mosaik MasterCard Top-10.

Karjala Cup Begins Today

The Finnish leg of the Euro Tour begins today with the opening two matches of the Karjala Cup. The best club team players from European nations Finland, Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic will square off for bragging rights. The Lightning's sole representative at the tournament will be Finnish netminder Fredrik Norrena, a mainstay on Finland's Euro Tour roster.

Kazionov to Dynamo

Both [url=http://www.russianprospects.com/public/tournament.php?tour_id=2006011&anchor=News&PHPSESSID=b4402cad104ec7e3e731a1d223b75f85]Russianprospects.com[/url] and Chelya's [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.ru]Tampabaylightning.ru[/url] are reporting C/W Dimitry Kazionov has been transferred to Moscow Dynamo of the Russian Superleague. The move came amidst a mass exodus of players from Togliatti as Lada lost roughly half of its players in a massive salary dumping measure. Goaltender Vasily Koshechkin, for the time being, remains with Togliatti (unfortunately). Kazionov will join Lightning prospect Albert Vishnyakov in a very deep Dynamo lineup. The bulk of Lada's players however, perhaps as many as eight depending on whether or not Caps prospect Alex Semin accepts his new playing address, ended up with Khimik MO. The mass influx of talent to Khimik MO may cost Alexei Glukhov valuable playing time, perhaps forcing him to transfer as well. So, unfortunately, this scenario hasn't played out well for the Lightning's prospects. Kazionov will likely remain in the 4th line defensive role he had for Lada. Alexei Glukhov may be out of steady work in Khimik. And, worst of all, Vasily Koshechkin will now have to back stop the equivalent of an Upper League team. Bad news all around.
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