Submitted by chad on May 23, 2006 - 18:05
Jay Feaster moves fast. Earlier this afternoon, the Tampa GM told Bolt Prospects that [url=justin-keller]Justin Keller[/url] of the Kelowna Rockets was close to signing a contract, which could come "this week." According to a Tampa Tribune report, Keller signed with Tampa late this afternoon. As Feaster has stated previously, no signing can be announced until all the proper paper work has been received. Feaster called Keller a "pure goal scorer" while saying this addition gives much-needed goal-scoring depth to the organization. Keller, an eighth round pick of the Bolts in 2003, was the hero of the 2003 Memorial Cup, scoring the game winning goal for Kelowna in a 2-1 win over fellow Bolt prospect Doug O'Brien and Gatineau. He scored 51 goals this year for the Rockets and was runner up for WHL MVP. In addition to his goal-scoring prowess, Keller is regarded as a high character leader with a strong work ethic. Congratulations to Justin on earning his first professional contract.
Submitted by chad on May 23, 2006 - 14:05
Bolt Prospects has learned the Tampa Bay Lightning has indeed re-opened talks with Finnish Olympic goaltender Fredrik Norrena. In fact, the two sides have been in talks since before the 2006 World Championships. Norrena and the Lightning agreed to a contract last summer, but Norrena backed out of the agreement causing Tampa to temporarily shut the door on the chances of signing the Linkoping goaltender in 2006. That door, according to GM Jay Feaster, has not been shut completely, and in fact has now been re-opened. Norrena, a 6'0", 190 pound 7th round pick of the Lightning in 2002, is coming off a 5-0, 37-save shutout vs. Sidney Crosby and Canada at the World Championships in the Bronze Medal game. Bolt Prospects has also been told the Lightning cannot confirm or comment on reports from at least two Swedish newspapers stating the Bolts are in negotitations with World Championship Gold Medal winning goaltender Johan Holmqvist. In addition, negotiations continue with three young prospects:
Submitted by pete on May 23, 2006 - 09:57
Rumors persist overseas of the Lightning's interest in Swedish World Championship gold medal winningn netminder Johan Holmqvist. Echoing and earlier report in Aftonbladet, Swedish newspaper Expressen [url=http://expressen.se/index.jsp?a=591449]report the Lightning is the frontrunner among three teams interested in Holmqvist's services along with Atlanta and Chicago.[/url] In addition, there are rumors out of Finland that the Lightning may have reopened discussions with goaltender Fredrik Norrena. Bolt Prospects is attempting to confirm. Norrena would have to be signed prior to June 1st when the Lightning are slated to lose his rights under the CBA.
Submitted by pete on May 22, 2006 - 13:36
The Lightning [url=http://www.tampabaylightning.com/tbl/prdetail.cfm?pressreleaseID=1345]locked up another core player today signing center Brad Richards to a 5 year deal with an average salary of $7.8 million dollars per season.[/url] Richards led the Lightning in scoring last season and in the 2003-2004 Stanley Cup run won both the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. The deal pre-empts any potential offer sheets that might've been advanced by other clubs to the potential restricted free agent on July 1st and helps to set the budget for the Lightning's offseason plans to acquire goaltending and blueline help.
Submitted by pete on May 22, 2006 - 13:12
Springfield [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox3000.shtml]has indeed announced that Steve Stirling will be the new Head Coach of the Springfield Falcons.[/url] Stirling was let go from the New York Islanders after posting an 18-20-4 record last season. Overall, in the NHL, he boasts a 56-49-11-8 record over parts of two seasons on the Island. Prior to that, he was head coach of the Islanders' affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he posted an 83-51-19-7 record as head coach and in 2001-2002 was named THN Minor Pro Coach of the Year, and before that an assistant with the Lowell Lock Monsters of the AHL. Before joining the pro ranks Stirling coached in the NCAA for 15 years with Division II/III Babson College and Division I Providence College.
Submitted by chad on May 22, 2006 - 09:22
The [i]Springfield Republican[/i] is reporting Steve Stirling will be named head coach of the Springfield Falcons at a press conference today. Stirling will be the seventh coach in Falcons history, taking over for the recently reassigned Dirk Graham. The [i] Republican[/i] reports Stirling is the first coach in Springfield with NHL coaching experience since Jimmy Roberts in 1991. Stirling coached the New York Islanders in 2003-2004 and also guided the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Calder Cup Finals in 2001-2002.
Submitted by pete on May 21, 2006 - 14:37
Sweden tastes double gold. Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even in limited time as Johan Holmqvist stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 4-0 shutout to win gold at the World Championships. The victory comes on the heels of Sweden's golden run at the Olympics. In the bronze medal game, Finland beat Canada 5-0 on the strength of Fredrik Norrena's 37 save shutout performance. Norrena adds World Championship bronze to his Olympic silver medal from earlier this year. So concludes the Lightning's 2005-2006 season for all its prospects, including overage prospects. In the next month Bolt Prospects will release its Final Rankings for the season and preview the June Entry Draft. Thanks to our readers for a great season.
Submitted by pete on May 21, 2006 - 14:25
Fran Sypek, in today's Springfield Republican, [url=http://www.masslive.com/sypek/republican/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1148197406149430.xml&coll=1]says the Lightning have two front runners for the vacant Springfield Falcons coaching job which will be announced tomorrow.[/url] Former Islanders bench boss Steve Stirling and Owen Sound Attack coach Mike Stothers are said to be the favorites for the job. Stothers may be the favorite. Prior to his three years as head coach of the Owen Sound junior program, he was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia Phantoms with Bill Barber, and most importantly, for Jay Feaster's Hershey Bears for two seasons. His recent work tutoring youth at the junior level is a likely positive. His lack of head coaching experience at the pro level may be a negative. Steve Sterling was fired as head coach of the New York Islanders after holding the job for a year and a half. Prior to his stint in the NHL he was head coach of the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
Submitted by pete on May 20, 2006 - 17:08
Andreas Holmqvist was scoreless and even in limited time as Sweden defeated Canada 5-4 today to advance to the finals of the World Championships. Johan Holmqvist stopped 28 of 32 shots faced for the Swedes. And, in the other semifinal, the Czech Republic defeated Fredrik Norrena and Finland 3-1. The netminder stopped 18 of 20 shots faced in the loss before the Finns allowed an empty net marker late in the match. Tomorrow, Canada will play Finland in the Bronze Medal Game before the Czechs and Swedes square off for the gold.
Submitted by chad on May 19, 2006 - 08:26
According to the [i]Springfield Republican[/i], the Tampa Bay Lightning and Springfield Falcons will introduce the Falcons' new coach on Monday, May 22. The press conference, which is open to the public, will be hosted by Springfield GM Bruce Landon, Tampa Bay GM Jay Feaster, and Tampa Bay Assistant GM Claude Loiselle. No one in the Lightning or Falcons front offices are leaking the identity of Dirk Graham's replacement, only saying that Feaster had final say on the coach and Landon has called him "an outstanding individual." Among the coaches speculated to be named are former Peoria Rivermen coach Steve Pleau, Owen Sound (Ontario Hockey League) coach Mike Stothers, Iowa Stars assistant Paul Jerrard, and former Falcons assistant Gord Dineen. The press conference will be held at 1 p.m. EST at Springfield's MassMutual Center.