Another week of hockey season is in the books, though the Lightning weren’t in action as a team due to the Olympic break. Syracuse paused for the All-Star break (congrats, Brett Connolly), then resumed with two close losses to former affiliate Norfolk.
Random thoughts on the week:
1. Superman just bought himself Kristers Gudlevskis pajamas. I said in a previous blog entry that Kristers Gudlevskis had the most to gain from his Olympic appearance and today’s 55-save, 2-1 loss to Canada was the perfect example. Now every notable hockey person and a few hundred thousand fans know who he is, and there’s an overwhelmingly positive opinion attached. He was the story of the day and maybe the story of the tournament so far. Carey Price said it was the greatest performance he’s seen. Martin Brodeur also gave him props, as did Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield. What an exceptional performance. Easily one of the greatest moments I’ve had in 15 years following Lightning prospects.
Vlad Namestnikov received the unexpected news earlier this month.
The Syracuse Crunch center went through a range of emotions when he learned he would be making his National Hockey League debut with the Tampa Bay Lightning Feb. 8.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Namestnikov recalled. “Nerves, excitement -- everything together.”
During the first 31 games of his sophomore season, Namestnikov accumulated 13 goals and 30 points to earn the look from the Lightning. Despite already eclipsing his rookie season output of 28 points in 62 games, the first step onto the NHL ice seemed imposing.
“The first period I just couldn’t believe I was there,” Namestnikov said. “Everything seemed so fast and everyone was so big.”
Ontario Hockey League
North Bay Battalion 6 @ Peterborough Petes 4
D Dylan Blujus, NB: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM
Season totals: 43 GP, 4-19-23, +4, 48 PIM
2012-13 totals: 68 GP, 2-27-29, -8, 57 PIM
North Bay outshot the Petes, 45-25, en route to a 6-4 win.
Belleville Bulls 4 @ Kingston Frontenacs 6
W Henri Ikonen, KGN: Did not play
Season totals: 41 GP, 18-38-56, +16, 37 PIM
2012-13 totals: 61 GP, 22-29-51, +2, 30 PIM
Ikonen was suspended indefinitely for cross-checking Owen Sound’s goalie last game.
Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Adam Erne is expected to miss the foreseeable future with the Quebec Remparts after sustaining a minor spleen laceration Sunday in Shawinigan. There is currently no timetable for his return, though speculation is it could be at least 3-4 weeks depending on the severity of the laceration.
According to Le Soleil and the Remparts, Erne blocked a shot with his stomach on his first shift against the Cataractes and came off the ice. He came out for his second shift but felt too bad to continue. Erne was taken to a Shawinigan emergency room and remained hospitalized overnight and into Monday in stable condition, but under observation. He was released Monday afternoon and returned to Quebec City.
Erne has 21 goals and 62 points in 48 games this season with the Remparts, who have clinched a playoff spot. The Remparts have 11 games remaining, starting tonight against No. 1 Blainville-Boisbriand.
We continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.
The Prospect of the Week for February 17, 2014 is … Brian Hart, W, Harvard Crimson (NCAA – USA).
For the third consecutive week a collegiate player is our Prospect of the Week. This week the honor goes to Harvard’s Brian Hart, a second round pick (53rd overall) of the Lightning in 2012.
Hart, a 6-3 212-pound forward out of Phillips-Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, had two goals and an assist this week to raise his season point total to 12 (four goals) in 25 games. The Maine native had a goal in Monday’s 6-2 Beanpot Consolation Game win over Boston University and followed that up with an assist in a 1-0 upset win over Clarkson on Friday. He finished his weekend with a goal in a 2-2 tie against St. Lawrence on Saturday.