The club reports a lingering eye injury to Chris Gratton, as well as injuries to Ryan Craig (back) and Jason Ward (ankle), and the desire to sit Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Brad Richards opened up three forward spots, but the club will dress just 10 forwards. Keller, who had 13 goals in an injury-plagued season for Springfield last year and 51 the year before in Kelowna to lead the WHL, flew to Detroit from Norfolk this morning to join the team for the morning skate.
Tonight's lineup, per TBL.com:
Evgeny Artyukhin was scoreless in Omsk's 1-0 shutout loss to Magnitogorsk.
Albert Vishnyakov did not play in Spartak's 1-0 win over Chelyabinsk.
Johan Harju and Lulea suffered a 5-2 setback today to Brynas in their Elitserien opener. Harju played the game at first line left wing and was -1 with 3 shots on goal. He was also 71% on 17 draws.
The second round of the Elitserien is slated for Thursday.
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.