The Tampa Bay Lightning have returned defenseman Doug O'Brien to Springfield of the AHL. The blueliner was recalled and played in two games after veteran Darryl Sydor was struck in the face with a puck in the team's 6-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. O'Brien returns to a depleted Falcons blueline which was forced to play five defensemen in their last two games.
Old man Burke is my hero.
In the battle of AARP members, it was Sean Burke who ruled with an iron fist. Burke made 25 saves on 27 shots before the Lightning won the shootout 2-0 on a beautiful deke to the backhand by Vincent Lecavalier and a businesslike wrist shot stick side past Ed Belfour. Rookie Ryan Craig scored a key power play goal early in the third banging home a Dan Boyle rebound for his 7th goal of the season. Fun with math: if you pro rate Craig's production over an 82 game schedule he'd be on a pace for 30 goals.
Craig played 15:32 and made his only shot on goal count. Paul Ranger played 20:03 and was even with 3 shots on goal although he also had 3 giveaways. Doug O'Brien was limited to 6:50, thus necessitating Rangers' big minutes, and had 1 shot on goal. Doug appeared to me to be struggling with the speed of the game and his decision making when moving the puck was neither quick nor decisive. Norm Milley played just 3:43 with one hit.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Yesterday the Johnstown Chiefs acquired goaltender Mike Betz from the Wheeling Nailers for cash. The 24 year old 5'10" 173 lb. netminder was a four year starter at Ohio State of the CCHA before taking a year off to serve in the Peace Corps. His best college season came as a junior when he posted a 20-11-5 record with a 2.24 GAA and a .904 save percentage. Prior to college he played two seasons with Sioux City of the USHL. To this point in his ECHL career he has played just one game with the Fresno Falcons in the 2004-2005 season.
The move is an indication of the permanent status of goaltender Jonathan Boutin's callup to Springfield. Bolt Prospects has learned from the Lightning that the organization now has moved Boutin and Gerald Coleman ahead of Brian Eklund on the team's depth chart and have informed Eklund of his diminished role. Rumors last week in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat about a potential trade of one of Springfield's goaltenders almost certainly revolved around Eklund. From this point forward, Boutin and Coleman are expected to fight it out to decide who the #3 goaltender in the organization will be.
620 WDAE is reporting the Lightning have reassigned center Jason Jaspers to Springfield of the AHL. Despite being recalled to Tampa twice in the last half a month Jaspers has yet to play a game in a Lightning uniform.