While Team Slovakia has failed to have a good showing in Sweden at this year's World Junior Championships, going 0-4 in round robin play and losing their first relegation game, the Lightning organization has been pleased with the play of 2005 first rounder Vladimir Mihalik, a 6-8 defenseman from the WHL's Prince George Cougars.
Mihalik has 1 goal, 2 penalty minutes, and a minus-1 rating for the tournament and was named Team Slovakia's top player for their game against Sweden.
One member of the Lightning scouting staff currently in Sweden said, "Mihalik is maturing nicely, improving steadily, and he did some good things here."
You can almost feel the trigger being pulled on an impending trade. Until it is, this team will continue to amble on a road to nowhere. With their loss tonight, the Lightning have guaranteed they will pull into the halfway point of the season with a sub .500 record.
Johan Holmqvist stopped 22 of 26 shots faced in the loss. Doug Janik scored his first regular season NHL goal while Filip Kuba added his 7th of the season. Assists belonged to Tim Taylor, Andre Roy, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards. Barring their missing the Lightning's next game, Janik and Eric Perrin will graduate from overage prospect status according to Bolt Prospects rules.
Tampa Bay 9:18, Doug Janik 1 (Tim Taylor, Andre Roy)
Montreal 17:53, Tomas Plekanec 4 (Alexei Kovalev, Francis Bouillon)
Montreal 15:44, Alexei Kovalev 10 (power play) (Saku Koivu, Sheldon Souray)
Tampa Bay 16:15, Filip Kuba 7 (Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards)
Montreal 6:01, Tomas Plekanec 5 (Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Samsonov)
Montreal 13:52, Michael Ryder 11 (Francis Bouillon, Saku Koivu)
Montreal 19:41, Christopher Higgins 12 (empty net) (Mike Johnson, Radek Bonk)
Game sheet from NHL.com.
Andreas Holmqvist had a power play assist today in Linkopings' 5-3 win over Brynas. Linkopings vaulted to 4th on the Elitserien table with today's victory.
A miserable tournament got even worse for Team Slovakia today. After finishing the round robin portion of the U20 World Junior Championships 0-4, Slovakia fell to Switzerland 2-1 today in their first match of the relegation round. Lightning prospect Marek Bartanus had a secondary assist on the lone Slovakian goal and had 2 penalty minutes and 3 shots on goal. Defenseman Vladimir Mihalik was scoreless in the game.
There were several very worthy candidates for this month's award, so this was probably the most difficult decision to make in the short history of the Prospect of the Month honor. Four Lightning prospects, two of them overage players, had strong months posting point a game or better paces: Dane Crowley (10 GP, 2-8-10, 24 PIM, +3), Chris Lawrence, (12 GP, 5-7-12, 25 PIM, +5), Eric Healey, (15 GP, 7-11-18, 38 PIM, +3), and Norm Milley, (15 GP, 9-6-15, 42 PIM, +2). Each of these players could've easily won the award, but December was the month of the goaltender in the Lightning prospect system. So without further adieu, this month's winner is...