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World Championships Kick Off

The World Championships got underway today in Latvia with three Lightning properties thus far named to their nations' teams. Martin Cibak has been selected to Team Slovakia, Andreas Holmqvist to Team Sweden and Fredrik Norrena to Team Finland. The Finns got underway today as one of four opening matches knocking off Slovenia 5-3. Fredrik Norrena stopped 13 of 16 in the win. [b]Update:[/b] Defenseman Timo Helbling has also been named to the Swiss team's roster.

Sweden Wins Silver in LG Games

Andreas Holmqvist and Sweden won silver yesterday in the LG Games, losing to Russia 2-1 in the final match. Holmqvist had 2 assists in 4 games in the tournament. Finland, backstopped by Fredrik Norrena, defeated the Czech Republic 3-2 to win bronze stopping 27 of 29 shots faced in the game. Norrena stopped 31 of 32 in his other start in the tournament, a 5-1 win also against the Czechs.

Pogge Wins WHL MVP

Lightning prospect Justin Keller, one of two finalists for the 2005-2006 WHL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, watched as Justin Pogge of the Calgary Hitmen was named WHL MVP at an awards luncheon held today. Pogge, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, also won the top goaltender award. Keller, who scored 51 goals this year for the Kelowna Rockets, is expected to be signed by the Lightning in the next few weeks.

Evaluating Tampa

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The Tampa Bay Lightning finished 43-33-6 this season with 92 points, eighth in the Eastern Conference and second in the Southeast Division. In 2003-2004, prior to the lockout, the club finished with 3 more wins but 14 more points in the standings. The Lightning's goal production this year actually improved by 7 goals, but their defense declined by a shocking 68 goals (that is not a typo) and the team actually scored 8 less goals than it allowed this season. The most important number though is 15, as in the 15 less playoff games the team won this season after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs 4 games to 1 by the Ottawa Senators.

Evaluating Johnstown

[b]The Bottom Line[/b] The Johnstown Chiefs finished 30-26-16 with 76 points in 4th place in the American Conference North Division. After sweeping their playoff play-in round against 5th place Trenton 2-0 they were swept by Toledo in the first round of the playoffs 3-0. The year was a marked improvement over the 2004-2005 season when the Chiefs finished 7th in the North Division, out of the playoffs, with a 22-36-14 record and 58 points. The Chiefs offensive production improved this season by 32 goals while their defense relented 15 less goals.
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