Even the wins are ugly right now.
Congratulations to Johan Holmqvist who stopped 30 of 32 shots faced for his first NHL win and who, along with Martin St. Louis, nearly single handedly willed the Lightning to two points tonight. St. Louis had 2 goals and an assist while Vincent Lecavalier chipped in 1 empty net goal and 2 assists. Eric Perrin scored his first NHL goal into an empty net goal and Tim Taylor had his 1st goal of the season. Individual helpers also were added by Dimitry Afanasenkov, Luke Richardson, Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko.
All that said, the team did everything it could to self destruct again in the third period tonight and their efforts were only surpassed by Peter Forsberg's individual self destruction as he took a selfish elbowing major and knocking out Nolan Pratt just as the Flyers were looking like they were about to get the game's tying goal.
There is no joy on the Lightning right now. None. You can see it in the way they conduct their interviews and the way they carry themselves on the ice. At some point hockey became about business to this team and ceased being a game, with the possible exceptions of Lecavalier and Perrin, and it shows. There are very few endeavors in life where people can excel when they have no enthusiasm for what they're doing, and hockey isn't one of the exceptions to this rule. I'd like to believe at some point on this road trip the Lightning will begin to gel more as a group and start to have some, dare I say, fun, but I sincerely doubt it. I hope I'm wrong, but I would not be surprised if only a tranfusion of new blood can remedy the robotic, passionless way this team has been going about its business lately.
Tampa Bay 10:39, Martin St. Louis 8 (Vincent Lecavalier, Dmitry Afanasenkov)
Tampa Bay 7:27, Martin St. Louis 9 (Luke Richardson, Vincent Lecavalier)
Tampa Bay 18:10, Tim Taylor 1 (Brad Richards, Ruslan Fedotenko)
Philadelphia 11:20, R.J. Umberger 2 (Kyle Calder)
Philadelphia 11:41, Randy Jones 1 (Simon Gagne, Geoff Sanderson)
Tampa Bay 18:26, Vincent Lecavalier 8 (empty net) (Martin St. Louis)
Tampa Bay 19:03, Eric Perrin 1 (empty net) (unassisted)
Doug Janik was -1 in 4:17 as his ice time continues to plummet and Craig Ramsey's confidence in veterans Nolan Pratt and Luke Richardson continues to grow. Eric Perrin was +1 in 15:07 with 2 shots and 1 hit and he was 40% on draws. Nick Tarnasky was even in 4:01.
Game sheet from NHL.com.
The Springfield Falcons have announced the recall of LW Radek Smolenak, G Jonathan Boutin and D Geoff Waugh from Johnstown of the ECHL. In addition, the team has reassigned LW David Spina to Johnstown of the ECHL.
Through 6 games in Johnstown this season Smolenak has 2 goals and 6 points with 6 penalty minutes and a -4 rating. A 3rd round pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Smolenak was rated the 9th best prospect in the organization in Bolt Prospects' Preliminary Rankings for 2006-2007. Boutin expectedly returns to the Falcons after going 0-2-0 in the last week with a 3.07 GAA and .919 save percentage. Waugh, who just recently cleared up work visa issues which had plagued him after strong showings at Lightning and Chiefs camps, was even in 2 games played with the Chiefs with 2 penalty minutes.
Bolt Prospects has learned that defensive prospect Kevin Quick has declared his intent to play for the University of Michigan hockey program next fall.
After narrowing his choices to a short list that included Clarkson, Ohio State, and Providence, Quick made his decision to play for the highly regarded Wolverine program this past Monday. The 6-foot, 175-pound defenseman took his official visit to the CCHA school this past weekend. Considering that Quick has drawn comparisons to current Michigan defensive standout Jack Johnson, his decision to play for the Wolverines bodes well for his continued development.
Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster called the choice "great," saying Michigan is "one of the best programs in the country."
"[Kevin] will be well-coached and well-developed there," Feaster stated. "I believe it is an excellent choice."
The Buffalo, NY native was Tampa's third round selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and is currently completing his senior year at Salisbury Prep School in Salisbury, CT.
Vladimir Mihalik had Prince George's lone goal as the Cougars were crushed by Brandon 9-2. The goal is Mihalik's second of the season and his 4th point in 6 games this year. Last season with Red Deer Mihalik had just 3 goals and 12 points in 62 games. Improved much?
Mihalik was +1 for the game with 2 penalty minutes.
No surprises here...