Now that we're in a lull in the hockey world (and talking about logos to pass the time), I thought it would be a good time to roll out a couple of features we've been kicking around here at Bolt Prospects for a while. Without much fanfare, the Lightning will reach a bit of a milestone this coming season as it will be their 15th in the NHL. The franchise is coming of age. 5 playoff appearances, 2 division titles and a Stanley Cup later the Lightning are no longer the league's fledgling Southern experiment. The Lightning, the first of their expansion cousins to hoist Lord Stanley's chalice, have proven hockey can work south of the Mason Dixon and have etched their place in the sport's history with blood, sweat and unyielding effort.
To celebrate this milestone, Bolt Prospects would like to take you on a trip down memory road to a fairgrounds halfway to Brandon, a baseball stadium in St. Petersburg, and a Forum that used to be a Palace. In these places, which now only exist in our recollection, we saw dozens of world class athletes put on the Lightning sweater and challenge the elite of the NHL. This, we think, is the best of the best: Bolt Prospects' All-Time Lightning Team:
Russian Hockey Digest's Yura Zyuzin has released his site's Top-20 Most NHL Ready Russian Prospects. Checking in at 9th on the list is Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin while in 18th is hulking winger Evgeny Artyukhin.
Kudos to Zyuzin for using Artyukhin's Bolt Prospects administered "R2" nickname in his report.
Lightning Prospect Dana Tyrell has been named to the roster of the Junior U20 team, as one of 15 forwards representing Canada in the Canada/Russia Super Series. Additionally, Tyrell is one of only 13 WHL players named to participate in this event.
The Canada/Russia Super Series will help coaching staff evaluate and develop players for the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship. Games are scheduled to be held August 27th to September 9th. The first game of this series will be played in Russia.
One of the things that tends to get lost in the shuffle of watching the Lightning's young prospects develop is just how much emphasis the team puts on drafting intelligent young men with a surplus of character. Case in point: On Friday Mike Lundin was named to the Hockey East All-Academic team for the fourth straight season to wrap up a sterling academic career with the University of Maine. For his career acheivements, Lundin was named a 'Distinguished Scholar' after posting a 3.0 or better GPA for four straight years in college.
The Lightning and Lundin are currently in negotiations regarding his first pro contract and the young defenseman is likely to begin his pro career next season with Norfolk of the AHL.
With all due respect once again to Ryan Munce, who single handedly willed Johnstown into the playoffs this week with a 49 save performance in the season finale at Reading...
The Lightning organization's quietest success story of the season scores his third Bolt Prospects award of the season.