Late tonight, after the conclusion of the Admirals' game against the Adirondack Phantoms, the Lightning and GM Brian Lawton announced that Head Coach Darren Rumble has been relieved of his duties. Assistant Coach Jim Johnson has been named the new Head Coach and Assistant Coach Leigh Mendelson will remain with the team. Rumble departs the Admirals, officially, with a 50-61-6-5 record in one and a half seasons with the team, although he unofficially assumed the role of Head Coach midway through the 2007-2008 season. Norfolk is currently 17-23-2 this season, which is last place in the AHL's East Division and six points out of a playoff spot.
In my mind, two things contributed to Brian Lawton's decision to make a move. First, although the Lightning have promoted several players to Tampa Bay this season, Norfolk returned a very deep roster dotted with numerous NHL and AHL veterans. While it may not have been fair to expect this team to be competing with Hershey for the division title, this roster probably should be in the thick of the pack in the East Division fighting for second or third, not in last place. The second factor is that, although some prospects like Blair Jones and Dustin Tokarski are having excellent seasons, some of the Lightning's most prized prospects have struggled, namely Matt Lashoff and Dana Tyrell.
Hershey is so tough to stop when they're in Hershey.
Riku Helenius allowed 5 goals on 37 shots for the loss.
NOR Parrish, (4) (Jackson, Bochenski), 1:35
NOR Wishart, (3) (Tyrell, Craig), 4:07
HER Bourque, (1) (Collins, Aucoin), 4:29
HER Beagle, (3) (Gordon, Bacashihua), 7:38
NOR Hall, (4) (Tyrell, Craig), 14:32
NOR Parrish, (5) (Smolenak, Bochenski), 1:01
HER Wilson, (8) (McNeill, Collins), 7:32
HER Aucoin, (9) (Gordon, Bourque), 10:54
HER Bourque, (2) (Carlson, Kane), 10:29 (PP)
Veteran Mark Parrish was named the game's second star. The Admirals really gave Hershey a good run, but in the end the Bears were too much with their 37-20 shot advantage in the game.
Dana Tyrell is still hunting for his first goal of the season, but with a pair of helpers tonight he got his first multi-point game of the season. We expect the former Prince George Cougar to get stronger as the season progresses as he shakes off the rust from missing half a season last year with a knee injury and continues to acclimate to the pro game.
Scott Jackson was +3 tonight and seized the team lead in plus-minus at +11. He's not the world's fastest skater, but he was known as a very strong player positionally coming out of junior and it's showing this year.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Drew Bannister is still playing hockey?
Dustin Tokarski allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the loss. He also stopped a penalty shot in the contest.
BNG St. Pierre, (6) (Hamel, Keller), 1:19 (PP)
NOR Keller, (3) (Fritz, Lawrence), 14:43
NOR Szczechura, (6) (Keller), 1:14 (SH)
BNG Daugavins, (2) (Smith, Hennessy), 4:46
BNG Smith, (3) (Schira, Daugavins), 7:42 (PP)
NOR Szczechura, (7) (Mihalik, Tyrell), 13:25 (PP)
BNG Keller, (8) (Svendsen, Schira), 16:18
BNG Smith, (4) (Hamel), 19:47 (EN)
Paul Szczechura and Justin Keller were the game's second and third stars. It's very disappointing to get a game tied up with less than 7 minutes left and still not get any points out of the contest. Dana Tyrell now has helpers in 4 of his last 5 games.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Admirals got a sweep just when they needed it.
Riku Helenius allowed 1 goal on 20 shots for the win.
MTB Maxwell, (1) (Leblanc), 8:34
NOR Szczechura, (4) (Tyrell, Parrish), 9:12
NOR Karsums, (1) (Lundin), 17:38
NOR Hall, (1) (Keller, Quick), 9:43
Dana Tyrell and Paul Szczechura were named the game's first and second stars. Martins Karsums and Adam Hall finally scored their first goals of the season. The Admirals climb back to within 1 game of .500 with the win.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
The Lightning's minor leaguers drop one in a shootout to half of the Stars' first stringers.
Antero Nittymaki allowed 2 goals on 15 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Jaroslav Janus who allowed 1 goal on 11 shots in the third and overtime before going 2/3 in the penalty shot session for the overtime loss. All in all, a very good performance for a young man who has been challenged to earn a pro contract.
DAL 9:28, Eriksson 1 (PP) (Modano)
DAL 18:51, Richards 1 (PP) (Modano, Neal)
TB 5:45, Fedoruk 1 (Mclean)
TB 19:31, Mclean 1 (PP) (Foster, Downie)
TB 5:55, Jones 1 (Halpern, Miller)
DAL 16:46, Neal 1 (Richards, Eriksson)
DAL - Richards
Winners? Brett McLean, who is also looking for a contract, drops 1 goal and 1 assist. The Kurtis Foster experiment gets off to a decent start with a power play assist, a +1, and 4 shots on goal. Richard Panik earns 15 minutes of ice time, which is a team high for forward prospects not named Steve Downie or Drew Miller. And Janus? Probably got a contract.
Steve Downie had a helper and was +1 in 17:03 with 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 4 hits. Still my pick to win the job on the Lecavalier/Tanguay line.
Drew Miller had 1 helper and was +1 with 2 shots and 1 hit in 16:43.
Paul Szczechura was -1 in 12:22 with 1 shot on goal and 2 hits. He was also 33% on draws. If there was a loser in this game, in the race to win a roster, maybe it was Szczechura.
Dana Tyrell was -1 in 12:09 with 2 shots and 1 hit. He had a breakaway opportunity shorthanded he was stopped on. Coach Tocchet said he wanted to see if Tyrell could kill penalties. Shortie breakaways don't hurt.
Martins Karsums had 1 shot and 3 hits in 12:55. He also was stopped in the shootout session.
Blair Jones notched a rebound goal and was +1 in 12:42 with 1 shot, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot. He also was stopped in the shootout session. Tocchet moved Jones over to right wing with Halpern and Miller, which is ostensibly two-thirds of the likely third line. It was a good opportunity for Jones and he did pretty well with it.
Matt Lashoff was +1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 18:36. No hits? Matt, brother, do you read the website? We need to see some jam, my friend.
Richard Panik had 1 shot and 1 hit in 15:00. I find it fascinating he got more shifts and more ice time than guys like Tyrell and Karsums who are closer to the NHL, particularly on the power play. They have sky high hopes for this young man, clearly.
Oh, yeah. Victor Hedman? 27:15 in his first NHL preseason game. Are you kidding? 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, and 1 blocked shot. That's unbelievable, really.