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Articles that are feature stories.

TBL.com: Bolts prospect Nikita Kucherov adapting well to life in North America

By Peter Pupello, TampaBayLightning.com

Please excuse the United States’ neighbor to the north if the temperatures in Canada this time of year begin to feel a little bit warmer.

At least in and around the parts of Rouyn-Noranda, that is.

The city is home to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, whom since the arrival of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov, have seemed to catch fire.

Since Kucherov joined the Huskies in a trade from the Quebec Remparts on November 21, the club has gone on to win seven of its previous nine games, including three straight.

Prior to the trade, Rouyn-Noranda had dropped five consecutive games, including two in a row by a score of 8-3. Kucherov, meanwhile, has elevated his game and has seemed to fit right in to his new surroundings as he emerges as a great talent at the Canadian junior level.

For the rest of this story, see TampaBayLightning.com.

TBT: Nothing puzzling about Lightning goalie prospect Adam Wilcox's development

By Damian Cristodero, Tampa Bay Times

University of Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox claims he can solve a Rubik's Cube puzzle in "about a minute."

Yeah, right, said laughing Gophers goaltenders coach Justin Johnson. "Maybe if he was doing just one side."

No, really, Wilcox said, "It's just kind of learning patterns. You have to take it step by step."

And that is exactly how Wilcox has turned himself into one of the nation's top freshman goalies and one of the Lightning's most interesting and promising prospects.

For the rest of this story, see the Tampa Bay Times.

Prospect of the Week: December 10, 2012

This week we continue our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on and off the ice.

This week’s winner said good-bye to his club team with a dramatic exit.

The Prospect of the Week for December 10 is … Nikita Kucherov, RW, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL – Canada)

A lot is expected of Russia this month at the upcoming World Junior Championships. The city of Ufa, Russia, is hosting the tournament, and the Russians will not settle for anything less than a gold medal.

With the NHL mired in a lockout, a lot of attention will be on the tournament from North America, too, especially in hockey-rabid Canada.

It’s a big deal.

Namestnikov Eager to Return to Crunch Lineup


By Jeremy Houghtaling

After only a handful of games, Jon Cooper saw the signs of what was to come from Vladislav Namestnikov.

The Syracuse Crunch head coach watched the same progression in many of the rookies on the Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals last year, whether they were Tampa Bay Lightning picks like Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik, or undrafted free agents like Tyler Johnson and Cory Conacher.

“Those guys that came in, felt out the league, learned it and after Christmas, took off,” Cooper said. “That’s where Vladdy would have been this year, but we’re just going to have to wait a few months for that to happen.”

Gotovets’ Game Still Evolving

As Kirill Gotovets describes his style, he makes it clear that defense comes first. Despite recording 15 points over his first two seasons at Cornell University, the defenseman isn’t worried about not finding his name on the scoresheet during the first nine games of his junior year. His game still evolving, Gotovets knows stats aren’t everything. “I think I still play the same style, just a little bit unlucky with the points,” he said. “I don’t think it matters how many points I get, I just worry about how I play and how the team plays.”
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