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Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Ryan Craig's Graduation Day

When Ryan Craig takes the ice tomorrow night at the Forum against the Panthers he will be in his 41st game of the season for the Lightning. By Bolt Prospects criteria, that will graduate him from prospect status making him the third Lightning prospect to become a full fledged NHLer this season. Congratulations to Craig for reaching this milestone. [img]http://www.lili.org/forlibs/marketing/rtm-librarian/graduation-cap.jpg[/img]

Game Night 4/1: Lightning at Panthers

It almost makes me vomit when we drop a game to these clowns. TB-2 FLA-4 You know what the difference is between the inspired effort against the Thrashers and this stinker tonight? Fear. The Lightning are afraid of Ilya Kovalchuk in particular, so they bring their highest intensity level to the rink. Against Florida? These are the patsies that allowed the Lightning to score 4 goals in the third period to tie it last game, so zero intensity. And when you do that, even against patsies, you will lose if the patsies have a goaltender like Roberto Luongo. Lesson learned, I hope. Florida is on the schedule two more times. John Grahame stopped 22 of 26 before being pulled for Sean Burke who stopped 9 of 9. Paul Ranger was -2 in 25:44 with 4 shots and 1 blocked shot. Get well soon Boyle and Kubina. Ryan Craig was -1 in 15:41 with 2 shots, 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. Timo Helbling was -1 in 11:27 with 1 hit. Evgeny Artyukhin had 3 shots and 1 hit in 5:45. Bringing up the rear, Doug O'Brien played just 4 shifts getting 2:45 of ice time. There's a vote of no confidence right there. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021102.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 3/30: Thrashers at Lightning

A huge win, and a first for Paul Ranger. ATL-3 TB-4 John Grahame stopped 19 of 22 in the win. Tampa staked itself to a 4-0 lead before allowing Atlanta to get close in garbage time. No harm no foul as the Lightning get away with the 4-3 win. Paul Ranger scored his first NHL goal in the game on a long point shot and because of Atlanta's three goals late it turned out to be the game winning goal. The other rookie blueliners played very very sparingly, and the best compliment I can bay them is that I didn't really notice either O'Brien or Helbling with the exception of a mistake Timo made late in the game. Ranger led all Lightning rookies with 22:26 of ice time with 1 shot, 1 hit and 2 blocked shots. Ryan Craig was -1 in 16:06 with 1 shot, 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. Timo Helbling played 11:11 and was +1 with 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. Evegeny Artyukhin played an effective 4:44 with 2 shots and 1 hit. Doug O'Brien was the low man in ice time with 3:24 of even hockey with 1 blocked shot. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021086.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Lightning Recall Helbling

In the wake of defenseman Pavel Kubina's injury in last night's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Lightning have recalled defenseman Timo Helbling. Helbling will join the Lightning in Tampa as they prepare to host the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night. Helbling has played in 60 games for the Falcons this season collecting seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points and 56 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound native of Basel, Switzerland started the season with the Lightning registering one assist in five games played. Helbling is currently second on the Falcons in scoring among defensemen.

Game Night 3/27: Lightning at Hurricanes

Wasted a great effort by Grahame. TB-1 CAR-2 Grahame stopped 27 of 29 in the loss. Defenseman Pavel Kubina was injured on a Craig Adams hit leaving the Lightning with just four of their regular defensemen. Doug O'Brien played better in his third NHL game than in his previous callup, but is struggling still with the size/strength of the NHL, in my opinion. Paul Ranger played 26:13 of even hockey with 3 shots on goal, 1 hit and 3 blocked shots. As injuries have led to an increase in his ice time, Ranger has responded. Ryan Craig played 19:21 of even hockey with 1 shot and 1 hit. O'Brien played 12:24 of even hockey with 1 shot and 1 block. Evgeny Artyukhin was even in 7:38 with 2 shots and 2 hits. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021065.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Trib: O'Brien Expected to be Recalled

The Tampa Tribune is reporting Doug O'Brien [url=http://www.tbo.com/sports/lightning/MGB1T4NV8LE.html]is expected to be recalled today from Springfield of the AHL.[/url] Defenseman Day Boyle missed much of last night's game with an ankle injury which is expected to keep him off the ice for at least a game or two.

Game Night 3/25: Rangers at Lightning

Peaking at the right time. NYR-3 TB-4 (SO) John Grahame stopped 19 of 23 shots faced before going 3-for-3 in the shootout. Brad Richards proved once again he's the Lightning's best shootout player juking Henrik Lundqvist out of his skates for the winning goal. Richards also tied Brian Bradley's Lightning single season assist record with 2 assists. Among the rookies, Ryan Craig was the beneficiary of a double deflection goal, his 15th of the season. An injury to Dan Boyle forced the Lightning down to 5 defensemen for much of the game and may necessitate a callup from Springfield. Paul Ranger was +2 in 21:04 of ice time with 3 shots, 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. Craig was +1 in 18:15 with 2 shots on goal, 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. Evgeny Artyukhin played 5:41 with 2 hits. [b]Update:[/b] After the game, Ryan Craig's goal was switched back to Cory Sarich's first of the season with Craig getting a second assist. If it was a case of Craig going to the scorer and saying he didn't touch it in order to get Sarich his first of the year, that's the epitome of class and leadership from a young player. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021051.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Ryan Craig's Graduation Day

Bolt Prospects moves a player to graduated status if they play in 41 or more games in one season or if they play 82 or more total combined NHL games. Already this season the Lightning have graduated two players: Paul Ranger and Evgeny Artyukhin. Within the next couple of weeks they should be joined by a third. With 36 NHL games under his belt, Ryan Craig is just 5 appearances away from bidding adieu to prospect status and establishment as a full time NHLer. Presuming he plays in every game until then (knock on wood) Ryan Craig will graduate from prospect status on Monday, April 3rd at home against the Florida Panthers. Craig, like Artyukhin and Ranger before him, will remain on our Midterm Rankings until Bolt Prospects releases our final 2005-2006 rankings at the conclusion of the Memorial Cup tournament once all Lightning prospects' seasons have come to a close.

Game Night 3/20: Lightning at Panthers

I don't know if I should be outraged or jubilant. TB-5 FLA-6 (OT) The Lightning scored 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd period just to get a point in the standings, and every point is precious right now. Gerald Coleman, unfortunately, took his first NHL loss in relief as Olli Jokinen beat him on a breakaway in overtime. In Coleman's two appearances this season he's been beaten by Marian Hossa and now Jokinen on clean breakaways. He stopped 12 of 13 shots faced after entering the game to start the third period after John Grahame was chased for allowing 5 goals on 25 shots. Martin St. Louis keyed the comeback with two goals and Ryan Craig continued to shine with a goal and an assist. Paul Ranger played 20:18 and was -2 including the miscue at the blueline that led to Jokinen's winner. That's about three straight minus games for the usually flawless rookie. Craig played 16:53 and was +2 with 1 shot on goal which he made the most of. Evgeny Artyukhin played 10:14 and was -1 with 2 shots and 2 hits. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021013.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Day 3/19: Islanders at Lightning

The Lightning are starting to feed off the home cooking and are looking more and more like a team that will get the opportunity to defend their Cup in the postseason. NYI-2 TB-5 John Grahame stopped 30 of 32 shot faced as the Lightning's goaltending situation is beginning to go into a stretch of being settled down. Ryan Craig had a pair of assists on goals by Pavel Kubina and Vincent Lecavalier. I'd have to check the numbers, but it feels like Craig is scoring at a points per game clip that is actually greater than what he was doing in the minors. Paul Ranger was -1 in 17:50 of ice time with two hits and two blocked shots. Ryan Craig was +1 in 14:55 with 0 shots on goal, 3 hits and 1 blocked shot. Big Evgeny Artyukhin was -1 in 8:52 with 1 shot on goal and 3 hits. Tonight was Ryan Craig's 34th NHL game, 7 away from graduation under Bolt Prospects criteria. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS021003.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]
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