My second topic for this segment is veteran defenseman Eric Brewer. This one is tough because I think the Lightning have the tools to turn things around quickly – and Brewer would be an important piece during the stretch run. That being said, there are some young defensemen like Mark Barberio and Radko Gudas knocking on the door. Keith Aulie is already in the NHL and proving that he belongs. Let’s take a look at both sides: » Continue reading “Trade Deadline Talk: Eric Brewer”
- Lightning GM Steve Yzerman made an announcement about some roster alterations this afternoon. Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson and forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie have been assigned to the Syracuse Crunch for a conditioning stint. Not a bad idea.
Mikkelson has skated in 2 games so far this season and did suffer a scary injury where he collided with the boards in practice. Labrie has seen time in 3 games and has garnered 5 penalty minutes. Neither has seen a lot of time and this will serve them better than sitting in the press box.
- Anders Lindback missed his start against the Washington Capitals due to a bout of the flu. Per head coach Guy Boucher, the goalie is feeling much better. Lindback practiced today and is anticipating to start in Saturday’s matinee game on the road against the Florida Panthers.
A scary moment from the Lightning’s practice at the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson smashed into the end boards during a drill. The back of his head and neck rammed against the boards and Mikkelson lost consciousness for a few seconds. The medical team was quick to respond. After several minutes on the ice, he was able to move his arms & legs before being helped up. He skated off the ice under his own power, but was sent to Tampa General Hospital for testing.
“He was lucid. He was talking,” Head coach Guy Boucher said. “There was no hit or anything. Maybe he hit a crack in the ice. He went plunging. Not a good sight.” (Quote Source: Tampa Bay Times)
Mikkelson was released from the hospital folowing the tests. He has been listed as day to day with an unspecified upper body injury. He was in the locker room for today’s morning skate. The only lingering symptoms seem to be soreness and stiffness in his shoulder.
Whew. That’s very good news.
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced their opening night roster well ahead of Friday’s deadline. Here’s how the team is going to look:
Forwards: Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell, Adam Hall, Nate Thompson, B.J. Crombeen, Cory Conacher and Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
Defensemen: Victor Hedman, Sam Salo, Eric Brewer, Matt Carle, Brian Lee, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Keith Aulie and Brendan Mikkelson.
Goaltenders: Anders Lindback & Mathieu Garon.
So there you have it.That’s how the 2013 Bolts ( Not 2012-13. There was no 2012 involved in this season) will get started. The coaches seemed extremely positive about Conacher, so his addition isn’t exactly a surprise. Labrie on the other hand? Wow. For a while it seemed like Tyler Johnson could make the jump to the main club. Both he and Conacher have been insanely prolific when it comes to scoring. Johnson’s time is definitely coming, but not this Saturday.
The addition of Labrie and Crombeen have the potential to change the landscape of the on ice product if you will. With the exception of Steve Downie, the Lightning have been more about skill and finesse since Yzerman & Boucher came to town. The mantra was reacting to the opponent. Labrie and Crombeen play their game with a healthy amount of grit and physicality. They’ll be expected to play with discipline, but it could make other teams think twice before they take physical advantage of the Bolts.
Yup. Officially getting excited.
While we’re all up STILL waiting for the NHL schedules to be released, how about some news?
- The Lightning will open their training camp tomorrow at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. They’ll remain in town for camp again on Monday before hitting the road. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday’s sessions will take place at Germain Arena in Estero, FL.
- As part of tomorrow’s festivities, fans are being welcomed back to the Tampa Bay Times Forum with a.. well, Fan Fest. Practice, specials on merchandise, and autograph sessions with the entire team. Season Ticket Members are privy to an exclusive autograph session in the Club level. No word on who exactly that will feature. More info can be found here.
-Update: The schedule is here!
With the NHL’s impending return, the fans are buzzing with excitement of having actual hockey to talk about again. Our players are returning from near and far. Training camps are right around the corner and many squads have already begun informal skating sessions.
While flipping through photos of the Lightning’s skate the other day, an unsettling moment occurred. There was a player in a Tampa sweater. And I had no idea who the hell he was. Summer signings feel like they were a million years ago, so we can cut ourselves a little slack. We need a refresher course as to who exactly plays for our team now. What better way to do that than with a little game?
Here’s how it works. A series of roster photos will be shown along with multiple choice answers. Pick your answer until you reach the end. The answer key will let you know how you did. Winner gets… the satisfaction of a job well done.
Now it’s time for NAME… THAT… BOLT!
One of the good things about organizational depth is that it protects a team from taking a big hit if a trade doesn’t pan out. » Continue reading “Interesting Times For Keith Aulie”
Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson is the next in what could have be a rush of Lightning players headed to Europe. It was announced that he signed with Vasteras HK in Sweden’s Allsvenskan league for the remainder of the lockout.
According to Swedish website VLT.se (it’s in Swedish, but you get the idea), Mikkelson was recruited to the Swedish second division team by Mikael Backlund. Backlund saw playing time with the Calgary Flames and the two men played together while in the Flames’ system.
After being acquired in January from the Flames in exchange for Blair Jones, the blueliner had a goal and three points in 41 games.
- Ok, Lightning fans. Time to get our vote on. The nominees for ESPN’s ESPY awards were announced and Steven Stamkos is one of the men in the Best NHL Player category. No disrespect to Claude Giroux, Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, or Jonathan Quick. Stammer is the man and this is an outlet to let our voices be heard.
I know, I know. ESPN and the NHL have an estranged relationship, and it’s amazing that they are even including the game of hockey in their awards show. This show is a great opportunity for everyone to see what we know here in Tampa. We may not be a traditional market steeped in history or have the largest fan base, but by Gretzky we are rabid. Vote Stamkos! To make it even easier, you can vote here.
- More news on the signing front. Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was signed to a one year, one way contract for $600,000 today. After being acquired from Calgary in the Blair Jones trade last season, Mikkelson played 41 games for Tampa. In those games he had one goal, three points, and thirteen penalty minutes.
The signing leaves the Bolts with 4 unsigned restricted free agents: Keith Aulie, Jaroslav Janus, Brian Lee, and Evan Oberg. Free agency mania starts Sunday at noon.
- Newly drafted goaltender Andrei Vasilevski was selected by Mississauga in the 2nd round of the CHL Import Draft today. No word if this means he is definitely coming to North America to play, as he is still under contract in Russia.
The NHL Draft just ended on Saturday, but Lightning GM Steve Yzerman continues to stay busy instead of waiting for free agency. Tampa issued qualifying offers to five players that were set to become restricted free agents on July 1st. In doing so, the Bolts maintain negotiating rights with a number of their top prospects and young players.
Brian Lee, Brendan Mikkelson, Keith Aulie, Evan Oberg, and Jaroslav Janus. That’s four defensemen and a goalie for those of you keeping score at home.
A few names were missing from that list of offers: defenseman Sebastien Piche and left wing Benoit Pouliot. Tampa did just acquire Pouliot’s rights on Saturday and no qualifying offer doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be signed. No offer means he can’t invoke his salary arbitration rights. With the CBA situation in flux, that may be the best possible scenario for the Lightning.
In other news, the Florida Everblades have renewed their affiliation with the Lightning and add AHL affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch. Tampa’s ECHL affiliate is coming off the first Kelly Cup Championship in franchise history.
And finally, Teddy Purcell is having one heck of a summer.