Can Lightning Strike Twice?
It has not been a banner season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. For the second consecutive year, the Lightning will finish with the NHL’s worst record. They also are the league’s worst defensive team. They are now going on their third ownership in the last two years. They are the only team in the NHL whose general manager is also its coach. Things couldn’t look bleaker…or could they?
After finishing last overall in 1998, the Lightning took its first step towards respectability in drafting centre Vincent Lecavalier. The 6-4 rookie is obviously going through some growing pains with the league’s doormat. However, he is progressing nicely since the all-star break and looks every bit the franchise player he was selected to be. Similarly, Pavel Kubina just might be the best-looking rookie defenseman in the NHL this season. Furthermore, the trade deadline was a fruitful exercise for the Lightning this season, acquiring two young players with promise: defenseman Sergei Gusev and left winger Colin Forbes. In goal, after a few seasons of frustrating veterans Daren Puppa and Bill Ranford, the Bolts now have an interesting combination of Corey Schwab and newly-acquired Kevin Hodson.
St. Albert 5 at Calgary Canucks 6 (OT)
The St. Albert Saints put in a courageous effort against the Calgary Canucks Saturday night but fell just a little bit short.
It was the Canucks who picked up where they left off in the blowout the night before, however, as Moe Halat scored a goal from Roger Leonard 50 seconds in. The Saints then struck for three quick goals. Rob Ziemmer and Joey Bastien, both on the powerplay at 4:22 and 6:12 respectively and Bastien with his second of the night even strength at 9:13 from Ron Grimard and Pavel Beranek.
Calgary – or, more precisely Dany Heatley – tied it up early in the second. Heatley scored a powerplay goal 2:45 in to bring his club within one and then scored the equalizer several minutes later. The Saints regained the advantage shortly thereafter, however, as Brent Robertson scored a minute after Heatley had tied it up. But then, with 30 seconds remaining in the period the Canucks scored a late goal. Almost all of their victories so far this post-season have involved a goal in the last minute of either the first or second period and Drew Norman scoring here was not a good sign for the Saints.
The Saints did continue their hard work well into the third period despite the small setback as they pressed for the go-ahead goal one more time. In the period they outshot Calgary 13-10 and it looked for awhile like they would outscore them too. Saints captain Mike Buchan scored a powerplay goal from Marc Collins and Chris Lane with 9:48 to go to put his club ahead 5-4.
Playoffs have began in Canadian junior hockey and several Islander prospcts have picked up their games for a big playoff push. Chris Nielsen has recorded 7 goals and 10 points in 7 games and is one of Calgary’s leading contributors as he continues his excellent defensive play as well. Jeff Zehr has also had a strong start to his post season with 3 goals and 7 points in 6 games with 27 PIM to go along. This is Zehr at his best, he plays big and has a nasty mean streak along with a good goal scoring touch.
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and the Islanders didn’t pull off the firesale that many expected. However their deadline deals did pick up a couple of talnted young players as well as some picks in the upcoming draft. The Islanders obtained Brad Isbister from Phoenix and Mats Lindgren from the Oilers. Isbister is a big physical winger with good hands and a nose for the goal. Phoenix insiders have reported that the Coyotes were reluctant to give up Isbister because some within the organization feel he can be as good as Keith Tkachuk. With the pick up of Isbister, only 21, and Zehr and Rupp in the system, the Isles should have at least one solid power forward who can score some goals while providing Palffy with some protection.
Player: Remi Royer
Birthdate: Febuary 12, 1978
Hometown: Donnacona, Quebec
Weight: 200 lbs
SEASON TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM
1994-95 Victoriaville QMJHL 57 3 17 20 144
1995-96 Victoriaville QMJHL 43 12 14 26 209
1995-96 St-Hyacinthe QMJHL 19 10 9 19 80
1996-97 Rouyn-Noranda QMJHL 29 3 12 15 87
1996-97 Indianapolis IHL 10 0 1 1 17
1997-98 Rouyn-Noranda QMJHL 66 20 48 68 205
1997-98 Indianapolis IHL 5 0 2 2 4
1998-99 Chicago NHL 18 0 0 0 67
1998-99 Indianapolis IHL 49 4 14 18 158
St. Albert 1 at Calgary Canucks 7
After coming off a great high only two days earlier, the St. Albert Saints simply didn’t have it in them Friday night. The Calgary Canucks were fresh, having defeated the Olds Grizzlys in five games a week earlier while the Saints had just completed four straight victories en route to a come-from-behind 4-3 series victory against the Lloydminster Blazers.
Drew Norman, who is eligible for this year’s draft, opened the scoring for Calgary twelve minutes in as he scored a powerplay goal assisted by Roger Leonard and Miles Hunter. The Canucks outshot the Saints 11-6 in the first.
In the second, it looked as if the Saints would take control as they put a lot of pressure on Canucks netminder Mike Gilhooly. Brent Robertson scored 1:43 in, assisted by Andrew Gibson and Rob Ziemmer. However, before the period would end, Calgary’s top line of Ryan Manitowich, Moe Halat and Dany Heatley would strike several times. Manitowich would get both goals, the first with 11:38 remaining and the second was in the last minute of the period. The Canucks have made a habit of shifting momentum in games with last-minute goals.