Bolts Bits

By Megan Sexton

Lobb out for Season

During the third period of Sunday night’s game versus his former team, the London Knights, Aaron Lobb was checked by the Knights’ Sean Dixon. Dixon’s hip connected with Lobb’s knee and resulted in a season ending injury. Although Dixon received a kneeing major and a game misconduct, the hit was deemed legal and no action will be taken.

Surgery will be scheduled soon to repair Lobb’s damaged anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee. The Lightning will be picking a surgeon, while the Guelph Storm aid his recovery by focusing on a regimen to increase his upper body strength and help him add bulk to his 6’4 frame.

Eklund earns honors

Brown Goaltender Brian Eklund was named ECAC Goaltender of the Week on November 7th. In Brown’s season opener on November 3rd, Eklund stopped 27 of 29 shots to give Brown a 4-2 victory over Harvard.

This marks the third time in his career Eklund has earned the honor and the second time in a row. Eklund received the honor in the final week of the previous season after he stopped 48 of 51 shots.

In three games with Brown this season, Eklund has a 2.68 goals against average.

Lightning shuffle the deck

On November 9th, the Lightning acquired defensemen Josef Boumedienne and Sascha Goc and left wing Anton But from the New Jersey Devils in
exchange for defenseman Andrei Zyuzin.

Next, they reassigned defenseman Mathieu Biron and right wing Nikita Alexeev to Springfield (AHL) and recalled Boumedienne, Goc and left wing Gordie Dwyer.

Both Boumedienne and Goc have split the season between New Jersey and Albany (AHL). In one game with the Devils, Boumedienne scored a goal and has three assists in nine games with Albany. Goc went scoreless in two games with New Jersey, but has five assists in ten games with the River Rats.

Priechodsky finally gets into the action

Defenseman Marek Preichodsky was finally able to appear in his first regular season game after injuring himself during the pre-season with the Pensacola Ice Pilots. He had an assist in his first game back, and is a plus-3 in three games.

Teammate Mikko Kuparinen was activated off of IR at the same time as Priechodsky, but has been replaced on the list after reinjuring himself in his first game back in action.

Goaltending a ‘Minor’ problem for Bolts

While the Tampa Bay Lightning are enjoying stellar play from the Bulin Wall and Shady Eighty, some of the Bolts minor league goaltenders have yet to enjoy such success.

Tampa’s goaltending woes have fortunately vacated the vital areas (The Lightning and it’s top farm club) and settled themselves deep in the system….

Potential star goaltender and Nikolai Khabibulin clone, Evgeny “George” Konstantinov has yet to find his niche. Through 8 games he has averaged over four goals against. Not the marking of a future star.

Konstantinov has allowed less than three goals only once in his eight games played which was on opening night when the Ice Pilots prevailed 3-1 over Mobile and Konstantinov turned aside 26 shots. He has only faced over thirty shots once this season. In the 7-6 win over Mobile on 11-3-01, he allowed six goals on 34 shots faced.

Konstantinov’s problem has yet to be seen, but one could speculate that it has something to do with his environment. He views the ECHL as, “a much lower level” than the IHL where he played much of last season with the Detroit Vipers. Although he dubbed his time in Louisiana (ECHL) last season as a good experience, he made it clear that he would much rather be going to the AHL than ECHL.

George’s partner, Czech Michal Lanicek has outplayed him, but not by much. Lanicek has a 3.12 GAA in 5 games and has only allowed over two goals against once.

Thankfully the troubles are isolated to the ECHL and are hopefully easily curable by some intense sessions with goaltending coach, Jeff Reese. The Lightning are enjoying some of the best goaltending in the team’s history. Since the proverbial revolving door between the pipes was padlocked, Khabibulin and Weekes appear to be one of the strongest tandems in the league.