Lightning reach affiliate agreement with ECHL's Florida Everblades

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florida_everblades.gifWhen the Lightning aren’t signing three defensemen to fill out their depth chart, they’re doing something they haven’t done since 2008. The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they’ve reached a very logical affiliate agreement with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Damian Cristodero shares the news.

The Everblades, founded in 1998 and a former affiliate of the Hurricanes, have made 12 straight playoff appearances and became the first ECHL team to make back-to-back appearances in the Kelly Cup final in 2004 and 2005. The Everblades had the best regular-season record in the ECHL in 1998-99 and 2008-09. The team has averaged 6,288 fans at home games in its history.

“That is exactly the type of winning environment our players should develop in,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said in a release.

Tampa Bay will provide players under both AHL and NHL contracts, the team announced. The Lightning has not had an ECHL affiliate since the Augusta Lynx ceased operations in December 2008.

Having depth all through an organization is a big deal, and for the Lightning to rejoin the ECHL world of development helps them out. The added upside to this is that if you’re going to help market a Florida team to Florida fans, having a minor league team in Florida goes a long way towards growing the brand and let’s face it, after Oren Koules and Len Barrie helped salt the earth for hockey’s interest in Florida, repairing that structure even at the most basic professional level will help that out.

Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

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You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

Sean Couturier
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When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

Joy abounded.

Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

Dougie Hamilton
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Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

Senators lose Michalek, Zibanejad to injuries vs. Flyers

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It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.

The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.

Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.

Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.

Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.

The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.