Tampa Bay continues its front office overhaul by adding new goalie consultant Frantz Jean

lightninglogowithname.gifIt’s actually not that unusual to see the Tampa Bay Lightning go through big changes in a summer. It seems like that’s been happening ever since they decided to keep their Cup winning trio of forwards (Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier) rather than parting with one of them to retain Nikolai Khabibulin.

The only difference is that now it seems like they actually are making wise moves, rather than haphazard ones.

The latest change involves the team adding a new goalie coach named Frantz Jean. Damian Cristodero has the news.

The Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday hired Frantz Jean as a goaltending consultant. Team spokesman Bill Wickett said not calling Jean a coach is simply a “contractual formality.” Jean, 39, the long-time goaltending coach for Moncton of the Quebec junior league will “work with all the goaltenders in the organization,” according to the announcement. Jean takes over for the fired Cap Raeder.

While the team still employs big goalie Mike Smith (the crowned jewel of the Brad Richards to Dallas trade), the other part of their 1a/1b rotation changes as Dan Ellis steps in for departed netminder Antero Niittymaki. Here is more about Jean from the Lightning.

Jean has been involved in hockey for more than 25 years as both a player and coach. He has made a name for himself most recently with Moncton, where he has worked for the previous 12 years. During Jean’s time with the Wildcats, the team has allowed the least number of goals in the league on four occasions (1999-00, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10). Jean’s goaltenders have been named defensive player of the year or goaltender of the year three times (Lajeunesse in 1999-00, Crawford in 2003-04, Riopel in 2008-09). Nicola Riopel was also named league most valuable player in 2008-09. Jean has had his goaltenders named to the first or second all-star teams on five occasions and six of his protégés have either been drafted or signed as a free agent in the NHL.

Jean began coaching at the age of 14 and has went on to coach under the supervision of some of the best hockey has to offer, including Vladislav Tretiak, Francois Allaire and Phil Myre. He also operated a goalie school with former Canadiens goaltending coach and ex-NHLer Roland Melanson.

In the summers of 2009 and 2010, Jean was selected as the goaltending consultant for the Hockey Canada Summer National Under-18 team that won the Gold Medals at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Since 2002, he has done several goaltending seminars for the Atlantic Center of Excellence and for Hockey Canada’s Advance Level 2 Coaching Program. Jean is also a member of Hockey Canada’s National Goaltending Consultants Team.

Now, the question is: does he know how to use Twitter? I hear one of his goalies might need a little “coaching” in how to conduct himself on social media networks

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    Video: AHL goalie Jonas Gustavsson scores his first career goal

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    He didn’t shoot, but Jonas Gustavsson still scored.

    The former NHL netminder, now with the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL, scored his first career goal Friday, as part of his team’s victory over the San Diego Gulls.

    From the AHL:

    With San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski on the bench for an extra attacker and the Gulls working on a power play, Gustavsson made a save before an errant San Diego pass slid down the length of the ice and into the vacated net at 16:56 of the third period.

    Gustavsson is the fifth AHL goaltender to be credited with a goal without actually shooting the puck into the opposition net. In addition to his goal, Gustavsson stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Condors victory.

    Bolts and Islanders both win, which is bad news for Bruins

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    The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning each had to work overtime to decide their separate games, but when they ended, both clubs were victorious.

    And that makes things even more interesting in the Eastern Conference wild card race.

    With their shootout win in Pittsburgh, the Islanders tie the Bruins in points but take over the final playoff spot for now with fewer games played. The Lightning, despite an abundance of injuries all season, are just a point back of Boston and New York.

    Nikita Kucherov scored the winner for Tampa Bay against the Red Wings. He’s up to 38 goals, which is second most in the league behind Sidney Crosby, currently at 42 goals.

    Sellers leading up to the trade deadline, and without Steven Stamkos since the middle of November, the Lightning are in the thick of this race, even if others may have counted them out.

    “Once again, people counted us out,” defenseman Victor Hedman told the Tampa Bay Times. “But we showed a lot of character. And we’re right back in it.”

    The Bolts don’t play again until Monday, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks — only one of the hottest teams in the league.

    Meanwhile, Saturday’s busy slate of games includes a showdown between the Bruins and Islanders. For Boston, it’s a chance for redemption after a particularly costly third period against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

    What is wrong with the Sharks?

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    Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

    On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

    The Ducks defeated the Jets on Friday, moving into a tie with the Sharks at 91 points.

    San Jose’s struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

    At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

    Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

    “When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

    This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

    The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

    Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

    The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

    Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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    Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

    It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

    Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

    The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

    Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

    The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

    However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.