While Marty St. Louis hits the links with a 5-Iron instead of his iconic yellow Easton, his fellow teammates participating in the IIHF World Championships have all advanced to the Quarter Final Round.
Playing for Canada, Teddy Purcell has earned a bit of his keep in their campaign for gold, having notched a goal and an assist in seven games played. While those numbers do not reflect the his blazing scoring run to finish out the 2011-12 Lightning season, he has only been averaging 11:03mins of ice time per game. Granted Purcell does not have Steven Stamkos stealing the attention of defensemen away from him, but he has still contributed to Canada’s six wins in the Preliminary Round.
Heading across the pond as it were, Lightning Defensman Victor Hedman has been making his presence known on the Swedish blueline. While averaging 19:39mins of ice time he has tallied one assist and is at a +/- of -1. But he us using his size to leave impressions on the teams Sweden faces, as after the first week of Worlds, he was given the #1 spot on a Top 5 Hit list.
Crossing back over the Atlantic to the United States, we have Nate Thompson and recent Lightning addition J.T. Brown. Thompson has lodged an average of 11:18mins of ice time in his usually role of being on a checking line. In the midst of his mucking and grinding he has notched two goals during the seven games played. As for J.T. Brown, the Worlds are only serving as another development tool for his return to Tampa Bay for the 2012-13 season (barring any CBA shenanigans that is). In six games played he has logged an average of 5:40mins of ice time, scoring one goal and one assist. Brown’s goal was a direct result of his and Team USA forwards’ two-way game.
Canada, Sweden and the United States all have the day off tomorrow with the rest of the Quarter Final qualifiers which start Thursday. Canada will be facing Slovakia (Canada won the preliminary match 3-2). Sweden will have a match with the Czech Republic (Sweden won the preliminary match 4-1). And lastly, the United States’ tilt will be against Finland (Team USA won the preliminary match 5-0).
Despite the upcoming outcomes, the experience these Bolts will have gained will only be a boon for next year’s Lightning season.
– Jim Courteau
Follow me on Twitter @BlackSheepJim