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2009 Brings Fireworks in Tampa Written by Laci Bloomers - January 3rd, 2009

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Dave Normoyle was clearly not happy with his team's play headed into the Christmas break.  Judging by last night, the GM feels that a visit by the San Jose Sharks might be just what the doctor ordered.

The Sharks spent New Years in Florida, and the inconsistent Lightning spanked them 6-3 to open 2009 with a win.  The Sharks made a real spalsh when they left town, however, as GMs Normoyle and Ramage completed a couple of tradesafter the contest.

On the game front, Fernando Pisani and Rod Brind A'mour accomplished something we may never see again.  They scored goals one second apart.  Pisani scored first just 2:50 into the contest as he converted a Mike Modano pass for his 7th of the season.  On the ensuing faceoff, Brind A'mour was waived and Scott Walker came in and won the draw cleanly back to Mike Commodore.  Commodore immediatley fired the puck towards the Sharks zone, and it hit Brind A'mour, changing direction and alluding Shark goaltender Martin Gerber.  Brind A'mour, who never felt the puck hit him, was credited with his 17th on one of the strangest goals you will ever see.

The Sharks got goals from Roman Hamrlik (8th) and Dan Paille (11th) to tie the game at 2-2 before the 14 minute mark.

Modano scored his 11th of the season from Pisani and Walker at 14:29 to restore the Lightning lead after one period.

The second period was scoreless, but after the 2nd intermission it was announced that the clubs had completed a trade, seeing D-man Jordan Leopold move from Macon to the Sharks' system in exchange for forward Jeff Hamilton, blue liner Cory Murphy and goaltending prospect Kristofer Westblom, who is putting up solid numbers this season in the WHL.

The Sharks tied the contest early in the 3rd period as Bobby Holik scored a power play goal at 4:20, his 11th of the season with Hamrlik and Ryan Malone assisting.  3-3 early in the third.

The clubs exchanged chances over the next 10 minutes before the Lightning finally put the Sharks to rest.  Mike Rathje scored his 3rd on the power play at 14:25, with David Moss and Andy Hilbert assisting.  Ninety-four seconds later Kurt Sauer scored his 4th to make it 5-3, before Mike Commodore scored his 2nd with 3 minutes remaining.

After the game, the GMs stood together outside the dressing rooms to announce that four of the game's goal scorers would be switching teams.  Heading down the road with the Sharks will be veteran center Mike Modano, along with maligned D-man Kurt Sauer.  Switching to the home dressing room as members of the Lightning are center Bobby Holik and blue liner Roman Hamrlik.

Modano, who was acquired by the Lightning last season and lead the club with 64 points, was resigned to a 2-year contract in the off season.  Modano had slowed considerably this year offensively and had 11 goals and 26 points at game's end.  With his 2 points last night, Sauer now has 10, but is a =10 on the season.  The Lightning acquired Sauer earlier this season, but he never found his place here, having missed 7 games as either a healthy scratch or being demoted to Macon.

Holik, like Modano, has 11 goals but comes in with 28 points.  He is coming off a strong 72 point seasson in Nashville last season, his best in the CMHL.  Holik is an Unrestricted Free Agent with a little more grit than Modano.  Hamrlik has 8 goals and 9 assists this season, and comes in as a Top 4 guy.  He should shatter his career high in goals, with is 9, and his best season in the CMHL was with the Lightning 3 years ago, when he had 9 goals and 37 points.  Hammer is a -2 and has scored 4 power play goals, something the Bolts have missed from their blueline.

Hammer time.

Hamrlik brings some phyical play along with the ability to QB the power play.

- Laci Bloomers reporting -

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