TAMPA BAY, FL – The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have recalled forwards Radek Smolenak and Paul Szczechura from the Admirals, it was announced today by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton. It is the first NHL call-up for both players.
Smolenak, a 6-foot-3, 183-pound left wing from Prague, Czech Republic, has appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, scoring eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points. He leads Norfolk and is tied for third in the American Hockey League with 93 penalty minutes. He is the only player among the top 50 of both penalty minutes and scoring in the AHL. Smolenak also has three power play and one game-winning goal to go along with a +3 rating.
Smolenak, who turns 22 tomorrow, is in his third professional season. In 99 career AHL games between Norfolk and the Springfield Falcons, Smolenak has 23 goals and 22 assists for 45 points and 209 penalty minutes. He also has appeared in 43 career ECHL games between Johnstown and Mississippi, scoring 15 goals and 20 assists with 35 penalty minutes.
Smolenak was originally drafted in the third round (73rd overall) by the Lighnting in 2005. He appeared in 132 games with the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League from 2004-06, scoring 74 goals and 70 assists with 167 penalty minutes.
Szczechura, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound center, has also appeared in all 23 games for Norfolk this season, leading the team with 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points. Szczechura is tied for ninth in the AHL in scoring and is tied for tenth in the league in goals. His +7 rating is best among Admirals forwards and he also has one power play, one shorthanded and one game-winning goal.
Szczechura, who turned 23 years old last Sunday, signed a two-year deal with the Lightning on April 24. Prior to that, he played under an AHL contract as a rookie in 2007-08, scoring 14 goals and 12 assists with the Admirals after being acquired from the Iowa Stars on January 15. Despite appearing in only 24 games with Norfolk last season, Szczechura led the team in scoring by a rookie and tied for the overall team lead in game-winning goals with three. He netted points in his first ten games with the Admirals – the longest scoring streak ever by a Norfolk rookie and tied for the fourth longest streak overall.
Szczechura has appeared in 90 AHL games between Norfolk and the Iowa Stars, scoring 30 goals and 32 assists with 74 penalty minutes. The undrafted native of Brantford, Ontario, played four seasons of college hockey at Western Michigan University, scoring 44 goals and 86 assists in 153 career games.
Norfolk’s five-game road trip will continue with a pair of contests in Albany later this week. They face off against the River Rats at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. On Friday night, fans are invited to watch the game at Lendy’s Café on General Booth Boulevard in Virginia Beach.
The Admirals will return to Scope in two weeks with contests against the Penguins on December 10 and against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on December 12 and 13.
To purchase tickets to any Admirals game, you may visit the Scope Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., visit any Ticketmaster outlet, call Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or visit Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com. Don’t miss a minute of the action by purchasing your 2008-09 season tickets today. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime!