Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Do you feel the fact that you were a Vezina Trophy finalist last season means you're a proven goalie in the NHL, or are you still of the mindset that you have to prove yourself the way you've had to your entire career?
"I think I proved to myself and other players that I can play at that level, but I think every year you're trying to go out and prove yourself. You're never going to be satisfied with the past year, you're always trying to build on it. I'm going to approach the year the same way, the way I have the last three years at least. I'm going to go in, win the job out of training camp. You always have people competing for jobs. When I was in St. Louis I was trying to take people's jobs and make the team. You always have that competition. So I have to go into camp the same way I have been doing the last couple of years. I'm not going to change anything. I'm not going to try to do anything different."
But can you treat this training camp the same way when it's obviously different for you to know that you're heading into the season as the unquestioned No. 1 goalie on a team expected to win? This is a first for you.
"Yeah, I mean, if you word it like that it's a first, but personally the way I prepare and the way I play, there hasn't been a change from when I was a backup, or when I was able to start in Ottawa for a month, or last year when I was a starter for the season. You still approach every game the same way. Whatever is going on around you as far as expectations, where you are in the standings, if you're first or last, who you're playing against, I still approach the game the same way. There is nothing different. It's the same routine and preparation no matter where I am, if I am a backup in Ottawa or a starter last year. So I don't see there really being any difference going into this season. I think the experience last year will help me even more this year."
three more questions...
Time certainly does not stand still, I still picture Steve Yzerman's daughters as children...
from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,
Will Bishop show last season wasn't a fluke? -- Bishop was one of the League's true breakout players last season, establishing career bests with 37 wins, a 2.23 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and five shutouts. He missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an arm injury, but was rewarded for his efforts when he was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
After signing a two-year extension earlier this month, it's now time for Bishop to show 2013-14 wasn't an aberration and he is indeed a franchise goalie.
"He was arguably the MVP of our team last year. We really leaned on our goaltender heavily," coach Jon Cooper told NHL.com. "I truly believe he's coming into his prime. With his work ethic and the way he approached the game as the year went on last year, I'm fully confident he'll be a rock back there for us."
Can the Lightning make it count in the playoffs? -- Outside of their run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2011, the Lightning haven't won a playoff series since hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2004. After being swept last season by the Montreal Canadiens, this team is expected to take the next step in the postseason.
"We know the standard that is set, what's expected. We set a really high bar for ourselves and I'm really excited about that," Cooper said. "It's so hard to make the playoffs in this League. We know what it takes now. If we want to not only make the playoffs but try to advance, we know the work that has to be put in."
Below, watch E.J. Hradek and Dan Rosen discuss the outlook for the Lightning...
In this video, it is Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper and a friend.
To find out more about the challenge and donate, check out the ALS Association.
from Jake Becker of The Fischler Report,
HOW SOON DO YOU THINK TORTS WILL RETURN TO THE NHL?
I think time heals all wounds. I don’t think for a minute that Torts was anything other than what people knew he was. I think Mike Gillis knew the issues, the positives and the negatives. In my mind the issue really came down to that infamous day when he decided to try to get in the locker room when [Calgary head coach] Bob Hartley was antagonizing.
Bob is the godfather to my son Ryan, and I consider Torts to be one of my best friends, too. It was ironic, but I believe that John will get back. General managers in the league know he’s a good coach, and you take the good with the bad. Part of what makes him a good coach is that he does not have the political correctness gene. He is not worried about what you or me or what anybody else thinks about him – he’s going to do what he thinks is right. I think some time away, so time to decompress, I think that’ll be good for him.
I don’t have any doubt that at some point in time, a team is going to be struggling and a team is going to need some discipline, some structure, and a general manager is going to say, “This is a guy that can provide it.”
from the CP at TSN,
LeBron James going home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers led to speculation about whether a star NHL player might do the same in the near future.
Naturally, Steven Stamkos was at the centre of that speculation. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain and Markham, Ont., native could be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, and the allure of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs could be there.
"We'll see what happens. It's a couple years away," Stamkos said Wednesday. "Right now I'm focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we've really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.
"For me, that's the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we're going to have that chance for a couple years."
“I think it’s a young team that is coming into their own in the next couple of years, so their window of where they are going to be expected to have a championship season.
“And they have great leadership and a coach that has won at every level. They are an exciting team. They are a hungry team, and I’m excited about the opportunity to play with this group.’’
-Brenden Morrow on his new team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on Morrow from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Brenden Morrow to a one-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Tampa Bay also signed forward Philippe Paradis (pair-ah-DEE) to a one-year, two-way contract.
Morrow, 6-foot, 205 pounds, played in 71 games with the St. Louis Blues in 2013-14, recording 13 goals and 25 points with a plus-1 rating. He scored four power-play goals and three game-winning goals. Morrow ranked eighth on the team for goals and averaged 11:54 in ice time per game.
from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes,
"It's awesome," Feaster said. "The previous ownership group that (Jeff Vinik) bought it from, they did everything they could to try to purge any evidence and record and memory of the 04 Cup win. So it's nice to be welcomed back like this."
Feaster called Vinik "the best owner in the game" and believes he'll bring the Lightning a Cup. He lauded Vinik for his community efforts and hiring good people, allowing general manager Steve Yzerman to do his job. Feaster doesn't want to get in Yzerman's way, and will stick to youth initiatives at putting more sticks in kids hands and growing the game. Feaster talked about the efforts to make hockey a sanctioned sport in Florida high schools, using hockey-based learning programs in schools, getting more invovled in the learn to play initiative.
Feaster just never thought that he'd come back to Tampa Bay and neither Vinny Lecavalier nor Marty St. Louis would be there. Lecavalier was bought out last summer. St. Louis forced his awkward departure in March by requesting a trade to the Rangers after not getting initially picked for Team Canada, which was run by Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
"It hurt," Feaster said.
from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes,
While Stralman doesn't know the bay area very well, he knows the team is joining.
"This team really excites me," Stralman said. "I think this team is very promising. It's been real interesting the last few years and obviously Steve Yzerman has done a tremendous job. When you're making your choice, you want to see progress in a team in a positive way, and I think this team has all those good areas.
"I think this team is close to complete. Honestly the forwards, tremendous firepower there, best scorer in the league (Steven Stamkos), can't ask for more really. Defense is solid, they've got some big guys, strong and obviously (Ben) Bishop has been great too. I'm really excited."
Stralman said he spoke with former Rangers teammate Ryan Callahan and fellow Swede Victor Hedman before signing, wanting to confirm all his positive thoughts. Stralman gives Tampa Bay the right-handed shooting, top-four caliber defenseman it needed, and the team provided the veteran with the desired stability.
"It's huge," Stralman said. "That's exactly what we were looking for."
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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