Kukla's Korner Hockey
Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored last night.
Below, Droun's first NHL goal...
Most of the Calder Trophy forecasts for this year landed on one of Drouin, the Los Angeles Kings’ Tanner Pearson, the Washington Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov or Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau. MacKinnon didn’t get off to the fastest start last year either, but started to roll after about 10 games. You can imagine the same thing happening with Drouin once he settles into a routine. The kid looks good already. In time, he may look great.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail on Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Read more on Drouin from Duhatschek.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
It's going to be fascinating to watch Drouin play for the Lightning, simply because he has elite level vision and puck skills that set him apart from, well, just about everybody. He won't like to hear it, but he's also a 19-year-old kid who's a lot better with the puck than without it and the challenge for any underage junior, and his team, is to find a way to embrace (offensive) assets while minimizing (defensive) deficiencies.
The fact the Lightning are a very good NHL team, with the look of a contender in the Eastern Conference, will require even more finesse in their handling of Drouin. Who comes out of the lineup for Drouin? Does he have to play in the top six? Or can he brought along more slowly on the third or fourth line? One suspects it will more likely be the latter.
Steven Stamkos is on fire and playing well with Ryan Callahan and Ondrej Palat on the top line. Valtteri Filpulla is between Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson on the second line.
The third and fourth lines are more or less interchangeable, depending upon circumstances: Brian Boyle between Brenden Morrow and Brett Connolly; and, rookie Vladislav Namestnikov between Nikita Kucherov and J.T. Brown.
The Lightning have to find a spot for Drouin somewhere, sometime.
TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Jonathan Drouin and defenseman Luke Witkowski from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
Drouin, who was assigned to Syracuse for conditioning on Thursday, October 16, played in two games with the Crunch this past weekend, recording a goal and two assists with a plus-4 rating. Drouin was assigned for conditioning after suffering a minor fracture on his right thumb, causing him to miss the Lightning’s training camp. Drouin, 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, was the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Witkowski, 6-foot-2, 213 pounds, has played in all four games this season for Syracuse, recording an assist and 15 penalty minutes. In his first professional season in 2013-14, Witkowski appeared in 76 games with Syracuse, notching two goals and 12 points with 204 penalty minutes.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,
With a week to go before the July 1 free-agent frenzy, Callahan signed a six-year deal worth $5.8 million per with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team for which he’d played just 20 regular season and four playoff games.
On Saturday, he was asked about his decision....
“There’s a lot of things that weigh into every decision,” Callahan said before the Lightning met the Canucks in a marquee Saturday night matchup.
“But that was my main goal when the season ended. That’s why I didn’t test free agency.
“I wanted to sign back here so badly. I could see the direction this team was going and what they’re trying to build here. It’s not hard to see the talent in the room....
”The team that survived the Oren Koules-Len Barrie fiasco and missed the playoffs five out of six years before last season is now on the verge of greatness, and judging by the visuals from Saturday night, the next step is coming sooner rather than later.
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
...defenseman Victor Hedman suffered an upper-body injury in the second period, forcing him to miss the rest of the game, and likely the rest of this five-game, 10-day road trip, coach Jon Cooper said.
Hedman, the team's top defenseman, is heading back to Tampa to get re-evaluated for what's believed to be a hand injury. Considering how well Hedman was playing, entering Saturday among the league leaders with seven points, it's a huge loss. But Cooper said he has "complete confidence" his team can shoulder the load, and with Radko Gudas (lower body) expected back soon, they won't need a call-up.
"We're hoping for the best," Cooper said. "It's unfortunate, clearly. We're going to test our depth. It just puts a little more pressure on our d-core as a whole. I just really feel for him. It's just too bad."
Said captain Steven Stamkos: "That's obviously a huge loss. He's playing so well this year. He's a horse for us."
more on Tampa's win over Vancouver and below, watch how the injury occurred...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
As if the battle for the Norris Trophy needed any more viable candidates, here is the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Viktor Hedman, off to an exceptional start and proving once again that even the most likely regarded, massively talented defensive behemoths need time to find their NHL sea legs.
Hedman is now in his sixth season and starts a trip Saturday with the Tampa Bay Lightning that will see them visit all four Canadian-based Western Conference teams in the next six days. Vancouver is a unique and special first stop because he gets to play against the Sedin twins for a rare time. Hedman is from the same northern Swedish town as the Sedins – Ornskoldsvik – and played his developmental years for the same club team Modo before going second overall to Tampa in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
from Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette,
P.K. Subban had some advice for Steven Stamkos after the Tampa Bay sniper scored three goals Monday night to lead the Lightning to a lopsided 7-1 decision Monday night at Amalie Arena.
“I’d tell Steven to enjoy it because it’s not going to happen again,” said Subban....
“We’ve played a lot better against this team, i.e. in the playoffs last year, and we just have to park this loss,” said Subban, who was minus-2 on the night, was in the penalty box when Stamkos made it 4-1 and generally didn’t play very well.
“We’re still trying to figure out how to play,” said Subban. “We ‘re trying to figure out our identity. We’re very happy with this road trip and we just have to move on.”
more post-game comments
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
If the emergence of a nimble six-foot-six defenceman was the only big thing happening in Tampa, you could still forgive Bolts fans for being aflutter. But Hedman is just one reason why there are widespread rumblings about how good the Lightning might be this year. Tampa is coming off a season that somehow managed to seem cursed and charmed all at once—then everything ended with a thud.
Now, with sniper Steven Stamkos whole again, some new battle-scarred faces to complement a group of precocious kids and, of course, Hedman’s ongoing development, there’s sufficient evidence to believe the Lighting and their prized blueliner are primed for another simultaneous leap.
With his sixth NHL season on the horizon, it’s only natural that Hedman feels more at home than ever in Tampa Bay. He and his long-time girlfriend, Sanna, have had a couple years to settle into their house.
And on the ice, Hedman has become so accustomed to North America’s smaller rink dimensions that when he returns home to Sweden in the summer, the spacious European surfaces almost seem foreign.
“It feels like you skate forever and you don’t get anywhere,” he says.
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.
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