Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
A year later, and 15 games into this season, Stamkos still feels the effects of the injury with constant minor reminders, whether it’s a slight pain in the leg or some discomfort when he gets out of bed every day.
There remains uncertainty if the leg will ever be back to normal.
“That’s kind of the million dollar question, is it ever going to feel the same way as before,’’ Stamkos said. “It may never and I’m hoping one day I’ll wake up and it just feels like a regular leg. But I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
“Your body has a new norm now, and that’s been an adjustment. But mentally, it’s been night and day compared to where I ended the season off last year to where I am at this point the season.’’
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
It was notable that the Lightning routed the Blue Jackets on Saturday night, putting up seven goals, and their captain and offensive leader Steven Stamkos had just one assist in less than 17 minutes of ice time. It's a reminder of how deep and talented the Lightning are this season.
On Sunday, Stamkos sent a reminder of his own: He can still take over a game. Stamkos scored his ninth and 10th goals this season, and the Lightning picked up another two points on the road by completing a sweep in Columbus and Detroit.
Sometimes, trendy preseason picks struggle with increased expectations (Hey, Dallas!) but the Lightning are proving every bit as good as everyone predicted, and they're doing it all without star defenseman Victor Hedman. With 23 points in 15 games this season, Tampa Bay sits at the top of the NHL.
read on for Burnside on the Rangers and Strang and LeBrun on the Ducks and Canucks...
“It’s all about the points, so, in that respect, I like where we are at. I’ve liked our commitment level, I like how guys have rallied around and stepped up and filled roles when we’ve needed that. So, that’s been a good sign for our team.
“Overall, to be sitting 8-3-1, I don’t know if we could have asked for better than that.’’
-Jon Cooper, head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on the Bolts from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
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...
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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