Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Erik Erlendsson and Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
With Tampa Bay spending the next week in Canada, trade rumors are sure to run rampant as the March 4 trade deadline approaches.
But Vinny Lecavalier’s name won’t be at the forefront.
In his boldest statement in his short tenure as Lightning general manager, Brian Lawton may very well have put an end to any lingering rumors surrounding Lecavalier by stating the Tampa Bay captain won’t be going anywhere, as far as he’s concerned.
“We’re not going to trade Vinny Lecavalier,’’ Lawton said Monday. “I’m going to say, ‘never,’ so I don’t have to deal with it.’‘
from Lightning Strikes,
Tocchet said it is getting closer to a time the team must decide whether to shut down goaltender Mike Smith (concussion). Tocchet said the discussion likely will happen sooner rather than later. At issue: is it worth the risk to bring Smith back considering Tampa Bay is out of the playoff race, or is it better to let him fully heal and be ready for next season? Also a consideration: it might be good for Smith to get a few games under his belt heading into the offseason to get things moving in the right direction. It is a difficult equation.
more including Recchi not happy with being a healthy scratch tonight…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
The Lightning leads the NHL in roster moves, with 43 different players having suited up for game action this season. Injuries have played a role in the inflation of that number, but it’s not the only factor.
There was also the furor over whether the team was shopping Lecavalier. There was a lot of discussion of semantics, but the bottom line is that there was some discussion about Lecavalier’s availability, and the Montreal Canadiens were believed to be the team most interested in the talented center’s services.
Any team that doesn’t at least engage in blue-sky discussions about any player on their roster is selling themselves short, but the way the situation was handled did little to dispel the notion that Lightning owners were cash-strapped and looking to get out from under Lecavalier’s new 11-year deal worth $85 million. It appears Lecavalier will remain with the Lightning, as will St. Louis and Malone.
from Lightning Strikes,
Rick Tocchet said after Thursday’s morning skate that defenseman Paul Ranger, who has missed four straight games with a mysterious upper-body injury, likely will be shut down for the rest of the season. He gave no specifics about the injury, but indicated Ranger will need surgery to correct the problem.
“He’s probably going to get shut down. We’ll probably make that decision later today,” Tocchet said. “We’re going to have one more meeting about it.”
from Damian Cristodero & Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times,
The Lightning announced a crowd of 17,249 for Saturday’s game with the Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum.
But if a recent pattern is an indication, tickets sold likely were significantly fewer.
Numbers provided by Hillsborough County, which owns the 13-year-old facility, show that through December (the latest data available) the team sold an average of 14,119 tickets for 16 dates. Announced crowds, however, averaged 16,698.
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Mike Green said if he thought about the history he could make tonight, the game itself might not be as fun.
And, really, Green said, isn’t fun what playing in the NHL is all about?
“I just want to go out and play and do what I’m doing right now,” the Capitals defenseman said. “Whatever comes from it is great. I’m just enjoying myself.”
And scoring goals.
A tally against the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum and Green, 23, from Calgary, becomes the first NHL blueliner to score goals in eight consecutive games.
continued and a little note stating Lightning employees must now pay $30 per month for parking.
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
You see Tampa Bay beat Toronto 6-4 and you begin to believe the worst is finally in the past and the future is closer than you ever imagined.
For the first time in a long while, the Lightning has direction. Not like last season, when confusion was everywhere. And not like the first few months of this season, when confusion was upgraded to chaos.
The Lightning has gone 12-9-2 since Dec. 23. Maybe that doesn’t translate into Stanley Cup fever, but it’s the franchise’s best 23-game stretch since the end of 2006-07.
After all this time, a plan is in place. An honest evaluation of assets and liabilities has been made. And the remaking of the Lightning brand is under way.
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
Despite mutually miserable seasons, however, the two teams which entered the contest 10 and 13 points out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, respectively, are worlds apart in other ways.
The Leafs, as we are reminded regularly by coach Ron Wilson and president Brian Burke, are looking far beyond this spring, enjoying the benefit of never having to worry about selling tickets.
The Bolts, as embattled interim head coach Rick Tocchet made clear yesterday, have no such free pass.
“I don’t care who you have on your team, if you don’t win, you’re not going to bring people in,” Tocchet said. “We’re in a market here where we have to at least compete.
“The fans want to see us win, that’s the bottom line.”
As league issues go, that bottom line is becoming particularly gruesome in these economic times, particularly for NHL teams in southern locales.
from Erik Erlendsson of Bolts Report,
Marty St. Louis’ name has popped up in relation to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s not the first time St. Louis and the Penguins have been linked as Pittsburgh is trying to find somebody consistent to play on a line with Sidney Crosby. Marty would probably be a good fit with Crosby because he works hard every shift, can chase down pucks and works well in the corners. The name mentioned as coming back is defenseman Ryan Whitney. But here’s the thing, if the Lightning think Whitney is the No. 1 defenseman they need, it’s just not the case.
Now, if the deal was Whitney and Jordan Staal, maybe you think about it from the Lightning’s perspective. Otherwise, you don’t trade the heart and soul of this team
TAMPA BAY – Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mike Smith is suffering from post-concussion syndrome but is expected to return to the ice within the next week. The original injury dates back several weeks, although Smith started to be concerned about symptoms after the team’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 30.
“We were hopeful that Mike’s symptoms would clear sooner and they haven’t, so were taking a conservative approach with him making sure he is 100 percent before he returns to the ice,” Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Brian Lawton said. “Although Mike would prefer to be skating and playing right now the appropriate course of action is to err on the safe side.”
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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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