Kukla's Korner Hockey
As the new season approaches, I’ll be making an effort to preview the Southeast Division in a slow and steady, comprehensive manner. To kick things off, I thought I’d take a look back at last year’s individual player statistics, updated to reflect this summer’s off-season transactions. (In other words, for example, we’ll group Dustin Byfuglien’s 2009-10 statistics with Chicago alongside his new Atlanta Thrashers teammates and their performances from last year.)
In short, we’ll look at last year’s stats with this year’s rosters, both by division as a whole and by individual teams, broken down by position… Because a look to the recent past can often be a good indicator of what’s to come. (Often… Not always. See: Cheechoo, Jonathan.) And, besides, I don’t know that you’ll find a list like this in too many places (at least I hope you won’t… Cause that would mean I spent too much time on all of this!)
To get things started, we’ll start tonight with the forwards.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
It’s Jacques Demers on the phone. He’s got one simple question.
“Why aren’t you in the National Hockey League?”
The immediate response, as Jay Feaster remembers it, is equally straightforward.
“Because nobody’s ever given me the chance.”
This is 1998.
Demers, new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is looking for an able assistant. Feaster is looking for a leg up.
It appears to be a fit.
from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent center Dominic Moore to a two-year contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.
“Dominic’s skating ability, strength on face-offs and versatility will be a great edition to our line up,” Yzerman said. “We’re pleased to welcome him to the organization.”
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
There were no specifics given by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, just an acknowledgment Lightning founder Phil Esposito might be in line for an expanded role with the organization. And while Vinik said the final decision will be up to new CEO Tod Leiweke, Vinik sounded as if Esposito could be an asset on the community and marketing side of the organization.
“We want him involved with this team,” Vinik said this week. “We want him out in the community. We want him involved with us. He’s a great ideas person.”
Expanding Esposito’s role from his long-time gig as an analyst on radio broadcasts of Lightning home games, a job for which he has said he never has signed a contract, makes sense for an organization ready to embrace its past and make a better effort to market the team both in the St. Pete Times Forum and Tampa Bay area.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
With training camp still beyond the horizon and loads of free agents still twisting in the wind there’s always time to start thinking about players that might capture our imaginations come training camp and beyond, those players that may step to the fore or wilt under the pressure of our watchful eye. And so it is that we take a look at the top players by position that we’ll be paying particular attention come the start of the 2010-2011 season.
Down the middle we’ll be curious about how a group of veteran pivots respond to some tough times, and what a couple of kids do after jumping into the spotlight last season.
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
The past few years haven’t been kind to the former No. 1 overall draft pick and the face of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Whether it was shoulder and wrist injuries or rumors of being dealt because of his monster contract, a cloud has hovered over Lecavalier. The Lightning captain has seen his goal totals drop systematically from 52 to 24 over the past four seasons. But new GM Steve Yzerman has apparently assured Lecavalier that he has no intention of moving him and perhaps that, along with good health, will see Lecavalier bounce back to elite status. If he does the Bolts should be back in the postseason.
continue for more centers…
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
The lasting image of Steve Downie might be from his rookie season, when he delivered a vicious check to the head of Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond. Downie, then with the Philadelphia Flyers, received a 20-game suspension for the hit, and gained a reputation as a dirty player.
Last season, however, Downie went a long way in changing his reputation from troubled to talented.
In his first full NHL season, with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Downie showed the skills that made him a first-round draft pick, as he scored 22 goals on just 116 shots. Of the 110 players who scored 20 goals last season, none accomplished it on fewer shots than Downie, and only one played less than the 14:42 per game he averaged last season.
continued with more players that fall in this group…
via Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
The Tampa Bay Lightning apparently is preparing to announce that Tod Leiweke, the long-time Chief executive officer of the NFL’s Seahawks, will be the Lightning’s new CEO. Leiweke could not immediately be reached for comment and the Lightning declined comment.
More to come ...
added 2:43pm, from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
Tod Leiweke has been named Chief Executive Officer of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment and its subsidiaries, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum, Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik announced this afternoon. Leiweke will also become an Alternate Governor to the National Hockey League’s Board of Governors for the Lightning and, subject to approval by the NHL, will acquire an ownership stake in Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment.
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Imagine watching one of your players dying. New Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming always will have that memory.
As coach of Avangard Omsk in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, Fleming saw one of his most gifted players, forward Aleksei Cherepanov, collapse into the arms of teammate Jaromir Jagr on the bench near the end of an Oct. 13, 2008, game against Vityav Chekov.
Team doctors tried on the bench and in the dressing room to revive Cherepanov, 19, who died that night at a local hospital of an apparent heart attack….
Is there anything you take from what happened?
From a team perspective, it was like taking a crystal vase and dropping it on the concrete floor and trying to pick up the shattered pieces. It was devastating. But it was the individual, too, that passed away. The thing that really hurts is not only do we lose a great player, we’re missing just a fantastic young man. He had a great smile on his face. He was the golden boy of the KHL.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
In the latest bit of housecleaning from the previous regime, the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday fired Norfolk coach Jim Johnson and roving goaltenders coach Cap Raeder. Somewhat of a surprise as both, especially Johnson, were lauded by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman for the way they ran the recent development camp. Yzerman went as far as to say he and Johnson were “on the same page.”
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
The team, apparently, has inquired about free agent Arron Asham. Agent Jarrett Bousquet said he has spoken to Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, though he added he hasn’t spoken to Yzerman in about a week and characterized Tampa Bay’s interest only as “mild.”
The level of the Lightning’s interest is difficult to pinpoint. The team, under Yzerman, has adopted a policy of not commenting on potential player acquisitions, and Yzerman has been busy the past week or so with the acquisition of Simon Gagne in trade from the Flyers and the signing of two assistant coaches.
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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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