Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
And lastly - and this should excite you if you are a Lightning fan - I’ve heard from those in the know that Koules expects to be very active in the free agent market once July 1 hits. This has been speculated and general manager Jay Feaster has hinted at it, but I have been told directly that the team will be at the forefront of the free agent market, at least in terms of who they want to seek (no guarantee they will actually gain the services of those players on their hit list, but at least they are going to be aggressive).
more on the Bolts…
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
Walz, the former Wild center who retired from the National Hockey League as a player in December, has been asked if he’s interested in becoming an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The conversation took place three weeks ago and is expected to continue this week if the Lightning’s ownership change is approved, as expected, Wednesday by the Board of Governors.
After Hollywood producer Oren Koules and former NHLer Len Barrie get the keys to the Lightning, former Los Angeles Kings coach and current ESPN analyst Barry Melrose is expected to be announced as head coach….
According to a source, the Lightning is also interested in Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet and San Jose Sharks scout and former goalie Cap Raeder to round out Melrose’s staff.
From Damian Cristodero at the St. Petersburg Times,
He appreciated the on-ice structure Tortorella brought in seven seasons as Lightning coach and said, “Definitely he will have success. I don’t think he’ll have a tough time finding another job.”
Still, the superstar center said, there were times last season that Tortorella’s finger-to-chest style was difficult for some younger players to handle.
“He was very tough on young players,” Lecavalier said. “His emotions sometimes made it difficult. I’m not saying that in a bad way. That’s the type of coach he is. He is very aggressive, very emotional and very into the game.”
From Brian Compton at NHL.com,
“Hockey guys are really involved in the community,” Lecavalier said. “Before starting a foundation, I wanted to be established as an NHL player. After the (work stoppage), I said I’m starting a foundation. It wasn’t that easy. There’s a lot of work to do that I had no idea about it. I said ‘I’m starting tomorrow,’ but that’s not how it works. You have to choose what the project is going to be and go and see different people.”
Lecavalier, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery after posting 92 points during the 2007-08 season, was very much a part of the process of this new [Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center] from the beginning. He’ll even get to voice his opinion, although he said he will leave the final decisions to the experts.
From Adam Proteau at The Hockey News:
I think comedian George Carlin is one of the great minds of our time. And one of my favorite bits of his centers around the needless softening/wimpification of language. That was on display again Tuesday, when the Tampa Bay Lightning sent out an e-mail announcing head coach (and preferred target of this space) John Tortorella “will not return” to the team.
I suppose it was just too hurtful to say the guy was dismissed. Perhaps the next franchise that fires a coach can do the Bolts one better and issue a press release that reads, “Coach X will be coaching the team next season (in spirit only).”
It’s funny that Proteau mentions this. When we first got the press release about the Tortorella story, it did make me pause for a moment.
From the Globe & Mail:
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced Tuesday that John Tortorella will not return next season as the team’s head coach.
Tortorella has one season remaining on his contract.
More at the Tampa Bay Lightning website.
From the Tampa Bay Lightning,
The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Alexandre Picard and signed defenseman Kevin Quick, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced. Picard, acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on February 25, signed a multi-year, one-way deal, while Quick received a multi-year, two-way contract.
“Picard played very well for us following his acquisition last season and both ownership groups established re-signing him as a priority this off-season,” Feaster said.
From Erik Erlendsson at the Bolts Report:
This is also what I was able to surmise from conversations last night. Barry Melrose is not a done deal. No definitive offers have been made to anybody and the team is still talking to other candidates. And to clarify one other thing, no deal with Melrose, or anybody else for that matter, can be done anytime soon, and certainly not in the next couple of days. Oren Koules and his group were told by the executive board of the NHL the other day that the only issues that can be dealt with right now are those of a time sensitive manner. A head coach, is not a time sensitive matter. Nothing can be done until the board of governors meeting on June 17 in New York. So even if a deal was in place, it certainly couldn’t be announced.
Now my reaction to the Melrose news is the same as many of you guys. I’m not sold on a coach who has been behind a television camera the past 13 years, and not behind a bench. I also can’t believe that if this were to be true, that Melrose will command a $2 million annual salary - NHL coaches not named Scotty Bowman don’t make that kind of money.
Note: Melrose himself maintained that no deal had been reached when talking to ESPN’s SportsCenter last night.
from John Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
So we prepare to bid farewell to “shut yer yap” - to a driven, relentless hockey man who could never play the good corporate soldier. You’d never call Torts a company man and I mean that in a good way.
We’ll remember how he built a team that made a city care, however briefly, about hockey. We’ll remember the seven-game knockout of Philadelphia to go to the Cup finals for the first time. We’ll remember how, down 3-2 and headed to Calgary, where they had the celebration ready, he guaranteed the Bolts would win.
Winning is all he cared about.
From Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
I’m currently up in Toronto for two purposes. The first was to have the chance to meet Steven Stamkos and his family, which I did on Thursday night. The other was to swing by the combine today for the physical testing of the top prospects, including Stamkos, to find out about this VO2 bike test they put the prospects through, which has barf buckets right next to the bikes. Look for that story in Saturday’s paper.
As far as Stamkos goes, he certainly seems like one of the nicest high-profile teenagers you might ever meet. Spent just over two hours at the family house outside of Toronto and had some great conversations. Very humble family and you can see how that has carried over to Steven. Despite all the heavy marketing the Lightning have already done with Stamkos, they still answer everything with “if Tampa Bay drafts’’. They are taking nothing for granted, and that’s just how they are, they don’t want to get ahead of anything.
more on Stamkos
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org