Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
The Detroit Red Wings will keep their coveted “capologist,” as Ryan Martin has decided to stay with the team rather than become an assistant general manager to Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay.
“I decided last night, and I talked to Steve last night and told him I decided to stay,” Martin said today. “It was a difficult decision but also a good decision.”
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
That includes the recent hiring of coach Guy Boucher. What did Yzerman like about him as his first coach hire, despite Boucher not having any NHL experience?
“First, he is a strong personality,” Yzerman replied. “Second, his experience is rooted in winning, both as a head coach and as an assistant. I have no reservations about his ability to translate that at the NHL level. I look at guys like Dave Tippett, Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan, who had similar traits and were immediately successful as NHL coaches.”
There’s that Red Wings’ perspective again, with Babcock and McLellan cited. Understandable. But what about the task at hand? What about his new team now, the Lightning?
“We have Stanley Cup-winning vets in Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier to go along with young players Steve Stamkos and Victor Hedman,” he says. “But we can’t get things done in one offseason. We have to take a longer, realistic view of our young players and what we should expect them to contribute.”
That statement alone is telling. The Red Wings have long been loathe to rush young players into positions of prominence, and I’m sure that Yzerman brings that developmental sensibility to the Lightning. And that’s just one of many differences Yzerman will find in his migration from Hockeytown to Hockey Bay.
from John Kreiser of NHL.com,
Guy Boucher’s superb rookie season in as an AHL bench boss earned him an NHL job on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning named the 38-year-old as their new coach during a introductory press conference at St. Pete Times Forum.
Boucher becomes the youngest coach in the NHL—and the second new coach named this week. Columbus hired Scott Arniel on Tuesday, one day after Boucher turned down the job. Atlanta and New Jersey are still without coaches.
Getting the Lightning job caps a meteoric rise for Boucher.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning added NHL veteran and Stanley Cup Champion Pat Verbeek to its professional scouting staff, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced this morning. Verbeek joins the Lightning from the Detroit Red Wings where he had spent the previous four seasons as a professional scout.
“Pat brings a wealth of hockey knowledge and experience as a player and a scout to our staff,” Yzerman said. “His ability to identify and evaluate talent will be a great resource as we move forward and we are pleased he elected to continue his career with the Lightning.”
Guy Boucher, who earlier in the day turned down the head coaching job with the Columbus Blue Jackets, has accepted the head coaching role with the Tampa Bay Lightning, according to Rue Frontenac and CKAC.
Boucher coached the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs this season. At age 38, he would be the youngest coach in the National Hockey League.
The hiring of Boucher comes as the first major decision made by new Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, who took over that title on May 25.
from Steve Yzerman at TampBayLightning.com,
It is with great respect and pride that I write to you today as the new Vice President and General Manager of your Tampa Bay Lightning. When offered this opportunity by owner Jeff Vinik to further my career, I carefully considered my options; looking for committed, solid ownership and an organization that would strive to be first class from top to bottom, through all facets of the business. In the end, I found Tampa Bay to be the perfect place for me. And I think you’ll find the Lightning to be worthy of your support as well.
It was not easy to leave the Detroit Red Wings after 27 years and four Stanley Cups as a player and an executive. The organization was built on loyalty, integrity and hard work, and our sustained success there proved the formula works. I want to bring a similar approach to Tampa Bay and I think we can achieve our goal of being a consistent winner on and off the ice.
“Steve Yzerman could be the best thing that ever happened to Vinny Lecavalier. What Vinny really needs right now is direction from a man like Steve.”
-Jacques Demers. More on Lecavalier from Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times.
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
“Can I come by the house?” Steve Yzerman asked….
He hung up and told his wife, Marian, that Steve was on his way. They had gone through this a few months earlier when, unbeknown to most people, Yzerman nearly accepted the Minnesota GM’s job. He had come by the house then, like a dutiful son, and Marian Ilitch was so broken up by the thought of Yzerman leaving she stayed in the back, crying.
This time she and Mike sat in the family room and listened (albeit, Ilitch admitted, with “teary eyes”). They listened to Yzerman thank them over and over. They listened to him say how much he had learned.
And they listened to him say farewell.
“Since he’s been 17 years old,” Ilitch said Tuesday, from home, voice catching. “I mean, talk about family. That’s legit family. But he’s 45 now and it’s time.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Detroit Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch issued the following statement regarding Steve Yzerman’s hiring by the Tampa Bay Lightning:
“Today is a difficult day for us, just as we know it is for Red Wings fans everywhere. It’s hard to imagine Steve Yzerman in anything other than the red and white Winged Wheel as he has been synonymous with the Red Wings and Hockeytown for as long as most of us can remember! We want to congratulate Steve on his new position with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is an exciting and well-deserved opportunity for him and his family, and we know he will do a terrific job in this next chapter of his life.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
As the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Yzerman, now 45, will be able to walk into the room and get his players attention because they know, if nothing else, he has been there and done that.
“I think right away Steve brings instant credibility to the Tampa Bay organization,” says Kris Draper, Yzerman’s longtime teammate with the Detroit Red Wings. “It is a big loss for the Red Wings. He was very influential as a player and always had a positive presence as an executive for the Wings. He did a great job with Team Canada and will bring that enthusiasm to Tampa Bay.”
Yzerman, as you probably know, was a terrific player for 21 years, captaining the Red Wings to three Stanley Cups and winning another as an executive. Early in his career he was regarded as a gifted offensive star, but there were questions about his ability to lead and to win. Under the guidance of Scotty Bowman, however, Yzerman transformed himself into a solid two-way player who put more of an emphasis on team results as to personal stats.
That is when he became a winner.
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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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