Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun at Slam/Canoe,
Flames fans can dream all they want about the return of Marc Savard to answer the club’s playmaking needs.
However, the odds are infinitely better another former Flame will be recalled on Canada Day: Alex Tanguay.
While some may be sickened at the thought the former castoff may return as the team’s biggest off-season acquisition, the man whose stock has made like BP’s ever since he asked for a trade out of Cowtown is likely the best fit out there for the cash-strapped club.
From the St. Pete Times’ Damian Cristodero:
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has sent a message to Vinny Lecavalier.
“We’re going to challenge him to be better,” Yzerman said.
But Yzerman also apparently assured the captain, who is coming off two disappointing seasons, he still is part of the plan.
“I’m not going to go out and start shopping Vinny Lecavalier around,” Yzerman said recently at the St. Pete Times Forum.
From the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson:
Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier’s thoughts understandably have been preoccupied of late, filled more with 3 a.m. feedings and diaper changes than hockey.
But during the past month, following the birth of daughter Victoria on May 3, Lecavalier has watched from afar as Tampa Bay has undergone an extreme makeover in the hiring of GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Guy Boucher. Considering the events of the past two years, when things played out like a soap opera, Lecavalier is encouraged by what’s taking place with the only franchise he has known since entering the league in 1998.
“I’m very, very excited about what is happening with this organization from new ownership, to a guy like Steve Yzerman, who knows where he is going,” Lecavalier said. “He’s got a plan, he’s an honest person and comes from an organization of winners over the past 20 years and he will bring that mentality.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Yzerman sat down Wednesday to address some of the items at the top of a long laundry list of things to work through before training camp starts in September.
Any chance you use the No. 6 overall pick as a trade chip?
I won’t say no, and we don’t have anything in the works right now. We’ve talked about the possibilities. I want to keep as many picks as possible. I think we just need to build up depth in our prospects, we need young players coming, so very remote that we move it.
How active should we expect you to be on July 1 when free agency begins?
As much as I would love to have a splash on July 1, I don’t want to sign a player just so we can have a press conference, it has to make sense. That’s the discipline we have to have. And frankly we’ve got some things within our own club that we have to take care of, like contracts and other things moving forward that we really need to focus in on and then slowly build around that.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman put into motion a process which he hopes will end with a contract extension for star wing Marty St. Louis. Yzerman said he spoke on Wednesday to St. Louis’ agent and hopes a deal that “makes sense” for both sides can be worked out.
“He’s a first-class guy and he deserves to be treated with the utmost respect, and I’ll do that,” Yzerman said. “Where it ends up, we’ll see. They want to make a deal that makes sense for them, and I have to make a deal that makes sense for us. We have some time to get it done, but it definitely is a priority for me.”
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.
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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