Kukla's Korner Hockey
“In all my years in this business, I have never seen an NHL team with such total lack of respect for the health and well being of one of their own. Here is a player with integrity, honor and a strong work ethic which is being completely abandoned by the team he played for this year.”
-NHL player agent Allan Walsh on the Lightning refusing to pay for surgery on his client, Stephane Veilleux. More from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
Best-case scenario, a new CEO hits the ground running with a vetted short list of GM candidates from which to pick.
But as a precaution, the team also must be prepared to hire a general manager without a CEO in place. That’s not ideal, because the GM will answer to the CEO. But the general manager must plan for the June 25-26 draft, and the timing for hiring a CEO can be flexible if Vinik’s choice has personal obligations that keep him from immediately coming on board or perhaps obligations to a current employer.
Former Senators CEO Roy Mlakar is believed in the mix for the CEO gig. Former Lightning chief operating officer Sean Henry also might be considered, as might former Lightning president Ron Campbell. Tod Leiweke, CEO of the NFL’s Seahawks and rumored to be part of the conversation, has said he is not a candidate.
As for general managers, former Wild GM Doug Risebrough is interested. It is believed Red Wings vice president Steve Yzerman and Maple Leafs assistant GM Dave Nonis have been contacted, and perhaps Pierre McGuire, a television analyst for NBC and Canada’s TSN, and a former assistant GM with the old Whalers.
I’m fairly skeptical of the idea of Yzerman leaving Michigan, even in the name of Steven Stamkos. Yzerman is one of the six or seven icons in Detroit sports history. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch pays his people well. It’s hard to believe Yzerman lathering up with sunscreen to turn the Lightning around.
But if you connect some dots, it’s easy to see why Yzerman might be tempted. He recently said as much to ESPN, saying he wants to be a GM, but would probably have to go somewhere else to be one.
-Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune. Read more about the idea of Stevie leaving Detroit for Tampa.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
What would it take for Steve Yzerman to leave the comfort of the Red Wings, a team he has been with as a player and executive for 27 seasons, and take a job as, say, Lightning general manager? Scotty Bowman, who coached Yzerman from 1993-2002, said don’t hold your breath.
“I’d be surprised if he leaves,” Bowman said Friday. “He’s like the son to the owner. He’s been there nearly 30 years, and I think he’s in line to move up the chain.”
But Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada, said, “If the right situation came along, I think Steve Yzerman would step out and take on the challenge.”
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
Sources close to the Tampa Bay Lightning say Dave Nonis, Steve Yzerman and Doug Risebrough are believed to be high on new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik’s short list of potential GMs.
Sources say the Red Wings have granted permission for Tampa Bay to speak with Yzerman, currently a vice president in Detroit.
Yzerman won’t comment on the possibility, although his interest in making the move now may be amplified by the fact Detroit will soon announce Ken Holland’s contract extension as executive vice president and general manager.
from Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times,
This year, Lemaire had an average offense, a mediocre defense and an aging-by-the-minute goalie in Martin Brodeur and still guided the Devils to a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Devils’ flaws were then exposed in the first round of the playoffs, where they were upset by the Flyers in a mere five games. Still, Lemaire will go down as one of the best coaches ever and, perhaps, its greatest teacher.
Anyway, relax Lemaire-haters, Lemaire will not be the Lightning’s next coach. But it’s not a stretch to see him as a consultant for the Lightning, especially if Risebrough is the general manager. And anytime you can add to your organization a man who has his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times, it’s a very good thing.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
“My goal,’’ he said, “is to turn the Tampa Bay Lightning into a world-class organization,’’ said Vinik, who ran Fidelity’s Magellan Fund prior to opening his own hedge fund, Vinik Asset Management, which continues to be his day job. “To do that, I’ll hire a super CEO, and then it will be his job to hire a super GM, and it will be the GM’s job to hire a super coach.
“I want excellence throughout the organization, people who are great people with great vision and integrity.’’
If they come at a high cost, so be it, said Vinik, whose aim is to have the top three jobs filled by the time of the draft at the end of June. His career in finance has taught him that the best people often come with high price tags, but he’s OK with shelling out, “because in the end, you find those people pay dividends.’’
more plus other hockey topics…
Damian Cristodero of Lightining Strikes talks to Vinny Lecavalier,
On being an elite player again: Yeah, definitely. That was three years ago (winning the Richard Trophy). It wasn’t 10 years ago. I’m still young. I’m still strong. I’m going to come back next year and try to do it.
On pinpointing last season’s troubles: I felt that maybe I could have shot even more. It’s really tough to say. I know I say that every single time, but it really is confidence and what you build on. There was so much inconsistency, I never really got into a rhythm. A little bit more after the (Olympic) break, but you don’t want to start when there’s 20 games left. You want to start at the first of the year. I felt I trained hard last summer and was ready to go. It didn’t happen the way I wanted it to.
“I want to be on a winning team. It’s three years of this and (we’re going) back to square one, so I want to be on a winning team. That’s the biggest thing. I’m not getting any younger. We’ll see how it all shakes out this summer.”
-Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. More from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times.
The new Lightning owner talks about the future plus Vinny Lecavalier discusses the moves.
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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