Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Lightning coach Rick Tocchet got into a good discussion today about rookie Steven Stamkos and the program he is undertaking to improve his game. Tocchet said he doesn’t want Stamkos just watching the games when he is scratched. He wants him noticing tendencies and the plays and strategy. He wants him writing stuff down in a notebook so that the next day when he has a 15- to 20-minute “classroom session” with assistant Wes Walz, he has a basis of knowledge.
“He doesn’t just go up there and sit there and look at the ice girls or anything,” Tocchet said. “He’s watching the game.”
via Bolts Report,
Lightning forward Evgeny Artyukhin has been suspended for two games, starting with tonight’s game against Dallas. There has been no word from the league or the team, but Artyukhin said after he came off the ice that he spoke to the league on Sunday about his knee-on-knee hit with Florida’s Ville Peltonen during Saturday’s game.
TORONTO (Jan. 19, 2008) – Tampa Bay Lightning forward Evgeny Artyukhin has been suspended for two games, without pay, for a kneeing incident in NHL Game #667 against the Florida Panthers, the National Hockey League announced today.
Artyukhin was assessed a minor penalty for tripping Panthers’ forward Ville Peltonen at 19:33 of the second period.
Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Artyukhin will forfeit $10,215.06. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
While the memories of what was accomplished during his six seasons with the Lightning remain, little else is left of the organization he knew for so long. Ownership has changed, the coaching staff is gone, management is new and the roster looks nothing like the one he left last season. And only two players remain on the roster in which Richards won a Stanley Cup with - Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.
Richards said playing against the Lightning won’t feel as strange as squaring off against Lecavalier for the first time in his life. Lecavalier and Richards have been playing together since their early years in high school, playing for Notre Dame Academy in Saskatchewan. Both played for Rimouski in junior hockey and were drafted by the Lightning.
“It’s definitely going to be bizarre,” Lecavalier said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. It will be fun to see him play again.”
from Erik Erlendsson of Bolts Report,
There is a good chance that Evgeny Artyukhin will at least receive a phone call from the league office, if he hasn’t already, regarding his knee-on-knee hit with Florida’s Ville Peltonen. It appeared that Arthukhin stuck out his knee as the two collided at the end of the second period. Peltonen lay on the ice for several minutes and had to be helped off the ice. The Panthers scored the eventual game winner on the penalty (which was called tripping, not kneeing).
more on the Lightning…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Lightning general manager Brian Lawton issued the obligatory public denials this week, which must of necessity be taken at face value. Lecavalier is not on the block; has never been on the block; and never will be on the block.
OK, we can go with that officially - for now.
But just in case the Tampa brain trust ever changes its collective mind, a Lecavalier deal would be reminiscent of the landmark transaction that saw Eric Lindros go from the Quebec Nordiques to the Philadelphia Flyers for what eventually amounted to a one-for-eight deal. And something for the Canadiens to keep in mind: In hindsight, if Peter Forsberg hadn’t evolved into one of the most dominant players of his era, the decision to give up quantity for quality wouldn’t really have hurt the Flyers too much.
read on with many more NHL topics..
from Spector at Fox Sports,
As much as fans and media in more “traditional” hockey markets love to disparage the fans of Sun Belt franchises such as Tampa Bay, Lightning fans aren’t fools.
They’ve seen a Stanley Cup champion built only to be torn apart by salary cap constraints and questionable moves. They gave the new ownership a chance but have been sorely disappointed by the results so far. They’re openly questioning the business savvy of Koules and Barrie and the management ability of rookie GM Lawton.
Thanks to the off-ice bungling and the on-ice mediocrity, the Lightning have a serious PR problem in Tampa Bay. Dealing away Lecavalier — be it for financial reasons, by his request or a serious attempt to rebuild — would be like tossing gasoline on the fire, especially if the return fails to significantly address the club’s needs.
from Lightning Strikes,
Perhaps rallying is a little too strong, but there certainly is a sense in the locker room that the players, who have listened to the trade rumors involving Vinny Lecavalier, would rather the core group not be disrupted, especially now that they believe they are starting to come together with a 7-4-1 streak.
Said forward Ryan Craig: “We’re all teammates. We don’t want to see anyone from our group go, especially our leader and captain.”
Said goaltender Mike Smith: “These are our brothers in here. This is our family. We don;t want to see anything happen to our core group. ... To even think about trading a guy like that I don’t know. He’s the face of this franchise. He’s been here since he’s 18 years old.”
OK, time to move on…
added 4:39pm, from Lightning Strikes,
As for Lecavalier, the calm and cool one showed a few cracks.
“I signed with Tampa for 11 years thinking I’d be here,” he said. “Obviously, it was a big decision for me this summer. The people in Tampa have been great to me, the team, we won a Stanley Cup here. It’s definitely been a stressful few days. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. But right now, it’s just rumors. That’s all it is.”
added 5:18pm, from Bolts Report,
And until either Vinny comes out and say he has no desire to leave the franchise or Lawton says emphatically that Vinny won’t be traded, none of this is going to go away. And just think of the zoo that will await Lecavalier when he heads to Montreal next weekend for the All-Star game.
from Elliotte Friedman of Blogs and Colums at CBC,
Ask yourself the following questions:
1) How many teams in the NHL can actually afford Lecavalier’s 11-year, $85 million contract?
2) How many of those teams historically would be willing to have anyone on their roster making anywhere near that kind of cash?
3) How many of those teams have the kind of cap flexibility to add him?
The last question is crucial, because this is not a situation where the Lightning want to take another team’s big contract in return. So, if, for argument’s sake, the Flyers were interested, it’s impossible to believe that Tampa would take Daniel Briere in exchange, because both deals are similarly front-loaded. (Please understand: I have no reason to believe this has been discussed. It’s just an example.)
So, how many teams are really in this race?
from Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times,
How much for Vinny?
And come to think of it, how much for a franchise’s credibility?
This is what the front office cowboys of the Lightning need to realize: It is impossible to lose one without sacrificing the other. Think of it as a two-for-one deal. If the team trades away Vinny Lecavalier, it is also trading away one of the last reasons to believe in it.
It is as simple as this. Fans trust Vinny Lecavalier a great deal, and they don’t trust the new ownership at all.
Around here, Lecavalier is not only the face of a franchise, he is the faith. In the chaos of a season, he is the reason to keep watching. He is the reason to think things might eventually get good again.
I will be passing on the future Vinny stories that are sure to come, but will keep KK readers informed if any news actually comes out of all this talk.
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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