Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Damian Cristodero at Lightning Strikes,
It has been seven years since Lightning superstar Vinny Lecavalier almost was traded to the Maple Leafs, and when I say almost, I mean it. Former Lightning president Ron Campbell, who on Friday was named a senior adviser to the new ownership group spoke at length for the first time about what almost went down in December 2001.
Campbell has been credited with stopping the deal that would have brought Nik Antropov, Tomas Hoglund, Tomas Kaberle and either then-prospect Brad Boyes or a first-round draft choice.
“I didn’t stop the trade, per se,” Campbell said. “I stopped the conference call.”
From Craig Custance at the Sporting News,
SN: What was the reaction in Tampa from fans when you were hired?
Melrose: A lot of people there were still mad at me for 2004. Supposedly, I made derogatory remarks about Tampa Bay. If people remember you saying it, it doesn’t matter if you said it. That was fun. [...]
SN: So what did you supposedly say in 2004 that has fans in Tampa so riled up?
Melrose: That Tampa didn’t have a chance (in the Stanley Cup final), not nearly as good as Calgary. That was nuts—I picked Tampa Bay. I don’t know what was going on. If they think you said it, you said it.
from Spector at Fox Sports,
If Smith and Kolzig struggle it’ll not only cost the Bolts on the scoreboard but could also damage the confidence of their defense corps.
Getting the best out of his goalies and young defensemen will be a significant challenge for head coach Melrose, who must prove that he can adapt to the new NHL after being out of the coaching ranks for so long.
The Lightning’s new ownership and management have certainly proven their willingness to make take bold steps. It remains to be seen if that boldness will be rewarded.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have added an exhibition game against HC Slovan of the Slovak Extraliga, the top professional hockey league in Slovakia, at 1 p.m. ET (7 p.m. local) on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 at Samsung Arena in Bratislava, Slovakia. This will be the first-ever NHL exhibition game in Slovakia.
“He’s cut,” Melrose said. “He’d be a male model if he wasn’t a hockey player. But he’s slim. He’s 18 years old. He’s not a man yet. Vinny (Lecavalier) looked like a beanpole with shoulder pads on, too. Matter of fact, Stamkos is thicker than Vinny when Vinny came in.”
Still, Melrose continued, “He’s got to realize that’s his biggest weakness right now is his size. He’s going to be playing against men now, and that’s his biggest adjustment, playing against guys who are as fast as he is and bigger than he is. That’s what he’s got to work on. We’ve got people talking to him every week, got him on nutritional programs, and we have strength and conditioning coaches talking to him every week, so he’s going to get bigger fast and heavier fast, but he’s sill a boy right now, so it’s going to take time.”
-Barry Melrose on Steven Stamkos. Read more at Lightning Strikes…
“At one point I thought I wasn’t going to play again,” he said. “I decided that, after the way things went in the playoffs, that I wasn’t ready to quit.”
“People say, ‘Oh, you’re old, you can’t play anymore,’ but I truly believe it was kind of a fluke season,” Roberts said. “Everybody has a year once and a while with injuries. I’m close to being 100 percent and really feel good coming in this year and having a good season.”
-more on Gary Roberts from Erin Chenderlin at TampaBayLightning.com…
from Lightning Strikes,
Given the team’s cap number, it is much more likely to swap players for minor-league depth or draft choices. That means the rumors about Bryan McCabe, Darryl Sydor and Pavel Kubina can stop.
I know it’s been mentioned a great deal around the Internet before, but it is worth repeating here: Nashville seems a likely trading partner. Think about it. The Predators have 13 draft picks next year and a ton of defensive depth that includes prospects such as Cody Franson, Alex Sulzer and Jonathon Blum.
Two things are at play: The Lightning believes it is set at forward, and, as Koules said, “We feel better about our kids (on defense) than anybody else.”
from Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
And finally, all that talk of Tampa Bay possible being interested in trading for Bryan McCabe, it’s not happening. While the Lightning continue to seek out a trade or two to find a veteran defenseman in some capacity who can not only act as a mentor, but also provide some quality minutes in a stay-at-home type of role. McCabe doesn’t fit that bill at all, and a well placed source informed me that McCabe is not on the team’s short list of targets.
more on the Ligtninng, mostly season tickets talk…
from the Tampa Bay Business Journal,
How do you balance the payroll to field a competitive team, yet stay within the revenue capabilities of the market?
Carefully. We could sign a $4 million defenseman who isn’t worth it that would bring us closer to the cap, but would that make the fans happy? No, we think winning would be the best solution. It’s about fielding the best team we can.
Even with the league taking a year off to institute a salary cap, clubs are still crying poormouth. Will the Lightning be one of them if attendance drops?
Absolutely not. We don’t solely drive income from attendance. Only one-third of our income is based on attendance.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
...But the ensuing three weeks got to be so frenzied, so hectic, so exhausting, it’s amazing Lawton’s wavy brown mane hasn’t frizzled as if he actually was struck by a lightning bolt.
“It’s been kind of like the movie ‘Gladiator,’,” said the 43-year-old Lawton, reached in his office just before midnight earlier this week. “The gates open, and you’ve got to be ready for anything and make sure you’re not killed.”
In fact, Lawton has been the one doing the trampling. Since his June 25 hiring by owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, the NHL’s biggest daily headlines typically come out of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
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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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