Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Tampa Bay Lightning has hired Barry Melrose as head coach; brace yourself, this could really get ugly.
And considering it’s the Lightning we’re talking about here, that’s saying something.
Apparently new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie felt it was a good idea to replace a Stanley Cup winning coach with a guy who not only hasn’t coached a game in the NHL for 13 years, but was one who had a mediocre .449 winning percentage in just three seasons of NHL experience in the first place.
from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
Barry Melrose has been named thesixth head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was announced by owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie.
“We are very pleased that Barry signed on to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning,” Barrie and Koules said in a joint statement. “We believe Barry offers just what this team needs and it starts with his ability to get all 20 players pushing in the same direction and playing at 100 percent night-in, night out. We like his enthusiasm and passion for the game and we know the fans of Tampa Bay will take a liking to him.”
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer!
from Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
He already has gotten in trouble with the NHL for talking too much, which is a major plus. Outgoing owner Bill Davidson (we think that was his name) did neither of those things - get in trouble, or talk. Or show up here, for that matter.
Koules also has a sense of what people want to hear.
He promises fun at the Forum.
He promises action.
He promises the team won’t move to Vegas, Kansas City, or anywhere else.
All of that - the look, the promises, the cool - are good things. Koules clearly is a hockey guy, too.
From Jim Gintonio at the Arizona Republic,
Coyotes assistant Rick Tocchet has decided not to return to the team, an NHL source has confirmed.
Tocchet is expected to join the staff of new Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Barry Melrose, whose appointment is expected to be announced at a news conference on Tuesday.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Koules and Barrie were able to take a few minutes to speak with The Tampa Tribune to discuss why they wanted to venture into the business of owning an NHL franchise, how they met and shared some of their ideas on what kind of a team the fans can expect to see on the ice….
Q: So does that mean you have a pretty aggressive game plan put together in terms of free agency when it opens July 1?
LB: “We might be camping out at two different spots selling our team, selling our city and selling our passion.”
OK: “We are probably going to be in certain players’ backyards with a tent, seriously, the day of. The day the clock strikes we will probably be at their home. And I don’t want that written because I don’t want anybody stealing our ideas. But we are serious, we are seriously talking about doing that.”
Q: Do you have a payroll in mind of what you want to spend or will you wait to see how that plays out?
OK: “We are going to shoot for the moon and see how everything fits.”
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Now, the tea leaves. Given that only a small percentage of players work beyond their late 30s, a man of Lecavalier’s age, and riches already banked, is probably looking at no more than an eight-year extension, bringing him to age 37. The league soon will announce that a max deal, based on leaguewide revenues and the salary-cap figure, will be pegged around $11 million a year.
Exposed in the free agent market next summer, Lecavalier likely would entice at least a couple of suitors (are you listening, Montreal?) to offer him a max deal. To remain in Tampa, where many of his extended family members have moved in recent years, he probably would lock in around eight years at $80 million.
more NHL talk…
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Maybe Oren Koules and Len Barrie are going to be a two-headed version of Mark Cuban. Maybe, as some in the hockey industry suggest, they’re going to turn the Tampa Bay Lightning upside down with their idiosyncratic notions of ownership activism….
Stories of Barrie and Koules calling other NHL teams directly to discuss player moves, with Lightning GM Jay Feaster left to figure out the details, are already popular gossip topics in hockey circles.
from Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
Seen Stamkos? Those billboards are all over town, touting the virtues of the 18-year-old the Bolts chose Friday with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
I have a better idea, at least for incoming owner Oren Koules.
That would be Michael Jordan, who has never played hockey (so far as we know). That didn’t stop former Bolts owner Art Williams from declaring 10 years ago on a night just like this that Vinny Lecavalier would become “the Michael Jordan of hockey.” Then, as now, the Bolts built the kid into Superman without bothering to wait for him to grow.
They made Vinny the savior of the franchise before he even knew his way around town.
It appears the excitement surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning’s offseason won’t stop after selecting Steven Stamkos at Friday’s NHL Entry Draft.
TSN’s sister station in Quebec RDS reports that the Lightning and centre Vincent Lecavalier have made very good progress on discussions that would see him sign a ‘lifelong’ contract with the club after July 1.
Lecavalier, 28, is entering the final season of a four-year, $27.5 million contract where he will earn $7.167 million.
Original RDS report (in French).
from Lightning Strikes,
And superstar Vinny Lecavalier was thrilled his good friend and linemate with whom he has had so much success has a chance to be back on the MVP line with him and Marty St. Louis. And that is probably most important.
The Lightning has said since February it wants to sign Lecavalier to an extension. That rhetoric was turned up earlier this month when Lecavalier’s agent, Kent Hughes, said he believes the organization is shooting to keep Lecavalier on the team for his entire career. Not that Prospal, 33, will be around that long, but getting Prospal sends a definite message to Lecavalier that the organization cares what he thinks.
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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