Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Erik Erlendsson at the Bolts Report:
This is also what I was able to surmise from conversations last night. Barry Melrose is not a done deal. No definitive offers have been made to anybody and the team is still talking to other candidates. And to clarify one other thing, no deal with Melrose, or anybody else for that matter, can be done anytime soon, and certainly not in the next couple of days. Oren Koules and his group were told by the executive board of the NHL the other day that the only issues that can be dealt with right now are those of a time sensitive manner. A head coach, is not a time sensitive matter. Nothing can be done until the board of governors meeting on June 17 in New York. So even if a deal was in place, it certainly couldn’t be announced.
Now my reaction to the Melrose news is the same as many of you guys. I’m not sold on a coach who has been behind a television camera the past 13 years, and not behind a bench. I also can’t believe that if this were to be true, that Melrose will command a $2 million annual salary - NHL coaches not named Scotty Bowman don’t make that kind of money.
Note: Melrose himself maintained that no deal had been reached when talking to ESPN’s SportsCenter last night.
from John Henderson of the Tampa Tribune,
So we prepare to bid farewell to “shut yer yap” - to a driven, relentless hockey man who could never play the good corporate soldier. You’d never call Torts a company man and I mean that in a good way.
We’ll remember how he built a team that made a city care, however briefly, about hockey. We’ll remember the seven-game knockout of Philadelphia to go to the Cup finals for the first time. We’ll remember how, down 3-2 and headed to Calgary, where they had the celebration ready, he guaranteed the Bolts would win.
Winning is all he cared about.
From Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report,
I’m currently up in Toronto for two purposes. The first was to have the chance to meet Steven Stamkos and his family, which I did on Thursday night. The other was to swing by the combine today for the physical testing of the top prospects, including Stamkos, to find out about this VO2 bike test they put the prospects through, which has barf buckets right next to the bikes. Look for that story in Saturday’s paper.
As far as Stamkos goes, he certainly seems like one of the nicest high-profile teenagers you might ever meet. Spent just over two hours at the family house outside of Toronto and had some great conversations. Very humble family and you can see how that has carried over to Steven. Despite all the heavy marketing the Lightning have already done with Stamkos, they still answer everything with “if Tampa Bay drafts’’. They are taking nothing for granted, and that’s just how they are, they don’t want to get ahead of anything.
more on Stamkos
From Damien Cox at the Toronto Star,
One of the worst kept secrets in hockey is expected to become public in the next few days as Barry Melrose returns from TV exile to take over the coaching reins of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Melrose, who last coached in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings 13 years ago, is expected to get the Tampa job, replacing John Tortorella, who has yet to be replaced or reassigned.
More at TSN.
Update 8:42pm ET: Melrose responds on ESPN‘s SportsCenter—
“This is no different than any of the last 10 years,” Melrose said in response to a report in the Toronto Star. “I’ve been contacted by a handful of clubs every year since joining ESPN. My desire to coach again has never been a secret, but I love what I do at ESPN.”
Melrose’s return to NHL coaching has been speculated upon several times in recent years but, when asked about the report on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Friday, Melrose added: “I want to coach again in the NHL. But nothing’s going on. Uh, I work for ESPN and I’m very happy working for ESPN.”
from Lightning Strikes,
The NHL declined to comment, but if the smiles on the faces of Oren Koules and Len Barrie were an indication Thursday, they could have control of the team by the June 20-21 draft.
Koules, the Hollywood producer, and Barrie, the former NHLer turned real estate developer, met for 60 minutes with the NHL’s executive committee at its Sixth Avenue offices in New York. Koules called the meeting “a very good step” and Barrie said, “We’re excited.”
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail hockey blog,
A more intriguing story is what will happen next in the organization if and when the Oren Koules group completes its purchase of the team from Palace Sports & Entertainment. The assumption is that Koules will then ask Feaster to replace his current coach, John Tortorella, with Barry Melrose, the ESPN analyst and coach of the Wayne Gretzky-led Los Angeles Kings team that went to the 1993 Stanley Cup final. Koules is from Chicago; he played junior hockey in the Western League, for a time in Great Falls and then in Medicine Hat. That’s the connection to Melrose - that and the fact that because of his ESPN platform, Melrose may be one of the most recognizable faces in hockey south of the 49th parallel, even if he hasn’t coached in more than a decade and the game has changed in so many dramatic ways since he last worked behind an NHL bench.
If Tampa shows signs of being a gong show, how will Vincent Lecavalier respond to ongoing attempts to sign him to a what could amount to a lifetime contract extension? He might just ask that negotiations be put off until everything settles out between the old and new ownership groups and he can see how the front-office shapes up.
from Lightning Strikes,
This news release just arrived from the Lightning. No confirmation on the ACL, but the fact that the team is acknowledging surgery is likely would seem to square with the early reports. Here’s the release:
TAMPA BAY - Tampa Bay Lightning center Jeff Halpern has suffered a right knee injury that is expected to require surgery, it was announced by Lightning Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster.
added 8:10pm, from the CP via TSN,
Tampa Bay centre Jeff Halpern is expected to miss the next six to eight months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament at the IIHF World Hockey Championship, the Lightning announced Wednesday.
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
His numbers had dipped, and his contract had become a focus. Richards had seemingly gone from essential to cumbersome in a matter of months.
“Based on where the team was going and the budget situation, it was probably the right thing to do,” Richards said. “But that doesn’t make it any easier.
“I had a few uncertain moments about (waiving his no-trade clause). But I just felt it was going to get harder and harder. The way things were being run, it was turning into a dead end for me. I ended up getting pushed out, and a lot of guys had an entire season of their careers ruined.”
The Bolts bring Vinny Lecavlier and his shoulder to you.
Thanks to Bolts Report for the pointer…
Watch the video below…
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
I think the Torts-led Lightning are played out.
Leaving this franchise might be the best thing for him, if not the franchise.
Yes, part of me says keep the coach, ditch the GM and hope for wondrous new ownership. Ah, the perfect world. It won’t happen.
Johnny Torts would get another job in about 139 seconds. He’d coach on. It just shouldn’t be here.
Four years ago, the Lightning won one more Stanley Cup than we ever thought they would, and Tortorella was a driving force, pushing, prodding, winning.
He’s a great coach. I like him. I love his honesty. And he cracks me up. But he’s not the man to carry this team forward, with the wiring and patience to retool and rebuild, especially with the ongoing fouled-up sale of the team.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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