Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
John Tortorella wishes he could do it over again because he certainly would do it differently.
The Lightning coach said he regrets telling general manager Jay Feaster perhaps it was time he step down because he discovered that is not how he feels.
“I want to stay here and fight and try to make this team better with the new ownership group and Jay Feaster,” Tortorella said Wednesday. “I want to be part of the retooling.”
But at his postseason meeting with Feaster, Tortorella said the opposite; that after seven seasons and finishing 2007-08 last in the league, “Maybe there needs to be a different voice.”
via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal (paid sub.),
Oren Koules, the prospective buyer of the Tampa Bay Lightning, has lost his second lender in three months as the global credit crisis continues to take its toll on sports financing.
CIT Group, which finance sources said had appeared ready to lend Koules up to $110 million, backed out earlier this month. This follows the loss of a pending loan earlier this year from Société Générale, which abruptly exited the sports business and scuttled an oral agreement with the Hollywood movie producer….
“It is fair to say that the financial markets are strained, as we speak, and we will look to help with the financing of a portion of the purchase price,” wrote Tom Wilson, chief executive officer of Palace Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Lightning, in an e-mail. “The deal is still on.”
added 7:59pm, from Lightning Strikes,
Hollywood producer Oren Koules, who has been trying to close a deal to buy the Lightning for four months, has some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to two two helping hands that will provide $100-million in financing for the $200-million deal.
Lightning president Ron Campbell said Monday that owner Palace Sports & Entertainment and Galatioto Sports Partners will share the financing Koules needs to make the deal work.
from Lightning Strikes,
The representative for Russian freight train Evgeny Artyukhin said he and Tampa Bay are talking about a contract. This would be a good thing for the Lightning as the 6-foot-4, 254-pound left wing would provide some muscle and forechecking power to a team that, for the most part last season, lacked a physical edge.
The Lightning was mum Thursday, but Gandler said, “Both sides want to see Evgeny back playing in Tampa next season and for the next few seasons.”
Of a contract, he said, without giving specifics, “It think it’s doable and it should be done.”
from Bolts Report,
The Lightning just released this statement regarding Lecavalier’s surgery:
Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier underwent successful surgery today to repair the Glenoid Labrum in his right shoulder. The surgery was performed by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lecavalier dislocated the shoulder in the Lightning’s game on April 3 at Washington. A detailed rehabilitation protocol will be established by Dr. Andrews’ personal physical therapist and will be conducted under the supervision of the Lightning medical staff.
a little more...
from Lightning Strikes,
“Every time I read Bruce Boudreau’s comments that Vinny just happened to step in front of a train,’’ Feaster said. “First that’s what it was because (Lecavalier) wasn’t looking. Then it was he didn’t see him coming. I think he embarrasses himself every time he opens his mouth about the subject. I think they should be happy Matt Cooke is in the lineup tonight, it’s only a $2,500 fine….
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org