Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
There are days, Zenon Konopka admitted — like the one in Detroit when his neck and wrist were packed in ice and he could not speak clearly because of the stitches in his mouth — that he wonders what his body will feel like at age 50.
It is bad enough, he said, at 28.
“It’s a concern,” Konopka said. “But life’s too short. Everything in your life is in the now.”
And for now, his body is his most reliable tool and one of the Lightning’s most important weapons.
Tampa Bay does not have a heavyweight enforcer. Instead, it relies on Konopka, a middleweight, really, but who is willing to take on anyone.
from Erik Erlendsson of Bolts Report,
The Lightning will face the Predators tonight minus former all-star Alex Tanguay and center Jeff Halpern, both of whom will be healthy scratches tonight as Tampa Bay attempts to end a stretch of nine games in which the Lightning have one victory. Tampa Bay will field a team with eight defensemen in the lineup, with David Hale and Kurtis Foster expected to see time on the fourth line.
“We’ve got eight (losses) in nine and I don’t like the trend, certain individuals and as a team,’’ Tocchet said. “And that’s probably my fault for letting it go the past three or four games. Sometimes you put the onus on the players and certain people to straighten it. But ultimately it’s on my (rear end). Hopefully we’ll have 18 or 19 guys going and not just 11 or 12.’‘
from Damian Critodero of the St. Petersburg Times,
So, what is a GM to do when his team has one win in nine games while scoring 13 goals?
Maintain patience, Lawton said, and faith in the players.
“One of the things that has happened here, in my opinion, the last few years, it has been panic at times,” he said. “You’re not going to see that. It’s slow and steady. It’d be nice to make three blockbuster trades and be first in our division two weeks from now, but it doesn’t work that way.”
Besides, Lawton added, “I have complete confidence in the group. At some point, everybody in that room recognizes and understands that this business, everything around it is predicated on winning. But as far as my confidence level in the group, I have tremendous confidence in the guys here. They’ve just got to get the job done.”
from Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News,
Don’t look now, but the Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors have started up again.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun recently suggested Vincent Lecavalier didn’t look happy playing for Tampa Bay, noting his offensive struggles this season and claiming his coach didn’t seem to know how to use him.
While Lecavalier is in the first year of his 11-year, $70 million-plus contract, which also contains a no-movement clause, LeBrun wondered what would happen next if Lecavalier’s situation didn’t improve in the coming months.
That sparked further speculation later in the week as columnist Yvon Pedneault and former NHL coach Pat Burns also weighed in on the possibility of Lecavalier moving later in the season.
continued plus more rumor talk…
Marian Hossa catches the puck, tosses it down and puts it in the net before it hits the ice.
Antero Niittymaki gets the puck with his stick before it completely crosses the goal line.
thanks to DayWalk3r (Twitter) for the pointer.
They would move him in a Hollywood minute.
-Barry Melrose when asked if Tampa would trade Vinny Lecavalier.
Watch below as Melrose and E.J, Hradek discuss Vinny along with other players who may be moved this season.
from Spector at FoxSports,
Whether or not you choose to believe the speculation there are three significant factors preventing Lecavalier from being dealt this season; his “no-movement” clause, his expensive contract, and the NHL salary cap.
It’s widely believed last season Lecavalier was close to being dealt but a disagreement between the club’s owners prevented such a move. Regardless, it was easier to move him last season as he didn’t have a movement clause.
Sure, his whopping 11-year, $70 million-plus contract with a movement clause would start this season but Lecavalier was a hot commodity last season and the Bolts ownership could have moved him without his permission to any club they wished.
“It’s on the leaders. They have to understand we have to play a certain way. ... We’re playing the Washington Capitals. You can’t be out there 45 seconds and throw the puck blind in front. we’re trying plays that are not there. Zero-zero hockey game, there’s no excuse to do stupid things 22 minutes into a game. So, how should they take it? Honestly, I don’t care. We have enough guys playing the right way.”
-Lightning Coach Rick Tocchet on why he benched players during last night’s game against the Capitals. More from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Hotstover Pierre LeBrun’s weekly ESPN blatherings included more rumblings that Vincent Lecavalier is unhappy in Tampa. I have no doubt Pierre is correct. Lecavalier simply does not trust Lightning management/ownership after everything that happened last year. No matter what anyone connected with that franchise says - number four was available for trade.
That said, someone he trusts must tell him to get over his funk. He’s playing himself off the Canadian Olympic team. He’s hurting his reputation around the league. Rick Tocchet raised eyebrows by giving him less than four minutes in the first period in Philly on Nov. 2, but if you check his ice time since then, it’s been consistently around the 20-minute mark.
The Lightning outraged its fan base last winter as it turned L’Affaire Lecavalier into a fiasco. I never thought I’d write or say this, but I think it’s best for both the franchise and the player to sit down and figure out how to give everyone a fresh start.
more plus additional hockey 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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