Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tampa Tribune,
If Columbus is considered to be among the front-runners for Richards, then the presence of two Blue Jackets scouts, including the team’s director of player personnel, Don Boyd, will only fuel that speculation.
At the same time, the team continues to discuss a contract extension with D Dan Boyle, although there is no progress to report. If terms of a new contract cannot be agreed upon before Tuesday, it is widely known that the Lightning will explore trading him rather than risk losing him to free agency with any type of compensation.
Other players believed to be in play on the trade market include LW Vinny Prospal, D Filip Kuba, C Chris Gratton and possibly LW Jan Hlavac and G Johan Holmqvist.
From Bob McKenzie at TSN,
The word on the street from rival general managers around the league is that Lightning GM Jay Feaster is in a situation where he’s being told by potential team owner Oren Koules to find out what he could get for veteran forward Brad Richards. [...]
First, the team wants to have centre Vincent Lecavalier signed to a long-term contract this summer. They want him locked up and made him a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning for life. Secondly, you know that winger Martin St. Louis is also in for the long haul because his contract gets more affordable with each passing year.
Feaster also wants to sign defenceman Dan Boyle to a long-term contract, but the team also wants to get a No. 1 goaltender somewhere down the line. It’s going to be expensive to do all of that.
more… with ideas about potential destinations for Richards. (*apparently $7.8 million salary isn’t as limiting as I would’ve thought…)
from Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Speaking of the Lightning – a retired NHLer and one-time assistant coach weighed in Tuesday on the Bolts’ need for a coaching change.
“It’s clear that team has stopped listening to (John) Tortorella,” the former player, who asked that his name not be used, told THN.com. “And that’s not saying Torts has forgotten how to coach. But guys who use his (hard-edged) style only have a limited shelf life….”
more and Richards talk too…
from Lightning Strikes,
Feaster isn’t trading Vinny Lecavalier. He probably wants to keep Boyle. To do that, he has to cut salary somewhere. Richards has underperformed, Forsberg seems out of the equation, so it seems logical Feaster wants to see what Richards’ market is like before deciding if he can sign Boyle, because if Tampa Bay can be out from under Richards’ salary, that makes Boyle’s contract doable.
As we have said, there are a lot of moving parts here, including how the Lightning does Wednesday and Thursday in what will be a difficult back-to-back against the Sabres and Islanders.
from Eduardo Encina of the St. Petersburg Times,
Hockey players have a tough time giving up on helmets, shin guards and other equipment, but there’s something about the feel and comfort of worn shoulder pads that makes them special.
“I’ve had mine since I was 16,” said center Brad Richards, 27. “They’re going to stay with me. They’re not going anywhere. I don’t know if it’s weird, but I can change skates 100 times a year, gloves, all that stuff, but my shoulder pads, if I didn’t have those, I’d be lost forever.”
Much like someone having a worn-in baseball glove or a favorite pair of sneakers, some hockey players don’t want to let go of their favorite equipment, no matter how ratty it becomes.
Some players are the same way with other equipment.
from Lightning Strikes,
Lightning star Vinny Lecavalier said he knows all about the rumor that came out of a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast that said he was tired of playing in a small market and would asked to be traded to perhaps New York, Los Angeles or, surprise, his hometown of Montreal.
Lecavalier said he was called by his agent, who asked Lecavalier if he wanted him to “do something about’’ the story. But Lecavalier said he would rather the rumor die of its own weight. Lecavalier reiterated he is not looking to be anywhere else.
“There was a time when I thought the grass was greener somewhere else,’’ Lecavalier has said of his trade request in 2001 amidst much rancor with coach John Tortorella that almost got him moved the the Maple Leafs, “but it’s not.’‘
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
A new name surfaced among the NHL players available before the trading deadline next week — Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brad Richards.
According to a league source, Lightning general manager Jay Feaster was the busiest among his fellow GMs after they arrived here for their annual winter meetings on Sunday night. Feaster was known to be shopping a list of players but until Sunday night when he started shopping him around, Richards was not known to be on it.
from Lightning Strikes,
Here is coach John Tortorella after the game:
“As I’ve always said, everybody always talks about the three guys,’’ he said of Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Dan Boyle. “But there is no one more important to our team than Danny Boyle. He is our transition key.’‘
Perhaps Boyle, who wants to make the Tampa Bay area, perhaps even St. Petersburg, his long-term home, takes a little less to stay, though he already did that in his current contract of three-years, $10-million. Much could depend on what the Lightning wants to be. Does it want to compete next season under would-be owner Oren Koules, or does it want to take some steps back now to take more forward later. The answer to that riddle may be the key to getting a new contract done.
from Bolts Report,
But the deal is anything but done at this point. The financing is not secured, but it doesn’t really have to be at this point, it would just give everybody a greater comfort level….
And don’t think that the timing of this isn’t important, either. The trade deadline is less than two weeks away and there are plenty of things on the Lightning’s table and you would have to think Koules wants to be involved as a decision maker in that process….
What does the team do with the Big Three? Word is that those guys, along with Boyle, are a big reason why he wants to buy this team. So unless Jay Feaster or John Tortorella can convince - assuming they want to - of the long-term benefits of breaking up the Big Three, nobody is going anywhere.
from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGAN and LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, February 13, 2008 –
Palace Sports & Entertainment and OK Hockey LLC, an entity controlled by Oren Koules, announced today that they have entered into a definitive purchase agreement whereby OK Hockey LLC would acquire the Tampa Bay Lightning, the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum and approximately 5.5 acres of land in Tampa’s Channelside District from Palace Sports & Entertainment. Completion of the transaction, which is expected to close within the next 105 days, is contingent on customary closing conditions and final approval from the National Hockey League.
added 6:28pm, Lightning Strikes asks the key question…
The next question will be who makes the final calls as the trade deadline approaches.
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