Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the Tampa Bay Lightning,
The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired center Chris Gratton from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2007 or 2008 NHL Entry Draft (Florida’s option), Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
Lecavalier also addressed a question about the Lightning’s future plans and the speculation that one of the big three – him, Martin St. Louis or Brad Richards – might be traded for salary-cap reasons.
“This week, they announced they’re going to keep the budget the same, or maybe even bring it up,” said Lecavalier. “You never know in hockey what can happen, but from what I hear and from what meetings I’ve had at the end of the year, we’ll keep the same guys.”
more… *on Lecavalier winning the Maurice Richard Trophy
from the St. Peterburg Times,
The Lightning general manager got word this week from owner Bill Davidson that payroll will not be cut, as was feared, and might even end up higher than last season’s $44-million.
In a perfect world, Feaster said, that would end speculation one of his high-priced stars - Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Brad Richards or Dan Boyle - will have to be traded.
“It should, ” Feaster said Thursday. “I hope it does. It’s one of the things Feaster and Davidson talked about. He likes those players. He recognizes we’re very close. He’s bullish on this team.”
For more talk on off-season movement, check out Spector and make sure to go back a few days too.
“Associate coach Craig Ramsay has been relieved of his coaching duties with the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Club,” executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster said. “We thank Craig for his seven years of service to this franchise and for his hard work and dedication in helping us become Stanley Cup Champions.
“Head coach John Tortorella has begun the process of identifying and interviewing coaching candidates to serve as his top assistant. No timetable has been placed on filling the position.”
added 12:34pm, from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In a curious and unusual move that means John Tortorella will be the Tampa Bay Lightning’s coach for the foreseeable future, the NHL team essentially fired long-time associate coach Craig Ramsay today. Officially, Ramsay was “relieved of his duties” by general manager Jay Feaster. This was an extraordinary development for a lot of reasons, beginning with the fact that Ramsay was one of the NHL’s highest-paid assistants (hence, the “associate” coach designation).
from the St. Peterburg Times,
“I concur we have a very good core here,” Feaster said. “It’s a core capable of winning a championship. So from that standpoint our window of opportunity is still open. That’s something we’d like to take advantage of.”
The question is, will Bill Davidson, owner of Lightning parent company Palace Sports & Entertainment, provide the money to acquire a No. 1 goaltender and a scoring wing, the biggest holes on a team eliminated Sunday from the first round of the playoffs for the second straight season?
Feaster said his preliminary budget for next season is $40-million. That is about $4-million less than this season and could be up to $9-million below the yet-to-be-set league salary cap.
Coaches and players said this is no time to pull back, though CEO Tom Wilson said Palace Sports will lose $9-million on its Tampa operation this fiscal year.
The Hockey News comments on yesterday’s action…
•I’d imagine the Lightning’s loss will mean one of their big three (Richards, Martin St-Louis, Vincent Lecavalier) will be on the move this summer. Tampa GM Jay Feaster can’t go into the 2007-08 season so top-heavy in payroll and he needs to improve his defense.
•I don’t buy the theory that older teams tend to wear down during overtime or late in a series. The Red Wings looked young and strong throughout the overtime of Game 6, the seventh-plus period of hockey they played in about 33 hours. A younger Calgary team looked wasted at times. Durability is all about conditioning and drive, not age.
St. Louis: 31:35
Tampa Bay gave it all, but the Devils move on.
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals are set:
from the St. Petersburg Times,
The Lightning all season has bemoaned its lack of balanced scoring, and no team during the regular season had more goals tied up in two players.
The issue has remained hot in the playoffs as Lecavalier, with five goals, and St. Louis, with three, combined for eight of Tampa Bay’s 12. It got more scrutiny after a 3-0 loss in Game 5 that upped Tampa Bay’s goalless streak to 97:34.
“Something big has to happen from someone you’re not expecting it from,” Tortorella said. “All teams need that if they’re going to progress.”
from the Tampa Tribune,
We knew at some point in the series that [Brodeur] was going to stand on his head and he played very well,” Lightning captain Tim Taylor said. “That’s why he is who he is.”
And on this night, Brodeur had to be the Brodeur the Devils have relied upon so many times in the past. The Lightning showed no effects of an emotional overtime loss two nights earlier and showed up to play.
Tampa Bay was the better team on the ice for most of the game, limiting the Devils to 14 shots, a franchise record low allowed by Tampa Bay in a playoff game and a New Jersey record for fewest shots at home in a postseason game….
Lightning coach John Tortorella said he liked they way his team played, but failed to elaborate on his point. When pushed on the issue, he traded expletives with a reporter from the New York Post while being broadcast live on Canadian television station CBC.
added 3:43pm, To see the Tortorella interview, go here...
One of BCR’s favorite supporters to have around is the NHL’s Luke Richardson. Recently the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman came out with a Sun Sports film crew to film a segment on the cats for cable tv. From years of checking people into the boards to now being a Big Cat supporter, Luke does it all.
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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