Kukla's Korner Hockey
thanks to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Bay Tribune for the pointer
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
One of the league's scoring leaders, Tampa Bay Lighting center Steven Stamkos has evolved since breaking into the league as a first-overall draft pick in 2008. Stamkos tells ESPNNewYork.com's Katie Strang about his maturation as a player, the advice he's received from teammate Martin St. Louis and which baseball team has his heart (sort of) in this week's installment of the New York Minute.
STRANG: What's your take on this team as we near the midpoint of the season?
STAMKOS: I think we got off to a great start. Obviously, we took advantage of the good schedule in our favor, a lot of home games, catching teams back-to-back, [we] got off to a 6-1 start. Since then, it's been a little bit of a different story. Went through some tough times there -- I think we lost five, six in a row. But I think we're really starting to find the identity of our team. I think we've been playing a lot better. [We're] not necessarily getting the results we want in terms of points, but the process is ongoing and at least we're seeing some signs of life and seeing signs of guys picking up on things we're going over as a team, whether it's on practice or video. We're getting there. We've played some pretty good teams lately. When we're in the game, we've got to find ways to beat them if we want to be a good team, but the process has started to take its course, I think.
If the Lightning wants to someday add a second Stanley Cup to the trophy case, it needs to make a significant change. Trading Lecavalier would be pretty significant. And as heart-wrenching as it sounds, it's also necessary.
-Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times where you can read more why he feels the need to trade Vinny Lecavalier.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
In the course of less than a year, Anders Lindback went from the obscurity of being the backup to a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate right on to center stage as the Lightning's presumed No. 1 netminder.
But the spotlight sometimes blinds both the subject and the audience.
At times this shortened season, Lindback has been spectacular. Other times, he has struggled. It's all part of the script that most players must write.
Lindback, 24, is no different as he learns the ins, outs and pressure that come with being a No. 1.
And right now, Lindback is going through the chapter dealing with some of the struggles.
You be the judge, did Lecavalier throw a late punch?
Rinaldo against BJ Crombeen tonight.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
At times last season, the Lightning was pushed around by bigger teams willing to use their size advantage to their advantage. But with recent additions of defensemen Keith Aulie, Brian Lee and Sami Salo as well as Benoit Pouliot, Pierre-Cedric Labrie and Crombeen, Tampa Bay is a bigger team this year.
And they want everybody to take notice, especially on the road.
In the Lightning's first road game this season at Long Island, Crombeen and Labrie were in the starting lineup, flanking captain Vinny Lecavalier for the opening faceoff. But before the puck even hit the ice, Crombeen and Labrie tossed down their gloves and began exchanging punches with a pair of New York Islanders, Matt Martin and Joe Finley, respectively.
Though Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said he did not instruct either player to engage in a fight at the start of the game, he did want to deliver a message.
"I just felt it was right to put our bigger guys out there to set the tone for the season since we weren't physical enough on the road last year,'' Boucher said. "And I think the message was sent and it was the right message.
"And our own players – that's what I'm worried about, not anybody else – our own players got the message. I'm the one choosing who starts, so I think everybody understood why we were starting tough guys and big guys.''
from Scott Butherus of the NaplesNews,
It wasn't all hard work for the Tampa Bay Lightning during their time in Southwest Florida. Following Thursday's practice, the team spent some time at Fort Myers Beach to get to know each other a little bit better off the ice, enjoy the gorgeous weather, and have a little bit of fun.
Part of the team-building activities included a beach volleyball tournament which was won by Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier, Tom Pyatt and Sam Salo.
"We had a full round-robin format. Championship game was actually two-out-of-three sets," Stamkos said of the tournament. "We beat Marty (St. Louis) and Teddy (Purcell)'s team. We swept them in two sets. It was fun, though. We had a great time.
"Things like this, you don't have a lot of time usually during the season so any chance you get to be around the guys more, it is only going to benefit you."
Following the tournament, players had a yoga session on the beach.
from Pierre LeBrun on ESPN,
When I began to talk about how I felt we might all look back one day and feel that Tampa Bay’s acquisition of Anders Lindback might end up being the best move of the entire 2012 NHL offseason, the Tampa Bay Lightning GM jumped in and, although I couldn’t see him across the phone line, I pictured Yzerman waving his hand down at me as if to calm things.
Whoa, Nelly, let’s not put the cart before the horse.
"In fairness to Anders, he’s shown great potential when you watch him play in the games that he’s played in," Yzerman said this week. "Let’s just see how it plays out and not put any undue expectation on him."
In other words, quiet down with the franchise goalie talk, the kid doesn’t need that kind of pressure right now.
more plus the Lidstrom era ends and the same with Parise in New Jersey...
"Well, it's disappointing. I feel they're trying to bully us and trying to draw a line in the sand pretty much. It's tough. We want to be negotiating. We came their way again and nothing. They just keep telling us keep coming. They're staying where they are, so you end up negotiating with yourself, and that's definitely something we don't want to do."
"I don't know where we go from here. It's very frustrating."
-Martin St. Louis via Damian Cristodero of Lightning Stikes.
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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