Kukla's Korner Hockey
LOS ANGELES – Vincent Lecavalier, a 17-year veteran of the National Hockey League and a Stanley Cup Champion, officially announced his retirement from the game today.
Lecavalier’s announcement: As I publicly announced at the time I was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, the 2015/16 season would be my last in the NHL. I recently informed the Kings that I am stepping away from the game and will no longer play professional hockey. It is my desire and intention to retire.
Hockey has provided me so much in my lifetime but requires an incredible commitment. It is now time for me to devote more time to my family.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the people who have helped me along the way and shared this journey with me. First and foremost, I would like to thank my parents, my wife, Caroline, my brother Philippe, sister Genevieve and my entire family. I could not have accomplished anything without your love and support. Thank you to the Tampa Bay Lightning for drafting me and providing me the opportunity to embark on my NHL career. I will never forget winning the Cup together in 2004, and the incredible support from Lightning fans. To the LA Kings, thank you for providing me the opportunity to finish my career on a positive note. To the coaches who have developed me and challenged me - you made me a better player and person. To my agent, Kent Hughes, thank you for all your efforts and support throughout my career.
Hockey is the greatest team sport in the world. There is nothing like sharing a locker room with your teammates and competing together day in and day out. I have made lifelong friends and I’d like to thank them for making this an unforgettable journey…. Thank you.
"We're doing all we can to sign him."
"What we look like if Stammer re-signs with us, it effects what we can do with our team. For us, we'd like to know sooner than later."
"At some point on other players, I have to make a decisions, whether it'd be restricted free agents, or potential trades or qualifying offers and things like that. I've got to make decisions and they can't be put off forever."
-Steve Yzerman on Steven Stamkos. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times has more.
from Scott Cullen of TSN,
Off-Season Game Plan looks at a Lightning club that has lots of talent, but is staring at a major potential departure in free agency.
The Steven Stamkos situation has hung over the Lightning all season, and now that the year is done and Stamkos is on the verge of unrestricted free agency, Tampa Bay has to at least consider the possibility that their premier goal-scorer could be on his way out of town.
Stamkos is a great scorer - his 79 goals over the past two seasons rank second in the league behind Alex Ovechkin - but when he was sidelined late in the year and for most of the playoffs with a blood clot, the Lightning didn't collapse.
That's part of the issue for GM Steve Yzerman: he has a lot of talent on his roster and if Stamkos gets a massive contract, then it becomes difficult (if not impossible) to keep the likes of Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin, all of whom have contracts coming up either this summer or next. These could be considered first-world hockey problems.
So, it's hardly ideal to lose a player of Stamkos' calibre, but that doesn't have to leave the Lightning in a sorry state. They can still be really good if they keep the rest of the band together.
Press release is below...
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
As far as I can tell, I don’t believe the Montreal Canadiens are phoning teams about him. However, I know of at least one team that’s contacted the Habs about Subban, and it didn’t go anywhere.
Which is to say: I would put the odds of Subban getting traded before July 1 at about 5 percent. But I’m not ready to say it’s 100 percent it won’t happen because you just never know what kind of offer might come the way of GM Marc Bergevin.
"I don’t think they’re moving Subban but I also think Bergevin has to listen because why not?" said one Western Conference NHL team executive. "But it would take a huge offer. I don’t see it happening."...
Crazy to think that some people looked at the success the Tampa Bay Lightning had without Steven Stamkos in the playoffs and figured maybe the team would not even try to re-sign him. Seriously? Nothing has changed. The Lightning absolutely, positively want to re-sign their captain and that’s been communicated to him again since their season ended in chat between GM Steve Yzerman and the star center. Now it’s a question of how that plays out the next few weeks with the clock ticking toward his unrestricted free-agent status on July 1. The Lighting want him back but obviously at a term and price that fits into everything else they’re trying to do with so many key players up for new deals over the next two years. Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Stamkos and what he truly wants: if he wants to stay, and he has said as much, a deal will be there for him. If he wants to maximize on his UFA status, which is his right, no question a bigger offer awaits elsewhere July 1.
read on for Milan Lucic talk and a few other topics...
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times,
The season is over. Now there's only the door. And Stamkos walking through it. And his introductory news conference, in Toronto, Detroit, Buffalo or wherever.
It's just a question of when No. 91 walks through that door, be it July 1, when he can become an unrestricted free agent, or sometime after.
Feel free to surprise us with an eleventh-hour contract, guys.
It would be the salary cap upset of the century.
Let's not get all weepy here or turn this into an Adele song. Stamkos will make tens of millions of dollars no matter where he goes, and the Lightning will carry on.
It still feels like the end of something.
I think the Lightning is crazy for letting 312 goals and 26 years old walk. I think Stamkos, given the talents around him, is crazy to walk. No one is to blame. Everyone is to blame.
How did a deal not get done last summer? How?
from Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun,
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
There's the (10?) million-dollar question of whether Yzerman can re-sign captain Steven Stamkos to a long-term deal before or after he reaches unrestricted free agency July 1. There's wing Nikita Kucherov, another potential building block, a 30-goal scorer this season due a hefty raise from $700,000 as a restricted free agent.
Top defenseman Victor Hedman and forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat are due new deals after next season, as is Vezina Trophy-finalist goaltender Ben Bishop, unless Yzerman decides to deal Bishop or 21-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy in the next year.
And Yzerman has to balance all that with a relatively flat salary cap while considering a potential expansion draft.
"The next two summers will kind of define our team the next seven or eight years," Yzerman said Friday. "I have an idea of what we want to do. And we're doing our best to get everyone to buy in to what we're trying to do and keep it together."
But the Lightning realizes that after returning nearly the entire team from last season, next year's team could have a much different look.
from Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Five years after the Penguins started spiraling into a sordid playoff history, a history at its most vexing and twisted for Game 7’s in the place they call home, you may now pronounce all of that officially over, dead and gone, as the new house Lemieux built is finally ready for the Stanley Cup.
For all of their brilliance, resilience, and unflagging faith in themselves and their common goal, the Penguins might not have produced a Game 7 star on Tuesday night as incandescent as the building, by which I mean the people in the seats, who generated an atmosphere so perfect for the special urgency of ultimate playoff hockey that it nearly made head coach Mike Sullivan’s voice crack trying to describe it.
“I thought it was incredible,” Sullivan began. “The third period, it was electric. It was the loudest that I’ve heard a building in all the years I’ve been associated with this league. It was to the point where we had to scream to the players as to who was up next.”
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
In the end, it all goes down as a disappointing season, a step back even though adversity conspired to keep the Lightning from playing for the NHL's holiest grail. It played most of the postseason without Stamkos. It played the conference final without goaltender and team MVP Ben Bishop.
Somehow, the resilient Lightning marched on, reaching the conference final. It nearly won this series in six games, but couldn't close the deal on home ice. Still, even without its top two players, it pushed Pittsburgh to seven games.
"I'm pretty sure a lot of people wouldn't have picked us to get this far," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
For that reason, it's hard to beat up this team that has shown as much heart as it has skill, as much guts as it has talent. It's close to miraculous that it got as far as it did.
from Tom Gulitti of NHL.com,
The emotions were still too raw for Steven Stamkos to ponder what comes next for him.
The Tampa Bay Lightning captain had worked so hard and endured so much to get back in time to play in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday, and there was a lot for him to digest after the season-ending 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A question about whether he had considered that this might have been his final game as a member of the Lightning produced a curt reply.
"No," Stamkos said.
Stamkos' future with the Lightning appears murky at best; his contract is set to expire and unrestricted free agency awaits him on July 1. But it was understandable that the future was the furthest thing from his mind Thursday.
Playing in his first game in eight weeks after recovering from surgery to clear a blood clot near his right collarbone, Stamkos had hoped to spark the Lightning past the Penguins and to their second trip in as many years to the Stanley Cup Final.
"All the adversity that we overcame as a group, I couldn't be more proud of the guys with how far we came with the injuries that we had," a teary-eyed Stamkos said. "I feel horrible for the guys that battled every night. I was able to play one game, but those guys had a [heck] of a postseason. It was just an honor to be on the ice with those guys tonight. Too bad the result wasn't better."
The Pittsburgh Penguins earned the right to represent the Eastern Conference by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 tonight. Bryan Rust had both goals (which you can watch below) for the Penguins.
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks will be on Monday at 8:00pm ET.
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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.
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