Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jake Becker of The Fischler Report,
HOW SOON DO YOU THINK TORTS WILL RETURN TO THE NHL?
I think time heals all wounds. I don’t think for a minute that Torts was anything other than what people knew he was. I think Mike Gillis knew the issues, the positives and the negatives. In my mind the issue really came down to that infamous day when he decided to try to get in the locker room when [Calgary head coach] Bob Hartley was antagonizing.
Bob is the godfather to my son Ryan, and I consider Torts to be one of my best friends, too. It was ironic, but I believe that John will get back. General managers in the league know he’s a good coach, and you take the good with the bad. Part of what makes him a good coach is that he does not have the political correctness gene. He is not worried about what you or me or what anybody else thinks about him – he’s going to do what he thinks is right. I think some time away, so time to decompress, I think that’ll be good for him.
I don’t have any doubt that at some point in time, a team is going to be struggling and a team is going to need some discipline, some structure, and a general manager is going to say, “This is a guy that can provide it.”
from the CP at TSN,
LeBron James going home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers led to speculation about whether a star NHL player might do the same in the near future.
Naturally, Steven Stamkos was at the centre of that speculation. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain and Markham, Ont., native could be an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, and the allure of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs could be there.
"We'll see what happens. It's a couple years away," Stamkos said Wednesday. "Right now I'm focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we've really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.
"For me, that's the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we're going to have that chance for a couple years."
“I think it’s a young team that is coming into their own in the next couple of years, so their window of where they are going to be expected to have a championship season.
“And they have great leadership and a coach that has won at every level. They are an exciting team. They are a hungry team, and I’m excited about the opportunity to play with this group.’’
-Brenden Morrow on his new team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on Morrow from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.
TAMPA BAY –The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent forward Brenden Morrow to a one-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Tampa Bay also signed forward Philippe Paradis (pair-ah-DEE) to a one-year, two-way contract.
Morrow, 6-foot, 205 pounds, played in 71 games with the St. Louis Blues in 2013-14, recording 13 goals and 25 points with a plus-1 rating. He scored four power-play goals and three game-winning goals. Morrow ranked eighth on the team for goals and averaged 11:54 in ice time per game.
from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes,
"It's awesome," Feaster said. "The previous ownership group that (Jeff Vinik) bought it from, they did everything they could to try to purge any evidence and record and memory of the 04 Cup win. So it's nice to be welcomed back like this."
Feaster called Vinik "the best owner in the game" and believes he'll bring the Lightning a Cup. He lauded Vinik for his community efforts and hiring good people, allowing general manager Steve Yzerman to do his job. Feaster doesn't want to get in Yzerman's way, and will stick to youth initiatives at putting more sticks in kids hands and growing the game. Feaster talked about the efforts to make hockey a sanctioned sport in Florida high schools, using hockey-based learning programs in schools, getting more invovled in the learn to play initiative.
Feaster just never thought that he'd come back to Tampa Bay and neither Vinny Lecavalier nor Marty St. Louis would be there. Lecavalier was bought out last summer. St. Louis forced his awkward departure in March by requesting a trade to the Rangers after not getting initially picked for Team Canada, which was run by Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
"It hurt," Feaster said.
from Joe Smith of Lightning Strikes,
While Stralman doesn't know the bay area very well, he knows the team is joining.
"This team really excites me," Stralman said. "I think this team is very promising. It's been real interesting the last few years and obviously Steve Yzerman has done a tremendous job. When you're making your choice, you want to see progress in a team in a positive way, and I think this team has all those good areas.
"I think this team is close to complete. Honestly the forwards, tremendous firepower there, best scorer in the league (Steven Stamkos), can't ask for more really. Defense is solid, they've got some big guys, strong and obviously (Ben) Bishop has been great too. I'm really excited."
Stralman said he spoke with former Rangers teammate Ryan Callahan and fellow Swede Victor Hedman before signing, wanting to confirm all his positive thoughts. Stralman gives Tampa Bay the right-handed shooting, top-four caliber defenseman it needed, and the team provided the veteran with the desired stability.
"It's huge," Stralman said. "That's exactly what we were looking for."
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
After hearing rave reviews on the Lightning — not to mention living in Tampa — Boyle opted to join forces with Callahan once again and signed a three-year contract with Tampa Bay worth $6 million.
Boyle was on his honeymoon in Maui when he signed his new deal, and with wife Lauren Bedford, a model in consideration for the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, hailing from Orlando, it didn’t take long to sign on the dotted line.
“It was always something I had my eye on if it came up, and me and my wife talked about it — if down the road, wouldn’t that be a nice place to play,’’ Boyle said. “Lucky for us, it happened two days later and we jumped on it.’’
There was plenty of interest from other teams — Boyle had an offer on the table from the Maple Leafs — to sign the 6-foot-7, 240-pound center who helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup finals last season.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
After clearing out salary cap heading into free agency, the Lightning found a way to utilize some of that available space Tuesday to land one of the top defensemen on the market in Anton Stralman while adding some needed size up front with center Brian Boyle.
Tampa Bay also signed veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov to a one-year deal to serve as the backup to Ben Bishop after Anders Lindback, who was not issued a qualifying offer, signed with Dallas.
“We were able to address some needs,’’ Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. “We are very pleased to find Evgeni Nabokov, a veteran who has played well the past few years. We get Anton Stralman, who is able to play a lot of minutes, a strong and reliable defender with a good first pass and a real good skater. And he’s a right handed shot, and that was very important to us. We had a hole at center, so we bring in Brian Boyle, who is a big man, a good penalty killer and defender.’’
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"It gives us some options," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com Monday. "Really, prior to yesterday, other than trying to sign a backup goaltender, we really weren’t in a position to do anything at all. And we may end up doing nothing [Tuesday] other than signing a backup goaltender, but we’d like to explore [the free-agent market]."
Yzerman pointed to possibilities both up front and on defense.
"We’d like to get potentially a center or maybe a winger," said Yzerman. "And then, we have seven defensemen signed and we’d like to carry eight. Depending on fit and contract, whether it’s a really expensive guy or a low-end one-way, we’ll try to add one more defenseman."
Preferably, Yzerman said, a right-handed defenseman. The Bolts GM would not discuss specific names but other sources have confirmed Tampa’s interest in UFA blueliner Matt Niskanen as well as veteran Dan Boyle, among others blueliners.
many more hockey topics discussed...
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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