Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
In his first two preseason games since signing a five-year free-agent deal with Tampa Bay, Filppula looks every bit the part Tampa Bay signed him to be — and more. In those two games before Tuesday, Filppula produced four assists and had a successful shootout attempt.
In the offensive zone, Filppula has impressive puck control, poise and vision that can give opposing defenders fits, all while keeping his linemates on their skates to be ready at a moment’s notice.
“As you play more with him, you pick up on some of his tendencies, like you don’t have to be so close to him because he is so good with the puck and does a good job of holding it,’’ said right wing Teddy Purcell, who played camp scrimmages and the preseason opener on a line with Filppula.
“To support him, you have to get away from him, let him do his thing and get open because (the puck) can come at any time.’’...
“He gives optimal effort every shift. He does what he is asked and you can’t ask for more as a coach,’’ Cooper said. “I think the big part, and everybody is looking at his offense and his offense is all well and good and we want that, but in the end we need a defensive player, somebody who is going play at both ends of the ice and on the penalty kill.
“If he delivers on that end, the rest is gravy for us.’’
from Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times,
Vinik on patience in building a winning franchise: There’s no other way to do it. We want to win the Stanley Cup this year. Do we hava shot at winning the Cup this year? We absolutely do and I hope we do, and three years ago we almost did. So, there’s no predicting. But the way to develop a program that’s going to be in the top of the NHL year after year after year is to draft young players and have them develop in the system and be contributors over time. It takes patience, but we’re getting there. These players are coming up and making a difference right now.
On Yzerman I think Steve is doing a great job, yes. ... I couldn’t be more pleased with the job Steve Yzerman is doing. I think he's put together the best, or one of the best, staffs in all of hockey. I think they’ve done a great job in drafting and developing young players. I think he’s made a lot of good moves over the years. My general manager has my support 100 percent.
More on Yzerman: Again, Steve has my full supprt. I think I said it the day at the first press conferece … He was at Detroit for, like, 19 years. I hope he's with this organization for 19 years, too.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Filppula signed with Tampa Bay on July 5, eight days after Lecavalier’s buyout. The natural inclination, then, is to view Filppula as the replacement for Lecavalier.
But Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he will go into training camp with no preconceived notions regarding Filppula’s role or what line he will play on when the season opens Oct. 3. Cooper has never seen Filppula play in person and knows the player only from tape, so he will see how things play out in training camp and during the preseason.
Lecavalier, the No. 1 overall pick by the Lightning in 1998, has 383 goals and 491 assists in 1,037 career games. Filppula, also a left-handed shot, has 100 goals and 151 assists in 483 career games.
“I think everybody in our organization 100 percent knows that it is not even comparable,’’ Cooper said of comparing Filppula with Lecavalier. “But because they play the same position, they shoot the same hand, of course they are going to be compared. I just think that’s unfair to put that on Val, because Vinny has been doing it in this league for 15 years at a high level. So, that’s an unfair comparison.’’
Cooper is certainly savvy enough to know Filppula will be a welcome addition to the roster.
“I think he is coming right into his prime, and he’s spent pretty much his entire professional career being educated at a Grade-A organization,’’ Cooper said. “And he has won. He comes from a winning organization, so any time you can take players out of that environment while you are trying to create that in your organization, it will help us.’’
from Kureinen,nu (translated),
823 days have passed since Mattias Ohlund last played a hockey game.
But even though it's been a long time since then, the hill believed that he will make a comeback to the NHL stage - until now.
For the first time recognizes the 36-year-old to his successful career has probably run out.
- In a perfect world, I had played hockey for a few years. But I still fills 37 years in a few weeks, says Mattias Ohlund to the Courier.
- I've had a pretty long career and I'm happy with. I do not feel at all bad mentally in any way.
But Piteå product would not go out officially that he put the skates on the shelf. When his Tampa Bay Lightning starts its NHL camp on September 10, the station will be on hand at the collection.
- I feel no need to make any final decision, says Ohlund and continues:
- But I have not played in over two years. I have to be realistic and realize that the conditions to play again becomes less and less.
Per Capgeek, Ohlund's contract runs through the 2015-16 season, so he probably won't officially retire until then.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have named George Gwozdecky as assistant coach on Jon Cooper’s staff today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Gwozdecky most recently served as head coach for the University of Denver Pioneers men’s hockey team.
“I am excited to be joining the Tampa Bay Lightning coaching staff and am really looking forward to working with outstanding coaches like Jon (Cooper), Steve (Thomas) and Rick (Bowness),” Gwozdecky said. “The opportunity to coach in an organization with such highly-respected ownership and excellent front office leadership, as well as a talented mix of veteran and young players in a great community like Tampa Bay is the chance of a lifetime.”
"We are pleased to add George to the coaching staff," Yzerman said. "He brings a wealth of experience to the bench and we feel he will be a valuable addition to the organization."
from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune,
I like Yzerman. I believe he knows what he's doing.
But it's on him now. All roads lead to the GM.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik is such a believer he just gave Yzerman $32.7 million to buy out Vinny. Yzerman, by his own admission, stepped outside of the box by losing Vinny without a replacement in place. But in his mind, the Vinny move was inevitable, so why wait another season?
Yzerman has believers all over the dressing room, including Steven Stamkos and captain-to-be Marty St. Louis. I wonder, even now, if Marty would have asked for a trade last season if a coaching change hadn't been made midstream. He seems in a good place now, but couldn't that change if things don't come together?
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed free agent center Valtteri Filppula (FIHL-poo-luh, VAL-tuhr-ee) to a five-year contract today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced.
“We are pleased to sign Valtteri to a five-year contract today,” Yzerman said. “We feel he is an outstanding, all-around centerman who brings a winning pedigree to our organization. He fills a much-needed position for us at center and his skill, work ethic and character will make him a great addition to our team. On behalf of the Lightning we’d like to welcome him to the organization.”
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning will use a compliance buy-out, as allowed by the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, on center Vincent Lecavalier, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. Lecavalier becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 5, eligible to sign with any team in the NHL, except Tampa Bay. The Lightning will pay Lecavalier two-thirds of the value of his existing contract over twice the term of the deal.
“Vinny has been a significant reason for many of our past successes, including the 2004 Stanley Cup, and his contributions to the community are immeasurable,” said Yzerman upon announcing the buyout. “The Lightning organization is indebted to Vinny; we thank him for all he has done here and we wish him well as he moves forward.
“After much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level, year-in, year-out. The economics and structure of the CBA are necessitating this decision and we at the Lightning are excited at the newly created opportunities this presents to us.”
John Fontana of Raw Charge informs us Steve Yzerman sent out an emaill this morning regarding buying out Lecavalier...
I am writing to inform you that we have elected to "buy-out" the contract of Vincent Lecavalier today. Working under the parameters set forth in the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), each National Hockey League team is permitted two "compliance buy-outs" over the next two years. We have elected to use one of these buyouts to better position ourselves to operate under this new CBA. In buying-out Vinny's contract we are creating approximately $7.7 million of salary cap space for each of the next seven seasons as his contract will no longer count against the team's cap.
The decision to part ways with Vinny was not made easily. In fact, it will cost the Lightning (and owner Jeff Vinik) nearly $32.7 million over the next 14 years. However, after much internal deliberation, we believe this will prove to be a pivotal move for us as we strive to achieve our long term goal of competing at the highest level year-in, year-out.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Malone and Lecavalier's agent, Kent Hughes, said on Tuesday that they had not heard anything from the team regarding a buyout. But Hughes said, "We understand it's something they might be contemplating. It would be natural to do so."
Added Malone: "It occupies zero of my thoughts. I have no control over it. If they want to buy me out, there's nothing I can do. I would try to prove them wrong. It is what it is."
With more than $60 million in salary cap commitments for 2013-14 and up to five roster spots to fill, Tampa Bay could certainly use the cap relief. Buying out Lecavalier (with seven years, $45 million left on his deal and a $7.727 annual cap hit) and/or the oft-injured Malone (with two, years, $5 million left on his contract and a $4.5 million annual cap hit) certainly would create that.
In Lecavalier's case, it also would relieve Tampa Bay (if Lecavalier retires before the end of his deal) of potential significant penalties under the new salary cap recapture rule.
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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