Kukla's Korner Hockey
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning named Jon Cooper the eighth head coach in franchise history today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. Cooper joins the Lightning after having spent the previous three seasons behind the bench of Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals from 2010-12 and this season with the Syracuse Crunch, compiling a 133-62-26 (.661) record in 221 AHL games. Cooper will coach his first game for the Lightning on Friday night versus the New Jersey Devils. Effective immediately, Syracuse assistant Rob Zettler takes over as the head coach of the Crunch while Martin Raymond will join Zettler as an assistant. Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will remain behind the bench for tomorrow night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, then continuing as Cooper’s assistants with the Lightning.
“We are very pleased to introduce Jon as our head coach today,” Yzerman said. “He has had success at every level he has coached and is extremely familiar with our organization, as well as our players. He has a tremendous record at all levels and we feel he is ready to make the move to the NHL.”
“There is no other team in hockey that I would rather be coaching than the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Cooper upon accepting the position. “It’s quite a tribute to Steve Yzerman, Jeff Vinik and the organization they are building that they are proud to promote from within. I look forward to getting to know the players and getting to work right away.”
One of the many reports which are beginning to surface...
Ligntning GM Steve Yzerman met the media in Winnipeg to talk about the firing of Guy Boucher and the plan moving forward.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
With 17 games to go and his team five points out of an Eastern Conference playoff berth, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman had seen enough. He made the decision early this morning to fire coach Guy Boucher with the hope the move would motivate his Lightning into a miraculous stretch run.
Here’s hoping he took a good long look in the mirror before he pushed him overboard, because it was Yzerman’s own failings that led Boucher out onto the plank.
There isn’t a coach in the world who looks good when his goaltending stinks. And considering the pair he was provided by Yzerman, it’s amazing Boucher was able to keep things as close as he did.
It was Yzerman who gambled last summer that Anders Lindback, an inexperienced back-up with Nashville who had all of 38 NHL games to his credit, was ready to step into a No. 1 job with the Bolts.
TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have released Guy Boucher from his head coaching commitment, effective immediately, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced this morning. Yzerman also announced that Martin Raymond and Dan Lacroix will share coaching responsibilities for the game tonight against the Winnipeg Jets.
"Guy has poured his heart and soul into the Lightning organization for these past three years and we appreciate all the work he has done," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "But ultimately I am not satisfied with the direction we are heading and I believe making a change today is in the best interest of our franchise.”
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Bay Tribune,
Contrary to what many want to think or believe, I don't see Marty St. Louis asking to be moved. He has two more years on his contract after this season, even if the Lightning are in the middle of a transitional phase for the franchise. And I have to believe he will retire as a member of the franchise he has been with for a decade and has a job in this organization for life should he want it.
Perhaps Ryan Malone would be somebody teams take a look at, but his left shoulder injury might prevent that from happening. Maybe veteran defenseman Sami Salo, who signed a two-year deal, but he was brought in for experience, something the blue line would be lacking next season if he was to be moved. Salo also has a modified no movement clause.
Others have suggested Eric Brewer, who has struggled at times this season, could be a candidate for a team looking for veteran defensive help, but with two years left on his contract and a modified no-trade clause, it's unlikely to happen.
How this pans out come trade deadline day is unknown, but one thing is certain: General manager Steve Yzerman has no intentions of blowing up a roster that already features plenty of young talent and won't make a deal just to make a deal.
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have agreed to terms with forward Nate Thomson on a four-year contract extension, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
"We're very pleased to have agreed to a contract extension with Nate," said Yzerman upon making the announcement. "He has and will continue to be a very important member of our team both on and off the ice.”
Thompson, 28, has skated in 30 games this season with the Lightning, posting six goals and 10 points to go along with six penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 212-pound forward ranks second on the team in hits with 58, third in faceoff percentage (50.6%) and is tied for fifth in goals.
from Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times,
So this is pure speculation and makes sense only if St. Louis, with a no-move clause in his contract, determines leaving gives him the best chance to again play for a winner before he retires.
Consider these circumstances:
When St. Louis in July 2010 signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract extension, he did so with the notion the organization, under new ownership and management, would move in a positive direction. But after the team reached the Eastern Conference final in 2010-11, it was out of the playoffs in 2011-12 and appears this season it will fall short again.
St. Louis, 37, might look at a team clearly in transition — it is trying to develop Anders Lindback as a No. 1 goaltender and has eight players on its current roster who played last season or have played this season in the AHL — and wonder how much longer he can wait.
via Peter Pupello at the Tampa Bay Lightning website,
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier has been placed on Injured Reserve, which means he will miss a minimum of seven days, as a result of sustaining a lower body injury. He is listed by the team as being out indefinitely.
The injury, head coach Guy Boucher said, is unrelated to a previous incident in February in which he was inadvertently struck in the foot by a hard slap shot from teammate Sami Salo.
Rather, this injury, Boucher confirmed, occurred on Tuesday night against the Panthers in Sunrise, where in the third period Lecavalier was knocked down near the net and skated off to the bench hunched over, appearing to be in pain.
As mentioned, there is no specific timetable for Lecavalier's return, but general manager Steve Yzerman said he did expect the Bolts captain to be out for more than seven days. The good news, however, is that Yzerman said Lecavalier would not require surgery.
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