Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: martin st. louis
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Barring an unforeseen development over the next 48 hours, Martin St. Louis should return to the Rangers lineup Thursday night in Minnesota.
St. Louis will have missed eight games after he sits out Tuesday’s match here against the Jets because of the MCL sprain he suffered late in the March 15 Garden match against the Panthers.
“This is the first day I’ve skated with my teammates, and I think for me it’s a nice progression where it’s not the same intensity as a real practice and I can really control my pace a little bit better,” St. Louis said following the morning skate. “I’ve skated four or five times by myself. With a full practice [Wednesday], I think it will allow me to be ready to go on Thursday.”
St. Louis, who resumed skating last Thursday in Ottawa, appeared to skate freely and in full stride as he worked for nearly a half-hour after his teammates had left the ice. He had skated Thursday through Sunday before staying off the ice on Monday’s travel day.
Amongst the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's trade-and-rumor talk for this Sunday, from a column which begins by discussing the Connor McDavid sweepstakes:
Rangers winger Martin St. Louis may be a UFA on July 1 and doesn't have a contract but don't be surprised if at some point he re-signs with the club. The Rangers have cap so you'd think if they do sign St. Louis the deal will be structured with attainable goals for games-played. When he left the Tampa Bay Lightning last year at the trade deadline, St. Louis only only wanted to go to the Rangers. It would be hard to believe he'd want to move on this juncture.
Florida GM Dale Tallon took a gamble at the deadline acquiring winger Jaromir Jagr from the Devils in exchange for two draft picks. The Panthers remain on the outside looking in for the final wild-card spot and need a strong push down the stretch plus some help to make it to the post-season. Jagr went into Saturday's game vs. the Bruins with a 2-5-7 points in nine games with Florida ... According to a league executive, here are some deadline acquisitions that have worked out well: Winger Drew Stafford and defenceman Tyler Myers (Buffalo) have both played well in Winnipeg; Forward Curtis Glencross (Calgary) has made an impact for the Capitals and Chris Stewart (Buffalo) has picked up some points for the Wild ... Keep an eye on Colgate forward Tyler Baun. He's getting plenty of attention from NHL scouts. Chicago GM Stan Bowman along with representatives from Colorado, Toronto, Philly and the Rangers were in Lake Placid Friday at the ECAC championships to watch Baun play ... Lots of people wonder if Arizona (don't call me Phoenix) Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will be back behind the bench next season? He's a lot better coach when goalie Mike Smith stops the puck.
Garrioch continues, discussing the All-Star Game format, the Sharks' issues and unrestricted free agent-to-be goalies...
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: chris+stewart, curtis+glencross, dave+tippett, drew+stafford, florida+panthers, jaromir+jagr, martin+st.+louis, mike+smith, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, tyler+myers
The Rangers did not practice today and there has been no update on the status of Martin St. Louis.
Last night the New York Rangers recognized the 1000 points for Martin St. Louis.
Unlike last week when the NHL Network showed the one hour ceremony of Lindros/LeClair Flyers Hall of Fame ceremony, the NHL Network did not start their broadcast of Lightning/Rangers until just before the puck dropped.
So here is the ceremony from last night.
Martin St. Louis scored his 379th career goal to reach the 1000 points milestone.
From the New York Rangers:
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Again, as it has been so often through this dash to within a single victory of the Stanley Cup final, St. Louis was the man of the moment for the Rangers, ripping home the winner at 6:02 of overtime in the Rangers’ 3-2 Game 4 victory at the Garden on Sunday that sets up Tuesday’s Game 5 of the Eastern final in Montreal as the first potential clincher.
“Everybody wants to be the guy,” St. Louis said after converting Carl Hagelin’s eye-opening feed with a whippet of a shot from low in the right circle that flew into the net over Dustin Tokarski’s left shoulder. “When you’re playing as a kid in the streets, you picture this.
“Everybody wants to be the guy.”
St. Louis has been the man throughout a 14-year career that features a Hart Trophy, a pair of Art Ross Trophies and a Stanley Cup championship. It is a career that also includes four playoff overtime winners. Brad Richards, who got the second assist on the winner, has been there for a few.
“I’ve jumped on him a couple of times in overtime,” said Richards, the Butch to St. Louis’ Sundance. “It never gets old.”
Watch the OT goal from St. Louis below included video from CBC and RDS...
While the Montreal Canadiens were worried about their goaltending, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final, the goaltender opposite Dustin Tokarski stole the show, as the AP's recap of the New York Rangers' 3-1 win reports:
Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves and Martin St. Louis scored in the second period as the New York Rangers earned a 3-1 victory over the Carey Price-less Montreal Canadiens on Monday.
The Rangers lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final 2-0 heading back to New York for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Sunday.
St. Louis scored a day after he and his teammates attended the funeral of his mother, who died just before Mother's Day. The Rangers have rallied around the grieving veteran and have won five in a row.
New York's Rick Nash also scored while Ryan McDonagh added a goal and an assist to give the defenseman six points in the opening two games of the series.
Max Pacioretty scored for Montreal, which outshot New York 41-30.
The AP's recap continues, and here's a highlight clip:
from Katie Strang of ESPN NewYork,
To see Martin St. Louis' exultant smile and boisterous celebration following his first-period goal was to see a player, and a man, so overcome with emotion the past 72 hours he couldn’t help but unleash his excitement. To see the way the New York Rangers reacted, and responded, to that special moment is to see a team for which hope is still very much alive.
Rest and recovery is one thing -- the Rangers needed that, too -- but it is becoming more and more apparent that the alternate phases of tragedy and triumph over the past three days has galvanized a club that looked absolutely dispirited and defeated after Game 4. With Sunday night’s 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers have now avoided elimination twice and forced a winner-takes-all Game 7 Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Of course it was St. Louis who scored the game’s first goal, an achievement that was truly fitting as a tribute considering Game 6 fell on Mother’s Day. St. Louis lost his mother, France St. Louis, to a heart attack on Thursday and returned just one day later to play in Game 6. It was a feat that baffled many players and touched them all.
Sunday, St. Louis brought his father, Normand, and sister, Isabelle, to the game -- a decision that he anticipated would help “the grieving process.” After he scored his third goal of the playoffs, he scooped up the puck. He said he planned to deliver it to his father.
Below, watch St. Louis in some raw post-game dressing room footage...
The New York Rangers climbed back into their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, turning the tables on a team that's offensively dominated them via a 5-1 win in Pittsburgh...
But "the story" of the game didn't involve Derek Brassard's 2-goal game or Henrik Lundqvist's 31-save performance: it involved the inspiration the Rangers took from a player who posted no points in Martin St. Louis.
ESPN's Scott Burnside suggests that St. Louis' presence in the lineup--a day after his mother passed away--inspired the Rangers to reestablish their game:
Where we saw a New York Rangers team drained of emotion, fragile, beaten; they revealed themselves to be proud, defiant, finding a hitherto unknown wellspring of will in beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 in Game 5 to keep their playoff hopes alive for at least one more game.
Maybe it was the emotionally charged locker room as the Rangers rallied around a grief-stricken Martin St. Louis who chose to return to Pittsburgh from Montreal to play in Game 5 after his mother passed away suddenly Thursday.
There is no denying that his decision to return to his teammates, many of whom he has known only a matter of months since coming to the Rangers from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, resonated throughout the locker room.
"We are a team and we're a close team. In the short time he's been here, he's pretty magnetic. He's got a love for this game and being around the rink and the guys already that we all appreciate and know, and the respect that we have for him. It was tough for all of us. But that's something that was impressive watching him tonight," Brian Boyle said. He's a special, special person."
Burnside continues, and here's a highlight clip...
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
... the solace one can take from the Rangers’ performance in losing their second straight at the Garden and third straight overall, because if the Blueshirts advance to the conference finals, they will owe this year’s first-rounder to the Lightning (instead of a second-rounder) as payment for Marty St. Louis … in addition to the 2015 first-rounder and Ryan Callahan already deposited into Tampa Bay’s account in the March 7 deadline trade.
The return thus far: one goal (shorthanded) in 19 regular-season games followed by two in 12 playoff matches … and none in the last nine games after St. Louis scored twice in the first seven periods of the first round. This from a player who entered the tournament with 33 goals in 63 career playoff games.
It was even worse in Game 4 than those overall numbers might connote. For St. Louis suffered through an abysmal night, coughing up the puck repeatedly, unable to generate a thing offensively, and finally losing his man in front on the Penguins’ final goal that clinched it just 57 seconds after the Blueshirts had somehow drawn within 3-2 with 6:53 to go in the third despite generating a total of 13 shots to that point.
“This was probably the worst playoff game I’ve played as long as I can remember playing,” St. Louis told The Post after the game. “For some reason, I couldn’t do anything.
The NHL announced that Martin St. Louis is one of the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy as the league's most gentlemanly player today, but the Hockey News's Ken Campbell summarizes at least the Twitter-using media's reaction to said news:
Martin St-Louis did not get my vote for the Lady Byng, basically because he didn’t deserve it. St-Louis may have had only 10 penalty minutes this season, but he did anything but prove he was worth of the award that goes, “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t believe that a player who sulks and whines and demands a trade out of town because he wasn’t originally selected for the Canadian Olympic team “exhibits the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.” In most corners of the world, we would call a guy who does something like that a big baby.
“Individually I guess it’s been a tough start for me. I’ve gotten my looks, but they haven’t gone in, and it hasn’t been good enough.”
“No one is going to give you anything; you have to go out and earn it. Getting chances this time of year is definitely not good enough.
“I expect more out of myself. I’m going to keep working at it.”
-Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers on his lack of production since being traded. More from Larry Brooks of the New York Post.
Ron MacLean talks to Martin St. Louis about his move to New York, his Team Canada snub and current standing relationship with Steve Yzerman.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Suddenly on deadline day in the National Hockey League, the cherished ‘C’ became all about ‘me’.
The captains of two teams were revealed to be nothing like captains at all, traded for each other in a mashing of egos, mirrors, contract negotiations, hurt feelings, pettiness and singularity.
It was almost enough to make Darryl Sittler tear the ‘C’ from his jersey once again, if that wasn’t bad enough the first time around.
This should have been the time of Martin St. Louis’ life. He just won an Olympic gold medal in Sochi. The best shooter in hockey, Steven Stamkos, is set to return to the lineup of the much-improved Tampa Bay Lightning. If Jon Cooper isn’t coach of the year in the NHL, he is certainly on the ballot. How many goalies are playing better than Ben Bishop? And in an Eastern Conference devoid of a great team, somebody has to play for the Stanley Cup and that somebody just might be the Lightning, the team he has represented for 13 seasons.
“I would rather not discuss what brought me to that decision, but in the end this is a decision for my family. I respect the fact that many of you do not agree with my decision and are angry with it. All I really can say is that I am sorry and I am very appreciative of the support you have shown me through the years.
-Martin St. Louis of the New York Rangers in a letter he wrote to Tampa Bay Lightning Fans. You can read the full letter at the Tampa Tribune or check out a tweet below which includes a picture of the letter.
from Mike Johnston of Sportsnet,
Seldom do trade requests go over well with fans, regardless of the player’s popularity. Retired stars like Eric Lindros and Patrick Roy were heavily criticized during their careers for the way they handled trade demands.
Lindros and Roy could at times be brash, but St. Louis is known as a stoic player who leads by example. If he remains steadfast in his request to be dealt to the Rangers, what message does that send to others around the league? Not a positive one.
Players like St. Louis and Kesler have no-trade clauses and control their own fate, but when athletes who are paid millions of dollars ask for trades while under contract, it can tarnish their image fast.
From the day he was passed over in the NHL draft to when he was snubbed for Team Canada, St. Louis has been an underdog we can cheer for. That will change if he is wearing a Rangers sweater come March 5.
from Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times,
My guess is Yzerman invites St. Louis into a room and the two sit across from each other and talk. Maybe they talk about the Stanley Cup. Maybe St. Louis talks about his 361 goals or his 948 points or his 968 games for the Lightning. Maybe he talks about winning the Hart Trophy or his two Art Rosses or his Ted Lindsay or his three Lady Byngs.
Maybe they talk about the blood he left on the ice along the way. Maybe Yzerman talks about spending so long in one uniform and what it meant to him to finish in it. Maybe St. Louis remembers the story of the Lightning is etched in those lines on his face.
This is what a legacy is. And this is why St. Louis cannot let it slip away so easily.
In the end, no one can be sure what kind of return St. Louis would bring. Even at 38, he still has some jump in his legs, and he could help a lot of contenders. But is the Lightning going to get back a player who would help the team down the stretch as much as St. Louis? That isn't likely.
Ah, but what if the Lightning keeps St. Louis. Would he be able to turn loose of this so he could focus on the task at hand?
I say yes. Again, we are talking about a prideful player here. I cannot imagine him taking a midnight skate in the middle of a game.
Marty St. Louis had a chance to put the trade rumors to rest earlier today but instead added more speculation to the mix.
I tweeted this earlier but in case you missed it...
Arthur Staple of Newsday included this in a blog post today...
I’ve now heard from three different NHL people that Martin St. Louis did indeed request a trade last month. He has a full no-move clause, so he could pick his destination. That would seem to be the Rangers. St. Louis has an offseason home in Greenwich, Conn.
Have to see how that plays out and whether St. Louis ultimately getting to go to Sochi and win a gold medal has changed his feelings. But if this all stemmed from Steve Yzerman passing St. Louis over for the initial Team Canada roster, that may trump John Tavares’ season-ending injury as exhibit A for owners and GMs never wanting the NHL in the Olympics again.
Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider is most certainly an outspoken gentleman, and he had...Some things...to say about the Olympics after his team's 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, as noted by the AP's Dan Gelston:
''I hate them,'' said Snider, the Flyers founder.
He added: ''It's ridiculous, the whole thing is ridiculous. I don't care if it was in Philadelphia, I wouldn't want to break up the league. I think it's ridiculous to take three weeks off, or however long it is, in the middle of the season. It screws up everything. .. How can anybody be happy breaking up their season. No other league does it, why should we? There's no benefit to us whatsoever. If anything, I can only see negatives.''
Reminded the Flyers reached the Stanley Cup finals during the last Olympics in 2010, Snider laughed.
''Maybe I like them,'' he said. ''I forget about that.''
Although the San Jose Sharks did win the game 5-4.
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
This is the second time Yzerman has snubbed St. Louis from an Olympic spot. In 2010, St. Louis was boiling mad at Yzerman and Yzerman had yet to join the Lightning. Imagine how St. Louis feels today.
Be warned, Lightning fans: this could get ugly.
It's going to be a problem for Yzerman. It's going to be a problem for the Lightning.
St. Louis is angry and he has every right to be.
He was just told by Yzerman that his services aren't needed to win a gold medal, and now Yzerman is going to ask him to go out and lead the Lightning to a Stanley Cup.
Yeah, good luck with that.
St. Louis is a proud man. He desperately wanted to play for Canada in next month's Olympics. Now you have to wonder just how badly he wants to play for the Lightning.
FYI, St. Louis did not talk about Team Canada post-game except to say he is "extremely disappointed".
Taking part in the celebration were Dave Andreychuk, Brad Richards, Don Koharski, Steve Yzerman, Steven Stamkos and Jeff Vinik.
via Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Lightning captain Marty St. Louis missed Wednesday's practice with what the team said was a lower-body injury. There was no other immediate information.
St. Louis, who had two goals and three points in Tuesday's 5-1 victory over the Kings, took a Drew Doughty slap shot off a foot about five minutes into the third period while killing a penalty. He finished the game but walked with a noticeable limp as he left the locker room after the game.
St. Louis, 38, is off to a terrific start with four goals and 10 points in his first six games. His 10 points are second in the league behind Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"Marty St. Louis is not going to be traded," Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com Friday. "He remains one of the best players in the league and an extremely important player to our team, both on and off the ice. We are a team in transition, we just made a coaching change, Marty is one of the leaders of the team, he is not going anywhere."
From the beginning, the St. Louis trade rumors never made a whole lot of sense. He’s got two more years on his deal. So, it’s not like he’s a pending UFA who would top the rental market like Jarome Iginla did before being moved this week.
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.
"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.
from Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times,
The problem, St. Louis said, is the current CBA, which cut player salaries 24 percent after the 2004-05 lockout, "was (the owners') deal. And now that deal is not good anymore, so it's hard. It's hard to negotiate like that."
St. Louis stressed the union is "very strong, together, more than last time, no doubt about that."
He also said, "I believe in deadlines and I think a lot is going to happen in the next month. Hopefully we get a deal done."
If not, St. Louis said he expects to be playing in Europe by mid October: "If it gets to October it usually means (a lockout) will go longer, so mid October is a fair assessment where I'm not going somewhere for two weeks. ... You have to be patient before you go to Europe, but it's definitely an option guys will look into."
a bit more
from Erik Erlendsson of Bolts Report,
Less than two weeks after being struck near his left eye with a puck, Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis has returned to practice with the team.
St. Louis traveled with the team to San Jose Tuesday morning and joined his teammates on the ice for practice at HP Pavillion in preparation for Wednesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks. St. Louis was wearing a full metal cage to cover his face as he went through drills. No determination has yet been made whether he will be able to play on Wednesday against San Jose or Friday in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.
TAMPA BAY – Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis will not play tonight’s game at the New York Rangers and he is out indefinitely after suffering facial and nasal fractures at the team’s morning skate today at Madison Square Garden. St. Louis was struck in the face by a puck shot by a teammate during a practice drill.
St. Louis will return to Tampa Bay immediately and will undergo further medical examination by Lightning team physicians when swelling subsides in and around his left eye. A more detailed determination on his return to the lineup will be made at that time.
from Eric Erlendsson of Bolts Report,
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Marty St. Louis is expected to miss tonight’s game against the New York Rangers after taking a puck to his left eye Thursday morning.
St. Louis was to appear in his 500th consecutive regular season game. He has not missed a game, regular or playoffs, since November of 2005 when he sat out two games with a broken finger.
On Thursday during the team’s morning skate at Madison Square Garden, the team was working on a drill in the corner when an errant puck off a backhand from Dominic Moore struck St. Louis near his left eye. St. Louis immediately dropped to the ice with blood pouring out the area above his eye. He needed help getting off the ice and at one point stumbled on his way back to the bench area.
After being looked at by team medical trainers, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said St. Louis was taken to NYU Medical Center for further evaluation.
“He’s got some swelling and that’s all I know right now,” Yzerman said.
“This season has been hard. I feel like the past two or three years, the amount of scoring chances that we generate with nothing to show for it is at a three-year high, I would say. That could weight in a lot on your mind and make you think about things. You just have to be honest with your game and your assessment of your game. I feel we deserve better as a team.”
-Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on the Lightning from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes.
We’ll kick off our look at the top forwards in fantasy with a listing of the top options at the right wing position.
Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, thegoods13, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alexander+semin, corey+perry, fantasy+hockey, jarome+iginla, jeff+carter, martin+st.+louis, patrick+kane, rick+nash, right+wing
Rule 24 Penalty Shot/Shootout Goal- The spin-o-rama type move where the player completes a 360° turn as he approaches the goal, shall be permitted as this involves continuous motion.
Some say motion stopped and remember, there is no rule that states puck must be moving forward.
We’ve said it several times this season – that the Southleast is no more. With 308 combined points in the standings, Tampa Bay, Washington, Carolina, Atlanta and Florida comprise the Eastern Conference’s top division by that standard. Only the Pacific Division (321 points) has had more success as a group this season in the entire league. There’s even a fighting chance that four Southeast Division clubs could make the playoffs.
Suffice it to say, anyone still knocking the hockey played down here in this corner of the continent can be officially discredited. Clearly, anyone in that category hasn’t been paying attention this season.
Beyond team accolades, when the book is closed on the 2010-11 season, the Southeast Division has a legitimate chance for representation in almost every major year-end individual award. Some have sturdier ground to stand on than others in that respect but several individuals from Southeast clubs look to at least be in the conversation for some hardware in Vegas in late June.
Since premature awards speculation has started to heat up at a few other media outlets – always fun to keep tabs on ESPN’s Trophy Tracker but no Tampa Bay love in the Adams race, really? – here’s a list of potential trophy candidates from the Southeast Division, in no particular order.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: craig+ramsay, daniel+sedin, dustin+byfuglien, eric+staal, guy+boucher, henrik+sedin, jeff+skinner, john+carlson, logan+couture, martin+st.+louis, nhl+awards, ryan+kesler, steven+stamkos, tobias+enstrom
I thought I was totally joking when I asked a couple of All-Star goalies how they would feel about a goaltender’s fastest skater competition. But last night’s first overall pick in the NHL’s inaugural All-Star Fantasy Draft, Carolina’s Cam Ward, let the cat out of the bag that tonight, my little joke would indeed become a reality as part of this year’s SuperSkills.
“Rumor is that I’m going to be doing that tonight,” Ward said. “I hope my legs don’t turn to jelly and I don’t bite it into the corner or anything like that.”
“I think I’m going up against Tim Thomas.”
Boston and Carolina fans have since endured some heart palpitations, I’m sure.
Filed in: NHL Teams, d, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cam+ward, eric+staal, henrik+lundqvist, keith+yandle, martin+st.+louis, nhl+all-star+game, p.k.+subban, steven+stamkos, superskills, tim+thomas
The intent of altering the format for the NHL All-Star Game was to generate more interest in a mid-season exhibition that most would agree had become a bit blasé. With the rosters of Team Lidstrom and Team Staal now filled via last night’s Fantasy Draft and the SuperSkills competition on tap for tonight, whether or not the game itself will have any added spice remains to be seen but, so far as that added interest goes, the vibe here in Raleigh and the pageantry surrounding the selection process itself both suggest the achievement of just that.
The All-Star Game and its surrounding events should be about fun – for the fans, first and foremost, but also for the players involved and the captains and alternates for both sides as well as the draftees played things up effectively and had a good time throughout the process, which was evident in the broadcast.
“It looked good on TV, right?” Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis asked after the event and his question was met with immediate assent. That was the point, of course, and St. Louis and his All-Star contingents got it, doing the event well by playing things up to the best of their ability.
Funny… In chatting with several casual hockey fan friends and family of mine about being in Raleigh here for ASG weekend, a mention of “The Draft” as part of the festivities has led to a pause in each case and a question along the lines of, “Wait, what? They’re having the draft at the All-Star game now?”
Of course, they don’t know any better - that it’s juuust a “fantasy” draft for an exhibition game.
We do, but if we didn’t, judging from walking around Fan Fest at the Raleigh Convention Center today, where the draft will be held, this silly little pick ‘em event is being taken pretty seriously.
Granted, Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal aren’t exactly holed up in “war rooms” or anything but the league and its broadcast partners are certainly planning on putting on a first-class show. The set for the draft is aces (and enormous!) and the commentators and analysts from TSN and Versus were intently rehearsing each and every “pick”, with Darren Dreger playing Staal and Matthew Barnaby assuming the role of Lidstrom.
With the pre-All-Star break portion of their schedule now officially complete after last night’s 2-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tampa Bay Lightning sit comfortably atop the Southeast Division, second overall in the Eastern Conference and can rest, save for All-Stars Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, with five days before a meeting with the East-leading Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.
51 games in the books, 31 to play – before the second season, that is, which is now nothing short of extremely likely for Tampa Bay. (Playoff hockey, folks! And – gasp – something to get excited about!)
Actually, there’s been plenty of excitement surrounding the Lightning all season already.
There are, of course, the 31 wins – second only to Philadelphia (33) and matched only by Pittsburgh in all the National Hockey League.
There’s the 16-4-2 home record and the fact that all but one of the Lightning’s hockey games in February will be played at the St. Pete Times Forum, with ten tilts remaining on the lengthy 12-game homestand.
There are individual performances to consider, namely St. Louis and Stamkos, near the top of the league in goals, assists and points all season long and the latter now in position for “Rocket” Richard and Art Ross honors with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby on the shelf.
The question was posed recently in the St. Pete Times and Paul recently brought it to the attention of the KK faithful as well, soliciting some interesting responses but, with first place in the Southeast Division on the line again tonight, with the Washington Capitals (and their identical 55-point total) in town for the first time this season, it deserves some revisiting:
Could the Tampa Bay Lightning truly be a contender for the Stanley Cup this season?
Well, yeah… I suppose anything is possible.
But since the original question was actually, “Is it premature to call the Tampa Bay Lightning a Stanley Cup contender?” then, well…
Yeah. It is.
from Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times,
Yes, Steven Stamkos is the team’s star, and yes, Vinny Lecavalier still has dazzling skills. After all these years, however, St. Louis is still St. Louis, and if the Lightning is going to make a run at the postseason, he figures to be a very important part of it.
If your memory is good enough to remember playoff runs in Tampa Bay, you would not expect anything less.
These are good times for St. Louis, 35 years old going on 25.
The franchise has turned around, and the games matter again, and life at home is terrific. After three years when the Lightning went nowhere, St. Louis is an essential player on a team with possibilities.
He can still go, you know. There is a smattering of gray in his hair, but St. Louis’ skates still have gears that most players’ do not. He has 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists) in 43 games, which is another way of saying his stick still has stories to tell.
The Bolts Beat, 1/10/11: Tampa’s Up & Down Week, M-A Bergeron, Slightly Whacky All-Star Picks & More
In tonight’s episode of The Bolts Beat, the gang reviews a roller coaster week for the Tampa Bay Lightning and analyzes what the addition of defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron might eventually mean for the club.
And, in a nod to the NHL’s unique way of fielding two all-star teams this year, Jon, Mark and Mike create some rules as well in selecting their very own squads.
All that, plus the usual shenanigans after the jump…
We’re past the quarter pole, so maybe this is a bit late but it still seems like a good time to me to hand out some assessments to all five Southeast Division clubs. Besides, what’s this quarter pole anyway? Divide the NHL season in equal fours and the resting #StamkosMath calculator tells me that we’d have to stop things at the ten-minute mark of each team’s 21st game of the year to truly be one quarter of the way through. And that just seems troubling.
We’ll go with JJ Ratings rather than the standard report cards because one, everyone else seems to do the report card thing and two, handing out school-type grades gives me terrible nightmares. (Trust me.) Instead, each club’s JJ Rating will reflect their performance on a scale of one to ten (and, since I’ve become a big fan of complicating things, we’ll allow for partial points as well).
Here we are, anywhere from 26-29 games into the 2010-11 slate for the Southeast squads – as good a time as any (maybe just because I say so) to see where we are versus where we thought we’d be, as well as where we might be headed.
We’ll tackle this alphabetically (Ooh… Suspense!)
In this week’s episode, the gang looks back at four games for the Lightning last week and previews three upcoming matchups and questions whether or not the recent Stamkos 50-in-50 talk was a bit premature.
Also, Mike wards off a horrendous head cold, Mark welcomes back the Whale and Jon keeps one foot firmly planted in (his) reality.
Finally, against all odds, The Bolts Beat crew prevails over deadly, swarming, killer flies. (No, really.)
Have a listen…
Past the so-called “quarter pole”, 23 games into the 2010-11 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are undoubtedly in pretty good shape. At 13-8-2 for 28 points, they rank second in the Southeast Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference and appear, at this early stage of the season, to have the makings of a team that can qualify for postseason play and, potentially, make some waves.
But, after last night’s 6-0 pasting at the hands of the division stalwart Washington Capitals, they also, undoubtedly, still have a long way to go before they can stake a legitimate claim to being an upper echelon team like their foes of a night ago.
Really, the Bolts are right where we’d thought they’d be from the start – second in the division and good enough, as they were in their first meeting with the Caps two weeks ago (a 6-3 loss), to hang with the class of the division for a time and give them somewhat of a push. But, last night, they weren’t even close, proving that, though they do have a formidable 1-2 punch in Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis to rival Alexes Ovechkin and Semin for the offensive Washington dynamo, they don’t have the firepower through and through – from up front and on the back end – to keep up with the Joneses (or the Backstroms, the Greens and so on and so forth).
I only have a few minutes this morning, with a houseful already in town for Thanksgiving and the pressing need of locating some genie-style parachute pants in time for tonight’s game, what with M.C. Hammer in town for a postgame concert and all. (Rumor has it, if things go well for the Lightning, their very own “Hammer”, one Steven Stamkos, could join the genius behind “U Can’t Touch This”, “2 Legit 2 Quit” and “Here Comes the Hammer” on stage. Hope he’s been practicing that trademark Hammer shuffle…)
Anyway, I simply wanted to point out that, prior to their recent three-game road sweep of the Islanders, Philadelphia and Buffalo, I had noted that the Lightning were actually two points behind their record through 17 games last season and that they’d need to win two of three just to match that club’s pace at the indicative “quarter pole” of the twenty-game mark. Of course, they managed a perfect road trip and added a win over Boston on Monday night to run their win streak to four and to pull them within four points of division-leading Washington.
So forget that last year stuff, as all seems well, presently, in Lightningland…
There are several higher-profile games on tonight’s NHL docket but the Tampa Bay Lightning’s visit to Long Island has my undivided attention this evening (and would still, even were I not tasked with Bolts coverage, nor had I no stifled sentimental attachment to the Isles).
Both clubs have struggled of late, although that doesn’t even begin to tell the tale of the hapless Islanders, 0-9-1 in their last ten and now under the command of a new head coach in Jack Capuano, who was handed the position on an interim basis after Isles’ brass made Scott Gordon the fall guy for their woeful start.
If a team in turmoil is always a dangerous one, what does that say for these Islanders? One would think they’d play some seriously desperate hockey tonight. That said, they’re still the Islanders and whether the players quit on Gordon (as True Hockey’s Andy Strickland reports in his latest installment of Rink Rats), or Gordon truly was the problem or owner Charles Wang and Garth Snow simply ignored the fact that, aside from a few talented youngsters, without injured key pieces Kyle Okposo and Mark Streit, chances for this team’s success were slim from day one, nothing seems to work for this franchise and there are no guarantees.
Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dwayne+roloson, jack+capuano, john+tavares, martin+st.+louis, matt+moulson, rick+dipietro, scott+gordon, steven+stamkos
Time again to a tip a few back, honoring the best of the best from last night’s NHL action:
***Cheers to Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, whose highlight reel third period goal broke a 3-3 tie in Tampa and led the Lightning to a win over Pittsburgh by a final of 5-3. St. Louis also added an empty netter late to seal things and I’m fast becoming more and more convinced that the heart of the Bolts just keeps getting better all the time.