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Entries with the tag: tampa bay lightning

Ben Bishop healthy, ready for the World Cup

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop engaged in a Q and A with ESPN's Joe McDonald:

ESPN.com: How is your leg injury and where are you with your offseason workouts?

Ben Bishop: It's going good. The leg is feeling better and it's getting stronger every day. I'm getting ready to start skating soon ... and get back on the ice and doing that side of things. We have about a month until we go, so I'll start off slow and pick it up in the next month and be ready for training camp for the World Cup.

ESPN.com: Now that you're focused on your preparation for the World Cup, what does this opportunity mean to you?

Ben Bishop: It's a great opportunity. Obviously, it's not new but it's a little bit newer with the World Cup coming back and I think everybody is excited that it's going to be on ESPN. It's a whole different feel to it; it's not another NHL season, or the Olympics, it's a brand new thing coming out again and I think everybody is excited. Everybody's going to be fresh, it's going to be good hockey and it's in a great market in Toronto. There are so many good things coming out of it and I'm excited to be a part of it.

Continued

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  Tags: ben+bishop, tampa+bay+lightning, world+cup

Lightning taking the long route to a contract with Kucherov

From the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith:

[Nikita] Kucherov, 23, one of the league's top young stars, is a restricted free agent, and is due a hefty raise from the $700,000 he made last season. He's coming off a 30-goal season, and another clutch playoff performance. Think of the Predators' six-year, $36 million deal with Filip Forsberg as an example.

[Steve] Yzerman said Wednesday he remains confident the Lightning can sign Kucherov, though would not put a timeline on when it'd happen. Yzerman suggested it could take until the start of the season. Agent Scott Greenspun declined to comment on negotiations.

"We continue to communicate with his representation," Yzerman said. "And we expect to have him under contract to start the season."

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: nikita+kucherov, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

Bolts re-sign Namestnikov

From ESPN's Craig Custance:

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  Tags: tampa+bay+lightning, vladislav+namestniko

Praising Brad Richards

The New York Post's Larry Brooks spends a fair portion of his Saturday notebook discussing the purported plan for a single-team arena to be used by the New York Islanders, but he finishes with this:

Brad Richards, who announced his retirement this week, leaves a legacy as one of the most well-liked, admired and respected players of his time among his peers.

The 36-year-old’s stay with the Rangers did not quite work out as conceived by either party, but there is no question Richards’ presence elevated the club’s professionalism and credibility throughout his three years on Broadway.

And he would have been back for more if not for the punitive cap-recapture amendment to the CBA out of the 2012-13 lockout that was aimed squarely at No. 19 and the Rangers.

There was a Cup early with Tampa Bay (with the Conn Smythe in 2004) then another late with Chicago. That no-look pass in the 2015 clincher for the Blackhawks was a jaw-dropping work of art few could have conceived, let alone executed. It is his single-frame highlight moment.

Richards had a great career for which he was quite handsomely compensated. The league is poorer without him.

Continued

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  Tags: brad+richards, chicago+blackhawks, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Lightning sign Hedman to 8-year extension

Per Sportsnet's Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman:

 

added 1:41pm, Tampa release is below...

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: tampa+bay+lightning, victor+hedman

Here’s the NHL’s Conference Final broadcast schedule

2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE

NEW YORK (May 12, 2016) – The National Hockey League today confirmed the dates, starting times and television information for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final features the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and begins Friday in Pittsburgh. The Western Conference Final features the St. Louis Blues against the San Jose Sharks and begins Sunday in St. Louis.

NBC Sports in the U.S. and CBC and TVA Sports in Canada will provide exclusive television coverage of the Conference Finals.

All times listed are ET and subject to change.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning

NHL releases ‘Conference Finals scenarios’

2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS CONFERENCE FINALS SCHEDULE SCENARIO

NEW YORK (May 11, 2016) – The National Hockey League today announced the dates, starting times and television information for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final features the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning and begins Friday in Pittsburgh. The Western Conference Final features the St. Louis Blues against the winner of Thursday’s Game 7 of the Second Round series between the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators and begins Sunday in St. Louis.

NBC Sports in the U.S. and CBC and TVA Sports in Canada will provide exclusive television coverage of the Conference Finals.

All times listed are ET and subject to change.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: nashville+predators, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning

Here’s the NHL’s second-round playoff schedule

From the NHL:

2016 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND SCHEDULE

NEW YORK (April 27, 2016) – The National Hockey League today confirmed the schedule for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round. In the U.S., NBC Sports Group has exclusive coverage of the Second Round. Sportsnet, CBC and TVA Sports continue exclusive coverage throughout Canada. All times listed are ET and subject to change. Future start times and television information will be released as they are determined.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: dallas+stars, nashville+predators, new+york+islanders, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

NHL announces start times for Games 5 of Wings-Bolts, Blues-Hawks series

From the NHL:

ADDITIONAL START TIMES SET FOR FIRST ROUND GAMES SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 21


NEW YORK (April 15, 2016) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule:

·        The start time for Game 5 of the First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, if necessary, has been set for 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 21, in Tampa Bay.

·        The start time for Game 5 of the First Round series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks has been set for 9:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 21, in St. Louis.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning

Brooks: Tavares might ‘bolt’ from Islanders’ identity crisis

From the New York Post's Larry Brooks:

So, no, I don’t believe that there is the slightest correlation between [Steven] Stamkos’ looming availability this summer and Toronto’s excise of Dion Phaneuf’s $7 million cap hit that runs through 2020-21 via last week’s stunning trade with Ottawa.

The deal does indeed create oodles of projected space for the Leafs down the line, albeit with a skeleton roster, following the 2017-18 season. And who might become available as a 27-year-old free agent on July 1, 2018?

Why, none other than John Tavares.

It is more than two years down the line, and the steps that might take the Mississauga native — for whom Greater Toronto has lusted since ever before this other No. 91’s junior career commenced in Oshawa a decade ago — from here to there cannot be plotted at this early date.

But the Islanders have work to do here with not only Tavares, working on the fourth year of a club-friendly six-year deal worth $5.5 million per season, but with their entire team in making the transition from Long Island to Brooklyn.

Maybe it will change upon this summer’s transfer of ownership, but the franchise thus far has attempted to straddle the two locales, in essence refusing to acknowledge the reality of where the team plays and to whom it belongs.

Brooks continues...

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  Tags: dion+phaneuf, john+tavares, new+york+islanders, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs

Saturday Headlines: On Drouin, Shattenkirk, Yandle and All-Star voting

According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and Damien Cox:

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for a young player with a comparable contract in return for Jonathan Drouin, which is why Robby Fabbri's name is making the rounds;
  • Kevin Shattenkirk's name is on the market because St. Louis was going to send him to Columbus for Ryan Johansen, and he may still be available as the Blues look to add offense;
  • Keith Yandle is probably going to be traded because the Rangers won't re-sign him as a free agent;
  • The All-Star Game may include a "quiet meeting" about expansion, but no vote by the Board of Governors;
  • Jakub Kindl is on waivers and the Red Wings are cap-crunched due to Johan Franzen's LTIR issue and Kyle Quincey's $4.25 million salary coming back on Monday, and it's 50-50 as to whether Kindl might be claimed;
  • Friedman reports that the NHL may change All-Star voting to allow fans to pick captains or issue a list of candidates from which the fans can pick All-Stars;
  • Cox states that William Nylander is on a slow but steady return process from a concussion suffered at the World Juniors;
  • And Robin Lehner should return to the Buffalo Sabres next week:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: all-star+game, buffalo+sabres, detroit+red+wings, jakub+kindl, johan+franzen, jonathan+drouin, keith+yandle, kevin+shattenkirk, kyle+quincey, new+york+rangers, robin+lehner, st.+louis+blues, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, william+nylander

Garrioch: Drouin will be heading West

Among the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch's trade notes:

The Lightning have been shopping winger Drouin since he made his request in November but GM Steve Yzerman isn't going to give him away which is why he's still in the Tampa organization. "He's an incomplete player but he's going to be a good player," said a league executive. "It's tough on a good team trying to break in young players. With a lesser team he may get more ice time but it doesn't happen that way."

Several Eastern Conference teams -- including Montreal, Ottawa, Buffalo, New Jersey and Boston -- have made calls to Yzerman to see what the asking price is for Drouin but those teams aren't getting much in the way of a response from the Tampa camp. That's because Yzerman has no interest whatsoever in trading Drouin to an Eastern opponent and would prefer he heads somewhere West because the Bolts are convinced he'll be a regular in this league. The Ducks, Blues, Flames and Canucks are all looking for help at forward so you have to think they are in on this deal in some way, shape or form.

The asking price is believed to be a similar player or prospect in return -- a top 10 pick or a legitimate top six forward or top four defenceman. The belief is the asking price from the Blues may be 19-year-old centre Robby Fabri and the deal could be even bigger than that. About 15 teams have called but the reality is only five or six have a realistic chance.

Continued

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  Tags: jonathan+drouin, st.+louis+blues, steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

Garrioch: Stamkos’ status has all eyes watching

From the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch:

All that matters in the next 70 days on the NHL trade market is what takes places between Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

When the Lightning captain was drafted No. 1 overall by the Bolts in the 2008 NHL entry draft, the organization posted billboards across town with the slogan “Seen Stamkos” plastered on it. The issue this season is nobody has seen the 25-year-old Stamkos sign a contract extension, and the clock is ticking.

Set to become a UFA on July 1, Stamkos will control what kind of trade deadline day the networks in Canada are going to have on Feb. 29, because if he hasn’t signed a contract with the Bolts by then, GM Steve Yzerman will have to decide what his next move is going to be.

If Stamkos isn’t signed, the speculation will be on high.

To make matters more interesting, Stamkos has a ‘no move’ clause, so he controls his own destiny if he decides to sign there.

Continued with more trade rumors...

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  Tags: steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Nikita Nesterov suspended two games

From the NHL:

LIGHTNING’S NESTEROV SUSPENDED TWO GAMES FOR BOARDING

NEW YORK (Oct. 16, 2015) – Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov has been suspended for two games, without pay, for boarding Dallas Stars forward Curtis McKenzie during NHL Game No. 54 in Tampa on Thursday, Oct. 15, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 15:56 of the second period. Nesterov was assessed a major penalty for checking from behind and a game misconduct.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Nesterov will forfeit $7,983.88. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

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  Tags: dallas+stars, tampa+bay+lightning

3-on-3 OT is popular with everyone…except goalies…

Among the National Post's Michael Traikos' observations from the first week of the 2015-16 season:

The 3-on-3 is a “gong show” for goalies

There have been five games that went to overtime so far this season. Of those, only two have gone the distance and required a shootout to solve.

For the NHL, which predicted that 72% of games would end in the 3-on-3, it is an encouraging sign. Unless, of course, you happen to be a goaltender.

Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop called the 3-on-3 OT format a “gong show” and Calgary goaltender Jonas Hiller said “It’s kind of like an All-Star Game.” But you cannot argue with the entertainment value. Breakaways, odd-man rushes and scoring chances on nearly every puck possession has translated into the most exciting five minutes of the game.

“Definitely nerve-wracking,” Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, who scored in a 3-on-3 overtime win against Vancouver. “With so much time and space and ice, one costly turnover or mistake and that’s the game. You’ve got to be smart out there. You have to be strategic about it, but it’s fun.”

Continued

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  Tags: ben+bishop, calgary+flames, johnny+gaudreau, jonas+hiller, tampa+bay+lightning

On the subtleties of analytics

This is a superb, superb answer to an "advanced stats" question from ESPN's Craig Custance's Friday Insider entry/mailbag feature:

As I try to be more of an advanced stats believer, I find myself with more questions than answers. First, how does a team get better at advanced stats? Is it putting more pucks on net? I'm pretty sure every hockey player ever has given that as an answer. But seriously, what would fix your team’s problem? Is it a certain style of play? If it is, then one could argue that once a team wins the Stanley Cup with a different style, we’d see that be the new "in" thing.

Judeman5000

Thornton, Colorado

Judeman,

Good to hear from you, my friend. There’s a lot to tackle in this question. First, there are definitely things coaches can do to improve their team’s possession analytics, but whether or not it leads to wins is up for debate.

For instance, I remember talking to Dallas Eakins last year after he was fired from Edmonton and they made systematic changes that resulted in improved analytics.

“Very, very subtle changes,” he said at the time. “But they were paying off.”

And the numbers suggest that zone entries impact the possession numbers, so if teams make a concerted effort to carry the puck in rather than dump it in, that would theoretically improve the analytics.

To me, the analytics we see are more useful for roster construction. If I’m trying to improve the possession numbers, I’m doing it through roster improvements. I’m focusing on defensemen who can quickly close the gap on players in the neutral zone to force a dump in. I’m focusing on defensemen who are also great skaters who can quickly get the puck and get it out of the zone to start the rush the other way. All things being equal, I’d like a goalie who can play the puck to help those defensemen.

But to your last point, there is more than one way to win in the NHL. The Tampa Bay Lightning play a different brand of hockey and are built differently than, say, the Los Angeles Kings when they were at the top of their game. Possession numbers aren’t the end-all, be-all, they’re just part of the equation.

Custance continues...

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  Tags: dallas+eakins, edmonton+oilers, los+angeles+kings, tampa+bay+lightning

Nikita Nesterov to have a chat with the Department of Player Safety

From the NHL's Department of Player Safety:

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  Tags: dallas+stars, tampa+bay+lightning

Nesterov wallops McKenzie

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov delivered a heavy hit to Dallas Stars forward Curtis McKenzie. It looks quite bad:

Edit: Via Pro Hockey Talk's Mike Halford, turnabout was fair play as Jamie Benn sent Victor Hedman to the locker room for the balance of the evening with this hit:

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  Tags: dallas+stars, tampa+bay+lightning

3-on-3 OT is an adjustment for players, coaches

From the Associated Press:

Count Washington Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen among those around the NHL taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the league’s new 3-on-3 overtime.

A few things do seem clear about the setup: It will make goalies’ stats uglier, result in fewer shootouts and force coaches to decide whether to focus on defence or an all-out attacking style.

"I wasn’t really sure about it at first," said Niskanen, whose team hosts the New Jersey Devils in a season-opener Saturday. "Now I think it’s probably going to do what it was designed to do: Teams are going to get ‘grade A’ chances, and if that’s what people want to see, then let’s do it. Fans are going to love it and the forwards are going to love it. Goalies and ‘D’? Maybe not as much."

As the hockey season gets going this week, how teams deal with the switch from 4-on-4 in OT to one fewer skater per team could wind up having a real effect on the standings.

Consider this: A year ago, with 4-on-4 rules, 44 per cent of overtime games were decided by a goal before they got to a shootout, according to STATS, about the same percentage that it's been in the 10 years since that format began in 2005-06.

But during this preseason, the first NHL test of 3-on-3 after it was tried in the AHL, 72 per cent of OT games ended before a shootout, STATS said.

Factor in that nearly a quarter of all regular-season games over the past decade went to overtime, and what might seem like a minor rule change takes on more significance.

Continued, and here was Jason Garrison's OT winner from last night's Bolts-Flyers game:

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  Tags: jason+garrison, matt+niskanen, philadelphia+flyers, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

‘McDavid mania,’ 3-on-3 OT and Stamkos’ contract status among stories to watch this upcoming season

According to the Canadian Press's Joshua Clipperton, there are five stories of particular note to follow during the upcoming NHL season:

2. McDavid Mania: Connor McDavid is the most hyped rookie to enter the NHL since Sidney Crosby back in 2005. The 18-year-old was taken first overall by the Edmonton Oilers at June's draft and is viewed as the league's next superstar. He joins a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final, but has a stable of young talent that includes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. How much of an impact will McDavid, the odds-on favourite to win the Calder Trophy as the top rookie, have with Edmonton in Year 1?

3. New overtime format, coach's challenges: Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom called his experience with 3-on-3 overtime in the AHL last season "a gong show," but it will be interesting to see how NHL teams adapt to the new format. Will coaches deploy two forwards and a defenceman, or three forwards? Playing 3-on-3 should open up more scoring chances and result in fewer shootouts. Another change for this season is the coach's ability to challenge officials' calls on plays involving offside and goaltender interference that result in goals.

4. Will Stamkos get a contract extension? Steven Stamkos is entering the final season of a $37.5-million US, five-year contract he signed in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The two sides are negotiating, but have yet to put pen to paper on a new deal. Stamkos is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2016. The captain of the Lightning has said he wants to remain with the club, but he has also had issues with how he fits into head coach Jon Cooper's system. Stamkos and the Lightning have eight months to get a new deal done before he's scheduled to hit free agency. The longer it drags on, the more of a distraction his status will become.

Clipperton continues...


 

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  Tags: connor+mcdavid, edmonton+oilers, jacob+markstrom, overtime, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, vancouver+canucks

Picking Hedman for the Norris Trophy

From NHL.com's Brian Compton:

Injuries sidelined Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman for 23 games last season, ultimately ruining any chance he had to win the 2015 Norris Trophy.

But Hedman showed while leading the Lightning to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final that he is unquestionably one of the best defensemen in the world. Hedman averaged 23:57 of ice time per game and had a plus-11 rating in 26 playoff games.

Perhaps Hedman hasn't garnered enough, but his talent and poise were on full display during the playoffs. He's big, he's intelligent and is remarkably skilled.

He also is the preseason choice for the Norris Trophy for the 2015-16 season.

"It was a coming-out party in the fact that we were now on the biggest stage in our sport," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said of Hedman. "He was the same player to us; just everyone else got a chance to see him. You get lost under the radar a little bit I guess playing in a non-traditional hockey market. I think people got to see what he can bring because of how we did as a team, got to the Final. Obviously he played phenomenal, was an absolute beast and horse for us out there, so the expectations have been raised for him. I know he's such a competitor, so he loves that. It was great to see."

Continued

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  Tags: steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, victor+hedman

Friedman on Stamkos

From Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:

Tampa’s captain is an unrestricted free agent next July 1, barring a contract extension. Last week, while discussing the blood clot that will keep Andrei Vasilevskiy out of the lineup for up to three months, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told The Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson there was nothing to comment on at this time.

The obvious hurdle is the contract negotiation, with Stamkos expected to be in the $10.5M AAV range occupied by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. It’s difficult to tell where things stand right now because none of the principals are talking, including Yzerman, agent Don Meehan or Stamkos himself. But according to a couple of sources, there are other things at play.

The first is role.

Stamkos prefers to play centre, which creates a top-six logjam with Valtteri Filppula and triplet Tyler Johnson. It sounds like the Lightning would prefer Stamkos to play on the wing to ease that issue. From what I’ve been told, the discussions were professional, but both organization and player remain searching for common ground.

The second is how the Lightning see the future. By the end of the 2016-17 season, they must determine long-term plans for Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman, Johnson, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Stamkos.

Yzerman said in June signing Stamkos was his No. 1 priority this summer. Your third-grade science teacher will remind you that, technically, he’s got two more weeks. Even if it doesn’t happen by then, there’s no reason to believe Yzerman’s desires have changed.

Continued, trade rumor included...

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  Tags: alex+killorn, ondrej+palat, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson, valtteri+filppula, victor+hedman

Martin St. Louis leaving a long legacy

From the New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis:

There is no need to wait until Martin St. Louis is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in order to see his legacy. It resides in every undersized athlete in the NHL, following his example of determination in overcoming any physical disadvantages that might exist.

“I’d like to say that I was part of that, of being able to see players not so much for their size, but for the athlete and the hockey player that they are,” St. Louis said Monday at the Rangers practice facility in Westchester, the first time he has taken questions since announcing his retirement July 2.

“For me, I had smaller players I looked up to when I was young,” said the 5-foot-8 St. Louis. “And when I was looking at little guys, it was, ‘They’re there, why can’t I be?’”

St. Louis, 40, played parts of the final two seasons of his 16-year career with the Rangers, coming over in a trade with the Lightning in March 2014. He joined a team with Mats Zuccarello, the diminutive Norwegian winger who finally had someone to look in the eye. During the past Eastern Conference final, the Rangers took on the Lightning, with terrific 5-foot-9 forward Tyler Johnson.

“I know a lot of shorter guys around the league, I get a chance to meet them — yeah, I was probably their idol at one point, and they’re going to be somebody else’s idol at some point,” St. Louis said. “That’s the beauty of the game. The wheel keeps turning. Guys are leaving, guys are coming in, and you try to affect the game and leave your mark as you go through. I think I’ve done that.”

Cyrgalis continues...

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  Tags: martin+st.+louis, mats+zuccarello, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson

Blackhawks smartly take Game 5, control of Cup Final series

It's difficult to suggest that the Chicago Blackhawks haven't earned the enviable position of wrapping up a third Stanley Cup championship of the "modern era" at home on Monday, thanks in large part to Saturday's 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They got the game's first goal via a Bishop gaffe yielding a Patrick Sharp tally, they weathered the Lightning's 2nd-period storm and Valtteri Filppula's game-tying goal, and in the 3rd, Bishop had little chance on the defensive mash-up (literally) that led to Antoine Vermette's gamer:

The Blackahwks have simply been calmer and more poised in the situations that determine the outcome of games, and that's why they're pretty bloody close to winning another Cup.

Both teams are clearly mentally and physically fatigued playing into the middle of June, but when the Hawks have had to be sharp, they've been razor-sharp.

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  Tags: antoine+vermette, ben+bishop, chicago+blackhawks, patrick+sharp, tampa+bay+lightning

Saad the difference-maker again as Blackhawks tie Stanley Cup Final at 2 games apiece

The Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning was an utterly bizarre one. After a first period that was so dull that it couldn't slice melted butter, the pace and intensity of play ramped up to a feverish pitch in the 2nd and an overtime-like pace in the 3rd period, and as Chiago raced out to 1-0 and 2-1 leads on surprise starter Andrei Vasilevsky, Tampa Bay roared back with incredibly, incredibly energetic play...

But the visibly-fatigued Blackhawks defended like a team knowing it might be out of the series if it went down 3 games to 1--even with a 2-day break before Saturday's Game 5--and as a result, the series heads back to Tampa Bay tied at 2 games apiece, with the Hawks having rope-a-doped their way to victory.

Brandon Saads goal--and Andrei Vasilevskiy's overreaction on the cross-crease play that led to his legs opening for said goal--sealed the deal:

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  Tags: brandon+saad, chicago+blackhawks, tampa+bay+lightning

Hedman + Paquette = no overtime, late win for Lightning in Game 3

Monday's Blackhawks-Lightning game seemed to be destined for overtime until Victor Hedman made an amazing pinch, he sent a lateral pass to Cedric Paquette, and with 3:11 left in the 3rd period, Paquette untied a 2-2 game and gave the Lightning a 3-2 win and 2-1 series lead:

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  Tags: cedric+paquette, chicago+blackhawks, tampa+bay+lightning, victor+hedman

Jon Cooper goes with obfuscation regarding Ben Bishop’s status

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is playing his cards close to his vest regarding Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy's respective statuses:

Update: Bishop as equally helpful:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: ben+bishop, jon+cooper, tampa+bay+lightning

NBC announces broadcast plans for Saturday’s Game 2 of SCF

DAY 51 – TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING HOST CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS IN GAME 2 OF STANLEY CUP FINAL SATURDAY NIGHT ON NBC

Coverage Begins on NBC on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET, Immediately Following 147th Belmont Stakes Coverage

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 5, 2014 – The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to send the Stanley Cup Final to Chicago even at one game apiece with a Game 2 victory on Saturday night against the Blackhawks at 7:15 p.m. ET on NBC. NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide comprehensive streaming coverage of Game 2.

Coverage of Game 2 begins on NBC on Saturday evening immediately following the network’s coverage of the 147th running of the Belmont Stakes, as American Pharoah tries to become the first horse to complete the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.

Three-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator and Sports Illustrated 2014 Media Person of the Year Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick and Emmy Award-winning “Inside the Glass” analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call of Game 2 from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. Analyst Eddie Olczyk will not call Game 2 as he will be working on NBC’s Belmont Stakes coverage. Host Liam McHugh and analysts Mike Milbury, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones will anchor NBC Sports Group’s intermission and post-game coverage.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, tampa+bay+lightning

Watching Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final

Via the NBC Sports Group:

BLACKHAWKS-LIGHTNING POSTS BEST STANLEY CUP FINAL NON-OT GAME 1 OVERNIGHT IN 18 YEARS

With a 4.23 metered market rating, the first game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final posted the highest overnight rating for a Game 1 that ended in regulation in 18 years (DET-PHI on FOX; 5.2), and ranks as NBC’s second-best SCF Game 1 overnight ever, behind only the 2013 triple-overtime Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks (4.9 overnight).

Last night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 1 on NBC between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning (8:15-11 p.m. ET) delivered a 4.23 metered market rating, up 11% vs. last year’s NYR-LA Game 1 (3.82; OT).

Locally, the Blackhawks’ 2-1 comeback win over the Lightning produced a 28.0 HH rating, the third-highest ever in Chicago for a Blackhawks game on NBC, trailing only the Stanley Cup Final-clinching Game 6 matchups in 2013 and 2010. Last night’s 28.0 overnight rating for Game 1 was up 12% vs. 2013 (25.1), and up 66% vs. Game 1 in 2010 (16.9).

Last night’s Game 1 produced a 17.9 rating in the Tampa market, the highest rating ever in Tampa for a Lightning game on an NBC network, up 50% vs. last Friday’s ECF Game 7 against the New York Rangers on NBCSN (11.9), and up 47% vs. Game 1 of the Lightning’s last SCF appearance in 2004 against Calgary (12.2; ESPN).

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, stanley+cup+final, tampa+bay+lightning

Lightning’s attempt to nurse 1-goal lead bites ‘em in the butt; Teravainen, Vermette help Hawks win

The Tampa Bay Lightning looked like they were going to nurse a 1-0 lead to a Game 1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, but sitting on a lead against the Blackhawks isn't the best defensive strategy, as illustrated by the pair of goals that Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored just 1:58 apart, giving Chicago a 2-1 victory:

 

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  Tags: antoine+vermette, chicago+blackhawks, tampa+bay+lightning, teuvo+teravainen

Stanley Cup Final begins Wednesday, June 3rd

From the NHL:

2015 STANLEY CUP FINAL TO START WEDNESDAY

NEW YORK (May 30, 2015) – The National Hockey League announced today the schedule for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday, June 3, in Tampa Bay.

Based on their superior regular-season point total, the Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Lightning will host Games One and Two of the best-of-seven Final, as well as Games Five and Seven, if necessary.

Games Three and Four, as well as Game Six, if necessary, will be hosted by the Western Conference Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

In the U.S., NBC will broadcast Games One and Two of the Final and, if necessary, Games Five through Seven. NBCSN will telecast Games Three and Four.

In Canada, CBC and TVA Sports will televise the entire series.

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, tampa+bay+lightning

Simmons talks Leafs GM and Hawks/Bolts’ cap management

Among the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' Sunday notes:

Word is that Mike Babcock is pushing for [Mark] Hunter to be named general manager of the Leafs. Brendan Shanahan would be wise to look elsewhere. Shanahan needs Hunter to find players. A general manager won’t be able to spend the kind of time scouting that the Leafs require to properly rebuild. Hunter may want the job but the practicality of it doesn’t make sense...

Those who say this is the last shot for the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t really paying attention. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith — the best 1-2-3 in hockey — are signed through 2023. Corey Crawford is signed until 2020. Marian Hossa is signed through 2021. Niklas Hjarmalsson is signed until 2019. So if you lose a Patrick Sharp here, a Brad Richards there and sign Johnny Oduya, Brandon Saad and Brent Seabrook to new deals, there’s no reason this kind of success can’t continue for several more years...

Two more things on Keith: 1) His cap hit is $5.5 million, making his contract one of the best in hockey. By comparison, the Dion Phaneuf contract looks ridiculous. 2) Should the Blackhawks win Saturday night, Keith may be the leading candidate to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, but he’s not a Norris Trophy finalist. For the record, he was on my ballot, ahead of both P.K. Subban and Erik Karlsson, who are up for the award.

...

If Steve Yzerman can juggle the salary cap prudently, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be Stanley Cup contenders for years. Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn are all 25 and under. And figuring they pick up some assets for the disappointing Jonathan Drouin, that should make them even stronger...

When Brian Lawton tried to acquire defenceman Tomas Kaberle when he was general manager in Tampa, the Leafs first asked for college kid Alex Killorn. That conversation didn’t last long.

Simmons continues, discussing the usual potpourri of sports topics...

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  Tags: alex+killorn, brad+richards, brandon+saad, brendan+shanahan, brent+seabrook, chicago+blackhawks, dion+phaneuf, duncan+keith, erik+karlsson, johnny+oduya, jonathan+toews, marian+hossa, mark+hunter, mike+babcock, nikita+kucherov, niklas+hjalmarsson, ondrej+palat, patrick+kane, pk+subban, pk+subban, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs, victor+hedman

Chicago Blackhawks vanquish Anaheim in Game 7, advance to Stanley Cup Final vs. Tampa

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday evening, and Jonathan Toews' pair of goals paved Chicago's way:

The NHL had posted his on May 28th, but this still holds true, and all you have to do is give the Lightning home-ice advantage (thanks to a 108-point finish to Chicago's 102) to figure out where the games will take place:

STANLEY CUP FINAL WILL OPEN WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3

NEW YORK (May 28, 2015) -- The National Hockey League today announced the schedule of dates for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Wednesday, June 3.

The Stanley Cup Final will match the winner of the Eastern Conference Final, either the New York Rangers or [the] Tampa Bay Lightning, against the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks. Both best-of-seven series are tied, 3-3.

The club which earned the greater number of standings points during the 2014-15 regular season[, Tampa Bay,] will have home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final and will host Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, Games 5 and 7. The other club will host Games 3, 4 and, if necessary, Game 6. The Rangers collected a League-high 113 points, followed by the Ducks (109), Lightning (108) and Blackhawks (102).

The start time for all Stanley Cup Final games will be 8 p.m., ET. National broadcast information will be released when available.

2015 STANLEY CUP FINAL SCHEDULE
(all start times 8 p.m., ET)

Game 1    Wednesday, June 3 [at Tampa Bay]
Game 2    Saturday, June 6 [at Tampa Bay]
Game 3    Monday, June 8 [at Chicago]
Game 4    Wednesday, June 10 [at Chicago]
Game 5 *    Saturday, June 13 [at Tampa Bay, if necessary]
Game 6 *    Monday, June 15 [at Chicago, if necessary]
Game 7 *    Wednesday, June 17 [at Tampa Bay, if necessary]

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, chicago+blackhawks, tampa+bay+lightning

Brassard notches hat trick in wild Rangers win over Tampa Bay, forcing 7th game on Friday

The Rangers forced a 7th and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 on Tuesday night, and the Rangers' wild and wacky win included a hat trick from Derick Brassard:

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  Tags: derick+brassard, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Tyler Johnson’ hat trick highlights Lightning win over Rangers

In what can only be described as a strange game, the New York Rangers dropped a 6-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning, knotting the Eastern Conference Final at 1 game apiece, and Tyler Johnson's hat trick--consisting of a short-handed, an even-strength and a power play goal--was "the story" of the game (and it illustrates the Rangers' many defensive gaffes):

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  Tags: new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson

Tampa Bay loses Ryan Callahan’s services due to appendectomy

From Sportsnet's Chris Johnston:

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  Tags: ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning

Open Post- Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff Games

The Tampa Bay Lightning can sweep the Montreal Canadiens this evening (7 PM EDT start on NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports) and the Chicago Blackhawks can eliminate the Minnesota Wild (9:30 PM start on NBCSN/Sportsnet/TVA Sports 2). If you wish to weigh in on said games, here's an open thread to serve your needs.

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  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, tampa+bay+lightning

NHL announces start times for possible TB-MTL Game 5, NYR-WASH Game 6

From the NHL:

START TIMES SET FOR 2015 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS SECOND ROUND EASTERN CONFERENCE GAMES SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

NEW YORK (May 7, 2015) – The National Hockey League today announced updated start times and national television information for 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round Eastern Conference games scheduled for Saturday, May 9 and Sunday, May 10.

  • The start time for Game 5 (if necessary) of the series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning has been set for 7 p.m. ET in Montreal on Saturday. The game will be seen on CBC, TVA Sports and NBCSN. 

 

  • The start time for Game 6 (if necessary) of the series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals has been set for 7 p.m. ET in Washington on Sunday.  The game will be seen on NBCSN, CBC and TVA Sports.

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Jimmy Fallon pokes fun at NHL mugshots, playoffs version

In the comedy department (we have that here), Jimmy Fallon poked fun at the "mugshots" of players taking part in the second round of tne NHL playoffs last night, and the results were quite amusing:

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, chicago+blackhawks, minnesota+wild, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

GM cam strikes Yzerman gold

From Sportsnet: Steve Yzerman's reaction to the Tampa Bay Lightning's last-second goal against the Montreal Canadiens was both amusing and slightly PG-13 given that he spoke a line from Office Space:

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  Tags: steve+yzerman, tampa+bay+lightning

Sometimes an ‘ugly win’ is a beautiful thing

According to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens (during the start of a slate of back-to-back games) was...lacking in aesthetic value:

The Tampa Bay Lightning played a mediocre hockey game Wednesday night capped by a brilliant play at the buzzer, leaving the Montreal Canadiens stunned and in disbelief.

Tyler Johnson’s goal with 1.1 seconds to go in the third period was the dagger moment of a series that will end, if not Thursday evening in Game 4, then certainly sometime in the near future.

"Obviously we’re excited about the win, but we’re not very proud of the way we played," Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said. "They were a desperate hockey team, had more chances than we did today, they knew their backs were against the wall, they played like it, and we didn’t respond that great."

But the Lightning found a way to win in the end, which is what good teams do in championship seasons, because they can’t all be things of beauty.

Continued, and as a Red Wings fan, I certainly empathize with Habs fans who have found out the hard way that the Lighting seem to have copyrighted the "ugly rope-a-dope win."

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson

Last-second goal gives Lightning a 3-0 lead over the Canadiens

Tyler Johnson with the dagger, snapping a 1-1 tie with EXACTLY 1 second left on the clock:

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, tampa+bay+lightning, tyler+johnson

Kucherov the OT hero for Tampa Bay

It only took two tries for Nikita Kucherov to scored the game-winning OT goal for Tampa Bay:

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, nikita+kucherov, tampa+bay+lightning

Brandon Prust runs puck-playing Ben Bishop

I (George) have some strong feelings about both of the players engaging in shenanigans here, so I'm going to let the Hockey News's Adam Proteau tell this story...

Montreal Canadiens winger Brandon Prust is known around the league as a player who plays “on the edge”. Monday night against Tampa Bay, he appeared to go over that edge on a questionable hit from behind on Bolts goalie Ben Bishop that could earn him a date with the NHL’s discipline department.

The Lightning had a 3-0 lead on the Habs in the second period when the puck came around the boards toward the back of Bishop’s net. The goalie came out to play the puck, and Prust skated right into his back, knocking Bishop headfirst into the boards when Prust just as easily could’ve pulled up or avoided the collision: (video via SportsNetCanada)

 

And he continues, discussing Prust's previous "run-ins" with the NHL's Department of Player Safety.. Prust got 2 minutes for goaltender interference in a game the Lightning won 4-2...

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  Tags: ben+bishop, brandon+prust, montreal+canadiens, tampa+bay+lightning

Lightning send Connolly to Boston, swap Gudas & picks for Flyers’ Coburn

So late-night Twitter is a strange place, and late night Steve Yzerman trades are stranger still. This played out over the better course of an hour:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: boston+bruins, braydon+coburn, brett+connolly, philadelphia+flyers, radko+gudas, tampa+bay+lightning

Don’t believe the trade deadline hype

Wise words from the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson:

It’s that time of year when every scout at a game must mean discussions are taking place with that team. When overheard conversations find their way to Twitter and immediately result in a rumor being started.

It’s that time of year when rumor websites make sure to include every outlandish scenario, and they attach high-profile teams such as the Maple Leafs to ensure a healthy dose of clicks to help the bottom line.

But here is the real bottom line — take every rumor out there with a grain of salt.

It’s so easy for someone to say “Toronto would like to have Jonathan Drouin’’ and pose it as a possibility that he will be moved to the Leafs. Well, of course the Leafs would like to have a player such as Drouin. Who wouldn’t?

But to report that as something that could happen is just irresponsible.

...

But remember, this is silly season. There are rumors that have credence coming from trusted and reliable reporters who have earned that reputation from both inside and outside the media, and there are those that come from everywhere else.

Continued, and skepticism in healthy doses is highly recommended between now and the deadline. And then afterward.

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  Tags: tampa+bay+lightning, toronto+maple+leafs

Lightning’s Ben Bishop leaves Bolts-Pens game with ‘lower-body injury’

There's no video of it yet, but this is very worrisome news if you're a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, per the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith and via NHL.com:

The Lightning lost to the Penguins 4-2 on Monday night and has dropped four of its past five.

But its biggest loss might have been goaltender Ben Bishop, who left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury. The severity of the injury is unknown, but with two back-to-backs this week, including tonight in Philadelphia, the Lightning could call up touted prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy or Kristers Gudlevskis.

Veteran Evgeni Nabokov replaced Bishop to start the second and gave up two goals to the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins, who have beaten the Lightning 10 straight times (8-0-2) since 2011.

...

Back to Bishop. Losing him for any period of time would be a big blow. A Vezina Trophy finalist last season, Bishop entered Monday 16-6-2 with a 2.34 goals against average. Calling up [Andrei] Vasilevskiy could make sense, as he's coming off AHL player of the week honors after back-to-back shutouts with Syracuse.

Continued...

Update: Uh oh, the groin:

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  Tags: ben+bishop, evgeni+nabokov, tampa+bay+lightning

Is that really a ‘wacky bounce?’

NHL caption: "Kucherov scores after puck takes wacky bounce." Fan who grew up watching NHL games at Joe Louis Arena: "Tampa Bay defeated Carolina 2-1 because Nikita Kucherov knows that the stanchions are in play and Cam Ward cheated toward the perceived trajectory of the puck."

Kucherov's SECOND goal, the game-winner, was "wacky":

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: cam+ward, carolina+hurricanes, tampa+bay+lightning

Stamkos scores hat trick as Bolts defeat Habs

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a helluva Monday night, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 7-1, and Steven Stamkos registered a hat trick along the way (among 12 shots):

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  Tags: montreal+canadiens, steven+stamkos, tampa+bay+lightning

Russo: Matt Niskanen, Thomas Vanek and many top free agents won’t be ‘wined and dined’ in Philly

The NHL's free agent "wining and dining" period has begun, but the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo reports that teams interested in some of the top UFA's-to-be will be sorely disappointed if they were hoping to speak with them in Philadelphia:

Last year, when bought-out Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier was seen in a New York hotel, reporters and TV stations camped out in the lobby. That’s why the agents of Vanek and Niskanen both say neither client will come to Philadelphia.

“The whole [interview period] isn’t working, at least from the player side, the way it was intended,” said agent Steve Bartlett, whose top two free agents this cycle are [Thomas] Vanek and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan. “It handcuffs everybody when everybody’s sitting in Philly. The way this was envisioned was players could go into cities and see the schools, the neighborhoods, look at the facilities, go out to dinner. When someone has to make what often they feel is a pressure decision on July 1 or 2, they want to have a sense more than just what they might know from playing on a visiting team.”

It's believed that Callahan's close to re-signing with Tampa Bay...[edit: and while I was thinking out loud, I'm sure that the GM's and team officials know that these players won't be in Philly, and as such, they've probably already booked flights to the major agents' offices in Toronto, which are generally located in nondescript buildings near Lester B. Pearson International Airport]

Bartlett won’t bring any of his pending free agents to Philadelphia. Agent Don Meehan, whose agency, Newport Sports, represents pending free agents such as Jarome Iginla, Brad Richards, David Legwand and the Wild’s Matt Moulson, said he won’t either.

However, one agent who asked not to be named because he doesn’t want to create a distraction, said he might bring a “few of my lesser free agents.”

Russo continues, and while he simply says that Matt Niskanen won't be in Philadephia, either, it's intimated as his agent, Neil Sheehy, didn't comment per se [edit: Sheehy is based in the remote location of International Falls, Minnesota, so it's kind of hard to miss a GM taking a connecting flight to the border of Minnesota and Ontario at Minneapolis-St. Paul]; in his blog, Russo states that Bartlett will sell Vanek to clients based upon his body of regular-season work:

Continue Reading »

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  Tags: brad+richards, clayton+stoner, david+legwand, don+meehan, jarome+iginla, minnesota+wild, philadelphia+flyers, ryan+callahan, tampa+bay+lightning, thomas+vanek, vincent+lecavalier, willie+mitchell

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