Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: victor hedman
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."
From NHL.com's Tim Wharnsby:
They're everywhere in the NHL these days, young Swedish defensemen who have been influenced by Nicklas Lidstrom, the legendary Detroit Red Wings defenseman.
Back when Peter Forsberg was at his best, most young hockey players from Sweden wanted to be like him, a forward. But then Lidstrom started collecting Stanley Cup titles and Norris Trophy wins and Olympic gold, and that all changed.
"You look around the League and see all the young [Swedish] defensemen," Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "When you grew up in Sweden before Nicklas became the player he was, everybody wanted to be a forward. When he played his best, the most skilled guys back home wanted to be like him and play defense. Our best players are defensemen."
Now there is Victor Hedman in Tampa Bay, John Klingberg in Dallas, Jonas Brodin in Minnesota, Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim, Adam Larsson in New Jersey, Mattias Ekholm in Nashville.
There are also a couple dandies in Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes.
Ekman-Larsson led all NHL defensemen with 23 goals last season, two more than Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner. Lidstrom had the record for most goals by a Swedish defenseman in a season at 20. But then Ekman-Larsson and Karlsson zoomed on by.
"Every D-man who comes from Sweden has watched him play," Ekman-Larsson, 24, said. "He was my idol growing up and he's the reason I started to play 'D.'
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+larsson, erik+karlsson, hampus+lindholm, henrik+sedin, john+klingberg, jonas+brodin, nicklas+lidstrom, oliver+ekman-larsson, ottawa+senators, phoenix+coyotes, victor+hedman
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
"I picked him for the Norris (Trophy) this year," Stamkos said of the award given to the NHL's top defenseman. "No pressure."
Stamkos isn't the only one. Hedman, back under the national spotlight Tuesday for an NBCSN exhibition against the Penguins, should be vaulted by his playoff exposure into Norris conversation all season.
"I think he has those qualities to win it," Nicklas Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris winner, said in a phone interview from Sweden. "You gain that experience that he gained, a lot of more people watching up close. When you have that kind of season you had last year, it's going to be interesting to watch him this year. He's got more knowledge, players and fans know what he can do. It'll be the next step in his career to play at a high level consistently."
The Senators' Erik Karlsson, another Swede who won his second Norris Trophy last season, said Hedman's place among the league's elite is not a revelation.
"He's always been there," Karlsson said. "Everybody has known who he was and who he is and what he can do. He's always been a really solid player, but I think he really stuck out in the playoffs and I think he really showed he can play all the elements of his game."
Hedman just needs to stay healthy. He suffered what the Lightning called a "minor" unspecified injury in the second period of Tuesday's preseason game against the Penguins and didn't return. Center Brian Boyle filled in for Hedman on defense in the third period. Hedman is considered day-to-day with Cooper saying he was taken out as a precaution.
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...
ESPN Sport Science breaks down the two key plays made by Victor Hedman in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Watch it below...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In many ways, the NHL’s attack of the Swedish defencemen mirrors a phenomenon that unfolded in Quebec in the 1990s, when a generation of young goaltenders all wanted to emulate Patrick Roy and follow in his footsteps.
Much the same thing happened in Sweden, thanks to the exceptional Nicklas Lidstrom, who became the defining defensive player of his era playing for the Detroit Red Wings and internationally for the Tre Kronor.
The net effect of having a role model such as Lidstrom can be seen in today’s National Hockey League, where so many of the league’s top young defencemen hail from Sweden.
There is Erik Karlsson in Ottawa, Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Arizona, Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim and here, in the Stanley Cup final, the massive, unmovable force that is Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hedman has played himself into the Conn Smythe Trophy MVP conversation with a superb playoff.
He has been as pivotal to Tampa’s playoff run as Duncan Keith has been to Chicago’s – a force offensively and defensively – and nowhere were his contributions more evident than in Monday’s 3-2 win over the Hawks, when two smart plays by Hedman set up the first and third Lightning goals.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
"I heard lots of great things about him before I met him through some of the scouts and people in Sweden that he had great potential and was really a gifted player that could be a top player, and I knew he was going to be a high draft pick. But my first impression was the size he had," Lidstrom told NHL.com by phone from Sweden on Tuesday. "Being 18 years old and having that size, that's a big advantage. But you've got to be able to handle it too.
"He seems able to do the best with it."...
"It's great to see," said Lidstrom, who only watches highlights of the games because of the early morning start time in Sweden. "It's great to see him develop into the type of player that he had great potential of being. He's only 24 years old too, so he hasn't even hit his prime yet and he's playing like a veteran out there. That's been really enjoyable to watch."
Hedman also remembers his first meeting with Lidstrom.
"I was really nervous," he said. "I don't remember what questions I asked."
He didn't really have to ask anything. Hedman watched Lidstrom for years as a kid growing up in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. Hedman studied Lidstrom and tried to emulate some of what he did for the Detroit Red Wings.
"He's such a legend," Hedman said of Lidstrom. "It's impossible to try to compare yourself to someone like that. But I tried to look at his game and take some things from his game and put it in my own game. That's something I did growing up and I still do it now."
from Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun,
It was always going to take time for Victor Hedman to reach this point and the fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning was willing to wait is a big reason the franchise is now just two wins away from a Stanley Cup title.
He’s a big defenceman and, as a No. 2 overall draft pick, the superstar potential was always there for the towering Swede.
He has arrived now, however, as the Lightning’s big playoff run has become, in the words of his coach, Jon Cooper, Hedman’s “coming-out party.”
Priority No. 1 for Hedman in the best-of-seven series against the Chicago Blackhawks has been to stop captain Jonathan Toews and whoever else is on Chicago’s top line.
But the fun part for the offensively gifted Hedman was on display Monday night at the United Center as he chipped in with two assists to lead the Lightning to a big 3-2 win and a 2-1 series lead over the Hawks.
“Words can’t describe the force he’s been out there for our team, not just offensively but defensively,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said following the victory. “He plays in every situation. He’s a leader in this room.
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:
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
from Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times,
The time has arrived. He has arrived.
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman is no longer the kid with potential. He's no longer a future star.
When it comes to Hedman, it isn't about "someday'' or "eventually'' or "down the road.''
Hedman is a star. Right now.
It's happening right before our very eyes.
If you've watched the Lightning this season — if you've watched the Lightning in these playoffs — you've seen the maturation and evolution of a hockey player. From boy to man. From prospect to standout.
Victor Hedman has arrived.
"He's an unbelievable defenseman,'' teammate and forward Alex Killorn said. "Not just on our team, but throughout the league, he's one of the best defensemen in the league.''
He can play offense. He has a goal and seven assists in the playoffs.
from Erik Erlendsson o fhe Tampa Tribune,
Now that he’s back in the lineup, it’s difficult not to think Tampa Bay will be even better, which is quite a possibility for a team that enters tonight’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in a six-way tie for the most points in the league with 34.
Hedman fractured a finger at Vancouver on Oct. 18, the fifth game of the season, and had surgery to insert pins two days later. Including the game Hedman left, Tampa Bay was 13-5-1 without him.
Hedman returned on Saturday against Ottawa, logging 19 minutes and 55 seconds of ice time and looking as if he never missed a beat. He had three shots on goal, two hits, two blocked shots and was a plus-2.
“He was commanding out there, with and without the puck,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said of Hedman’s first game in six weeks. “It’s great to have him back. It takes a lot of relief off other guys who play big minutes on our team. I’m sure when he gets his legs more, he’ll play more. But in the second and third (periods), he was outstanding.’’
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Lightning hit the four-week mark since D Victor Hedman was lost to a fractured finger.
The team’s top defenseman was off to a fast start with three goals and seven points in four games before getting injured in the second period in Vancouver on Oct. 18.
The original diagnosis for Hedman’s return was four to six weeks, but after undergoing surgery to have pins placed in the right index finger, that timeline will end up being at least seven weeks. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said he expects Hedman to be out until early December.
Hedman has been skating on his own but has yet to be cleared to take shots.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
As if the battle for the Norris Trophy needed any more viable candidates, here is the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Viktor Hedman, off to an exceptional start and proving once again that even the most likely regarded, massively talented defensive behemoths need time to find their NHL sea legs.
Hedman is now in his sixth season and starts a trip Saturday with the Tampa Bay Lightning that will see them visit all four Canadian-based Western Conference teams in the next six days. Vancouver is a unique and special first stop because he gets to play against the Sedin twins for a rare time. Hedman is from the same northern Swedish town as the Sedins – Ornskoldsvik – and played his developmental years for the same club team Modo before going second overall to Tampa in the 2009 NHL entry draft.
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
If the emergence of a nimble six-foot-six defenceman was the only big thing happening in Tampa, you could still forgive Bolts fans for being aflutter. But Hedman is just one reason why there are widespread rumblings about how good the Lightning might be this year. Tampa is coming off a season that somehow managed to seem cursed and charmed all at once—then everything ended with a thud.
Now, with sniper Steven Stamkos whole again, some new battle-scarred faces to complement a group of precocious kids and, of course, Hedman’s ongoing development, there’s sufficient evidence to believe the Lighting and their prized blueliner are primed for another simultaneous leap.
With his sixth NHL season on the horizon, it’s only natural that Hedman feels more at home than ever in Tampa Bay. He and his long-time girlfriend, Sanna, have had a couple years to settle into their house.
And on the ice, Hedman has become so accustomed to North America’s smaller rink dimensions that when he returns home to Sweden in the summer, the spacious European surfaces almost seem foreign.
“It feels like you skate forever and you don’t get anywhere,” he says.
from Tal Pinchevsky of NHL.com,
"Last year was a big step forward, but it's only one season," Hedman said. "I want to be consistent playing at that level. I want to keep that going."
For years, the hockey world had been waiting for this breakout season from Hedman, who set career highs in goals (13), assists (42), points (55), plus-minus (plus-5), shots (170), power-play goals (three) and game-winning goals (two). Ranking fourth in points among defensemen, this was what fans envisioned the moment the 6-foot-6 defenseman's name was called at the draft.
At age 18, the product of Sweden's legendary MODO club was immediately inserted into Tampa Bay's lineup, hailed as the latest hockey phenom from the town of Ornskoldsvik, whose prominent natives include Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund and Tobias Enstrom as well as Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin.
"My hometown is 50,000 people. You come to Tampa and it's a whole lot more. It's a big difference and it took some time to get used to it, but I fell in love with the place right away. It's a second home now," Hedman said. "Everything is so big. You need a car everywhere. The people were so nice to me right away. I fit right in."
Below, watch a few of the Bolts players as they examine the 'new 3rd sweater'....
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
However, when Stralman joined Hedman, 23, last week for the team's informal skates at the Ice Forum, he said they had quick-developing chemistry.
"It's almost like that when you meet a fellow Swede, it's like you've known each other forever," Stralman said. "It's just natural."
How the two Swedes mesh on the ice could go a long way toward determining whether Stralman will join Hedman in the Lightning's top pairing this season, a decision that will be sorted out in training camp, which starts Sept. 18 at Amalie Arena.
Stralman was Tampa Bay's biggest free agent addition on July 1, signing a five-year, $22.5 million deal to help bolster the blue line. And Stralman, who has never been partnered with a Swede in the NHL, would be pumped to be paired with Hedman, who has developed into one of the league's top young defensemen.
"It'd be awesome to play together," Hedman said. "But we'll see what happens."
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
There has been no real update on the upper body injury to Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, but he’s definitely out tonight and it appears doubtful he’ll be ready for Saturday’s game against Carolina.
Hedman hasn’t been available to the media since getting hurt in the first period of Tuesday’s game, when coach Guy Boucher said he had a bad fall into the boards. Nobody has said it has anything to do with a concussion. But Boucher indicated the injury isn’t quite a black and white issue, with the team planning on evaluating him each day, unsure of when he’d return.
“It’s really hard to say,” Boucher said. “I’d love to say he’s out for a while and it’s clear. It’s really day to day.”
continue for more on the Lightning…
TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Victor Hedman to a five-year contract through the 2016-17 season, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
“We are extremely pleased to announce that we have agreed to a five-year contract with Victor,” Yzerman said. “He has shown tremendous growth as a player in just more than two seasons in the NHL while also becoming a key member of our team. We look forward to his continued development in a Lightning uniform.”
“I’d like to thank our owner, Mr. Vinik, and of course GM Steve Yzerman for helping me move forward in my career,” said Hedman. “I love it in Tampa Bay with the Lightning and I will do all I can to help this organization be successful on and off the ice.”
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Hedman has the tools to be a dominant defenseman – size, speed, vision, long reach and he will only continue to add more strength to his 230-pound frame. And though he many never blossom into prototypical No. 1 defenseman that logs 30 minutes a night in every conceivable situation, he is already light years ahead of the learning curve for understanding what its going to take to be a top notch defenseman.
“He is still so young and you look at a guy like that playing defense in this league, it’s awfully hard, he’s so much further ahead than I thought he would be a few years ago,’’ defenseman Mattias Ohlund said. “I think mentally for being 20 years old he is very strong . . . If you have a bad game you have to let it go, if you have a good game you have to let it go, he’s just really so much further ahead than I was at that age as far as making a mistake and moving on.’‘
Entering his third training camp since being selected behind only John Tavares in the 2009 draft, Hedman has learned to deal with the expectations that come with being a high profile draft pick and channeling that potential into what kind of a player he is rather than what others want him to be.
As the second period of last night’s Sabres/Lightning game was nearing a close, anyone trying to get a jump on writing their game story had to feel pretty good about things.
Captain Vincent Lecavalier was putting together a dominant performance, the Bolts had a two-goal lead, goalie Dwayne Roloson looked sharp and entering the third period with a lead has been a near sure thing for this team, 22-1-1 in such a scenario before last night.
Once Thomas Vanek’s 20th goal of the year cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-2 with less than two minutes left in the middle frame, however, a not-so-fast vibe filled the St. Pete Times Forum. That Vanek, a notorious Lightning-killer, started the turn of Buffalo’s tides should be no surprise. That the game got as out of control as it did beyond that, though, should be.
And now, the return of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with some cameo appearances from other games (so as not to overly depress the Lightning faithful):
Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dwayne+roloson, fedor+tyutin, kevin+poulin, matt+cooke, rick+dipietro, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
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.
Yesterday, the aim here was to reaffirm the realistic goal of a Southeast Division championship for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Keeping pace with the three-time defending champion Washington Capitals through 43 games was enough, at face value, to establish that. But, in shutting out the Caps for a second consecutive meeting and, really, dominating last night’s game throughout, the Lightning have taken things a step further.
The road to the Southeast Division championship goes through Tampa.
Clearly, nothing’s been settled yet. 38 games remaining games for each club – with two more against each other – dictates as much. But the tides have turned in the Lightning’s favor since the acquisition of Dwayne Roloson, who has now blanked Washington twice in a week for his new club.
The difference between being outscored 12-3 in two losses to the Capitals earlier in the year and not allowing a single goal in two since goes far beyond a goaltending upgrade.
“We were trying to play their game,” Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher said of the first two meetings with Washington this year, “And, to be honest with you, at their game, they’re better than us.”
“We focused a lot less on the other team (in the two wins) and a lot more on ourselves.”
In doing so, the Bolts have flipped the script on their division rivals and sit alone atop the Southeast standings.
And while Washington has struggled to find consistency during a shift in identity from the offensive dynamo they’ve been in recent years, Tampa Bay has continually improved all season long.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: alex+ovechkin, dwayne+roloson, guy+boucher, mattias+ohlund, sean+bergenheim, semyon+varlamov, steven+stamkos, victor+hedman
I had the opportunity to be a guest with Rob Kerr on Calgary’s FAN 960 radio on Friday night. We talked all things Lightning, including the continued success of Steven Stamkos, the current injury status of several key Bolts, their overall solid start to the season and where I see them going from this point forward. You can check out the entire segment here (split into two parts) or can download the audio files after the jump.
When you get waxed as the Tampa Bay Lightning did Saturday night in Sunrise, 6-0 to the Florida Panthers, all you can ask for is a rebound to the tune of two points in the following game. The Bolts got just that last night against Dallas, so complaints can be held to a minimum. Besides, as head coach Guy Boucher said during the preseason, this team won’t be at their best in the first 5, 10, 15 games of the season. And who would want them to be? Certainly, all would rather a club peak much, much (much, much, much) later, no?
Nevertheless, analyze we must.
Hence, the original: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+hall, alex+ovechkin, brad+richards, brenden+morrow, dana+tyrell, dominic+moore, guy+boucher, james+neal, jeff+vinik, michael+vernace, mike+smith, nate+thompson, sean+bergenheim, sidney+crosby, steven+stamkos, toby+petersen, victor+hedman
The Bolts Beat, 10/19/10: Lightning on the Road and a Look Ahead, Plus NHL Officiating Issues & More
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, the boys discuss the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first road swing of the season and preview the week ahead for the Bolts, Jon’s “What the Hell Was That?” segment brings up an interesting debate on replay, major penalties and the like, Mike defends referees (a sure sign of the apocalypse) and much more.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: adam+hall, andrei+kostitsyn, blake+comeau, brad+richards, brett+clark, dan+ellis, dana+tyrell, dominic+moore, guy+boucher, headshots, instant+replay, josh+bailey, kris+letang, martin+st.+louis, mattias+ritola, michael+vernace, mike+smith, nate+thompson, pavel+kubina, randy+jones, ryan+malone, sean+bergenheim, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos, t.j.+brodie, victor+hedman, vincent+lecavalier
Today’s salute to the performances of yesternight, honoring those who shined in leading their clubs to victory:
***Cheers to Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who is showing marked improvement early this season and who was named first star in Tampa’s 5-4 win over the visiting Dallas Stars last night. Hedman managed a pair of assists and led all skaters in ice time, sparking an offensive rush on several occasions and, most importantly, playing adept defense in his own end. It is early, as we must continue to note for all who have had fast starts, but Hedman’s growth in year two will play a major factor in the Lightning’s fortunes. So far, with few hiccups, they must be pleased. (Note: They are. Coach Guy Boucher singled Hedman out with post-game praise after the Dallas game.)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cam+ward, dwayne+roloson, joe+thornton, john+tavares, justin+peters, marian+hossa, michael+neuvirth, patrick+sharp, phil+kessel, semyon+varlamov, victor+hedman
Death, taxes and JJ’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…
The alternative to the standard game recap became a staple of my Tampa Bay Lightning coverage last season and it was only a matter of time before it made its season debut here.
Sure, the title of the regular feature has now been copied by a second-rate Bolts blog as of this morning but the content can’t hold a candle to the original and, hell, you’re here with me and they’re, well… They’re sleeping, I’m sure, on Pacific Time and what not… (Lightning coverage from California? Now that’s insight!)
Filed in: NHL Teams, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
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Before a single tweak to the roster, the Tampa Bay Lightning were already poised for improvement in 2010-11. With the tumultuous era of previous ownership already behind them when the sale of the team to Jeff Vinik was completed late last season, gone in an instant were any and all off-ice concerns and the circus went back to being an annual visitor to the St. Pete Times Forum rather than a permanent resident. With the appointment of Steve Yzerman as general manager, credibility returned to the franchise and new head coach Guy Boucher was widely regarded as the hottest commodity on the off-season coaching market.
Without a solitary player move, hockey life in Tampa was good again.
But far be it from Yzerman to rest on the comfort that fans surely feel by him simply not being one of those other guys. The addition of former Flyers forward Simon Gagne headlines a list of shrewd off-season maneuvers for the rookie GM and the revamped roster could very well translate to the sort of on-ice success that will make Lightning followers quickly forgot about three non-playoff seasons gone by.
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In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, JJ and co-host Mike Corcoran discuss Dan Ellis’ recent Twitter troubles and the many (over?)reactions thereof, look ahead to training camp opening this weekend, Tampabaylightning.com contributor, Mark Pukalo, stops by again to discuss some intriguing position battles ahead for the Lightning and the boys have a little extra time to discuss the NFL’s opening weekend.
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In these early days of the Steve Yzerman era here in Tampa, the consensus opinion on his re-molding of the Lightning roster has been overwhelmingly positive.
He promised a methodical approach and got to work in just that fashion almost immediately, adding here, subtracting there and strengthening the overall product all the while.
Few onlookers, if any, have been unimpressed.
But what has been done under Yzerman to this point, until on-ice results can be considered, that is, has to be labeled with the age-old, “on paper” caveat.
Essentially, Yzerman has shed some dead wood, plugged a few holes, added much-needed depth in key areas and maybe, just maybe, found the spark to reignite his club’s captain’s once-dynamic career. And before we forget, he’s given the hottest young coaching commodity in the hockey world the task of leading these fortified troops to success.
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In my second statistical peek at the Southeast Division, I’ve grouped defensemen with their new clubs and will focus, this time, on offensive production from the blueline.
(Next up, we’ll re-visit the d-men from a different angle, including blocked shots, TOI and other specifics with less of an offensive emphasis.)
Remember, just as I did with the forwards, this is simply a look back at last year’s individual player statistics, updated to reflect this summer’s off-season transactions. And, as I said in that first piece, a look to the recent past can often be a good indicator of what’s to come… But not always!!!
It should also be noted, especially since I didn’t mention it with the forwards package, that rookies and European transfers (many of whom could certainly make a major impact, theoretically) are not part of this forecast.
Recall as well that for this analysis, currently unsigned, unrestricted free agents are not included, while those still unsigned but restricted are (save for Tampa’s Paul Ranger, an RFA that I have excluded intentionally, as I have little reason to believe he will return).
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from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet didn’t come right out and say rookie defenseman Victor Hedman will be benched for Thursday’s game with the Maple Leafs, but it sure sounded like that is what will happen.
“We might have to take a step back with him,” Tocchet said. “He’s played a lot of hockey. There are a lot of expectations. He’s been struggling. He’s been making some mistakes, so we might have tot take a step back. He might have to watch a game. There’s nothing wrong with that. we did it with Stamkos.”
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Tampa Bay Lightning rookie defenseman Victor Hedman will not play in Saturday’s game with the Canadiens because of a concussion sustained in Thursday’s game with the Senators on a brutal hit by Ottawa’s Chris Neil.
Hedman’s next chance to play will be Thursday at home against the Wild, but coach Rick Tocchet said he could not say for sure if Hedman will be ready, and that the team will be very cautious.
“Back in the day you’d throw water on your back and go out,” Tocchet said. “But now, with those lingering effects you just have to be very careful. You got to make sure. Lucky that’s his first one, and hopefully it’s just a mild concussion. It’s one of those things you’ve got to go through the whole process and when they say he’s ready, we’ll play him.”...
“I feel good, very good,” Hedman said. “It was a big hit. it was a clean hit. ... I was trying to pass the puck to (defensive partner Mattias Ohlund). I tried to reach for it and he just came and run over me. I was a little shaky there, so day to day, you can’t rush things just take it slow.”
Opinions, however, were still divided in the locker room over if the hit was clean.
Hedman being evaluated and will not return.
No penalty called on the hit.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
With the style of game he plays and fluid skating style, Hedman is Nicklas Lidstrom with size. With a big build, long reach and neutralizing ability on the rush, he is Chris Pronger without the mean streak.
“Victor Hedman brings to his game an unsurpassed combinations of size, explosiveness in his skating, quickness and offensive ability,” NHL director of central scouting E.J. Maguire said prior to the draft. “He is indeed the whole package.”
While defensemen often take a few seasons to figure the game out at the NHL level, Hedman has stepped right into a top-two role on the Lightning’s defense in the first two games….
“He just doesn’t look like a rookie, and not just the way he looks because he is big, but the way he skates, the way he thinks, the way he does things out there, he’s more like a 30-year-old than 18,” Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said.
“In my mind, he blew right by (any expectations).”
TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Victor Hedman to a standard three-year rookie contract today, Executive Vice President and General Manager Brian Lawton announced. Hedman was selected by the Lightning with the second overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the first time in franchise history Tampa Bay has picked second overall.
“We are thrilled to be able to take this next step with Victor today,” said Lawton upon making the announcement. “He has a bright future and we intend on him being a member of the Lightning for a long time. We are excited to get his signing behind us so he can solely focus on hockey and the continued development of his game.”