Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: Steve Yzerman
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...
Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean spoke with Sportsnet's Luke Fox regarding five "hot topics":
On what the Phil Kessel trade means to Pittsburgh: “It’s great for Sidney Crosby. The challenge with Sid, thinking back to the Vancouver Olympics, is figuring out who to play with him. Finally after about three games, coach Mike Babcock said, ‘Sid, who do you think?’ And he said Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla. I see Kessel as maybe that triggerman that Sidney needs.
On 2015′s biggest free agent, Mike Babcock, moving to Toronto:“Mike Babcock is a big believer in ghost rosters. He doesn’t want too many of the same players. I’m not sure the Leafs had too many other Kessels, to be honest. Toronto will assemble a team in Mike Babcock’s version of teams.
“Mike didn’t want Marty St. Louis, who was the leading scorer in the National Hockey League [in 2013] to go to the Sochi Olympics because he had set out a roster of what he had in mind. He told Steve [Yzerman]: ‘You can pick him, but I won’t be able to play him.’ And Yzerman drafted according to Mike both at Sochi and Vancouver.
“In Vancouver at six in the morning, Yzerman called him and said, ‘Are you up?’ Mike said, ‘I’m a coach. I’m always up.’ And he let him make the final selection on forwards. Mike took Jonathan Toews and put him on the checking line with Rick Nash and Mike Richards—very unconventional. That’s what’s happening in Toronto: Mike’s doing the ghost roster as he sees fit.”
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...
Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
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 Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
Watching from above ice level gives Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman a helpless feeling.
Players prepare to take the ice, coaches game plan and scout the opponent looking for any advantage to exploit. Yzerman, meanwhile, sits around on game days just waiting for the action to start.
“It’s hard to sit and watch without having much of an impact this time of year,” Yzerman said.
Yzerman’s impact already has been made.
After Tuesday night’s series-clinching 4-1 win against Montreal, the Lightning are preparing to play in the Eastern Conference finals against the Rangers. Game 1 is Saturday in New York, It marks the second time in Yzerman’s five-year tenure the team reached the conference finals.
In 2011, Yzerman’s first season with the franchise, a team led by holdover franchise icons Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis and stop-gap veterans such as Dwayne Roloson and Sean Bergenheim reached Game 7 of the conference finals at Boston.
This time, the Lightning are tailor-made by Yzerman.
“Back in the 2011 playoffs, we were all relatively new and didn’t know what to expect from our team,” Yzerman said.
“It wasn’t as expected as it is here, where the expectations are a little higher,” Yzerman said in comparing 2011 to this year’s team. “So there is more of an expectation to win.”
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:
“I want to be the team with the puck, and when you have the puck, it’s hard to hit guys. I don’t see physical teams or teams taking runs at us as an issue at all. This league is not about running guys anymore. And the word heavy — that’s the word of the day in the NHL, heavy and light. Our guys play hard. I’m more worried about our special teams, honestly, then about playing heavy teams.’’
-Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune has more from Yzerman regarding the Bolts season.
from Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune,
In the spring of 2010, new Lightning owner Jeff Vinik zeroed in on one name to fill the vacant role of general manager — Steve Yzerman.
After some persistence on Vinik’s part, Yzerman decided the time was right to leave the Red Wings organization — he was a Hall of Fame player with Detroit and worked alongside general manager Ken Holland for three-plus years — and lead the Lightning front office.
Now entering his fifth season with the Lightning, Yzerman has almost completely remade the organizational roster heading into the 2014-15 season.
Gone are Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis, the last two holdovers from the 2004 Stanley Cup championship team still with the Lightning when Yzerman took over. Other core members when Yzerman took over also have left — Ryan Malone was bought out this summer; Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie and Nate Thompson were traded, and Mike Smith left as a free agent.
In fact, in the entire organization — not counting European-drafted players — there are only seven inherited players still in the system from when Yzerman assumed his role before the 2010-11 season: Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn, Richard Panik, Mark Barberio, Luke Witkowski and goaltender Jaroslav Janus.
added 9:57am, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times on Steven Stamkos,
Time certainly does not stand still, I still picture Steve Yzerman's daughters as children...
My own problems with Yzerman started as a result of him mistreating my teammates. He was abusive to linesmen, and it made my protective instincts kick in and tell him off in no uncertain terms. The spark was lit after he belittled and verbally abused longtime linesman Mark Pare on an icing call in Detroit. It went way beyond simply yelling about a blown call. He treated Mark and other officials like they didn't even belong on the same ice as he did.
My next run-in with Yzerman came as a result of a disallowed goal in Minnesota. The dialogue won't be repeated on a family-friendly blog but suffice to say he wasn't a big fan of my style nor I of his. He made it personal and then escalated it when he elected to gripe to the media about me.
Retired NHL referee Paul Stewart. Read more from Stewart at the Huffington Post.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"It gives us some options," Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com Monday. "Really, prior to yesterday, other than trying to sign a backup goaltender, we really weren’t in a position to do anything at all. And we may end up doing nothing [Tuesday] other than signing a backup goaltender, but we’d like to explore [the free-agent market]."
Yzerman pointed to possibilities both up front and on defense.
"We’d like to get potentially a center or maybe a winger," said Yzerman. "And then, we have seven defensemen signed and we’d like to carry eight. Depending on fit and contract, whether it’s a really expensive guy or a low-end one-way, we’ll try to add one more defenseman."
Preferably, Yzerman said, a right-handed defenseman. The Bolts GM would not discuss specific names but other sources have confirmed Tampa’s interest in UFA blueliner Matt Niskanen as well as veteran Dan Boyle, among others blueliners.
many more hockey topics discussed...
The IIHF is inducting a quintet of players into their Hall of Fame today in Minsk. Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, Vycheslav Bykov, Andrei Khomutov and one other player will be inducted in the player category, and IIHF.com's Lukas Aykroyd notes that the fifth player is particularly special:
If there’s one true regret about the 2014 IIHF World Championship, it’s that Ruslan Salei won’t be able to attend his induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
Born in Minsk in 1974, the hard-working defenceman will be recognized for his long, productive career at a gala ceremony in his hometown today. He is part of an exceptional Hall of Fame class that also includes Russia’s Vyacheslav Bykov and Andrei Khomutov, Sweden’s Nicklas Lidstrom, and Canada’s Steve Yzerman and Murray Costello.
Salei tragically passed away in the 2011 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash, along with many other hockey greats. But his memory will live on.
Given that most every country but Russia's sent its "B Team" (or "C Team") to the World Championships in Minsk, perhaps due to Olympic fatigue, this part of the tournament (which will take place on May 25th) may be its most compelling, per the IIHF:
Brilliant performance under historic pressure as well as long-lasting excellence is recognized as the IIHF Hall of Fame inducts former players and a builder.
Vyacheslav Bykov, Andrei Khomutov, Nicklas Lidström, Ruslan Salei, Steve Yzerman as players and builder Murray Costello will be inducted in 2014.
Dr Mark Aubry will receive the Paul Loicq Award for his contributions to international hockey.
The IIHF Historical Committee and its chairman, IIHF President René Fasel, have announced the 18th class of the IIHF Hall of Fame to be ceremonially inducted during the 78th IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk.
Click here for a complete list of all honoured members since the IIHF Hall of Fame was introduced in 1997. It now boasts 195 greats from 23 countries.
The IIHF's press release continues, profiling each inducteee, and having Ruslan Salei inducted into the IIHF HOF in Belarus's capital is going to be a very emotional event.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
Yzerman, 48, On Tuesday took some time to share his thoughts on several topics, from his evolution as a general manager to the difficulty, or ease, depending on how you look at it, of maintaining his organizaional vision on the NHL level and with AHL Syracuse.
On his contract extension: Four years have gone by very quickly. Initially, when I was excited about the opportunity and Jeff offered me the position, first and foremost was my meeting with him and how much I enjoyed talking with him and his vision of the organization, and that hasn’t changed to date. We’ve got a lot to do. We’ve made a lot of changes that you see on the ice and off the ice. We’ve got a lot of work left to do and as an organization as a whole and a team (we're) going in the right direction. I want to continue with the process, and I’m grateful to get the opportunity to continue.
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.''
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
As the man most responsible for assembling Canada’s Olympic team, Steve Yzerman faces more pressure than any hockey executive in the world. And unless and until Canada wins a gold medal in Sochi, his selections for the team will be questioned and parsed and debated. It comes with the territory.
But it’s crystal clear by his choices that the one thing you cannot question about Steve Yzerman is his integrity. Yzerman and his management team picked the 25 players they believe give Canada its best chance to win a gold medal and that group did not include his own player, Martin St-Louis.
Talk about courage. It would have been very easy for Yzerman to overrule his management group and take St-Louis for the team. He could have easily justified it, saying that it was all about duos. After all, the team has Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo, who patrol the blueline together in St. Louis. It has Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. He could have easily pointed to the tandem of St-Louis and Steven Stamkos, who is expected to be ready to play for Canada.
As a Wings fan, I can only congratulate Jaromir Jagr for this one:
Per the Associated Press:
Jaromir Jagr could always score goals -- and on this night, a bunch of other New Jersey Devils did as well. Jagr had a goal and two assists, and the Devils scored four goals in the third period of a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
Jagr's goal with 3:29 left was the 692nd of his career, tying him with Steve Yzerman for eighth on the NHL's all-time list
In his previous game, he passed longtime Pittsburgh teammate Mario Lemieux. Next up: Mark Messier at 694.
"I don't really chase anything," Jagr said. "I enjoy my teammates and my linemates. I enjoy the game, the way we play. Our line, I like the way our line played. When I'm happy about our game, I know the goals are going to come. That's why I don't really worry about it," he added. "If there's no chances to score goals, then I would start worrying about it."
"Yes, I believe a player should get a game misconduct for fighting. We penalize and suspend players for making contact with the head while checking, in an effort to reduce head injuries, yet we still allow fighting.
"We're stuck in the middle and need to decide what kind of sport do we want to be. Either anything goes and we accept the consequences, or take the next step and eliminate fighting."
-Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning talking with Darren Dreger of the Dreger Report at TSN. Read more on this topic...
The issue of contract insurance for NHL players participating in Olympic orientation camps is such a problem in terms of cost that Sport-Express's Andrei Kuznetsov reports that even the Russians aren't skating today or tomorrow in Sochi, but ahead of the Canadian Olympic orientation camp in Calgary from Sunday the 25th to Wednesday the 28th (and the U.S. camp in Arlington, VA on the 26th and 27th), and as you might expect, Hockey Canada's takng some press flak for not being able to scrounge together the funds to be the only hockey federation that managed to get its orientation campers on the ice (the Swedes, Finns, Czechs, Slovaks, Swiss, etc. did not skate).
The Canadian Press's Donna Spencer noted that Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson and 2014 Olympic team GM Steve Yzerman aren't happy about the no-ice situation:
Ligntning GM Steve Yzerman met the media in Winnipeg to talk about the firing of Guy Boucher and the plan moving forward.
from Tony Briscoe of the Detroit News,
The Detroit Historical Society celebrated the opening of its own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday morning, showcasing the handprints and signatures of almost two dozen Detroit icons.
Detroit Legends Plaza had its official ribbon cutting ceremony just outside the Detroit Historical Museum's southwest entrance in Midtown.
The plaza, located at 5401 Woodward Ave., features 22 mounted display boxes marked with the mitts and autographs of Detroit celebs including: Mayor Dave Bing, former Lions running back Barry Sanders and boxer Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns.
continue and see the celebraties who are in so far...
Speaking from personal experience as a St. Louis Blues fan, the 1995-96 Red Wings broke my heart. More specifically, Steve Yzerman, Game 7, double OT. I guarantee that if you mention that phrase to any Blues fan, you will get a pained groan in response. And, of course, this is the one highlight they always show on NHL commercials: Yzerman's unreal slap shot from just inside the blue line, the puck somehow eluding Al MacInnis and Murray Baron and, most obnoxious of all, Jon Casey's shoulder. And then his euphoric (and gag-inducing) sissy-leap down the wall. Ugh.
-David Walton of ESPN when discussing the greatest NHL team of the modern era.
Let's relive that "sissy-leap" again, watch below...
“I hope he (Lidstrom) does [retire], and I love him. I can’t talk about other teams’ players, but I admire him and I think he is one of the greatest. He is brilliant in how he plays.
“I said the first part jokingly. I hope he doesn’t retire. I think he is the standard of how we want people to play the game—the ultimate professional. I think he is one of the, when we’re teaching young defensemen how to play the game, I don’t think there’s ever been anyone as technically strong as him, and that includes everybody.”
-Doug Wilson, GM of the San Jose Sharks. More reaction from Corey Masisak of NHL.com.
What does Steve Yzerman think of Lidstrom retiring? Watch below…
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
If Steve Yzerman has his way, the NHL will reinstate the center red line next season in order to promote the play-making he says the game sorely lacks.
“I don’t like the way the game is played anymore,” the Lightning general manager said Saturday. “All the rule changes we made we designed to increase the skill level, but it’s become a slap shot from the far blue line and a guy chips it in and you go chase.”
Reinstating the red line and, by consequence, the illegal two-line pass is just one of the issues to be discussed at the GM meetings Monday through Wednesday in Boca Raton. It piques Yzerman’s interest even apart from the discussion about how reinstating the red line might reduce injuries caused by the speed of the game.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The honeymoon is over for Steve Yzerman in Tampa Bay. Now comes the hard part.
Reality finds his Lightning in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, currently out of the playoffs, no longer everyone’s favourite hockey success story.
“We’re not shocked by where we are,” Yzerman said in a telephone call from Calgary. “I’m not caught off guard by this. We’re not surprised at all. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I think going in to the year, we knew this would be a challenge for everybody, our coaching staff, our players, the whole organization.”
And all that said, this is brand new territory for Yzerman, the hockey executive. Losing isn’t something he knows or will accept. His first year in Tampa turned out to be something close to pure magic.
The GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning returns to Detroit.
from Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times (Wednesday edition),
During a timeout in the first period of tonight’s game between the Lightning and Red Wings, the public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena will introduce Steve Yzerman.
A shot of Yzerman in his seat will be shown on the scoreboard, which then will run a video tribute; at least that is the plan, the Red Wings said.
It is a display Yzerman probably could do without.
Not that he won’t appreciate it, “But the game is about Tampa Bay playing Detroit. It’s not about me,” Yzerman said. “It shouldn’t be about me.”
But in a way it is.
Earlier this afternoon, some NHL 12 fans on the internet found a new Legends video, posted exclusively on the EB Games (now GameStop) webpage for NHL 12. However, the video was kind of “hidden”, thankfully over the time it took for me to write this update, there has been a new link to this new video released by EA Sports in an exclusive with GameStop’s official site, which makes it much easier to find, and is of much better quality that the original one that was found.
Read on, as I’ll provide a link to this new video ( UPDATE - Days later, I finally have the video included in this post ), which reveals several bits of juicy new info on the Legends, including what their team uniforms look like, some info about unlocking them, and best of all, what their overall ratings will be! Also included in this update is some additional news about the Jets’ new sweaters potentially not being in the game upon release, and some new quick-clips about HUT and the EASHL.
Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, Doug Miller, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: borje+salming, chris+chelios, ea+sports+nhl+12, gordie+howe, jeremy+roenick, mario+lemieux, patrick+roy, ray+bourque, steve+yzerman, wayne+gretzky, winnipeg+jets
Just caught this via EA’s NHL 12 Twitter feed moments ago…
Steve Yzerman makes his return to the videogame world as a legend in #NHL12 - @DetroitRedWings fans, love it? http://t.co/89rFPjI
Alright, I’m sure I’ll take some heat for this, for multiple reasons, but mostly because it goes outside my blog’s rage of coverage which is listed as “everything but the NHL”. In my defense though, this isn’t news; it’s just a retrospective look at some hockey history. Plus, ever since the recent retirement of Chris Osgood, I’ve been thinking about writing about this, and providing my personal perspective on what I feel is one of the most historic games in Detroit Red Wings franchise history, at least among the games that have been played in my lifetime (1987 to present).
As a young kid growing up in Metro-Detroit, I started casually watching hockey in 1991 - mostly the Red Wings; although I soon developed a love for the Boston Bruins as well, for some unknown reason. Once I watched my first hockey game, I instantly became a fan of the sport, as I found it to be far more entertaining and exciting than football, baseball, and basketball. I quickly learned how to skate and then starting playing hockey, but I still wouldn’t consider my young self much more than a moderate fan of hockey… until May 16, 1996… when St. Louis played Detroit in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
from Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes,
“I talk to general managers on a daily basis and get asked a lot, ‘How are you making out?’ But that’s about all,” Yzerman said.
Has anyone come up with a proposal? “Absolutely not. I’m not interested in discussing a possible trade. I’m committed to re-signing Steven.”
Has anyone said they would be interested if negotiations broke down? “They don’t have to say that,” he said, laughing. “Every team is interested in Steven Stamkos.”
Bottom line? “I’m confident,” Yzerman said, “we will reach an agreement.”
Yzerman discusses the future of the Lightning and also says the Stamkos deal will get done.
For more on the Lightning as they cleared out the dressing room, check out Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times.
From Bob Duff of the Windsor Star (via the Gazette):
Truth be told, Downie has transformed himself in Tampa from someone who could have become a Gong Show candidate much like Sean Avery into an effective NHL player.
“He’s made a conscious effort to do that and we want to reassure to him that he is a good player and his play in the playoffs is showing that,” Yzerman said.
“He’s got great hockey sense, he’s got good skills, he sees the ice very well. We want him on the ice. We don’t want him in the penalty box. We try to encourage him to do that. I think he understands that.
“The intimidation, the fighting, the physical play, you have to be really careful, because you’ll be in the penalty box. Again, I repeat and verify it a third time. We want him on the ice. Not in the box. He’s a very good hockey player.”
“We’re pleased with the start we’re off to, but to get this organization where I want it to be, we’ve still got a lot of hard work to do and a lot of good decisions to make.
“We’re early in the second round, and the only thing that matters is Game 3. It’s good for the team, and it’s good for the fans. But for me, the big picture and the long term are important. I’m enjoying this, but we want to build a perennial playoff contender. We don’t want to be fooled by one good year.”
-Steve Yzerman, GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on Yzerman from Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times.
Canes, Bolts Present Huge Tests for Each Other this Weekend (and a Quick Thought on Boston/Montreal)
For the Carolina Hurricanes, tonight’s game in Tampa against the Lightning, the first half of a home-and-home between the two clubs, is about picking up two points and doing their part to stay alive in the race for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The ‘Canes trail eighth-place Buffalo by three points as each team prepares for its 74th game of the year tonight, with the Sabres hosting the Florida Panthers.
For the home squad, it’s about picking up the pieces and restoring whatever’s been lost of late. The Lightning have managed just a single regulation win this month and have seen their prolific offense dry up, averaging only 2.18 goals per game in March. Take out last Monday’s six-goal outburst in Toronto and that number shrinks below two – unfathomable, really, for a team that had averaged over three tallies per game not all that long ago.
Tampa Bay’s miserable March has included a quartet of losses to also-rans most recently, falling to Ottawa twice, Florida and the New York Islanders, but tonight, the Lightning will be forced to match the intensity level of a team still very much alive in the playoff race and combat the desperation that comes with so much on the line.
The Lightning aren’t in any real danger of missing the post-season – in fact, with a pair of regulation wins over Carolina tonight and tomorrow, they’ll close the book on that remote possibility outright – but, with their production having plummeted so severely these last few weeks, there’s no doubting the very real threat of an early playoff exit. With nine games remaining on the regular season docket, Tampa has some time to figure things out but, the worse this gets, the harder that will become, meaning the time to put an end to their current struggles is now.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dwayne+roloson, ryan+malone, steve+downie, steve+yzerman, zdeno+chara
Steve Yzerman, Brian Burke, and Ray Shero seem to have different views of the shootout move.
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman spoke Thursday morning about just wanting to get the game against his former club over with.
Without a doubt, after a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman’s Bolts are happy to move on.
While he has continually insisted that the showdown with the team for which he became an icon during his playing career was not a big deal, it had to at least be a little weird for Yzerman to see his Lightning facing his Wings.
Come to think of it, there was a little bit of weird for all involved throughout the evening, beginning with an ovation for Yzerman himself, shown briefly on the LightningVision scoreboard, that seemed almost like a “Thank you” from longtime Detroit fans and bested anything in recent memory from the home crowd in appreciation.
Journey may have fabricated “South Detroit” in their overplayed anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” but it sure seemed like that was a very real location for last night’s game – and the temporary mailing address for the St. Pete Times Forum.
from Chris Johnston of the CP at The Score,
Steve Yzerman wants to hear more from Mario Lemieux.
“I think Mario is one of the most well-respected, intelligent people in the game,” the Tampa Bay Lightning GM said Monday on a conference call. “I would encourage him (and) I think we should all encourage him to get more involved with the league because he has a lot to offer.”
Introducing This & That. a feature set aside for those days when my brain is incapable of any smooth transition from one thought to another. Instead, a random spattering of things I’m thinking, items I meant to include elsewhere but may have forgotten and miscellaneous ramblings that may otherwise have no defined category or forum for inclusion.
(Plus, this way, I never have to use the term “hodgepodge” again.)
Off we go:
—-“If Smitty gets claimed, it’s good for him. If he doesn’t, he goes down and plays for us down there. We want to get him playing.” – Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, on recently waived netminder Mike Smith.
To the first point, absolutely. As far back as late last season, I was wondering whether or not Smith might be better off with a fresh start. Amid flashes of brilliance, Smith has struggled consistently throughout his tenure in Tampa and had all kinds of promise stifled by injuries. This year, despite unsightly statistics, some in scouting circles have seen reason for optimism in his game, giving new life to the idea that he might somehow flourish in a new situation.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: brent+johnson, cedrick+desjardins, dwayne+roloson, jeff+skinner, mike+smith, nhl+guardians, rick+dipietro, steve+yzerman
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.
***Sorry for the delay, folks. A few technical issues in getting the show uploaded this week. Thanks. - JJ***
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, Jon, Mark and Mike compare the current state of the Tampa Bay Lightning versus where we all thought they might be at the 50-game mark, share our thoughts on the upcoming All-Star game and some possible ways to improve the event, weigh in on the drama surrounding Evgeni Nabokov, the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Islanders, admit some nerves about the upcoming uniform/logo changes for Tampa Bay and much more…
Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Talk, NHL Playoff Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: all-star+game, dwayne+roloson, evgeni+nabokov, guy+boucher, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos
The Tampa Bay Lightning have sent goaltender Mike Smith to AHL Norfolk on a conditioning assignment today, as announced by the team.
Smith has been recovering from a knee injury and has missed the last fifteen games.
With Dwayne Roloson and Dan Ellis already on Tampa Bay’s active roster, Smith has been assumed by many to be the odd-man out eventually, though nothing has been made certain to this point.
Today’s move, at the very least, buys general manager Steve Yzerman some time to continue to consider all options.
Smith, acquired by Tampa Bay in February of 2008 in the deal that saw forward Brad Richards head to Dallas, is in the final season of a two-year contract that carries a cap hit of $2.2-million.
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.
Let’s not make too much of Dwayne Roloson’s 34-save, shutout debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Or, maybe, come to think of it, let’s…
It was but one game but what a big game it was.
To best the division rival Washington Capitals like that, with first place at stake in a 1-0 overtime finish, with both teams playing at a feverish pace all the while and the opposing goaltender standing on his head as well… Well, that’s one hell of a debut.
But, really, what you saw on Tuesday night is what Roloson brings to the table consistently. No, not a spectacular shutout performance each night (wouldn’t that be nice?) but a workman-like approach, a battle mentality and a proven track record of giving the team in front of him a chance to win on a nightly basis. Last night, Semyon Varlamov keeping the Bolts off the scoreboard for almost 63 minutes meant Roloson had to completely shut down the formidable Capitals attack and he was up to the task. On some nights, it will mean keeping the opponent from scoring a third or fourth goal.
Whatever the situation, with Roloson, you know what you’re getting.
And this could very well turn out to be the perfect fit with limitless potential.
Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: dan+ellis, dwayne+roloson, guy+boucher, marc-andre+bergeron, mike+smith, steve+yzerman
For now, the Tampa Bay Lightning will roll on with three goaltenders.
But with Dwayne Roloson now in the fold, joining Dan Ellis and a still mending Mike Smith after Saturday’s trade with the New York Islanders, eventually, something will have to give.
Early indications seem to suggest Smith, who is close to returning from a recent knee injury, is the most logical odd man out for a variety of reasons, despite significant improvement in his play prior to getting hurt.
In the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $2.2-million dollars, it would make sense for the Lightning to try and deal Smith for whatever value the team could find before he hits unrestricted free agency at season’s end. That won’t exactly come easy, however, with the bottom line remaining some very unattractive numbers this year and overall statistics that have actually worsened consistently as the team in front of him has improved over the last three seasons. Add to that a history of injuries (Smith has appeared in less than half of Tampa’s games since the start of the 2008-09) and an unsavory dollar number for the kind of inconsistency he’s shown and it becomes awfully difficult to imagine logical trade scenarios involving the former Dallas Star.
The Bolts Beat, 1/3/11: Roloson in the Mix, Odd Goalie Out, the Last Word on Spin-o-Rama Gate & More
In the first installment of The Bolts Beat for 2011, Jon, Mike and Mark give their thoughts on Tampa Bay’s addition of goaltender Dwayne Roloson and why the deal was made now. Later, things get a little spicy when the conversation turns to what it likely means for Dan Ellis and/or Mike Smith.
Also, the guys give their thoughts on the stellar NHL debut of yet another goalie, Cedrick Desjardins, and discuss how he might fit into the Lightning’s future plans.
And, finally - no, really, for the last time - the gang reluctantly entertains the controversy that should never have been over Steven Stamkos’ penalty shot goal against Montreal.
All that, plus more (including a special announcement!) after the jump…
Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: cedrick+desjardins, dan+ellis, denis+savard, dwayne+roloson, linus+omark, mike+smith, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos
There has been no shortage of discussion regarding the possibility of free agent goaltender Evgeni Nabokov landing with the Tampa Bay Lightning in recent days.
I discussed the matter at such length, with co-hosts Mike Corcoran and Mark Pukalo on Monday night/Tuesday morning’s episode of The Bolts Beat, that more than half of the show was devoted to the matter – a first for a single topic in the podcast’s history.
And the potential marriage has also been covered at a national level, with The Sporting News’ Craig Custance throwing in his two cents.
Easy to pick on a goalie for making this kind of Tommy Salo-esque mistake but I’m not trying to kick Mike Smith when he’s down at all.
Obviously, there was more than this one play to fault for an 8-1 Lightning loss in Boston but the bottom line, as GM Steve Yzerman has now publicly acknowledged, is that the Bolts imply need more from their goaltenders.
That was crazy.
And, with craziness comes a reaction a bit altered from my Good, Bad, Ugly usual. Instead, a hodgepodge of thoughts for your consideration on this lovely Friday morning:
My reality (which I love, through and through, for the record) when the Lightning are on the road often entails missing the first few minutes of the first period, regardless of whether the game starts at 7:00 or 7:30. (Ergo, roadies outside the Eastern Time Zone do not apply.) You see, Papa JJ (by far my favorite of the many hats I wear) is usually either helping out with baths, bottles, diapers, bedtime or all of the above for one or both of my two young sons.
Though I’ve tried many times, I simply cannot get into the idea of watching on tape delay and catching up. Something just irks me, with sports, about what I’m currently seeing play out in front of me having already happened. And so, by the time I settle in on these kinds of evenings, oftentimes, much of the game story has already been told.
Case in point (I thought) last night, when I got comfortable on the couch with the Flyers already out to a 2-0 lead, 5:03 into the first period. “This was very predictable,” I remarked, having already gone on record to say that starting goaltender Dan Ellis again, after a relatively taxing win on Long Island the night before, was a questionable move on head coach Guy Boucher’s part. My muddled thinking would have given a struggling Mike Smith a go against the woeful Islanders and then Ellis in Philadelphia against a much stronger team. But, as it turned out, there was nothing at all predictable about last night’s outcome and, with the Bolts winning both of these games, once again in my life, I’m left wondering, “What the hell do I know?”
Filed in: NHL Teams, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, Hockey Bloggers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
Tags: chris+botta, guy+boucher, nate+thompson, steve+yzerman, steven+stamkos