Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Hasek Rumours


Once again, I am hearing more and more that Tampa is the team most interested in the services of Dominik Hasek. Problem is, he really likes playing in Detroit, and to think that at his age he would want to play anywhere else is probably wishful thinking. But then again, money talks.

Hasek is a UFA who the Bolts could get cheap up front, much like the Wings this past season, with an incentive laden contract. His cap hit was only 1.85, and he earned an additional 1.1 in incentives. It would also lessen the Bolts risk with signing a 42 year old goalie with a history of injury problems and provide cap space to get a 2nd line forward and defense help. Hasek could be just what the doctor ordered for the Bolts, a quality #1 to hold down the fort while Ramo develops, that is, if he can stay healthy.

Also trade rumours between Tampa and San Jose are out there that involve the Sharks #1 netmider Nabokov. Between the two, I would rather see Nabokov come in, but he would cost us in the trade department (see the post "More Louie Rumours"). Plus he has a no trade clause. Toskala would make more sense there.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Who???


Found this little snippet on TBO:

The Lightning have inquired about trying to bring over 6-foot-6 Russian goaltender Vasily Koshechkin, who was a member of Team Russia at the World Championships this season. A report in Russian newspaper Sport Express stated the 24-year-old goaltender was "very close" to signing a contract with the Lightning, but Tampa Bay officials could not confirm the report.

He was drafted by the Lightning #233 in 2002.

Here's a link to stats on this guy at eurohockey.net:

eurohockey.net Koshechkin Profile


More from hockeysfuture.com:

History:

No goaltender has seen more improvement than Vasili Koshechkin. After serving as Jussi Markkanen’s backup for 2004-05, Koshechkin took over as starter and emerged as arguably the best goaltender of the league. He finished regular season second overall in save percentage with 93.44 save percentage, second in shutouts (with 10 in 44 games). He also ranked second with 1.62 GAA trailing only Travis Scott who had 1.22. However, Scott, who was the only goaltender to top Koshechkin in save percentage and goals against average plays for Metallurg Mg, the best team of the league that won the regular season by a landslide.
Koshechkin has to play for Lada which saw all of their best players such as Alexander Semin (WAS) depart middle through the season due to financial problems. Everyone expected them to go far down in the standings, but, mostly thanks to Koshechkin, they managed to take the ninth overall spot and eliminate the reigning champion Dynamo in the first round of playoffs.


Future:

The young goaltender, who also posted a 203-minute shutout streak, saw his value rise considerably and should be viewed as one of the top Russian goaltending prospects.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 28, 2007

Need some help...(Updated)



update: The good folks at Lost Angels Animal Rescue (http://www.lostangelsanimalrescue.org/) are going to take the big guy in and find him a good home. If you are interested in adopting him, visit their website for all the details.

I know this has nothing to do with hockey, but I need help finding this guy a home. I found him wandering the park near my home in Seminole Heights. No tag, no microchip. skinny and thirsty. I have taken him in, and have been unable to find his owner. So now I am trying to find him a new home. He is housebroken and very sweet. He gets along very well with other dogs. If you can give this big lug a good home, use the contact button on the right to drop me a line with your info, and I will contact you asap. Thanks for your help Bolts fans!

-RJ

Sphere: Related Content

Smaller Training Camp

From the Times:

The way general manager Jay Feaster explained it, training camp is going to be about dollars and sense.

Only 26 players will be invited to camp, set to begin Sept. 13 at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon - 28 fewer than last season.

Feaster said the plan, which could be tweaked depending on free-agent signings, will allow more intense and targeted training and be a warning to left-out minor-leaguers he believes have underperformed.

But he said lower housing, travel and food costs will help justify a $44-million payroll okayed last week by owner Bill Davidson.

"We're trying to be as responsible, as reasonable, as prudent as we can be in all areas of the operation, " Feaster said Saturday. "We're showing Mr. D that on our part, we're trying to funnel it all into player payroll as well."

Feaster said that is why the team decided not to have a summer rookie conditioning camp. It will return in September to an eight-team rookie camp in Traverse City, Mich., only because it already is committed.

Feaster said fewer players in the NHL camp, and working with so many who know the system and what is expected, will quicken the pace. He said he is not worried about forfeiting looks at players in the system.

"We don't have a lot of guys right now who deserve an opportunity to come into an NHL training camp, " Feaster said. "From now on, we don't think you can coast through an American Hockey League season. I'm tired of guys treating an American League season as if it doesn't matter. We always said it's a reward to be invited to an NHL camp. That's going to be real obvious to people this fall."

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, May 25, 2007

Budget Won't Be Cut

From the Times:

he Lightning general manager got word this week from owner Bill Davidson that payroll will not be cut, as was feared, and might even end up higher than last season's $44-million.

In a perfect world, Feaster said, that would end speculation one of his high-priced stars - Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Brad Richards or Dan Boyle - will have to be traded.

"It should, " Feaster said Thursday. "I hope it does. It's one of the things Feaster and Davidson talked about. He likes those players. He recognizes we're very close. He's bullish on this team."

The team has $35.46-million tied up in 12 players, including $24.5-million in the Big Four. That would have left $4.5-million to sign 8-10 players, including a goaltender and a second-line wing.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ramsay Fired


LIGHTNING ASSOCIATE COACH CRAIG RAMSAY RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES
5/24/2007
Tampa Bay Lightning Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster has released the following statement regarding associate coach Craig Ramsay:
“The relationship between a head coach in the National Hockey League and his staff is one of the most complex and fascinating in all of professional sports. During the nine or, hopefully 10, months of the season the coaching staff spends more time together and interacts together more frequently and with more intensity and emotion than the coaches get to see and interact with their own families. Staff members not only support one another and the head coach but also question, challenge and push each other and the head coach to be the best they can be and do what is best for the team. Our coaching staff demonstrated that in its purest form during our Stanley Cup run in 2004.

“Coming out of the lockout, and having not been together as a staff for an entire season, I sensed we had lost some of the cohesiveness we had always enjoyed as both a coaching and management group. It was nothing dramatic but rather a concern I had about us not being as tight as we had been when we were climbing the Stanley Cup mountain together.

“At the end of last season, (2005-06) John Tortorella and I met to discuss this, and beginning at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver last summer we had a series of staff, as well as individual, meetings to try to reconnect and recapture the closeness we once had as a group.

“Over the course of this past season (2006-07) it became apparent to me, and to John, that we still had some fundamental philosophical differences between our head coach and our associate coach on a number of issues. After having a series of meetings with various members of the organization, we have regretfully, yet necessarily, chosen to make a change in the coaching staff effective immediately.

“Associate coach Craig Ramsay has been relieved of his coaching duties with the Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Club. We thank Craig for his seven years of service to this franchise and for his hard work and dedication in helping us become Stanley Cup Champions. Rammer will always be a part of the Lightning family as a member of that Stanley Cup Championship team. So many players have benefited from Rammer’s guidance and wisdom over the years, and he will be deeply missed by all of us. Rammer is a great person and a tremendous hockey man, and we wish him every continued personal and professional success.

“Head coach John Tortorella has begun the process of identifying and interviewing coaching candidates to serve as his top assistant. No timetable has been placed on filling the position. Once we have a new assistant coach in place we will advise you further.”

In his seven years in Tampa Bay, Ramsay helped lead the Lightning to four consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, two Southeast Division titles and a Stanley Cup while focusing on the defense and special teams. Ramsay joined the Lightning as associate coach during the 2000-01 season and brought nearly three decades of NHL experience with him to the team.

Source: tampabaylightning.com

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dominator Rumours


Now that the Wings are out, rumours are floating around that the Lightning may make a push for Hasek. He is a UFA and may cost more that Detroit will want to spend on the 42 year old netminder. If true, this would add creedence to the theory that the Bolts are looking to rent a veteran #1 for the year to give Ramo one more season to develop in the minors. I don't particularly care for the Dominator's style, but he would be a definate upgrade from Denis.

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Holmer Will be Back


From TBO.com:

TAMPA - Johan Holmqvist could have tested the waters this summer in a thin free agent pool for goaltenders.

But Saturday, Holmqvist said he never entertained the thought of going the free agent route, stating his comfort level with the situation in Tampa. His words rang true after he signed on for at least one more with a deal worth $1 million.

"We all really like it in Tampa and we enjoy the community and everybody in the organization," Holmqvist said from his native Sweden on Saturday. "I wanted to come back and continue working toward a [Stanley] Cup. I didn't really think about going anywhere else because we really like it in Tampa."

"I think I matured a lot this season and my game improved," Holmqvist said. "But I still have a lot to improve on with my game and I have a lot of work ahead of me to improve every day to get ready for next season."

The re-signing of Holmqvist doesn't mean he is No. 1 heading into training camp. It also offers no substantial insight as to the team's plans for Denis, who still has two years left on a deal that averages $2.86 million per season.

Sphere: Related Content

Sarich Rumours


Not that it really matters because the Bolts won't be able to pay him, but there are some light rumours about Sarich. Supposedly there are 3 teams, the Sabres, Oilers, and Coyotes,intersted in his services. Probably more. Nice knowing ya Corey.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More Louie Rumours


Things have been pretty quiet down here lately. Hopefully this isn't the "calm before the storm..." The latest Marty rumour has San Jose interested in his services. This could have some teeth. Marleau was thrown under the bus in the playoffs and probably won't be back. Guerin may or may not re-sign. There is definately a need in San Jose for a player with character, and St. Louis definately has that. What would be needed in retun? I think the obvious swap would be for a goalie. The Sharks have two #1's in Nabokov and Toskala, and either would be a good fit between the pipes here in Tampa. Marty's cap number is $5.250, Nabokov is $5.375 and Toskala is $1.375. Marty and Toskala are both UFA's in '08-"09. A deal the Bolts may have to look at would be Marty for say Goalie Toskala (.908 - 2.35), D-man Matt Carle (42pts, +9) and a Winger like Milan Michalek (26G, 66pts) both are RFA's after next season. It would get the Bolts a #1 in net, a decent winger and a good defenseman and some cap relief. A Marty for Toskala and Marleau deal could also happen. Marleau's cap number is $4.167, combined with Toskala's $1.375 would almost be an even swap for Marty. I would hate to see Marty go, but needs are needs, and a #1 in net is what the Bolts most definately need.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Karlsson Re-signs


The Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed forward Andreas Karlsson to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Karlsson scored three goals and recorded six assists in 53 games last season for Tampa Bay.

"Andreas Karlsson is a very versatile hockey player who spent the past year learning our system and coming to understand what John Tortorella demands of his players," said executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster in making the announcement. "Karlsson is a very good skater who can play center and is an effective face-off man and a good penalty killer. He demonstrated in the postseason that he can also play left wing, and can do so as part of a top-two line scenario when needed."

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound native of Sweden spent the 2005-06 season in the Swedish Elite League, leading the league in scoring with 55 points.

In 206 career games in the NHL with Atlanta and Tampa Bay, Karlsson has 14 goals and 33 assists.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, May 11, 2007

Some Light Rumour Stuff for your Friday

Basically a whole lotta nuthin' from Hockeybuzz:

Word out of Tampa is that "They will try everything they can to not move any of the big three." However, there are some factors working against them. A source informed me that they are saying Vinny is not getting moved and that "He would be the last option. " I talked to another soure regarding this early this morning who said, "I absolutely believe that to be the current mood, however, what is fascinating is the scope of the offers that a few teams are putting together. Remember the Avalanche won a cup off of the Lindros deal...These offers may be even better player-wise."

Sphere: Related Content

Artyukhin Wants Trade


So much for a Roy, Tarnasky and Artyukhin line...


From the Times:

At its core, the dispute between the Lightning and Evgeny Artyukhin is about money.

The power forward, according to agent Mark Gandler, has rejected Tampa Bay's one-year, $475, 000 offer and signed to play another season in Russia, this time with Avangard Omsk.

But Gandler said Thursday that by offering the league minimum salary, general manager Jay Feaster wanted to punish Artyukhin for turning down offers before last season.

He said he has asked his client's rights be traded.

"I am surprised the team continued to build up the anger that was there a year ago, but now it's kind of busting through the seams, " Gandler said. "The offer in itself is proof of that anger. The punishment aspect of the offer is so obvious, it hits you right in the forehead."

Feaster did not hide his anger in August when Artyukhin turned down a one-year, $600, 000 contract and a two-year deal with salaries of $500, 000 and $700, 000.

He did not hide his consternation Thursday. "Clearly, " he said, "our current offer has nothing to do with anger or punishment."

Artyukhin, 24, could be a valuable addition for a team trying to improve its toughness. The 6-foot-4, 254-pounder is a punishing hitter, and had 90 penalty minutes in 77 games for Tampa Bay in 2005-06.

Whispers were Artyukhin wanted up to $1-million for 2006-07. Instead, he signed with Russia's Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and had five goals, 13 points and 183 penalty minutes in 44 games.

Feaster said the disappointing season factored into his offer, which he said is final:

"Our concern is being a full year removed from the NHL and playing our system, we have to spend training camp and the first two months of the season breaking old habits. We're going to have to spend time inculcating him to the way we want him to play instead of getting a player who advanced his career."

Still, hopes were high.

"But in this case, the offer made was significantly lower than the one presented to us a year ago, " said Gandler, who would not disclose what his client got from Omsk.

"And the punishment element. You've got to prove yourself. You've got to, as they say, shut your yapper and show up. ... Basically, he is not going to crawl back into the locker room and ask forgiveness of some people."

With little hope of reconciliation, Gandler said, "I would love for them to trade Evgeny, " who is not an unrestricted free agent until summer 2009.

Feaster called the request a non-starter. "I will not, " he said, "allow a player to dictate how we manage the hockey club."

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ward Signs with Bolts


The Lightning locked up wing Jason Ward for two-years at $1.35-million, for a cap hit of $675,000 per year. Ward, 28, was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice at trade deadline in February after beginning the season with the New York Rangers. In 70 combined games with New York, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay Ward had eight goals and 11 assists, including four goals and eight points in 17 games with the Lightning. He was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He mostly played on the second line with center Brad Richards, had plenty of penalty-kill and power-play time and became one of the team's best forecheckers. "I'm with a team that was excited to have me, " said Ward "It would have been foolish to go anywhere else."

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

What I want for Christmas (in July)


Like most, when I was a kid, I would got to bed Christmas Eve hoping to wake up to a mountain of kick ass gifts under the tree. Unfortunately, most of the time, the mountain was for not, but occasionally that big gift would be there, that red rider b b gun of gifts. As an adult (cough, cough) I have that feeling once again heading into the offseason with the Bolts. I know there's not a lot of money to spend, but maybe, just maybe that big gift will be under the tree. What would that big gift be? How about a huge elite goalie, how about JS Giguerre. I know I am dreaming, but just imagine how good this team could be with an elite goalie between the pipes. Oh wait, you don't have to imagine, because we already know. You say he's going to be too expensive, won't leave Cali, blah blah. We've seen Feaster is willing to overspend on players (Richie the $7.8 mil man), so offering up $7mil to Giggy should be no big deal to him. I know it is rediculous to even consider having $28-30 mil tied up in 4 players, but does Jay?

As a kid, what I found most enjoyable about Christmas morning wasn't actually the BIG gift, but all the little ones. The small things that had the most thought put into them. You know the small things like resigning Jason Ward to continue to fill in on the Richards line. Like bringing back Artie to complete a 4th line with Roy and Tarnasky. Like locking up youngsters O'Brien and Ranger (RFA's) to solidify the blue line for years to come. And finding that ever so needed vetran defenseman that will undoubtedley be needed to fill the hole left by the loss of Sarich to free agency.

As July approaches, the rumors will fly...Vinny to Montreal, Marty to St. Louis (that's my favorite so far), Ritchie to whoever is stupid enough to take on his salary. More than likely, no big deals will be made, but maybe just maybe, Feater Claus will bring us something totally kick ass this Christmas in July!

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Latest from the Rumor Mill


The Lightning need defense, that is no secret. They will lose Sarich to free agency, so they will need to fill his spot on the blue line. The latest rumor has the Bolts interested in bringing back former 1st round pick Roman Harmlik. In 75 games for Calgary Hamrlik had 38 points and was a +22. His big shot from the point is something the Bolts desperately need. if the Lightning could pull this one off, it would be a great move.


To see the Lightning's salaries and cap hit numbers check out NHL Numbers

Sphere: Related Content

Conference Finals Set




The East and West Conference Finals are all set, and feature 2 really good matchups. In the East, Buffalo will face off with Ottawa in what should be a very entertaining series. The two teams had a physical regular season series... Chris Neil's blindside hit on Chris Drury, left him wondering what planet he was on after taking 20 stitches across the forehead in a Feb. 22 game. That animosity surely will carry over into their playoff matchup. In eight regular-season meetings, Ottawa won five in regulation time, while Buffalo won two in regulation and one in a shootout. I like Buffalo in this series, in six or seven games.

In the West, Anaheim and Detroit will square off for the right to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. Can you say defense? Anaheim sends out Pronger and Neidermayer versus Detroit's Chelios and Lidstrom. Goaltending anyone? How about JS Giguere versus Dominik Hasek. I think the edge goes to Detroit, contrary to what most "experts" are saying. They have more offensive weapons than Anaheim. Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Lang...they can just roll line after line. I like Detroit in six.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The rumors have started-Updated 5/3



From Hockeybuzz:

Update 5/3:

More confirmation last night from a scout at the game (SJvsDet) that Vinny could be dealt and according to this source, Montreal and Vancouver were the most likely destinations. The source also said he heard that Price would be included in the deal... However, he also believed the Blues may make a "substantial" push for Marty St. Louis, and said that only one would be moved. "The knock on Marty is that many people aren't certain that he will be as good away from his current group. I disagree, but if Jay can't get enough for Marty he will be forced to look elsewhere."


From Hockeybuzz:

* Which of the big three in Tampa is on the move? Word amongst the press is rampant that one of the guys will have to be moved in order to make budget next season, and "all signs point to either St. Louis or Vinny." Of course when Vinny's name is brought up, the Habs are involved. One source said he believed that the Lightning would demand that part of the deal include Carey Price. That is interesting on many levels. Vinny would give the Habs what they haven't had since Roy left. A bona-fide local superstar. Of course every team is interested in Vinny, and the best bet is for Tampa to grab some young stars whose rookie contract would help them for the next few years. teams that are likely to be the first to kick the tires are LA, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto..

Marty St. Louis is supposedly drawing interest from Chicago, Dallas, Boston, St Louis (which would be rather odd) and all three NY area teams.

-Keep in mind, Hockeybuzz blew it many times on trade deadline day, so I don't put much value in what they say. It seems like every few months or so there is a "Vinny to Montreal " rumor. But they are putting rumors out there, so I will bring them to you.

-I think St. Louis being moved is the more plausible rumor. Richards didn't perform up to his cap number ($7.8mil.), so many teams would shy away from him. Vinny is the cornerstone of the franchise. Feaster himself said his legacy in Tampa Bay would not be as the guy who traded away Vinny Lecavalier. We'll see if he is a man of his word.

I personally like St. Louis' take on the roster situation: "For me, it would be foolish to spend less. If anything, I'd spent more because you have a lot of key elements to a championship team here," he said. "If you add a player here and there, we could be right there. If they go the other way, what kind of message does that send?"

Sphere: Related Content

It's up to the owners...

Tampa Bay heads into the offseason with only nine player committed to contracts for the 2007-08 season with $32.04 million in salary cap accounted for. A look at who's coming back and who is up for a contract within the organization:

SIGNED FOR 2007-08: Brad Richards, Vinny Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis, Dan Boyle, Filip Kuba, Marc Denis, Vinny Prospal, Tim Taylor and Andre Roy.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: Ryan Craig, Doug Janik, Shane O'Brien, Paul Ranger, Karl Stewart, Nick Tarnasky, Daniel Corso, Mike Egener, Mitch Fritz, Brady Greco, Morgan Cey, Adam Henrich, John Toffey.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: Rob DiMaio, Ruslan Fedotenko, Johan Holmqvist, Andreas Karlsson, Norm Milley, Eric Perrin, Nolan Pratt, Luke Richardson, Cory Sarich, Jason Ward, Kyle Wanvig, Eero Somervuori, Joe Rullier, Marek Posmyk, Eric Healey, Sascha Goc, Dan Corso, Stephen Baby.

Note: Rights to restricted free agents must be retained with a qualifying offer by July 1 or they become unrestricted. Other teams may sign restricted free agents to an offer sheet, but the team holding the player's rights has the right to match the offer or receive draft picks as compensation.


"I don't have any regrets about the decision I made in the summer of 2005 [on letting Khabibulin leave as a free agent] but what I do regret is that with the kind of firepower we have up front we haven't been able to address that need yet that enables us to win a division title and enables us to get out of the first round," Feaster said. "I think we are talented enough up front and underrated but good enough on the blue line. We have the pieces in place [but] we need to shore up that position."

The ball is in the ownerships court. They are expected to set a team cap at $40-42 million. If that happens, the core could be radically shaken up.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

No MVP for Vinny???


The NHL screwed this one up big time. Vinny Lecavalier was left off the ballot for the HART MEMORIAL TROPHY (most valuable player to his team). Instead they listed 2 goalies, Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo, as well as Sidney Crosby. Vinny was put on the ballot for the LESTER B. PEARSON AWARD (most outstanding player as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA).

Additionally, Martin St, Louis is on the ballot for the LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.

Sphere: Related Content