TAMPA – Former Lightning wing Ryan Malone pleaded no contest to DUI charges and agreed to a pretrial diversion program on a drug charge in a court hearing Tuesday morning.
By accepting the pretrial intervention, his felony charge of cocaine possession will be dismissed if he successfully completes the program’s requirements – which are similar to those already outlined by the NHL.
As part of his DUI punishment, Malone will have his driver’s license suspended for six months and must complete 50 hours of community service.
Malone was arrested in April after striking a curb while driving. He initially refused a field sobriety test, but later tests showed his blood alcohol level at 0.112, which is above the legal limit of 0.08.
The arresting officer also found 1.3 grams of cocaine in Malone’s pocket; he said he was baffled by the discovery, according to court documents obtained by the Tampa Bay Times earlier this month.
His attorney, Wes Trumbley, politely declined to comment after the hearing.
Malone, 34, is an unrestricted free agent and was bought out by the Lightning in June. Several teams have expressed interest in the 10-year veteran, who had 15 points in 57 games last year.
When a Tampa police officer pulled out a zip-lock bag of cocaine out of Ryan Malone's back pocket during an April 11 DUI arrest, the former Lightning wing was stunned.
"Oh my God," he told officer Andrew Visser.
Malone, 34, waived his Miranda rights and told Visser he didn't know where the 1.3 grams of cocaine came from, according to discovery documents the Tampa Bay Times received Tuesday through a public records request.
Malone told Visser he didn't believe the officer planted the drugs on him, but was "baffled" because he was wearing the same jeans for three days.
"I asked where it came from," Visser wrote in his report. "And he said he was just shocked."
Malone, who is facing charges of DUI and cocaine possession, could work out a plea deal as early as his next court date Aug. 19. Malone, riding with a female friend and his brother, was pulled over after he struck a curb on W Platt Street. Malone initially refused a field sobriety test but submitted to a blood alcohol test at booking (.112 and .116); a blood alcohol level of .08 percent is the threshold at which Florida law presumes someone is unable to safely drive. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, left, and forward Jonathan Drouin, right, are ranked the No. 1 prospects in the NHL at their respective positions by ESPN.com's Corey Pronman.
Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy are expected to play a big role in the team's future.
And on Tuesday, both were ranked the No. 1 prospects in the NHL at their respective positions by ESPN.com's Corey Pronman.
Drouin, drafted third overall in 2013, was rated the top skater for the second consecutive season by Pronman. He'll likely get his first opportunity to impact Tampa Bay this season, and should be on the Calder Trophy watch list.
Vasilevskiy was rated the No. 1 goalie prospect in the NHL, and Pronman called him "one of the best goalie prospects of the past 20 years." …Full Story
With training camp nearly a month away, the Tampa Bay Lightning has put tickets for its three preseason home games on sale.
Starting at 10 a.m. today (Tuesday), fans can go to tampabaylightning.com, Ticketmaster, or call 1-800-745-3000. The Lightning will host Nashville Tues, Sept. 23, Dallas on Fri, Sept 26 and the Panthers on Sat. Oct 4.
Tickets for regular season home games are expected to go on sale closer to training camp, which begins Sept. 18.Full Story
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop faced shots last week for the first time since late April right wrist surgery, and it went well, according to general manager Steve Yzerman.
"It felt good. Monday, Tuesday and today (Wednesday)," Bishop told Fox Sports Florida's Paul Kennedy. "I was a little apprehensive, and the wrist isn't 100 percent yet. But there was no real pain. The training staff, the coaches and I wanted to see how it was coming along. I would say I have to get about the last 10 percent healthy."
Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist who signed a two-year, $11.9 million extension Aug. 2, worked out in Tampa for a few days. His season ended in early April after dislocating his left elbow, which he now says is "99-percent."
The goal, or plan, is for Bishop to be ready for training camp in mid-September.
"I'm not going to say I will be, but I'm pretty confident I'll be able," Bishop said after signing his extension..."We still have quite a bit of time before camp starts. I'm not too worried about it. The wrist still has got a little bit of ways to go. You never know, have to take your time."
Ryan Malone stretches before a Lightning-Wild game in February in St. Paul, Minn.
Former Lightning wing Ryan Malone, facing charges of DUI and cocaine possession, had another disposition hearing continued on Monday in Tampa.
It appears both sides might be working out a plea deal, with a resolution in the case likely to come on the next court date, Aug. 19, or soon after. Malone, 34, who did not appear in court, is an unrestricted free agent after getting bought out by the Lightning June 25. With training camps coming up in mid-September, it'd be beneficial for Malone to have this legal issue out of the way if he hopes to land with another team. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said the organization had been using advanced stats for a couple years before he arrived in Tampa Bay in 2010.
It's not exactly Moneyball - or, more appropriately, Moneypuck - but there has been a lot of buzz this summer about the NHL's use of advanced stats.
Sports like baseball have been more at the forefront when it comes to using analytics, and it's easier to track such numbers because of the pace of the game. But you're starting to see more NHL teams trying to find what stats they can use to give them an advantage.
The Oilers recently hired Tyler Dellow, one of those at the forefront of the advanced stats movement (@mc79hockey). The Devils brought in professional poker player Sunny Mehta to head the team's analytics department. Even the Maple Leafs, who have been slow to such innovative methods, hired Kyle Dubas, 28, known for using analytics, to be their assistant general manager. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and Stars GM Jim Nill have been more outspoken this summer on their use of stats and what edge it might give. …Full Story
Lightning goalie Ben Bishop says anyone would love a long-term deal, especially coming off a season in which he was a Vezina Trophy finalist as the league's top goalie.
But Bishop, 27, was more than happy to receive a two-year, $11.9 extension Saturday, which with a no-trade clause will keep him in Tampa Bay through the 2016-17 season. Bishop, in his first full season as a No. 1 goalie, went 37-14-7 with a 2.23 goals against average, with coach Jon Cooper saying he was the main reason the Lightning made its turnaround and reached the playoffs.
"I had one really good year this year - I think I've still got to prove myself," Bishop said. "I want to be consistent year in and year out. I don't want to be a one-hit wonder. I want to be even better this year. I thought it was a fair deal on both sides."
Bishop, who had one year and $2.3 million left on his current deal, said it was important to get an agreement done this summer so it's not "hanging over my head" during the season. The security is key, especially considering Bishop is coming off right wrist surgery and his season ended in April with a disclocated left elbow. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, 24, a Markham, Ontario native, will not be an unrestricted free agent until after the 2015-16 season.
With LeBron James making the blockbuster decision this month to return home to Cleveland, it sparked continued speculation whether one the biggest NHL stars will make a similar move to play for his hometown team.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, 24, a Markham, Ontario native, will not be an unrestricted free agent until after the 2015-16 season. But Stamkos, at a Coca-Cola ball-hockey promotional event in Toronto Wednesday, was asked whether there would be an allure to signing with the Maple Leafs, the team he grew up watching.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away,” Stamkos told The Canadian Press. “Right now I’m focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we’ve really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.Full Story
“For me, that’s the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we’re going to have that chance for a couple years.” …
The Lightning landed the veteran presence it had been looking for Friday, announcing the signing of veteran forward Brenden Morrow to a one-year deal.
The 35-year-old Morrow is a former Stars captain. He had 13 goals and 25 points for St. Louis last year.
The team also announced the signing of forward Philippe Paradis to a one-year, two-way contract.Full Story
Jay Feaster was proudly wearing his Lightning 2004 Stanley Cup ring Tuesday morning, back in an office at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and admittedly bleeding blue again.
"I don't know that I've ever stopped," he said.
Feaster, 51, the former long-time Tampa Bay general manager, was hired to be the executive director of community hockey development, with the job to help grow hockey at the youth/grassroots level. Though Feaster was fired by the Lightning in 2008, most recently working as Calgary's GM until his December departure, he kept his Brandon home.
Feaster, who was with the Lightning for 10 years, said he always considered the area "home." He made it known he'd like to return to the organization, though not necessarily in hockey operations, and discussions were rekindled when he was in Tampa in March for the 10th anniversary Stanley Cup celebration.
"It's awesome," Feaster said. "The previous ownership group that (Jeff Vinik) bought it from, they did everything they could to try to purge any evidence and record and memory of the 04 Cup win. So it's nice to be welcomed back like this."
DIRK SHADD | Times
Anton Stralman signed a five-year $22.5 million deal with the Lightning July 1.
New Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman is a huge heavy metal music fan, and can string a few tunes himself.
Stralman, 27, said when he and his wife Johanna moved in together in 2005, he had to give up video games, so he decided to buy a guitar for his 19th birthday. He’s no Slash, but can play Guns N Roses “Patience” pretty well.
“I wish I was good, like to think I’m good,” Stralman said, smiling. “But it’s just not happening.”
Fortunately for Stralman, he can stick to his day job, which recently got a lot more security. The former Ranger signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with Tampa Bay on July 1, with the father of four making a brief trip to Tampa this week to house-hunt and research schools.
While Stralman doesn’t know the bay area very well, he’s well-versed in his new employer.
“This team really excites me,” Stralman said. “I think this team is very promising. When you’re making your choice, you want to see progress in a team in a positive way, and I think this team has all those good areas.
“I think this team is close to complete. Honestly the forwards, tremendous firepower there, best scorer in the league (Steven Stamkos), can’t ask for more really.” …Full Story
The Lightning added to its depth at AHL Syracuse Tuesday be signing F Cody Kunyk and D Matt Corrente to one-year, two-way deals.
Corrente, 26, played in 72 games with the Charlotte Checkers (AHL) last season, with two goals and 11 points to go along with 136 penalty minutes. He ranked tied for first on the Checkers for plus/minus with a plus-9 rating. The Mississauga, Ontario native also led all Charlotte skaters for penalty minutes. Corrente set career highs in 2013-14 for games played and plus/minus. The 6-foot, 205-pound defenseman has appeared in 34 career NHL games, all with the New Jersey Devils over parts of two seasons, posting six assists and 68 penalty minutes
Kunyk, 24, made his NHL debut with the Lightning on April 13 at Washington, logging 10:12 in ice time. He was signed by Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent on March 20, 2014.
The Sherwood Park, Alberta native skated in 37 games for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks this season, posting 22 goals and 43 points to go along with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-13 rating.Full Story
Brian Boyle, who signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Lightning, said he passed up more money from Toronto to come to Tampa.
Brian Boyle was on the tail end of his honeymoon, having gone from Napa Valley to two islands in Hawaii, when the key date of July 1st hit.
The long-time Ranger got up at 5 a.m., had some coffee on the porch of his Maui hotel with his new bride, model Lauren Bedford, knowing the opening day of free agency would be a hectic one.
Boyle, 29,, said he and his wife - who is from Orlando - had always been "drawn" to Tampa. And when the Rangers didn't give much of an offer, but the Lightning came in, they were excited.
"We jumped at at his quick as we could," Boyle said. "It was kind of a home run."
Boyle, who signed a three-year, $6 million deal with the Lightning, said he passed up more money from Toronto to come to Tampa. He will replace Nate Thompson's role as a fourth-line type defensive-minded forward and strong penalty killer, his "bread and butter." Boyle, at 6-foot-7, 244-pounds brings much-needed size to a young and small forward group.
The fact Boyle's wife is from Orlando was just a "cherry on top." He said there was a lot to like about the organization. …Full Story
Times files (2008)
Jay Feaster, the GM for the Lightning's only Stanley Cup team in 2004, will be working with local youth to help grow hockey in the Tampa Bay area.
The Lightning officially announced Monday it has brought back former general manager Jay Feaster, who will be the executive director of community hockey development.
Feaster, 51, the GM for the Lightning's only Stanley Cup team in 2004, will be working with local youth to help grow hockey in the Tampa Bay area. He will oversee and manage the Lightning’s outreach to youth and high school hockey programs and further increase participation and build relationships with local arenas.
More from the team:
Feaster led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup victory in 2004 as GM. He worked in the Lightning’s hockey operations department from 1998 through 2008. Feaster was named 2004 NHL Executive of the Year by vote of peers in The Sporting News and ranked second among professional sports general managers by Forbes Magazine in 2007.Full Story
Feaster most recently worked with the Calgary Flames for three years as both general manager and assistant general manager of the team. He was originally hired by the Flames as assistant general manager under Darryl Sutter and eventually took over as interim general manager on December 10, 2010. Feaster was then promoted to the general manager position on May 18, 2011.