The Lightning announced it is taking nominations for its Community Hero program which has donated a combined $4.1 million the past two seasons to non-profit organizations in the Tampa Bay area that are representative to a "hero's cause."
The program is part of a $10 million charitable commitment by owner Jeff Vinik and wife, Penny.
Here is the announcement from the team: …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Marty St. Louis led the league with 60 points on 17 goals and a league-best 43 assists with just 14 penalty minutes.
Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis won the Lady Byng Memorial Award after leading the league with 60 points on 17 goals and a league-best 43 assists with just 14 penalty minutes.
It is the third time St. Louis has won the trophy given for sportsmanship in a vote by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Only four players – Frank Boucher (7), Wayne Gretzky (5), Pavel Datsyuk (4) and Red Kelly (4) – have won more.
St. Louis, who turns 38 on Tuesday, also is up for the Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player as voted by the players. He has won two Art Ross trophies for leading the league in points and in the Lightning’s 2003-04 Stanley Cup season, won the Hart Trophy as the regular-season most valuable player (as voted by the media) and the Lindsay, then known as the Pearson.
On winning the Lady Byng: It’s an honor, obviously. I feel very fortunate and lucky in my career that I get to pick up some hardware along the way. I feel it’s something that when you’re done playing and you retire it’s going to look nice on the resume. …Full Story
Swiss star Retu Suri has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Lightning.
There is an understanding between the team and player, however, that Suri, a left wing, will play next season with Zug in the Swiss elite league to further develop his game and have the best chance to play on the Swiss national team in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
"We're comfortable with that," general manager Steve Yzerman said.
In the meantime, Suri, 24, will go on the Lightning's reserve list and the team will hold the players rights until he is 27, Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said.
Suri, 24, is coming off a terrific world championship in which he had five goals and eight points in 10 games. He scored twice in the shootout that decided Switzerland's 3-2 upset win over Canada in the preliminary round, a game certainly witnessed by Yzerman, who was general manager of Team Canada.
Suri, 6 feet, 185 pounds, had 14 goals, 25 points and 34 penalty minutes in 46 games last season for Zug. …Full Story
Rick Bowness said even after 24 seasons as an NHL head or assistant coach, he still has no problem getting the competitive juices flowing. Add he has never won a Stanley Cup as a coach or a player, and Bowness sees his new position as a Lightning associate coach as part of a quest as well as a job.
"What's carried me through my life is my passion for the game," Bowness said Monday after his signing was announced. "The one thing I don't have is a Stanley Cup and that drives me every day. I'm going (to the Lightning) to help (general manager Steve Yzerman) and to help (coach Jon Cooper) and (owner Jeff Vinik) win a Stanley Cup. That's why I'm going there."
Bowness, 58, spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant. He was fired last month in a housecleaning that included coach Alain Vigneault after Vancouver was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Sharks. In six previous seasons he was a Coyotes assistant and has had head coaching stints with the Jets, Bruins, Senators, Islanders and Coyotes, and led Boston to the 1992 Eastern Conference final. …Full Story
Rick Bowness spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant.
The Lightning on Monday hired Rick Bowness as an associate coach and to lead the defense and penalty kill.
"We were looking for experience," coach Jon Cooper said. "It was a no-brainer for us."
Bowness, 58, has been a head or assistant coach in the NHL for 24 years, and has a wealth of knowledge that will be a huge help to Cooper in his first full season as an NHL head coach. Bowness spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant. He was fired as part of a housecleaning that included coach Alain Vigneault after Vancouver was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Sharks.
Cooper said Tampa Bay had face-to-face interviews with five other candidates.
Here is the announcement from the team:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have added NHL coaching veteran Rick Bowness to the position of associate coach on head coach Jon Cooper’s staff today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. …Full Story
Rick Bowness was recently fired after seven years as an assistant with the Canucks.
The Lightning apparently is talking to, and is perhaps close to signing, Rick Bowness as an assistant coach.
Tampa Bay has been in the market for an assistant since last month when it announced Dan Lacroix, who handled the defense and penalty kill, would not be given a new contract.
Bowness, 58, has been either an NHL head coach or assistant for 24 years. He was recently fired after seven years as an assistant with the Canucks, which also fired head coach Alain Vigneault in a housecleaning after Vancouver this season was swept out of the first round of the playoffs.
The Canucks went to the playoffs in six of the seven years Bowness was with the team, and to the final in 2011 (losing to the Bruins), but also lost in the first round the past two seasons.
Bowness would give the Lightning what it has lacked behind the bench since assistant Wayne Fleming left the team in April 2011 because of brain cancer -- an assistant with a deep resevoir of NHL knowledge. And general manaer Steve Yzerman, after announcing Lacroix's departure, has said he would look for such a person. …Full Story
Valeri Nichushkin, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound right wing with high-end skill will merit serious consideration from the Lightning.
The agent for Russian draft prospect Valeri Nichushkin said his client is serious about playing in North America, and NHL teams should not wonder about his commitment to the league.
"This is not a charade," Mark Gandler said. "This is serious business."
Gandler confirmed his client's two-year contract with Moscow Dynamo of Europe's Kontinental Hockey League has been terminated. But Gandler also said Dynamo allowed the move with the condition that if Nichushkin does not make an NHL roster next season he can be assigned back to Dynamo. The NHL team would have the ability to call the player back.
"They just want to make sure that if he doesn't make it in the NHL this year he comes back and plays for Dynamo," Gandler said. "If both sides agree to it, (the contract) will say something like, 'At any point during the 2013-14 season, if the player is not on an NHL roster, he, upon written notice, will be assigned to the team of his choice in Europe.' " …Full Story
Russia's Valeri Nichushkin, right, and Pavel Buchnevich celebrate after scoring against Germany during a quarterfinal game of the IIHF U18 International Ice Hockey World Championship.
One of the more interesting developments of the Memorial Day weekend was a story on the rsport.ru web site that quoted Valeri Nichushkin as saying he is ready to play in North America.
That likely was of great significance to the Lightning, which it is believed to have a keen interest in perhaps drafting the talented 18-year-old Russian with the No. 3 overall pick of the June 30 draft. In fact, Nichishkin told the web site Tampa Bay and the Predators, with the No. 4 overall pick, have shown interest.
One stumbling block was the two-year contract Nichushkin has/had with Moscow Dynamo which traded for the right wing last season in a deal that included a reported $10 million. But Nichushkin told rsport the deal wasn't that rich, the contract has been terminated -- no details were given -- and that Dynamo is okay with his decision. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Dan Lacroix's contract will expire at the end of June.
The Lightning on Friday began what might be an extensive reworking of its coaching staff by not retaining assistant Dan Lacroix. …Full Story
The Lightning, it is believed, has a potential goaltending star in Andrey Vasilevskiy. And head amateur scout Al Murray did nothing to change anyone's mind in a recent discussion about the 18-year-old Russian.
"This guy is a terrific prospects," Murray said of Vasilevskiy, who was drafted 19th overall in 2012. "I haven't seen a goalie in my time scouting in 20 years as developed at this stage of his development as this guy is.
"That doesn't mean he's going to eclipse Patrick Roy or Martin Brodeur," Murray continued. "But at this stage of his development, at his age, I haven't seen a goalie as good as this guy."
Vasilevskiy had a terrific 2012-13.
In 27 games with Ufa's junior team in Russia, he had a 1.93 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. In eight games with Ufa's team in Europe's Kontinental Hockey League, he was 4-1-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. And at the 2013 world junior championship, Vasilevskiy helped Russia to a bronze medal with a 1.81 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in four games. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Lightning center Nate Thompson collides with Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais during a game in March.
Lightning center Nate Thompson called winning a bronze medal with the United States at the world championship "a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget."
Thompson, 28, had a goal, three points and was plus-1 in 10 games at the tournament in Sweden and Finland. He was an alternate captain and played with Tampa Bay teammates Matt Carle (also an alternate captain) and Ben Bishop.
It was Thompson's second world championship and first medal.
"It was awesome," Thompson said of earning the bronze. "With the group of guys we had an how young we were, I don't think anyone would have picked us to do that. We had a pretty resilient group. The way we won it, definitely a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget."
The United States took the bronze with a 3-2 win over Finland in what was, basically, a consolation game. The United States lost the chance to play for gold when it fell 3-0 to Switzerland, which then lost to Sweden in the gold-medal game.
The signature game for Thompson, though, was the 8-3 victory over Russia in the first round of medal play, a nice payback after Russia's 5-3 victory over the United States in the preliminary round. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Vinny Lecavalier's season was not bad, with 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games while averaging 17:52 of ice time.
Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier was off to one of his best starts in a while (four goals, 11 points in his first seven games) when his left foot was hit by a slap shot from teammate Sami Salo in the final second of a Feb. 2 game with the Rangers.
Lecavalier played through the injury, which never really healed and limited his mobility. And when on March 12 he skated into Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson, the bone that had been bruised by Salo's shot was fractured, knocking Lecavalier out of nine games.
Lecavalier's season was not bad with 10 goals and 32 points in 39 games while averaging 17:52 of ice time. He also won 54.4 percent of his faceoffs. But the center said the season "was tough," especially considering his hot start.
"I felt really good when I started the year," he added, "but with that shot the ankle was very weak. ... It didn't seem to get better."
Some more thoughts from Lecavalier: …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Marty St. Louis led the NHL with 43 assists and 60 points in 48 games to capture his second career Art Ross Trophy.
Lightning right wing is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, given annually "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Also nominated are Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane and Islanders left wing Matt Moulson. St. Louis won the award in 2010 and 2011. The winner will be announced during the Stanley Cup final
Following are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, in alphabetical order: …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Marty St. Louis, 38 in June, became the oldest player to ever win an NHL points championship.
For all the negativity that surrounded the Lightning this season, right wing Marty St. Louis sounds relatively upbeat about what is in the team's future.
St. Louis, 38 in June, who became the oldest player to ever win an NHL points championship says he "feels good" about what Tampa Bay has in the locker room and that he has "full confidence" in what general manager Steve Yzerman is trying to do.
"I feel some of his pain," St. Louis said, "because he wants to win and it hasn't gone the way he'd like to the last couple of years."
St. Louis hit on some other topics recently. Here are excerpts of what he had to say: …Full Story
Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis on Thursday was named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Awad, given annually by the NHL Players Association to the league's "most outstanding player."
Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Washington's Alex Ovechkin also were named finalists for the award voted on by Players Association members. St. Louis previously won the award in 2004 when it was known as the Pearson Award.
St. Louis has a good case as he won the league points championship, and at 37 years old is the oldest player to ever win the Art Ross Trophy.
Here is a synopsis of each player's accomplishments this season: …Full Story