The Lightning started a new era Thursday night with a new captain.
Star center Steven Stamkos, making his triumphant return from a broken leg, came off the bench for the starting lineup wearing the "C" on his sweater, receiving a standing ovation before the game against the Sabres.
Stamkos, 24, was announced the new captain, taking over for Marty St. Louis, who was traded Wednesday to the Rangers.
"Steven Stamkos was destined to be the leader of our team," coach Jon Cooper said. "The fact it's happening now just puts us one step closer to achieving our ultimate goal and that is trying to win the Stanley Cup."
Stamkos is the 10th captain in franchise history, a move that surprised nobody in the Tampa Bay Times Forum.Full Story
So, there was Marty St. Louis on Wednesday sitting on the bench at Madison Square Garden in a Rangers jersey. Even he was struck by how "weird" that was.
After 13 seasons with the Lightning, St. Louis, the organization's greatest player, was traded on Wednesday for Ryan Callahan and a first- and a conditional second-round draft choice.
"You know, it was hard," St. Louis said. "Everything happened real quick, trying to rush for a flight (to New York), get ready for a game, new gear. It was definitely tough and weird."
He said the decision to ask for a trade to the Rangers also was tough. And while being left off the initial Olympic roster for Team Canada was difficult, it was just part of the equation that pushed him to request a trade.
"My family had a huge part in it," St. Louis said
St. Louis said he always thought that as his kids got older he would want to relocate to the Northeast. He has a home in Greenwich, Conn., and his wife is from that area. …Full Story
The Times' Drew Harwell told you back in October that Lightning owner Jeff Vinik listed his Boston mansion for a whopping $17 million.
Look at these photos from Curbed's Mansion Watch, and you'll understand why.Full Story
Four-plus months later, however, the house has yet to find a buyer. Which has meant a $2.5-million reduction in the asking price, to $14.5-million, Curbed reports. Even then, it's the second-priciest in Weston.
Find more background on the house here.
The main aspect of the first conversation Lightning coach Jon Cooper had with newly acquired right wing Ryan Callahan basically came down to this:
"Don't come in here and be Marty St. Louis."
The comparisons are inevitable, just as they were when Valtteri Filppula was brought in as a free agent after Vinny Lecavalier was bought out. And Cooper didn't want that thought anywhere near Callahan's thought process.
"That's not what you're here for," Cooper said he told Callahan. "You're here because we really like you as a player, and we feel we need that type of dynamic in the lineup. Not dynamic in the sense of we expect you to score every night, but dynamic in the sense we expect you to be at the net, we expect you to elevate our penalty kill. We expect you to play as hard as you did for the Rangers. If he gives us that kind of effort, he's a home run for us."
Callahan, acquired from the Rangers in the Marty St. Louis deal, appreciated the message.
"Definitely," he said. "It's good to hear that from the coach." …Full Story
Former Lightning captain Marty St. Louis, traded to the Rangers Wednesday, addressed his departure from Tampa Bay in the following letter to fans and media: …Full Story
The Lightning has traded captain Marty St. Louis to the Rangers for their captain Ryan Callahan and 2015 first-round pick and a 2014 second-round pick. New York apparently upped its offer on Tuesday to include the first-round.
If the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals, the second-round pick becomes a first-round pick.
Interesting that Callahan is a potential unrestricted free agent, so there is a chance the right wing will be a rental, though you have to believe there is some idea Tampa Bay will be able to sign him.
Callahan apparently had asked the Rangers for a six-year, $39 million deal. The Rangers reportedly have offered six years, $36 million.
If Callahan signs with the Lightning, the Rangers will get the Lightning's second-round pick in 2015. Tampa Bay will get New York's seventh-round pick.
St. Louis, arguably the greatest player in Tampa Bay history, and its all-time points leader, is having a wonderful season with 29 goals and 61 points in 62 games. He also is averaging 21:41 of ice time. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Valtteri Filppula said his fractured right ankle feels strong enough to play tonight against the Blues.
The Lightning will get a huge piece to its puzzle back tonight against the Blues as center Valtteri Filppula said his fractured right ankle feels strong enough to play. But the team might be without center Tyler Johnson, who has been dealing with a sore (at least) left foot since being hit by a puck Feb. 4 at Minnesota.
As expected, defenseman Radko Gudas is out with a lower-body injury that will be reevaluated Wednesday in Tampa.
But Filppula, who took a puck off the ankle Feb. 6 against the Maple Leafs and has missed four games with a non-displaced fracture, looked good at the morning skate and said afterward the strength issue in the ankle was resolved.
"The strength felt better," he said. "That was the main thing, to get that back. This is going to be a good test, the game. You don't really know before you play. We'll see after the game how it really worked."
Filppula has 21 goals, 41 points in 56 games. But getting him back will help the Lightning, losers of six of nine, in several ways. Filppula wins 51.9 percent of his faceoffs. In the four games he has missed, the Lightning has won just 44.6 percent. …Full Story
DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times
Rookie defenseman Radko Gudas, with an average 19:33 of ice time, likely is out of Tuesday's game with the Blues in St. Louis because of a lower-body injury sustained in Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Avalanche.
The last thing the already banged-up Lightning needs is another injury, but that is what it got. It only remains to be seen whether or not it is serious.
Rookie defenseman Radko Gudas, with an average 19:33 of ice time, likely is out of Tuesday's game with the Blues in St. Louis because of a lower-body injury sustained in Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Avalanche. Gudas will be reevaluated Wednesday in Tampa, general manager Steve Yzerman said.
Gudas, 23, was hurt with 6:25 left in the second period at Colorado when he collided with an Avalanche player as Gudas tried to step into a shot. Gudas took a couple of turns around the ice when Tampa Bay came out for the third period, but decided he could not go.
Losing Gudas, 6 feet, 204 pounds, would be significant for the Lightning. Gudas' 105 blocked shots are second on the team to the 129 of defensive partner Matt Carle. They also lead all rookie defensemen as does Gudas' 122 penalty minutes.Full Story
Lightning star Marty St. Louis requested a trade to the Rangers in 2009, said Brian Lawton, who was Tampa Bay's general manager at the time.
Lawton, a television analyst for Canada's Sportsnet, said Friday on the program Hockey Central at Noon that St. Louis made the request because he did not like the way things were going with Tampa Bay, which was struggling under its new ownership and management groups.
Lawton, without naming names, also seemed to accuse the Rangers of tampering.
“I had my suspicions at the time that some of the people that were from Tampa Bay prior and then working for the Rangers were contacting (St. Louis) about the possibility of coming to play there,” said Lawton in an article posted on the Sportsnet website. “Our team was not doing well at that time. I immediately felt that was the issue. I made a couple of phone calls and had a couple of meetings with Marty about how important he is to the organization and eventually everything worked out rather quickly.”
You can read the entire article here. …Full Story
WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Lightning center Valtteri Filppula said his fractured right ankle, which was injured Feb. 6 against the Maple Leafs, still is too sore to play.
Valtteri Filppula had high hopes of playing in Thursday's game with the Predators, but the Lightning center said his fractured right ankle, which was injured Feb. 6 against the Maple Leafs, still is too sore.
Filppula came out at the end of Thursday's morning skate in a red no-contact jersey.
I wish it was better," Filppula said. "It's getting better, but not good enough to play with. It's frustrating, but hopefully it starts moving a little faster going forward."
Coach Jon Cooper said Filppula is day-to-day and expects him to play on the four-game road trip that also goes through Dallas, Denver and St. Louis, part of a closing stretch of the regular season in which Tampa Bay plays 24 games in 46 days.
Filppula, 29, has had a wonderful season for the Lightning with 20 goals, 41 points in 56 games. He was hurt in the first period in Toronto when he took a shot off his right ankle. He played into the third period. He has missed one game so far.
Filppula, who skated during the team's mini camp in Orlando and also practiced Monday and Wednesday, said quick turns are the most problematic and so is getting up to speed after a stop. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
In his first practice with the team since winning a gold medal with Canada at the Olympics, Martin St. Louis acknowledged he has had discussions with GM Steve Yzerman about his future with the Lightning.
Lightning captain Marty St. Louis and general manager Steve Yzerman had a chance to squash the trade rumors surrounding St. Louis, but that did not happen on Wednesday.
In his first practice with the team since winning a gold medal with Canada at the Olympics, St. Louis acknowledged he has had discussions with Yzerman about his future with Tampa Bay. Beyond that, he declined to elaborate.
"The only thing I can say about that is I've had conversations with Steve on my future here," St. Louis said. "Out of respect for my teammates I think that's all I'm going to say about that. I'm not going to get into answering this question every day. I've had conversations with Steve about my future here. Those conversations are between me and Steve."
Asked about those conversations, Yzerman, too, declined to be specific.
"I'm not going to comment on trade rumors in this situation or any situation," he said. "That's just the way it is." …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
The New York Post reports that Rangers general manager Glen Sather has inquired about acquiring Lightning captain Marty St. Louis in a trade.
The news, first reported in the New York Post, that Rangers general manager Glen Sather has inquired about acquiring Lightning captain Marty St. Louis in trade should not be a surprise.
You have to figure Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman took several calls after St. Louis was left off Canada’s original Olympic lineup. That put a major strain on St. Louis’ relationship with Yzerman, who was Team Canada’s executive director.
Why wouldn’t teams call to see if the relationship was so broken Tampa Bay would consider trading its captain?
But if the swap was simply St. Louis for Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, Sather either doesn’t know Yzerman very well or he was merely fishing as part of his attempt to trade Callahan before the right wing leaves New York as an unrestricted free agent.
If we have learned anything about Yzerman, he is all about the kids, keeping and acquiring young talent that helps insulate the organization from salary cap pressures and feeds the conveyor belt from the minors to keep the organization invigorated over time. …Full Story
The Lightning added some depth to its NHL roster by claiming defenseman Mike Kostka off waivers from the Blackhawks. Kosta played for coach Jon Cooper at AHL Norfolk during the Admirals 2011-12 Calder Cup run.
"I really like his brain," Cooper said. "He can think the game well, has poise under pressure and he can shoot it," Cooper said. "He has the ability to play on the power play. To have guys that versatile, and a right-handed shot, that's something we felt woulod help give us a little depth back there."
Kostka might not be an immediate addition to Tampa Bay's lineup, Cooper said, but he added, "You can never have enough depth back there. We think he's somebody who can help our team. And he's a great teammate."
Kostka, 28, has two goals, three points in nine games this season with Chicago. In 2011-12 with Norfolk, Kostka had seven goals, 32 points in 52 games. He had six goals, 12 points in 18 playoff games and was plus-14.
"Mike's an NHL defenseman," Cooper said. "We think he'll be a good fit."Full Story
Marty St. Louis added an Olympic gold medal to his already brilliant career brought as Canada beat Sweden 3-0 Sunday in the gold-medal game in Socchi, Russia.
It was the first gold medal for St. Louis, who played in his second Olympics but didn’t seem, initially, as if he would get to a second as he was left off Canada’s first roster.
The snub caused admitted bitterness in St. Louis, 38, and hard feelings with Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who also is Team Canada’s executive director, though reports out of Canada suggested the coaching staff, led by Detroit’s Mike Babcock, was not sold on the Lightning captain.
Still, after a similar snub before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, it was the second time St. Louis was left off Canada’s roster with Yzerman as executive director. But when St. Louis’ teammate, Steven Stamkos, could not make the trip because his broken right leg had not sufficiently healed, St. Louis got the call as a replacement. …Full Story
No offense to the rich and emotional hockey history forged by Canada and the former Soviet Union/Russia, but the United States is now Canada's No. 1 hockey rival, Lightning star Steven Stamkos said.
"I think even more now, with the success the American team has had, I think that's the bigger rivalry, to be honest," said Stamkos, who would be playing for Canada at the Sochi Olympics if not for a broken right leg. "You have all North American players, a lot of guys who are really familiar with themselves, so I think that brings a new mentality in. It's going to be another great game."
The game Stamkos is referencing is Friday's Olympic semifinal. The other semifinal is Sweden-Finland, another great rivalry.
The United States-Canada rivalry is fairly young. That is because, as Lightning coach Jon Cooper pointed out, "30 years ago, USA Hockey was not where it is today."
Indeed, Canada, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury-News, has a 49-7-3 overall record against the United States. But as Cooper said, "(USA Hockey) has done a heck of a job starting a grass roots program. Now that the U.S. has become a power and Canada has stayed a power, and geographically it just makes sense." …Full Story