Soon, Phil Esposito's statue won't be the only one in front of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Lightning announced Monday that it will honor former captain Dave Andreychuk with a statue on Ford Thunder Alley. They will unveil the statue in a pre-game ceremony at 6:30 p.m. before playing the Stars April 5. It will air live on CW44.
Andreychuk, now the team's vice president of corporate and community affairs, said he found out a couple months ago.
"Obviously it's a great honor," Andreychuk said. "I was overwhelmed."
The life-size bronze statue of Andreychuk will be located at the entrance to Ford Thunder Alley, just northeast of the intersection at Channelside Drive and Morgan Streets. The statue will depict Andreychuk hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head after the Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames in Game 7 during the 2004 finals. The Andreychuk statue will stand 9-feet tall and weigh approximately 600 pounds. It is being created by Steven Dickey, the renowned artist and sculptor that designed the Phil Esposito statue which graces the entrance to the Times Forum.
Andreychuk said the statue "symbolizes a moment for us," and is "something that the whole community should be proud of." …Full Story
Lightning star Steven Stamkos didn't participate in today's morning skate, but there's no cause for concern. He's playing tonight against the Coyotes.
With Stamkos having played just two games since returning from a broken right tibia, he said he's going to work with the training staff on taking a day, or skate, off to manage the recovery. Along with Sunday's team off day, he's got some extra rest.
Though Stamkos has no points in his first two games back, he's been playing well, logging more than 21 minutes each game, and a combined six shots on goal. He's also won more than 65-percent of his faceoffs.
"It's going to come," Stamkos said. "I've just got to stick with it. As much as I wanted to be back where it was before the injury, it might take some time. I'm hoping to gradually build that up."
Coach Jon Cooper said he's not surprised Stamkos has been able to perform well despite having missed 45 games, but the biggest things he needs to improve are is timing and conditioning. …Full Story
Goalie Mike Smith returns to Tampa Bay tonight for the first time since signing with the Coyotes after the 2011 season.
Former Lightning goalie Mike Smith got to catch up with some former teammates Sunday night, the eve of his return to Tampa Bay for the first time since signing with the Coyotes after the 2011 season.
And in a gathering that included RW Ryan Malone, C Steven Stamkos, RW Teddy Purcell and RW B.J. Crombeen, Smith said there was no question who paid the tab.
“Obviously Stammer,” he said, smiling.
Smith, 31, said he isn’t seeking payback Monday night against the Lightning, whom he played for 3 1/2 seasons that included a humbling demotion to the minors his final year. He had a lot of great memories and life-long friends in Tampa, but says he’s a much different goalie now. Smith, given the chance to be the No. 1 goalie Phoenix and signed to a six-year, $34 million deal, has thrived, even winning an Olympic gold medal for Team Canada in the Sochi Olympics. …Full Story
The Lightning added to its depth Sunday, signing free-agent forward Yanni Gourde. Gourde will be on an AHL contract the rest of the season and on a two-way NHL contract for the 2014-15 seasons. …Full Story
Rookie RW Nikita Kucherov admits he’s in a scoring slump, and that his confidence has dipped a bit recently.
So with the Lightning facing a big Bruins team Saturday, associate coach Rick Bowness said they made Kucherov a healthy scratch, hoping he can learn a lot from watching upstairs.
Kucherov burst onto the scene in scoring a goal in the first shot of his first shift of his NHL debut Nov. 25. But the offensively-gifted forward has tallied just one goal since Jan. 19, with 17 shots in his last 13 games, a stretch many young players go through.
“He’s a highly skilled rookie who hasn’t found the back of the net for a little bit and you can see him squeezing the stick a little bit,’’ Bowness said. “And this is a big physical team and it’s hard to find any room out there so if there is a night he can sit back and watch, this is the game. And one of the benefits of sitting above is you realize that sometimes there really is more time out there than you feel on the ice.” …Full Story
Lightning defenseman prospect Slater Koekkoek is done for the season due to a right shoulder injury, general manager Steve Yzerman confirmed.
Koekkoek, the 10th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, had his left shoulder surgically-repaired the last two seasons. He'll be re-evaluated on Monday, Yzerman said.
Koekkoek had 15 goals and 38 assists in 61 games for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League this season.Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Steven Stamkos said his body responded "better than I expected," feeling no pain Friday after playing 21 minutes Thursday against the Sabres.
For the Lightning, there were many things to like about Thursday's game, despite the 3-1 loss to the Sabres.
First of all, new captain Steven Stamkos felt - and looked - good in his first game in four months after recovering from a broken leg. Stamkos said his body responded "better than I expected," feeling no pain Friday after playing 21 minutes the night before.
"I definitely felt like I played a game yesterday," he quipped.
But while coach Jon Cooper liked what he saw from Stamkos, and new forward Ryan Callahan, he felt what was missing the most Thursday was traffic in front of the net. They peppered Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth with 44 shots, but felt he got to see most of them.
That's why Tampa Bay worked on its net front for most of Friday's practice, knowing it'll be vital in Saturday's matchup with the first place Bruins, which have beaten the Lightning in all three meetings this season by a combined score of 11-1. The Lightning has lost eight of its last 11, dropping to fifth in the Eastern Conference, just four points ahead of ninth-place Columbus.
And after a whirlwind and emotional few days, with the trade of Marty St. Louis behind them, it's gut check time. …Full Story
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