Clear76° WeatherClear76° Weather

Former Lightning GM Brian Lawton says St. Louis requested trade to Rangers in 2009

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

Filppula still too sore to play as Lightning opens busy stretch

Lightning center Valtteri Filppula said his fractured right ankle, which was injured Feb. 6 against the Maple Leafs, still is too sore to play.

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

It appears Marty St. Louis trade rumors will fester

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.

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

Marty St. Louis trade talk part of fallout from Olympic snub

The New York Post reports that Rangers general manager Glen Sather has inquired about acquiring Lightning captain Marty St. Louis in a trade.

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

Defenseman Mike Kostka claimed off waivers

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, Canada, get gold with 3-0 win over Sweden

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

United States now Canada's top hockey rival, Stamkos says

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

Photo gallery: Lightning strikes Sochi

Ondrej Palat of the Czech Republic tries to handle the puck against Marcel Hossa (88) and Branko Radivojevic (92) of Slovakia during the Czech Republic's 5-3 victory.

Getty Images

Ondrej Palat of the Czech Republic tries to handle the puck against Marcel Hossa (88) and Branko Radivojevic (92) of Slovakia during the Czech Republic's 5-3 victory.

Are you following the progress of Lightning players Martin St. Louis, Radko Gudas, Ondrej Palat, Richard Panik and Sami Salo and prospect Kristers Gudlevskis at the Winter Olympics? Then you'll want to check out our photo gallery featuring the team's six representatives in Sochi.

View the gallery here. We'll continue to add to it throughout the tournament.

Full Story

2014-15 season-ticket prices going up an average 5 percent, though some seats cheaper

The Lightning announced its 2014-15 season-ticket renewal campaign with an average 5 percent increase in prices. But not all seats are being treated equally.

The team said prices on 4,853 seats in the 19,204-seat Tampa Bay Times Forum will be the same or lower, most notably the club level corner seats which are going down 25 percent to $2,580. But some seats are going up, such as those in the upper Promenade at the end in which the Lightning shoots twice: 22.5 percent to $2,107.

New is the Blue Line Club, which include seats above row K in sections 115, 116, 117, 130, 101 and 102. Those go for $4,004 and include a replica jersey and a $10 food and beverage credit for each of the 44 games (including preseason) in the package.

Full Story

Injuries force Namestnikov into prominent role in debut

Tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum will be quite an occasion for Vlad Namestnikov, and not only because he will play his first NHL game for the Lightning.

The injury to Valtteri Filppula, who will be sidelined three weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his right ankle, means Namestnikov, the No. 27 overall pick of the 2011 draft, comes into the game as Tampa Bay's second-line center.

He also gets to play against the Red Wings, the team which he idolized growing up in the Detroit area and for which his uncle, Slava Kozlov, played.

"Growing up in Detroit and having them be my favorite team, it's just really special," Namestnikov said of his first game.

Smoothing the transition for Namestnikov -- who was called up Friday from AHL Syracuse where he had 13 goals, 30 points in 31 games -- will be his reunion with Crunch linemates J.T. Brown and Nikita Kucherov. Lightning coach Jon Cooper hopes the line's chemistry translates to the NHL.

Cooper, who coached Namestnikov last season at Syracuse, said he is most interested to see how the player's speed translates to the NHL. …

Full Story

Canada's Olympic coach says St. Louis was unanimous choice to replace Stamkos

Marty St. Louis was a unanimous choice to replace Lightning teammate Steven STamkos on Canada's Olympic team, Red Wings and Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said Friday.

Though there was a formal vote among coaches and management, Babcock -- at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for Saturday's game against the Lightning -- said, "We didn't have to vote at all. Everyone just said St. louis is the guy."

St. Louis, 38, wasn't on the teamwhen it was announced on Jan. 7, an awkward situation given St. Louis' level of play this season and that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is Team Canada's executive director.

"It would have been easy for Steve to say, 'Marty is on the team because I said he's on the team,' " Babcock said. "That, to me, is not how you manage. In the end we feel we had an opportunity (for input), and that's all you can ask for."

Full Story

Filppula will miss Olympics, at least three weeks with ankle injury

Valtteri Filppula was hurt in the third period of Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Valtteri Filppula was hurt in the third period of Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs.

Lightning center Valtteri Filppula will be sidelined a minimum three weeks and is out of the Olympics with a non-displaced fracture of his right ankle, the team announced.

Filppula, who was to play in his second Olympics for Finland, was hurt in the third period of Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs.

The good news, as far as the Lightning is concerned, is the Olympic break begins Sunday. If Filppula, who has 20 goals, heals in the minimum amount of time he could be back in the lineup Feb. 27 at Nashville, Tampa Bay's first game after the break.

He would miss only one game, Saturday at home versus the Red Wings.

In other injury news, goaltender Ben Bishop is day-to-day with an upper body injury sustained against the Maple Leafs.

Full Story

Stamkos says St. Louis 'probably deserved' to to be on Team Canada from Day 1

Steven Stamkos won't be going to the Olympics because his broken right tibia is not fully healed. But the Lightning's star center said of teammate Marty St. Louis, who will play for Canada in Stamkos' place, "He probably deserved to be on the team since Day 1, so for him to get a chance now, I'm definitely happy for him."

St. Louis was left off the team when it was first announced on Jan. 7, a snub he admitted made him "bitter," especially because Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman also is Team Canada's executive director.

But now that St. Louis will travel to Sochi, Russia, for the tournament that begins Wednesday, Stamkos said his St. Louis, if given the chance, will be a major contributor. …

Full Story

Stamkos not cleared for game participation, out of Olympics

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos has not been medically cleared and will miss the Olympics, the team announced this afternoon.

Stamkos had a CT Scan Wednesday and then met with Lightning medical director Ira Gutentag, who would not clear Stamkos for game participation.

Read the full story here.

 

Full Story

Steven Stamkos not cleared to play and is out of the Olympics

Lightning star Steven Stamkos, out since Nov. 11 with a broken right tibia, had been confident the past few days that he would be able to get back in the lineup on Saturday at home against the Red Wings and perhaps even play for Canada in the Olympics.

But a CT scan on Wednesday revealed the bone was not completely healed, so Stamkos was not cleared to play by team medical director Ira Guttentag and is out of the Olympics. Stamkos will be reevaluated in two to three weeks, the team said.

"After reviewing the CT scan this afternoon, Dr. Guttentag made it clear to me and to Steven that the tibia is not completely healed and therefore he should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future," Lightning and Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman said in making the announcement. "Although the doctor was very pleased to this point with the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens. It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all." …

Full Story