Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Being GM for team and country tough for Lightning's Yzerman

Given the drama that erupted around Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman as executive director of Canada's Olympic team, one might expect Tampa Bay owner Jeff Vinik to say "no way" when asked if he would allow Yzerman to take the job again.

But Vinik said he would not outright prohibit Yzerman from signing up.

"I wouldn't preclude the idea," Vinik said, though he added, "I'd have a discussion with him."

The point is moot, actually, as Yzerman, who led Canada to consecutive gold medals, said he will not be the boss of the 2018 team if the NHL decides to participate in the Games in South Korea.

Not because of the controversy and rancor that developed when then-Lightning captain Marty St. Louis was left off Canada's initial roster for last month's Games in Sochi, Russia, but because, Yzerman said, "It's time for me to step aside and give somebody else an opportunity."

Even so, the debate remains valid. Should a general manager head his country's Olympic efforts when personnel decisions could go against members of his NHL team?

"I think as a manager of a team, you really have to think about it," former Lightning and Flames GM Jay Feaster said. "At the end of the day, as much as you have pride in your country, your first obligation is to the team that's paying you. In retrospect, I ask: Is that why Steve stepped down at the end of these Olympics?"

"I don't think we'll see another GM doing that," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "I don't think anyone realized the impact it can have on the relationship with your players on your team and your country."

And what an effect Yzerman had.

Canada's roster was debated ad nauseam by the media and fans, not because of who was included but who wasn't. The search for snubs was endless. St. Louis apparently was so disturbed at being left off the roster, it was the final push he needed to leave Tampa Bay — even after he later was added to replace the injured Stamkos.

None of that, though, Yzerman said, was the impetus for him to say after Canada won gold that he would not lead a team in 2018. In fact, he said, he made the decision two years ago when Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson asked him to put together the team that would defend the 2010 gold medal won in Vancouver.

"I would love to go to Russia and try to win a gold medal and repeat as champion and try to win in a foreign land. That was my reason for doing it one more time," Yzerman said of leading the team in Sochi.

As for Canada's gold medal, Yzerman said, "I was thrilled to be part of it."

But he's done.

Comments
Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

The Lightning is on the board in the 2018 NHL draft, using their first pick — 59th overall in the second round — on Gabriel Fortier, an undersize left wing from Quebec."I spoke with them a couple of times, so I knew there was an interest,...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

The Lightning isn't scheduled to pick until the second round, but there's no telling how active they might be with trades, so you'll want to follow our live coverage throughout the NHL draft Friday (Round 1) and Saturday (Rounds 2-7) in Dallas.(funct...
Published: 06/23/18
Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

The Lightning has re-signed one of its restricted free agents in backup goalie Louis Domingue, who will be back with Tampa Bay on a two-year deal worth $2.3 million.Domingue, 26, was acquired from Arizona in November after he had posted a 4.33 goals-...
Published: 06/22/18
Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

The Lightning has filled one of the openings on Jon Cooper's coaching staff, announcing Friday  that former Tampa Bay forward Jeff Halpern has been hired as an assistant coach.Halpern, 42, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the ...
Published: 06/22/18
Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

As expected, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he does not intend to re-sign veteran forward Chris Kunitz, who will seek his fifth Stanley Cup with a different team next season.Kunitz, 38, brought much-needed playoff experience in his lone...
Published: 06/22/18
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Published: 06/21/18
Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

DALLAS — The New York Islanders have hired Barry Trotz as their new head coach. President of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello announced the move Thursday at the NHL draft, two weeks after Trotz won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals and thr...
Published: 06/21/18
Lightning’s Victor Hedman salutes survivors in Norris Trophy acceptance speech

Lightning’s Victor Hedman salutes survivors in Norris Trophy acceptance speech

The victims and survivors of three tragedies — the mass shootings in Las Vegas and at Parkland Stoneman Douglas High School, and the bus accident that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team — were a big part of Wedne...
Published: 06/21/18
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Published: 06/20/18