Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning notebook

Rumble's mission: return Lightning farm team to playoffs

The first thing Darren Rumble said he wants to do as coach of AHL Norfolk is get the Admirals to the playoffs.

The team missed them for the first time in 19 years last season, its first as a Lightning affiliate.

"I feel like we owe something to the fans," Rumble said Saturday. "They were pretty spoiled hockey-wise making the playoffs 18 straight years. We sort of let them down a little bit there."

Rumble, 39, has something to prove as well.

The former Lightning defenseman, an Admirals assistant last season, was let go when coach Steve Stirling was re-assigned.

But Rumble was fired by former owner Palace Sports & Entertainment. He said he called old friend Len Barrie, one of the Lightning's new owners and a teammate in 1990-92 with AHL Hershey. Two phone calls and an "extensive" interview later, Rumble had the job.

"I think it was huge just knowing the players and being familiar with pretty much everything," he said. "It allowed a little continuity from last year."

Former NHL tough guy Alan May, with 1,333 penalty minutes in 393 games, mostly with the Capitals, will be the assistant.

Admirals owner Ken Young would not confirm or deny Rumble's hiring, deferring to Tuesday's scheduled news conference. Still, he said, "I do think Darren will be a very good fit for the Admirals. I think also he's familiar with ownership and the people he is reporting to, and that's good, too. We're real excited about what the new ownership has done with the Lightning."

Rumble, who played 24 games for the Lightning in 2002-04, said a priority will be building "good, solid communication" with Tampa Bay coach Barry Melrose.

"I come from a teaching background," Rumble said. "I want to do everything I can to make each player better, whether a veteran or a young guy."

VERNON'S ROLE: Former goaltender Mike Vernon had a close relationship with Barrie well before Vernon was hired last week as a special assistant to vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton.

Vernon, 45, who won Stanley Cups in 1989 with the Flames and 1997 with the Red Wings, for whom he was playoff MVP, is the second-largest investor in Barrie's Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, British Columbia.

"I couldn't have done it without him," Barrie said.

Vernon, based in Calgary, will do a little bit of everything.

Barrie said he will be a sounding board on player personnel issues, will scout and work here and there with the organization's goalie prospects.

Vernon, who played with owner Oren Koules in 1981-82 for Calgary in the Western Hockey League, could not be reached. But Barrie said his friend has waited for the right situation to get back in the game.

"We want to surround ourselves with winning people," said Barrie, adding he wanted to hire Joe Nieuwendyk for a similar position before he went to the Maple Leafs. "You can't be afraid to put strong-willed, successful people around you or you'll fail."

HALPERN UPDATE: Center Jeff Halpern, who in June had surgery to reconstruct his right knee, damaged while playing for the United States at the world championship, said doctors told him he could begin light skating by Sept. 1. That, he said, should put him on course for a December return.

"I took the crutches away about two weeks ago," Halpern said. "As soon as that happened, I got the green light to do everything strength-wise. It's just a slow process."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Rumble's mission: return Lightning farm team to playoffs 07/19/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Morning after off day: Rays ready for slumping O's



  2. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  3. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday


    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  4. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101