06/17/13 Lightning Strikes
Vinny Lecavalier always has said he wants to play his entire career with the Lightning.
But Tampa Bay's captain also understands the business of the game. That is why he is preparing for the possibility that the team will choose to buy out his contract.
"It's obviously something you think about," Lecavalier said. "At the same time, there's nothing I can do about it."
Such a move would be a chance for the Lightning to get out from under the annual $7.727 million salary cap hit — eighth highest in the league according to capgeek.com — that came with Lecavalier's 11-year, $85 million contract extension that took effect in 2009-10....
The Lightning announced it is taking nominations for its Community Hero program which has donated a combined $4.1 million the past two seasons to non-profit organizations in the Tampa Bay area that are representative to a "hero's cause."
The program is part of a $10 million charitable commitment by owner Jeff Vinik and wife, Penny.
Here is the announcement from the team:
The Lightning Foundation, charitable arm of the Tampa Bay Lightning, announced today that it will continue its ‘Lightning Community Heroes’ program, an initiative designed to distribute more than $2 million of the $10 million pledge by owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, to deserving non-profit organizations throughout the Tampa Bay community over the next three years. Today is the beginning of three nomination periods during which local individuals can submit a community hero to be honored with the award during the upcoming season. The first nomination deadline is on August 14 and two additional deadline dates will be announced later.
Throughout the Lightning’s 41 regular season home schedule in 2013-14 the club will honor a community hero and also award $50,000 to eligible non-profit organizations that are representative to a hero’s cause. Unchanged from the past two seasons, a total of $2,050,000 will be handed out to worthy community causes during the 2013-14 season.
Fans are encouraged to log on to http://tampabaylightning.com/heroes to receive additional details about the program, as well as to nominate deserving individuals who are making the Tampa Bay area a better place to live, work and play. Once a nomination for a Lightning Community Hero has been submitted, the nominee will be asked to provide information about the 501 (c) (3) organizations to which he or she would like to designate the award, should he or she be selected....
06/15/13 Lightning Strikes
For the Lightning's Marty St. Louis, the disappointment of a second straight year out of the playoffs was so profound, he said he was unsure how long it would take to feel the competitive twinge for a new season.
Turns out, not as long as perhaps even he expected.
"I took two weeks off, and I got right back into it in mid May," St. Louis said. "I was able to train for 2½ weeks before I met my trainer, so my first stage is already done. Usually, that takes three weeks. I did it in 15 days. I've been pushing my workouts along to try to get as many as I can. I'm ahead of the game in terms of where I usually am at this time of year."...
Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis won the Lady Byng Memorial Award after leading the league with 60 points on 17 goals and a league-best 43 assists with just 14 penalty minutes.
It is the third time St. Louis has won the trophy given for sportsmanship in a vote by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Only four players – Frank Boucher (7), Wayne Gretzky (5), Pavel Datsyuk (4) and Red Kelly (4) – have won more....
Swiss star Retu Suri has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Lightning.
There is an understanding between the team and player, however, that Suri, a left wing, will play next season with Zug in the Swiss elite league to further develop his game and have the best chance to play on the Swiss national team in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
"We're comfortable with that," general manager Steve Yzerman said....
06/13/13 Lightning Strikes
Mattias Ohlund called Rick Bowness "a perfect coach, a teacher."
Sami Salo said Bowness is "an intense coach, very into the game, very emotional."
The characterizations from the Lightning defensemen about Tampa Bay's new associate coach are noteworthy. Both played for Bowness — Salo for six seasons, Ohlund for three — when he held the same position with the Canucks....
06/07/13 Lightning Strikes
J.T. Wyman hoped to play in the NHL this season. It didn't happen.
But if the forward had to be in the minors, he said he could not be in a better spot than with the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Syracuse, N.Y.
"This is not an everyday occasion what we've got going here," Wyman said. "We know how special this is."
What the Crunch has going is a chance to give the Tampa Bay organization its second straight Calder Cup title, and 12 players who last season won rings with then-affiliate Norfolk face Grand Rapids in a best-of-seven final starting tonight at Syracuse....
06/07/13 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — All in all, Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey said, David Price's bullpen session Friday was "a great first step."
"He threw fastballs, curveballs, no cutters, with some real good vigor," Hickey said. "The ball was coming out real good."
The session, Price's first since he left a May 15 game against the Red Sox because of a strained left triceps, was eagerly anticipated by Price and the organization to reinforce a schedule in which the left-hander is on a major-league mound by the end of the month....
06/04/13 Lightning Strikes
One of the things for which Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop is known — one of the reasons general manager Steve Yzerman acquired him last season from the Senators — is his ability to play the puck.
Notable, then, that Bishop's carelessness with the puck while playing for the United States at last month's world championship in Sweden and Finland was the exclamation point in a disappointing tournament in which Bishop lost his starting job....
Rick Bowness said even after 24 seasons as an NHL head or assistant coach, he still has no problem getting the competitive juices flowing. Add he has never won a Stanley Cup as a coach or a player, and Bowness sees his new position as a Lightning associate coach as part of a quest as well as a job.
"What's carried me through my life is my passion for the game," Bowness said Monday after his signing was announced. "The one thing I don't have is a Stanley Cup and that drives me every day. I'm going (to the Lightning) to help (general manager Steve Yzerman) and to help (coach Jon Cooper) and (owner Jeff Vinik) win a Stanley Cup. That's why I'm going there."...
The Lightning on Monday hired Rick Bowness as an associate coach and to lead the defense and penalty kill.
"We were looking for experience," coach Jon Cooper said. "It was a no-brainer for us."
Bowness, 58, has been a head or assistant coach in the NHL for 24 years, and has a wealth of knowledge that will be a huge help to Cooper in his first full season as an NHL head coach. Bowness spent the past seven seasons as a Canucks assistant. He was fired as part of a housecleaning that included coach Alain Vigneault after Vancouver was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Sharks....
The Lightning apparently is talking to, and is perhaps close to signing, Rick Bowness as an assistant coach.
Tampa Bay has been in the market for an assistant since last month when it announced Dan Lacroix, who handled the defense and penalty kill, would not be given a new contract.
Bowness, 58, has been either an NHL head coach or assistant for 24 years. He was recently fired after seven years as an assistant with the Canucks, which also fired head coach Alain Vigneault in a housecleaning after Vancouver this season was swept out of the first round of the playoffs....
06/01/13 Lightning Strikes
Mattias Ohlund, because of a serious knee injury, has not played a regular-season minute for the Lightning the past two seasons but still has collected $10.5 million in salary.
Worse for the Lightning, it is possible the defenseman will collect the $6.75 million he is owed in the final three years of his contract even though, as he admitted, "My chances of playing again are very minor."...
The agent for Russian draft prospect Valeri Nichushkin said his client is serious about playing in North America, and NHL teams should not wonder about his commitment to the league.
"This is not a charade," Mark Gandler said. "This is serious business."
Gandler confirmed his client's two-year contract with Moscow Dynamo of Europe's Kontinental Hockey League has been terminated. But Gandler also said Dynamo allowed the move with the condition that if Nichushkin does not make an NHL roster next season he can be assigned back to Dynamo. The NHL team would have the ability to call the player back....
05/29/13 Lightning Strikes
If the Lightning, as believed, has interest in taking Valeri Nichushkin with the No. 3 overall pick in the NHL draft on June 30, a major hurdle might have been eliminated.
Nichushkin told rsport.ru, a website covering sports in Russia, his two-year deal with Dynamo Moscow of Europe's Kontinental Hockey League has been terminated — no details were provided — and he wants to play next season in North America. ...