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Written by Dani Toth | 05 March 2012

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Breaking news via TSN, Hockey Canada has accounced that Steve Yzerman will return as the Executive Director for the men's Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. This will be his second straight Olympics as the Executive Director having won gold in Vancouver in 2010.

He'll be assisted by Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong and Hockey Canada staffers Bob Nicholson and Brad Pascall.

It is not confirmed yet whether the NHL will participate in the Sochi 2014 Olympics. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 05 March 2012

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Every year when it comes closer to awards season, major movie studios, TV networks or even the stars themselves take out ads in entertainment trade publications (and their websites) such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter or Deadline, to sway the voting groups like Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (for the Academy Awards) or the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (for the Emmys) to vote for their work or cast. See this one that Melissa Leo took out for her campaign for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter last year or this website that Showtime puts together for the voting groups to watch their programming in streaming video online. If you have no idea how much campaigning (and money spent on it) goes on to win an Oscar or Emmy, it really is fascinating stuff.

With so little talk about Stamkos' body of work this season on a team with so many problems with their defense and goaltending, if the Lightning make the playoffs, Stamkos may need a 'for your consideration' ad for the Hart trophy. Now I acknowledge that Evgeni Malkin may this category locked up and if he doesn't, Henrik Lundqvist is a strong candidate for it, but if the Lightning make the playoffs shouldn't Stamkos be considered?

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Let's start off with his numbers: As of Sunday night, Steven Stamkos has played 65 games so far this season. In those 65 games he has 47 goals and 80 points which puts him at 1st in the league in both categories. Evgeni Malkin is currently tied with him in points but Stamkos is 9 goals of Malkin in goals scored.

Out of his 47 goals, Stamkos has had 10 game winning goals for first in the league in the category and has a shooting percentage of 20.4%. Although we had a killer powerplay last year, this year the Lightning have been struggling to put together a consistently effective powerplay. So this season powerplay goals aren't padding his goal totals as of the 47 goals scored, only 9 come on the powerplay. If you compare that to last season, of the 45 goals scored, 17 came on the powerplay.

Basically, the numbers mean that he's been playing another great season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and if the Lightning make the playoffs it will be in large part because he dragged this team into 8th spot with his game winning goals.

Although he leads the league in both goals scored and points acrued, all this goes largely unnoticed because the Lightning have been bumbling about the bottom of the Conference. The problems we've had with out defence and our goaltending has overshadowed his accomplishment in scoring to keep this team in the playoff race.

The only article I've read that has written about his consideration for the Hart was by Dan Rosen of NHL.com that was published last week. Like an indie film's chances of an Oscar without a big studio backing it up, it may also have something to do with us being in a smaller market that doesn't get as much regional press as say teams in Pittsburgh, Philly, Montreal or Toronto may have. In Tampa we may appreciated his consistency and laud his scoring achievement but if we lived in a bigger market with more press, we'd be reminded of this achievement every single day, multiple times a day (trust me on this as I live in Vancouver where they do this all the time).

Though it is technically allowed for a player on a non-playoff team to win the Hart, in recent NHL history, you don't ever see a player winning or even getting Hart consideration if his team misses the playoffs; but as the Lightning get closer to the playoffs, there's a case to be made for Stamkos.

With the Lightning now sitting just 2 points out from 8th spot in the East, this late season charge has been led by Stamkos and this hodge-podge of a team digging deep and just getting it done night after night. Since Dominic Moore was traded to the Sharks before the game against San Jose in Tampa, the Lightning have gone 7-2-0.  Perhaps the exit of players before the trade deadline indicating the Lightning being sellers alleviated the stress of the team and the shift to playing fun hockey has had an impact of their success of late. Whatever the reason, their success, coupled with the failures of Toronto, Montreal, Washington and Buffalo has led them to be able to hop into 10th in the East.

So as we head into the final 17 games of the season, consider Steven Stamkos.
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Written by Dani Toth | 04 March 2012

Marc-Andre Bergeron has decided to have season ending surgery to fix his lower-back injury according to this article by Joe Smith on Lightning Strikes. He has been out 22 of the last 23 games with a bulging disk that is affecting his sciatic nerve. This is not the first time he's had to address this as he had a similar surgery in 2009 when he was with the Minnesota Wild.

No official announcement has been made by the team but Bergeron did tweet the following on Saturday:


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Written by Dani Toth | 02 March 2012

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Are we still in this?

We just passed Toronto and Buffalo with this win and are now 4 points out from the Jets who are in the 8th place....

Holy shit we're still in a playoff race.

Oh and the Leafs just fired their coach. And hired Randy Carlyle. Jesus. What a world we live in.

So the Lightning played well tonight. Actually they outplayed the shit out of the Rangers tonight.

lightning_march2_rangers.jpgStamkos scores his 45th of the season

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Recap after the jump...
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Written by Dani Toth | 02 March 2012



It's a thing of beauty no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 01 March 2012

The Lightning have signed Cory Conacher to a two-year, two-way contract today. If you haven't been keeping up with the Admirals, Conacher is the leading goal scorer for the team 30 goals and 64 points. 13 of his goals comes on the powerplay.

The signing was expected to occur but didn't occur till this late in the season because the Lightning didn't want to burn through the first year of his contract if he wasn't going to be called up this season (if I can remember correctly) as he had a 1 year deal with the Admirals.

Here is the press release from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Cory Conacher to a two-year, two-way contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Conacher, 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, has played in 57 games with the Norfolk Admirals this season, recording 30 goals, 13 power-play goals, 26 power-play points and 64 points. He leads the Admirals in goals, power-play goals, power-play points, points, and ranks second for assists with 34. Conacher is also tied for the AHL lead for PPGs, is second for goals and is tied for third in points. He was recently selected as a starter for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, where he had two goals and three points.

A native of Burlington, Ontario, Conacher has played in 64 career AHL games with Norfolk, the Milwaukee Admirals and the Rochester Americans, notching 34 goals and 70 points. He has played in seven career Calder Cup Playoff Games.

Conacher, an undrafted free agent, played four years at Canisus College prior to joining the professional ranks. He is the school’s all-time leader in goals with 62, game-winning goals with 12 and points with 147. He signed a one-year, AHL contract with the Admirals on July 5, 2011.

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Written by Dani Toth | 27 February 2012

My first reaction:

SY traded away on Carter Ashton?????

Ok, now that this day is over with, I've had some time to think and gather my thoughts on how the Lightning fared today. There were only three trades and they were all to acquire defencemen.

The trades:

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Conditional 7th round pick in 2013 to the Red Wings for D Mike Commodore

I think the trade for Commodore is just to help our defense finish off the year since Hedman is out with injury again. Commodore is a UFA this summer and I don't think Yzerman has an intention on giving Commodore a contract past this season.

No idea on what the condition on the 2013 pick is

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F Carter Ashton to the Leafs for D Keith Aulie

I can see why he traded for Keith Aulie, but really, in exchange for Carter Ashton? Egads. Ashton was our 2009 1st round pick that I heard was playing well in his first full season with Norfolk. Aulie came to Toronto from Calgary in the Dion Phaneuf trade and played for Guy Boucher in the world juniors in Ottawa. Aulie played 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, has played in 17 games with the Maple Leafs this season and 23 games with the Marlies.

The PPP says he was traded because Keith Aulie is "not being very good at defence". Awesome. But then again, our defence is not very good at defence. So in an effort to get better, with time and patience this trade could work out in the long run. As with Hedman, defencemen just need time to mature.

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D Matt Gilroy to the Senators for D Brian Lee

Gilroy's first season with the Lightning turns out to be a one year thing and this 2009 Hobey Baker winner is on his way to another team in exchange for the younger, Brian Lee. He's an RFA this season, 24 and making $875,000. He was not loved in Ottawa because he didn't live up to the expectations with the other players drafted near him in his draft class, which were Marc Staal or Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal or Anzer Kopitar he is not. But with our low expectations and jobs aplenty in Tampa, Lee might stand a chance here.


So there you have it. Three more trades to add to the departure of Moore, Kubina and Downie for draft picks.

Today it felt like the Lightning changed up their defence but not for players that make me feel like we improved our defence at all. I feel kind of empty from today's trades and want to ask how this makes our defence better? Aulie and Lee have potential but there's still lots of work to do to improve our defence.
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