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Written by Dani Toth | 17 June 2010

We already knew that the Lightning would play a pre-season game against the Blackhawks in Winnipeg, but today the Lightning announced the full 2010 pre-season schedule. For my complete thoughts and the schedule, check out my post over at Raw Charge

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Written by Dani Toth | 16 June 2010

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Coming into the last year of St. Louis' contract, Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times reports that Yzerman is making a contract extention for diminuitive forward "a priority".

"I actually had a chance to speak to his agent, and we'll start the discussion and go from there," Yzerman said. "(St. Louis is) a first-class guy, and he deserves to be treated with the utmost respect, and I'll do that. Where it ends up, we'll see, but it definitely is a priority for me."

He is in the last year of his contract that pay $4 million with a cap hit of $5.25 million. As I've said previously, the biggest thing that Yzerman will have to think about in giving him a contract extension will be that St. Louis will be over 35 when he signs even if he doesn't play out the end of the contract the cap hit will still count.

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Written by Dani Toth | 16 June 2010

The Lightning announced today that they have made qualifying offers to 10 players. Only three players did not receive offers: RW Chris Lawrence, LW Radek Smolenak and RW Lauri Tukonen.

The 10 players that receive an offer were:

  1. Steve Downie RW
  2. Blair Jones C
  3. Martins Karsums RW
  4. Mike Lundin D
  5. Vladimir Mihalik D
  6. Teddy Purcell RW
  7. Paul Ranger D
  8. Juraj Simek LW
  9. Paul Szczechura C
  10. Nate Thompson C

So it was expecte.....saaaaay what? Paul Ranger?

Does he even play hockey these days? Errrr maybe a better question: is he even alive?

That was my initial thought, but then after about two minutes of making fun of a guy that mysteriously dissappears from his NHL team for "private reasons" then shows up at the end of the season for a few days in Tampa for "tax information reasons", I thought this through.

Since he is a good player, there is no reason the Lightning don't give him a qualifying offer. If he doesn't want to play hockey at all, then he can advise the Lightning and no big loss to them since it doesn't affect them at the cap. If he does want to play, well great, or if he wants to play in some other city that goes the offer sheet route, well then the Lighting at least get a draft pick for compensation. Might as well get something for him instead of just letting him to re-sign elsewhere.

Whatever the case, I hope that qualifying offer was ridiculously low.

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Written by Dani Toth | 14 June 2010

After the hire of Boucher, not a whole lot going on until the draft happens on June 25th. Until then, I'll write on things as they pop into my head or if there is any news of interest that breaks.

On Friday, the St. Petersburg Times had one of their better end of week/weekend articles written by John Romano (as compared to the sometimes repeated articles that seem to be produced by some writers). It didn't have anything breaking but was an article that gave little glimpses into what our coach, Guy Boucher and our GM, Steve Yzerman is like.

They ate in the middle of the restaurant. No back room. No hidden booth.

On a crowded Sunday night in late May, they talked hockey at a place called the Keg, an upscale steak house in the Toronto suburb of Burlington. Sitting right there in front of God and everyone. Waving to customers. Signing autographs. Shaking hands.

Just Steve Yzerman. And some other guy.

The article is worth the read, if not for showing how calculated Stevie Y is, or for giving a little insight into Boucher's adaptability, then for their excellent headline: Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman gambles confidently with coach pick

 

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Written by Dani Toth | 08 June 2010

Verbeek hired as pro scout

As per TBO, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that it has added Pat Verbeek to its pro scouting staff. This is the first "official hire" that Steve Yzerman has made. Verbeek spent the previous four season in Detroit as an AHL and NHL coach for the Red Wings. He also garnered the nickname "Little Ball of Hate" during his career, during which he played two seasons with Yzerman in Detroit.

Elliotte Friedman on Boucher

In Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts this week, he gives a little insight as to why Boucher will accept the Lightning coaching position and turned it down in Columbus.

Why did Boucher choose the Lightning? Hint: it's not just the sun and sand.

Without actually hearing from the man (I finished this early Tuesday morning), word is the biggest reason was time. As in, he's got more of it in Tampa.

When Steve Yzerman took over, he preached patience. "It's going to take some time" was his mantra, repeating it often and to everyone. It's the right path for that organization, attempting to recover from Brian Lawton's Reign of Error. Clearly, Jeff Vinik understands Yzerman's path is the right one.

For more about Guy Boucher, check out the St. Petersburg Times or the Columbus Dispatch's articles on him.

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Written by Dani Toth | 07 June 2010

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As per TSN tonight, Guy Boucher has accepted the job as head coach of the Lightning.

Earlier today, Boucher turned down an offer from CBJ over the weekend after having spent the weekend thinking about it. After only one year as head coach for the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate) he had a 52-17-11 record. He will become the youngest HC in the NHL next year at the age of 38. As per Bob McKenzie's twitter, the deal is believed to be for four years.

As per Rue Frontenac, he will be joined by two of his assistants from Hamilton: Martin Raymond et Daniel Lacroix (see Raw Charge for a translation of the article if you need it).

If you think about the Lightning team as compared to CBJ, if Boucher also had the Lightning offer on the table at the same time, based on team roster alone, you can see why he would prefer a team like the Lightning with young guys like Stamkos and Hedman over CBJ. I was expecting the hire to be either Dineen, Boucher or Arniel, so it's not surprising that he has been hired. I don't know enough about him to comment on if I think he will be a good coach or not, but I can say with confidence that nothing can be as bad as what we've just had these past two years.

A formal announcement by the Lightning is expected to be made in the next day or two by the organization.

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Written by Dani Toth | 03 June 2010

Just some quick things:

  • As per the Detroit Free Press, Ryan Martin (Detroit's capologist) is not taking part in Detroit's meetings anymore indicating that he will no longer be a part of the Wings. No official announcement yet by the Lightning, but I'm sure it will come soon.

In addition to getting Ryan Martin, Steve Yzerman would like to hire Detroit pro scout Pat Verbeek for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I'll have updates up later if any of these get announced.

Update: Saturday 3pm ET

Cristodero reported yesterday that reports out of Detroit is that the Lightning have hired Pat Verbeek but no official confirmation by the Lightning team yet

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