Category: NHL

NHL: After Leaving New York, Dan Girardi Seeks to Prove He Can Still Contribute in Tampa

Last season, NHL Defenseman Dan Girardi was at a crossroads in his career. After an 11-year career with the New York Rangers, Girardi was being “bought out” by the team. Girardi knew he still had a lot left in the tank, so he signed a 2-year, $6 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Of course, for the Rangers it was strictly a business decision. Injuries and the speed of the game have taken their toll on Girardi, per Yahoo Sports Tampa Bay.

Even though Girardi believes he did not leave New York on the best terms, he is a man on a mission. He is seeking to prove that even though his ice time has decreased significantly from 2012 on he can still be competitive for his new term. Even though he only received 26 minutes per game in 2011 and then had that number drop to 25:24, 23:07, 22:41, 20:19 and then 19:06, the Lightning believe that with the right young players around him Girardi can still be an asset to his new team.

Simply put, Girardi is hungry. He has recuperated well from his injuries and continues to train each and every day for his new role with the Lightning. He is on record for saying that he feels “100% great.” Ask Girardi, and he will tell you that there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to staying with one team for a long period. Unfortunately, the trap one can fall in is getting into “cruise control” and getting used to things the way they are.

Now that Girardi has something to prove, we can expect that his productivity numbers will go up, not down. Tampa Bay Lightning fans can definitely look forward to some productive play from Girardi. It is truly the Ranger’s loss.

The Tampa Bay Lightning Sign Dan Girardi

The Lightning just signed defenseman and NHL veteran Dan Girardi to play for them. The contract is $6 million for two years.

Prior to that, he played 63 games for the New York Rangers, an average of 20 minutes per game. He scored four goals and gets credit for 11 assists. This level of performance did not match the goals of his contract with the Rangers, so they bought him out.

The Lightning still need depth in their blue line. They still have only five NHL defensemen. Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman will continue to play the biggest roles for the Lightning. Ryan Callahan and Anton Stralman are former Rangers teammates of his.

Girardi’s seven-year-old son Landon was happy at the change because he wanted Steven Stamkos’s autograph. Fortunately, Stamkos texted Girardi a big welcome to the team, and told Girardi to let him know if Stamkos could do anything for him. He probably was not expecting a request for his autograph.

Giradi is 6 feet, 1 inches tall and weighs 212 pounds. At the age of 33, he has played in 788 regular season games and 122 playoff games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning also signed Chris Kunitz as forward. Kunitz has earned four Stanley Cup rings. He won two playing with Pittsburgh in the past two years.

The Lightning general manager Steve Izerman said that signing Kunitz and Girardi would make their defense stronger than it was last season. It would bring an element of abrasiveness. That would make them harder to play against.

Girardi said he is a team-first type of guy. He doesn’t look for fights, but he sticks up for his teammates. He plays hard and finishes checks. He says he does not like playing against Kunitz. This implies he will enjoy playing on the same team on Kunitz. Kunitz is a tough player who goes straight up against the opponents and scores goals.

Time To Rebuild for Lightning:

Two years ago they lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Chicago Blackhawks. Last season, they were one win away from a second straight trip to the Cup Finals. All indications were the Tampa Bay Lightning were on the cusp of becoming one of the NHL’s elite teams.

 

That’s not the case in 2016-2017. The Bolts are 29-25-8 with 66 points and lingering in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. With playoffs seemingly out of reach, Tampa Bay spent the days leading up to the March 1st trade deadline unloading some of its top players and preparing for rebuild mode.

 

First to go was Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay’s mainstay in goal since 2013-2014. He was sent to the Los Angeles Kings, along with a seventh round draft pick, for goalie Peter Budaj (27-20 this season), defenseman Erik Cernak, and two draft picks. Your text to link… A day later, on February 27th, veteran center Brian Boyle was shipped off to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Byron Froese, who had 24 goals and 15 assists in 48 games this season for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, and a draft pick.

 

Deadline day brought the third and final big trade for the Lightning as they eye their future. Valtteri Filppula, who has turned into more of an assist man than a goal scorer over the past three seasons, was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, along with two draft picks, for defenseman Mark Streit, who was immediately sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2018 fourth round draft pick.

 

In losing three prominent players from its roster, the Lightning gained a quality goaltender and four draft picks, five when counting their January 27th deal with Montreal that included defenseman Jonathan Racine, and two prospects in Froese and Cernak. Should the infusion of youth work out, they’ll be added to a roster that already has solid goal scorers like Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. Once Steven Stamkos is healed up and back on the ice, look for Tampa Bay to be back in the Stanley Cup mix.

 

Alan Thicke’s role in the birth of the Tampa Bay Lightning

It was a shock to everyone when Alan Thicke died at age 69 right after enjoying a hockey game with his son, Carter, age 19.

 

Alan is remembered for playing the dad on the sitcom “Growing Pains“. He also hosted “Thicke of the Night,” a late-night talk show and was a very talented song writer writing the themes for “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life.”

 

In Tampa, Florida, Alan is also remembered by fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team because he was the on-ice pre-game host and the master of ceremonies for the inaugural game of the Lightning at Expo Hall against the Blackhawks on October 7, 1992. He also helped to promote the 1999 All-Star Game in Tampa.

 

With his life-long love of hockey and being an enthusiastic hockey fan, in addition to being a close friend of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Alan had become friends with Lightning founder Phil Esposito when Esposito was a Rangers player. Thicke wrote the cult-classic song “Hockey Sock Rock” that Esposito sang and which was turned into a charity video. From that friendship came Alan‘s invitation to that first Lightning game.

 

It was hoped that the Tampa Bay Lightning found what was needed to pull themselves out of their recent rut with their recent 6-3 victory over the Calgary Flames, when the Flames were considered to be the best Western team as December progressed and up in the standings to be in a playoff spot. However, the Lightning fell 4-2 to the Vancouver Canucks in the season finale on December 17.

 

Back in September 2015, the Tampa Bay Lightning along with the National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced that they were investing over $6 million over the coming five years in an extensive program, Build the Thunder. The mission is to grow the game of hockey and its fans and teach life skills lessons by players and alumni as role models and teachers to approximately 100,000 local young people who will learn critical educational and life skills.

 

Ex-Islander Halmo Joins Lightning Organization:

The Tampa Bay Lightning may have added depth to its future corps of forward with the signing Mike Halmo. The 25-year-old from Kitchener, Ontario spent last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League, where he garnered 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points. He also collected 117 penalty minutes. Upon his signing, Halmo tweeted, “Excited to be joining the @TBLightning organization. Letssss goooooooooo.”

Halmo spent four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, a major junior league in Canada, playing for the Owen Sound Attack. During that time, he recorded 76 goals and 89 assists. His best season came in 2011-2012 when he had 40 goals and 45 assists for 85 points. Despite those numbers, Halmo was not drafted.

His hard work paid off in 2012 when he was signed by the New York Islanders as a free agent. After putting up 18 goals and 20 assists for Bridgeport in 2013-2014, he was called up to the Islanders for the remainder of their season. Halmo’s offense did not carrying over to the NHL as he had just one goal in 20 games. Your text to link…

Though not the biggest guy on the ice at 5’11, 195 pounds, the scouting report by The Hockey News calls Halmo a “feisty competitor” and a rugged, energetic winger. He could help bolster the Lightning’s fourth line in the near future.

Steven Stamkos Expected to Remain with Tampa Bay Lightning

Sports Interaction has recently reported that it is very likely that Steven Stamkos will choose to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This is a hot topic of discussion right now in light of the free agency period that will begin on July 1, 2016. The 26-year old star has been intensely recruited by other teams in the league. With a record of 312 goals and 562 points in regular season games, Stamkos has been an incredible asset to Tampa so far. He has also been named to four NHL All-Star Games since 2011 and was the NHL’s leading goal-scorer in 2010 and 2012.

One thing that has made Tampa a bit nervous about keeping Stamkos is the salary cap, which prevents the team from making a more enticing offer to Stamkos. Right now, he has a $8.5 million per season deal, which started in January of this year and is set to last for eight years. There is some margin for another team to make a more competitive offer than Tampa is able to, which Tampa’s General Manager Steve Yzerman is now watching closely.

Odds makers predict that Detroit, Toronto and Buffalo all have decent odds at picking up Stamkos, although the consensus is that Stamkos will likely stick with Tampa at this point. The other teams that are considered top contenders right now are Boston, Montreal and Vancouver. The other free agents that are generating serious speculations about competitive offers are David Backes, Kyle Okposo and Milan Lucic.

The Captain Returns! Stamkos Stays with Lightning

After a tense period that seemed like an eternity for Tampa Bay Lightning fans, the wait is over. The captain will be back.

Steven Stamkos, star and captain of the Lightning, signed an eight-year contract worth $68 million to stay with his team.

Stamkos had visited several teams, including the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs, gauging interest before he became a free agent on July 1. But the captain ultimately decided to return to the team that drafted him, disappointing the many suitors lining up for one of the biggest potential free agents in NHL history.

The captain was drafted No. 1 overall by the Lightning in 2009 and has excelled since then. His average of 0.55 goals per game in his exceptional career have helped him win two goal-scoring titles. At just 26 and a proven goal-scorer, Stamkos commanded much attention as a young star in his prime.

By staying in Tampa, Stamkos remains the face of the franchise that made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and within one game of returning this season. The Lightning were able to offer recent playoff success along with an eight-year contract, as opposed to the seven years other teams could offer.

Stamkos took to Twitter to announce that he was “excited to be back for 8 more years.”

“Most importantly, I look forward to working with my teammates, coaches and our management in our goal of winning a Stanley Cup,” he said in a statement.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning Still Apart in Contract Talks as Free Agency Approaches

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and his current employers, the Tampa Bay Lightning are reportedly still not close in contract negotiations. Stamkos, 26, has appeared in 569 games for the team that drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He has twice won the “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the leagues leading goal scorer in his time in Tampa. The Lightning have been trying their best to sign the five time all-star,but there is an important deadline coming up that could potentially stand in their way.

On June 25, unrestricted free agents like Stamkos can listen to offers from teams other than the ones that hold their negotiating rights. This could throw a real wrench in the works of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have been reported to have offered Stamkos a contract worth $84 Million that would average about $8.5 Million per year. it is believed, however, that Stamkos could make sense for a lot of teams to sign. USA Today made out a list of the six teams that would make the most sense for him to end up on. Though, it is believed that the Detroit Red Wings are the most probable location for Stamkos to end up, that is, if he doesn’t already re-sign with Tampa Bay. Stamkos has already voiced that he wants to stay in Tampa because of “unfinished business”.

Still only speculation at this point, but for Lightning fans, the suspense won’t end until their captain is back in Tampa for the forseeable future.