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Does Martin St. Louis really want a trade out of Tampa Bay?

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Though Martin St. Louis (26) ultimately made it to Sochi, he has not forgotten the initial snub from Team Canada. (Christian Charisius/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Martin St. Louis (26) was left off the initial Canadian Olympic roster. (Christian Charisius/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

By Allan Muir

So the media in Tampa had a chance to speak with Martin St. Louis after practice on Wednesday morning. They had plenty to talk about: His Olympic success, the stretch run for the Lightning.

Oh, and those rumors.

You know, the ones that suggested that St. Louis had been so insulted when Steve Yzerman, then the GM for both Team Canada and Tampa Bay, initially snubbed him for Sochi that he demanded a trade? Well, the Bolts winger could have put them sweetly to rest. Instead, this is what he had to say:

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  • Published On Feb 26, 2014
  • Steve Yzerman steps down as GM after Team Canada wins gold

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    Steve Yzerman and Mike Babcock

    Steve Yzerman assembled the first men’s team to win repeat Olympic gold medals since 1998. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    If you gotta go, go out on top.

    With his Canadian Olympic team basking in a golden glow, executive director Steve Yzerman announced today that he’s turning over the keys to the country’s most prestigious, and most second-guessed, job, effective immediately.

    “It’s time to let someone else have a shot at it,” he told the media in Sochi.

    Yzerman assembled one of the greatest lineups ever to wear the Maple Leaf for these Olympics, and certainly the best ever defensive side. Canada gave up just three goals in six games while proving they could succeed on the big ice surface.

    The timing might have been a surprise, but the decision wasn’t. After twice building an Olympic gold-medal winning team, it makes sense for Yzerman to devote himself full-time to his day job running the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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  • Published On Feb 23, 2014
  • Team Canada scouting Maple Leafs, Ducks; Jonathan Bernier their target?

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    By Allan Muir

    Scouts show up in press boxes every night around the NHL, and while guessing why they’re there is a time-honored tradition, it’s hardly news.

    Unless, of course, those scouts are from Team Canada. And they show up in the Center of the Hockey Universe.

    With both Steve Yzerman and Peter Chiarelli set to be at the Air Canada Centre for tonight’s Toronto vs. Anaheim tilt, it’s fair to speculate on who they came to see.

    The Ducks boast two players who will be in the Sochi mix: forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

    Getzlaf might be in tough because of Canada’s embarrassment of riches at center, but he
    has 18 goals in 58 points in his last 52 games and brings an imposing presence to the position. Perry is a natural winger and a pure sniper, a quality Yzerman has said he’ll prioritize after Canada’s offense failed to click in Torino.

    The two obviously have great chemistry, something that might enhance their value as a two-fer given the lack of practice time before the Winter Games. Slide someone like Taylor Hall on their left flank and you’d have a quick, dangerous, physically imposing third line that would cause the opposition fits.

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  • Published On Oct 22, 2013
  • Steve Yzerman’s 10 Team Canada locks: Who are they?

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    Sidney Crosby at the Vancouver Olympics

    Golden boy Sidney Crosby looks like a pretty safe bet to get a roster spot. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    On Sunday,  47 players will gather in Calgary for Team Canada’s Olympic orientation camp with 25 tickets to Sochi up for grabs — though none of those tickets will actually be won during the four days of meetings. (The players won’t even take the ice because of prohibitive insurance costs.) Officially, the competition is wide open. Unofficially, some spots are loudly spoken for.

    “There are probably, conservatively, maybe 10 locks,” said Steve Yzerman, executive director of Team Canada. “We’re taking 25 players. Ten may be a conservative number, sure, but half of this team is available for guys to make. At least half.”

    MUIR: Breaking down Team Canada’s invite list

    Those are welcome words for the kids who have something to prove, including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and P.K. Subban, and for the veterans, such as Martin St. Louis, who hope to show that they still have enough left in the tank to contribute to another gold-medal run. And it may be even better news for such players as Jason Spezza, Joffrey Lupul and others who didn’t earn an invite to camp, but who nevertheless hope to catch Yzerman’s eye with a hot start when the NHL season opens, just as Patrice Bergeron did back in 2009.

    So who are the 10 locks? Here’s our best guess:

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  • Published On Aug 23, 2013
  • Ben Bishop contract just the first step for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman

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    ben-bishop

    New Lightning goalie Ben Bishop has sometimes been hung out to dry by Tampa Bay’s lackluster defending. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It was a nice bit of work by Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman to outbid the competition and add Ben Bishop from Ottawa at the trade deadline. And it was an even neater trick to extend the netminder yesterday with a two-year, $4.6 million deal. That’s a reasonable cap hit for an emerging No. 1 (right around what Corey Crawford and Jimmy Howard currently make), and the short term gives Bishop time to prove himself in the role while allowing Yzerman to beat a fairly hasty retreat if he doesn’t.

    Now that he’s committed to two promising but inexperienced goaltenders in Bishop and last summer’s prize acquisition, Anders Lindback, it’s time to get serious about the real problem in Tampa.

    Remember Bishop’s flashy debut for the Lightning? The key takeaway from that scintillating performance wasn’t that he recorded a shutout in a 5-0 thrashing of the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s that he faced down a career-high 45 shots in the process.

    And that tells you exactly where Yzerman’s full attention should be focused this summer.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2013
  • Was Lidstrom the MVP of his era?

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    By Stu Hackel

    Of the many things that Nick Lidstrom said Thursday morning while announcing the end of his remarkable playing career (video), it was perhaps the last one in his prepared remarks that spoke the loudest: “Retiring today,” he said, “allows me to walk away from the game with pride rather than have the game walk away from me.”

    This is a player who for much of last season was considered the best defenseman in the NHL, and if he returned next season, he’d still be one of the best players. But after being slowed by injuries and unable to raise his level of play in this year’s postseason, Lidstrom has his own standard of excellence to uphold. He knows he’s lost the inner drive to train as hard as he must this offseason in order to bounce back and reach that level of greatness again. He won’t cheat himself, he won’t cheat his teammates and he won’t cheat the fans if he can’t play with the same determined excellence that made him, without question, the best defenseman of his era.

    That’s not just me making that evaluation of Lidstrom’s talent and legacy, that’s the opinion of Scotty Bowman.

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  • Published On May 31, 2012
  • Smith is Coyotes’ saving grace

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    Mike Smith has given Coyotes fans something to cheer about down to the regular season’s final days. (Chris Pondy/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    Most of the stories that the world outside of Arizona has read about the Phoenix Coyotes during the past few years have been about the viability of the franchise in Glendale, a location that was doomed from the start. It’s a sad tale about an orphaned hockey club, and it’s been made even sadder by the fact that the franchise’s tenuous situation has obscured what the team has done on the ice.

    That was, to some extent, the reasoning that motivated the NHL Broadcasters Association to select Coyotes coach Dave Tippett as the winner of the 2010 Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year, a deserved honor considering how he kept his players focused and competitive amidst the constant distraction and uncertainty of the club’s off-ice business. For that, Tippett deserves the award every year.

    Tippett has done another good job this season, and the Coyotes — who look more in danger of departing Arizona than ever — clinched a playoff berth Thursday when the Dallas Stars dropped their game in Nashville.  The coach is not the only reason the Coyotes once again found their way to the postseason. GM Don Maloney has done great work with a limited budget. Ray Whitney, who is a mere 39 years old (he’ll be 40 in a month), has had a truly remarkable campaign, his 51 assists ranking sixth in the league. His 75 points rank 14th in the scoring race.

    But even Whitney’s fine play can’t overshadow what Mike Smith has done in goal.

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  • Published On Apr 05, 2012
  • Red Wings’ streak only guarantees a place in record book

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    The 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens of Ken Dryden rattled off an NHL record 34-game home unbeaten streak, but most importantly also grabbed the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Melchior DiGiacomo/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Detroit’s mark of 21 consecutive victories at home has stirred up the beehive of naysayers who, not without at least some justification, believe an asterisk should accompany the Red Wings’ new entry into the NHL Record Book. But no one should lose sight of the bigger picture here and confuse what the Wings have done as an indication that they are so formidable that winning the Stanley Cup is their inevitable fate. Far from it.

    The Red Wings certainly know this and that while their home record is pretty amazing, their road mark is rather mediocre at 15-15-1. They’re hardly invincible. And when you look at all the teams that have put together record streaks of one sort or another during the regular season, almost none of them won the Cup.

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  • Published On Feb 15, 2012
  • Coaches at work: Flames friction, rematch in Buffalo, Bylsmaspeak and more

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    Philosophical differences between coach Brent Sutter and captain Jarome Iginla do not bode well for the Flames. (Colleen De Neve/ZUMAPRESS.com)

    By Stu Hackel

    Coaches are hired to be fired, as the saying goes. But what happens in between cements the perception we have of the guys who stand behind the bench in the NHL, the ones who prepare their teams in long hours of meetings and video study. It’s a hard job, especially when fans, the media and even the players believe they know better than the coach what a team should be doing.

    That seems to be the situation in which Flames coach Brent Sutter finds himself vis a vis his captain Jarome Iginla. Sutter believes his team won’t be the consistent force it can be unless everyone buys into his scheme, and that Calgary will continue to play as a bunch of individuals and not realize the potential of its collective talents. Specifically, he wants Iginla — the 15-year NHL veteran who has topped the 1,000 point plateau and is only 11 goals away from 500 — to concentrate on his defensive game.

    Right now, the 34-year-old Iginla is minus-12, with only five goals and four assists — not vintage Iggy.

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  • Published On Nov 23, 2011
  • NHL GMs address the 1-3-1

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    In one of the season’s most bizarre scenes, Braydon Coburn and other Flyers defensemen simply held the puck while waiting in vain for the Lightning to abandon their 1-3-1 trap. (Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP)

    By Stu Hackel

    One of the most anticipated topics discussed at the GMs meetings in Toronto on Tuesday was the fallout from the Flyers-Lightning game last week.  The managers declined to consider any new rules in response to the bizarre scenes  in which Philadelphia refused to advance the puck after Tampa Bay went into its 1-3-1 defense. No Lightning player pressured the puck and the closest Tampa Bay skater was back on the offensive blueline, but the Flyers refused to move. That could change if we see a re-run of that strangeness in the future.

    Most interesting were the remarks of Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who indicated that he was not comfortable with the passive way his team responded to the trap. “To me, it just didn’t sit right,” he said of the  ploy.
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  • Published On Nov 16, 2011


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