They unveiled a statue of Dave Andreychuk just outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum the other day. Maybe one day, they’ll roll out the red carpet at the Hockey Hall of Fame for him.
If it were strictly about numbers, Andreychuk would be in the Hall already. He first became eligible in 2009 and has been overlooked five times now. And why is that?
The Toronto Maple Leafs playoff hopes are hanging by a thread. That prompted Toronto Sun columnists to speculate about the club’s off-season roster moves.
Terry Koshan notes center Dave Bolland reportedly sought a seven-or eight-year deal worth upward of $40 million before contract talks broke off in February. Given that the Leafs inked David Clarkson to a seven-year deal worth an annual cap hit of $5.25 million last summer, Bolland could seek a similar deal.
If Bolland becomes a free agent in July, Koshan claims there’s talk the Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers will pursue the 30-year-old center. Koshan’s colleague Steve Simmons believes the Leafs should re-sign Bolland even at the risk of overpaying him.
Koshan also reports defenseman Cody Franson could be shopped this summer. Simmons, meanwhile, thinks there will be a lot of interest in former Leafs winger Leo Komarov, who signed with the Kontinental League’s Moscow Dynamo last summer. The Leafs could try to bring him back, but Simmons claims the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning could be among those pursuing the 27-year-old in this summer’s free agent market.
A little over a week before the 2014 playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning honored their past by unveiling a 9-foot statue of their 2004 Stanley Cup-winning captain, Dave Andreychuk.
The bronze statue depicts the battle-worn Andreychuk hoisting the Cup high over his head after leading the Lightning to their first-ever championship.
Andreychuk and his family joined Lightning owner Jeff Vinik to unveil the statue before the Bolts’ game against Dallas on Saturday.
“This is a proud day for me and my family,” said Andreychuk in a press release.
Andreychuk – now 50 – played for six teams over 22 seasons without winning a Cup until he captained the Bolts to their seven-game victory over the Calgary Flames in 2004.
Over the course of his 23 seasons, he played 1,639 NHL games and tallied 640 goals and 1,338 points.
The 600-pound statue of Andreychuk is the second to go up outside Tampa Bay Times Forum, joining a depiction of Lightning founder and former NHL great Phil Esposito.
The Hamilton, Ontario-born Andreychuk now serves as vice president of corporate and community affairs for the Lightning organization.
With only a week and change left in the regular season, it’s crunch time for those players with their eyes on individual trophies. In the goaltending department, Boston’s Tuukka Rask managed to usurp Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop over the past month, but can he hang on for the final stretch? Here’s our ranking of the contenders.
1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
With seven shutouts, Rask is the NHL leader in blankings and when you couple that with 34 wins, a 2.04 goals-against average and .930 save percentage, it goes without saying that he owns the pole position when it comes to the Vezina.
Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop is having himself a career season. Some say a Vezina-worthy season, though Boston’s Tuukka Rask may stand in his way. Nonetheless, the lanky American did himself in last night against the Flames with not one, but two giveaways that led directly to Calgary goals.
That’s ugly, Ben. And while the Bolts are in a secure enough playoff position that the eventual 4-1 loss to Calgary isn’t a big deal, Bishop’s miscues once again point out why the trapezoid is dumb.
What a buzzy night for the NHL. We saw Sidney Crosby’s 100th point, a warm, fuzzy game-winning goal by David Clarkson to keep Toronto’s playoff hopes alive, a surprisingly competitive game between the Sabres and Devils…and oh, boy, the Canadiens and Lightning.
The story should be the continuously inspired play of Tampa’s Ryan Callahan and Tyler Johnson, or Carey Price’s spectacular effort in defeat. Unfortunately, hulking Habs blueliner Douglas Murray did this to Bolts defenseman Michael Kosta:
Eek. Hard to defend this one, and I won’t. Murray takes a good look at Kostka, leaves his feet (better angles around the 1:10 mark), and extends his elbow into Kostka’s chin. Murray was assessed a match penalty for the hit and Tampa Bay scored on the ensuing power play to put the game out of reach. Though Kostka spurned the stretcher, got up and left the ice under his own power afterwards, he will undoubtedly receive concussion tests.
Many coined Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick as the “Big 3” when it comes to goaltending last summer. After all, in fantasy hockey the goaltender is the most difficult position to project, so it’s good to know there are at least three you can rely on every year to post good numbers. Do everything you can to acquire one of those three, because then you won’t have to worry about that roster spot.
Or so the theory goes.
That theory sure went out the window quickly. Rinne and Quick missed almost the entire first half, while Lundqvist probably wishes he did. This is one season in recent memory where depth goaltenders and quick thinking on the waiver wire with backup netminders saved the season for many poolies.
Let’s take a look at the biggest questions fantasy owners have about that area between the pipes for 2014-15.
Less than a year after the Toronto Maple Leafs signed winger David Clarkson to a seven-year, $36.75-million contract, there’s speculation they could buy him out.
Sportsnet’s Greg Brady recently reported via Twitter that colleague Doug MacLean said there will be “serious discussions” by Leafs management to consider buying out the remainder of Clarkson’s contract this summer to free up cap space.
At the time of the signing, some in the Toronto media compared Clarkson to his idol, former Leafs captain Wendel Clark. Others, however, were critical of the Leafs paying so much to a player who only exceeded the 20-goal mark once in his NHL career.
To call Clarkson’s first season with the Leafs disappointing is an understatement. It began with a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during a pre-season game to join an on-ice altercation. Clarkson also received a two-game suspension in December for an illegal check to the head of St. Louis Blues center Vladimir Sobotka. Foot, elbow and leg injuries sidelined the Leafs’ forward an additional 10 games. He’s now on pace for a career-worst 11-point season. Read more