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Written by Dani Toth | 08 December 2011

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Enemy Blog: Head over to Scotty Hockey and The New York Rangers Blog for your opposition blog coverage

Record: Lightning (11-14-2) Rangers (15-6-3)

Previous games: Saturday Dec 3, 2011 - Rangers win 4-2

Game time: 7:00pm EST on SUN (HD)

Martin St. Louis took a puck to the eye

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCKKKKKK

Erlendsson has the goods what happened:

On Thursday during the team’s morning skate at Madison Square Garden, the team was working on a drill in the corner when an errant puck off a backhand from Dominic Moore struck St. Louis near his left eye. St. Louis immediately dropped to the ice with blood pouring out the area above his eye. He needed help getting off the ice and at one point stumbled on his way back to the bench area.

After being looked at by team medical trainers, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said St. Louis was taken to NYU Medical Center for further evaluation.

This was supposed to be St. Louis' 500th game. He's got one of the longest active streaks in the NHL. What brutal news

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Written by Dani Toth | 06 December 2011

So it's official, next season we're changing up the schedule, the division (no more), the conferences and the playoffs. This post is similar to what I wrote on Benched Whale a little bit earlier, but with a focus on the Lightning.

So if you have been ignoring all the re-alignment talk, here is the breakdown:

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And here is what those conference look like visually (map by my friend Cassie @dagmar27):
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The key points:
1. Instead of divisions and conferences, now we get 4 conferences. The conferences don't have names yet but we can refer to them based on geography for now) There are two 7 team conferences (Northeast and Atlantic) and two 8 team conferences (the Pacific and Central)
2. You will play a home and home game against every team not in your division, so that means you'll see every team at the Forum at least once per season. Gone are the every odd year schedule to see Thornton, Kesler, Doughty, Kopitar, Toews and Nugent-Hopkins in Tampa
3. The rest of the games will be against teams in your own conference. In the conference with 7 teams, we'll play six games against each team in their conference. In our conference of 8 teams, they'll alternate playing some of the teams six times and year and some of the teams five times a year.

In the playoffs*:
1. The top 4 teams of each conference makes it into the playoffs. You will then play against your own division for the first two rounds, so to win, you'll have to play your way out of the conference
2. After winning the conference, the top 4 teams will be re-seeded according to points. So the semi-final and SCF could be against anyone in the other 3 conferences.

*The playoff re-seeding idea hasn't been finalized, but this seems like the way its heading. What this means is that the Lightning could end up playing against the Pens or Philly in the SCF. That also means we could see Edmonton - Winnipeg SCF, which be a complete bomb as far a ratings go.

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Written by Dani Toth | 01 December 2011

Forbes released its list of annual franchise valuations yesterday for the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs in top spot again.

Since the current CBA ends at the end of the this season, the salary cap will become a bigger topic of discussion after the All-Star break. The Forbes writer thinks that the NHL with a salary cap set at 57% of revenue is too high for some teams to be profitable. He says that the NHL needs to get closer to the 48% model in their new CBA that the NFL agreed to or the 50-50 revenue split National Basketball Association’s owners and players recently agreed to.

Since this is a Lightning blog, Tampa Bay comes in at #21 in their rank of the most valuable franchise, valued at $174 million. The Lightning's revenue came in at $87 million which also has them ranked at #21 in revenue. What is interesting is that the 1 year change for the Lightning revenue is 20% which is a really positive sign for the organization. The increased revenue can be attributed to the outstanding play of the team last year translating into increased tickets sales and of course 3 rounds of playoff revenue.
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Written by Dani Toth | 30 November 2011

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Via press release from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have re-signed defenseman Victor Hedman to a five-year contract through the 2016-17 season, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

“We are extremely pleased to announce that we have agreed to a five-year contract with Victor,” Yzerman said.  “He has shown tremendous growth as a player in just more than two seasons in the NHL while also becoming a key member of our team.  We look forward to his continued development in a Lightning uniform.”

"I'd like to thank our owner, Mr. Vinik, and of course GM Steve Yzerman for helping me move forward in my career," said Hedman. "I love it in Tampa Bay with the Lightning and I will do all I can to help this organization be successful on and off the ice."

Hedman, 6-foot-6, 229 pounds, has played in 20 games with the Lightning this season, recording two goals. He ranks second on the Lightning in average ice time with 22:55 per game, just five seconds behind team-leader Eric Brewer (23:00), and is tied for second for blocked shots with 40.

The No. 2 overall pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Hedman, 20, has played in 173 career NHL games, all with the Lightning after coming to North America prior to the 2009-10 campaign.  Since that time no other Tampa Bay defenseman has played in more games and recorded more goals (9), assists (39) or points (48).   He has averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time per game in each of his three NHL seasons, ranking in the top three or higher on the Bolts in each.  Last year Hedman led all Lightning defensemen with 23 assists and was second among team defensemen with 26 points.  Hedman was also fourth on the team with a plus-3 rating.

A native of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, Hedman played for MoDo Hockey of the Swedish Elite League before joining the Lightning.  In 2008-09 he was named the league’s Rookie of the Year at the age of 18 after making his debut during the 2007-08 season.  Hedman has represented his native Sweden in multiple international competitions, including winning the Bronze Medal at the 2010 IIHF World Championships as well as Silver Medals at both the 2009 and 2008 World Junior Championships.

So assuming the TSN report is correct at $4 million per year (and I'll update later when we get some numbers), and maybe not everyone will agree with my take, but I like the contract.

Yes $4 million may seem like WAY too much to pay for Hedman now, but he's got a ton of potential. It's too bad that his first year in the league he walked into a mess with the team, so I'm giving him some leeway on where I think he should be at. But since I've seen tons of improvement each season with Hedman and can only see him improving in the next few years, I see us saying in a few years that this was a great contract.

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Written by Dani Toth | 30 November 2011

As per TSN:

The Tampa Bay Lightning are expected to announce a multi-year contract extension for defenceman Victor Hedman on Wednesday.

There is speculation the deal could be about five years in length with an annual salary cap hit in the neighbourhood of $4 million per season.

This season, Hedman has two goals in 20 games with a rating of minus-5.

Hedman was drafted second overall in the 2009 Entry Draft and was slated to become a restricted free agent at season's end.

I'll update later when I hear more solid info. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 22 November 2011

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Thanks for showing up tonight boys, you made Roloson look sad. So sad he looks like he wants to go play on that team from Toronto.

More sad photos after the jump...
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Written by Dani Toth | 22 November 2011

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Enemy Blog: Head over to Puckin' Eh or Pension Plan Puppets for your opposition blog coverage

Record: Lightning (9-8-2) Leafs (11-8-2)

Previous games this season: None

Game time: 7:30pm EDT on SUN (HD), RIS (HD)

What's the over/under on how many questions will Hedman and Steckel have to answer about Crosby today?

These aren't your Leafs from last season, no these ones can actually win a game or two. On Saturday night's game of the Leafs vs. the Caps, the Leafs won 7-1 but then on Sunday night they lost 2-3 to the Hurricanes.

Scoring for the Leafs is coming from Phil Kessel who is leading the league in goals with 16 and points with 29. Not far behind in Joffrey Lupul who has 25 points.

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