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Written by Dani Toth | 07 March 2012

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I've been busy today. In fact with two of my co-workers going on vacation one after another at work, I've been balls-deep busy for like 3 weeks. But with the groin tear that Mathieu Garon suffered during the game against the Senators (he'll be out 3-4 weeks), the Lightning has called up Dustin Tokarski.

!!!

This is big.  I fully expect him to get starts while Garon is out with injury and his first start could come as early as tonight against the Caps. I don't think he's actually NHL ready yet because I don't think he's done everything he can do in the AHL yet, but hey it will be fun to see him get a few games in. Plus think of the alternative, Roloson anyone?

There probably won't be a game preview on LHB, so visit my friends over at Rock the Red or the game preview by RMNB that has a shirtless Stamkos throwing a medicine ball at the combine just in case you are into that kind of thing. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 05 March 2012

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Breaking news via TSN, Hockey Canada has accounced that Steve Yzerman will return as the Executive Director for the men's Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Olympics. This will be his second straight Olympics as the Executive Director having won gold in Vancouver in 2010.

He'll be assisted by Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong and Hockey Canada staffers Bob Nicholson and Brad Pascall.

It is not confirmed yet whether the NHL will participate in the Sochi 2014 Olympics. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 05 March 2012

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Every year when it comes closer to awards season, major movie studios, TV networks or even the stars themselves take out ads in entertainment trade publications (and their websites) such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter or Deadline, to sway the voting groups like Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (for the Academy Awards) or the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (for the Emmys) to vote for their work or cast. See this one that Melissa Leo took out for her campaign for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter last year or this website that Showtime puts together for the voting groups to watch their programming in streaming video online. If you have no idea how much campaigning (and money spent on it) goes on to win an Oscar or Emmy, it really is fascinating stuff.

With so little talk about Stamkos' body of work this season on a team with so many problems with their defense and goaltending, if the Lightning make the playoffs, Stamkos may need a 'for your consideration' ad for the Hart trophy. Now I acknowledge that Evgeni Malkin may this category locked up and if he doesn't, Henrik Lundqvist is a strong candidate for it, but if the Lightning make the playoffs shouldn't Stamkos be considered?

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Let's start off with his numbers: As of Sunday night, Steven Stamkos has played 65 games so far this season. In those 65 games he has 47 goals and 80 points which puts him at 1st in the league in both categories. Evgeni Malkin is currently tied with him in points but Stamkos is 9 goals of Malkin in goals scored.

Out of his 47 goals, Stamkos has had 10 game winning goals for first in the league in the category and has a shooting percentage of 20.4%. Although we had a killer powerplay last year, this year the Lightning have been struggling to put together a consistently effective powerplay. So this season powerplay goals aren't padding his goal totals as of the 47 goals scored, only 9 come on the powerplay. If you compare that to last season, of the 45 goals scored, 17 came on the powerplay.

Basically, the numbers mean that he's been playing another great season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and if the Lightning make the playoffs it will be in large part because he dragged this team into 8th spot with his game winning goals.

Although he leads the league in both goals scored and points acrued, all this goes largely unnoticed because the Lightning have been bumbling about the bottom of the Conference. The problems we've had with out defence and our goaltending has overshadowed his accomplishment in scoring to keep this team in the playoff race.

The only article I've read that has written about his consideration for the Hart was by Dan Rosen of NHL.com that was published last week. Like an indie film's chances of an Oscar without a big studio backing it up, it may also have something to do with us being in a smaller market that doesn't get as much regional press as say teams in Pittsburgh, Philly, Montreal or Toronto may have. In Tampa we may appreciated his consistency and laud his scoring achievement but if we lived in a bigger market with more press, we'd be reminded of this achievement every single day, multiple times a day (trust me on this as I live in Vancouver where they do this all the time).

Though it is technically allowed for a player on a non-playoff team to win the Hart, in recent NHL history, you don't ever see a player winning or even getting Hart consideration if his team misses the playoffs; but as the Lightning get closer to the playoffs, there's a case to be made for Stamkos.

With the Lightning now sitting just 2 points out from 8th spot in the East, this late season charge has been led by Stamkos and this hodge-podge of a team digging deep and just getting it done night after night. Since Dominic Moore was traded to the Sharks before the game against San Jose in Tampa, the Lightning have gone 7-2-0.  Perhaps the exit of players before the trade deadline indicating the Lightning being sellers alleviated the stress of the team and the shift to playing fun hockey has had an impact of their success of late. Whatever the reason, their success, coupled with the failures of Toronto, Montreal, Washington and Buffalo has led them to be able to hop into 10th in the East.

So as we head into the final 17 games of the season, consider Steven Stamkos.
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Written by Dani Toth | 04 March 2012

Marc-Andre Bergeron has decided to have season ending surgery to fix his lower-back injury according to this article by Joe Smith on Lightning Strikes. He has been out 22 of the last 23 games with a bulging disk that is affecting his sciatic nerve. This is not the first time he's had to address this as he had a similar surgery in 2009 when he was with the Minnesota Wild.

No official announcement has been made by the team but Bergeron did tweet the following on Saturday:


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Written by Dani Toth | 02 March 2012

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Are we still in this?

We just passed Toronto and Buffalo with this win and are now 4 points out from the Jets who are in the 8th place....

Holy shit we're still in a playoff race.

Oh and the Leafs just fired their coach. And hired Randy Carlyle. Jesus. What a world we live in.

So the Lightning played well tonight. Actually they outplayed the shit out of the Rangers tonight.

lightning_march2_rangers.jpgStamkos scores his 45th of the season

YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Recap after the jump...
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Written by Dani Toth | 02 March 2012



It's a thing of beauty no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 01 March 2012

The Lightning have signed Cory Conacher to a two-year, two-way contract today. If you haven't been keeping up with the Admirals, Conacher is the leading goal scorer for the team 30 goals and 64 points. 13 of his goals comes on the powerplay.

The signing was expected to occur but didn't occur till this late in the season because the Lightning didn't want to burn through the first year of his contract if he wasn't going to be called up this season (if I can remember correctly) as he had a 1 year deal with the Admirals.

Here is the press release from the team:

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Cory Conacher to a two-year, two-way contract today, Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced.

Conacher, 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, has played in 57 games with the Norfolk Admirals this season, recording 30 goals, 13 power-play goals, 26 power-play points and 64 points. He leads the Admirals in goals, power-play goals, power-play points, points, and ranks second for assists with 34. Conacher is also tied for the AHL lead for PPGs, is second for goals and is tied for third in points. He was recently selected as a starter for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, where he had two goals and three points.

A native of Burlington, Ontario, Conacher has played in 64 career AHL games with Norfolk, the Milwaukee Admirals and the Rochester Americans, notching 34 goals and 70 points. He has played in seven career Calder Cup Playoff Games.

Conacher, an undrafted free agent, played four years at Canisus College prior to joining the professional ranks. He is the school’s all-time leader in goals with 62, game-winning goals with 12 and points with 147. He signed a one-year, AHL contract with the Admirals on July 5, 2011.

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