Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Lightning Sign Riku Helenius

Renaud Lavoie of RDS reports that the Lightning have signed goaltender Riku Helenius to a new two-year deal. The first year of the deal will reportedly be a two-way deal worth $550,000 on its upside while the second year will be a one-way deal worth $650,000. Helenius won a SM-liiga championship this season with JYP and earned the Urpo Ylonen Award as the league's top goaltender. Helenius was the Lightning's first round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Looking Back on 8 Seasons That Built Greatness

It's been a day since the Norfolk Admirals hoisted the Calder Cup for the first time. The amazing thing about championships is that they're a shared milestone in the lives of, really, thousands, between the players, coaches, staff, and fans. Those journeys often contain compelling stories that make the triumph worth that journey. For Jon Cooper, it was about closing down his law practice to coach his way from Michigan high school hockey, to the USHL to working with Hockey USA, to a 2 season sprint to glory in the AHL. For Cory Conacher, it was about not being drafted and playing hockey at off-the-beaten path Canisius, dealing with diabetes, and earning an NHL contract in March of an MVP season before posting 4 assists in the championship clinching Calder Cup Finals game.

The stories of the players and the coaches are the ones we'll read about in the coming months and years, and they should be. When the Lightning made their Stanley Cup run in 2003-2004 and were playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals, John Tortorella refused to fire back at Ken Hithcock's remarks about "Italians from Boston," because Torts rightfully understood, "It's about the athletes." Ultimately, they're the ones who score the goals and make the saves. They sacrifice their bodies and take the stitches and they take the slings and arrows if they lose. Ultimately, it's their moment, and to a lesser extent the moments of their families who supported them in the journey up to those moments. The hockey moms and dads who woke up at 6:00 am to drive their kids to games. Scratching together money for skates and ridiculously expensive composite sticks. The wives and significant others who live with the players and coaches through the disappointments and the frustrations, and live in fear of moments when things can go wrong, like when slap shots can hit a man in the ear at 90 miles an hour, similar to what happened to Scott Jackson.

Less compelling, perhaps, is the story of an organization, but, these are stories can be worth telling, too... especially in this case. We started beta testing Bolt Prospects in 2004-2005, one year after the Lightning's Cup win, in the heart of the NHL lockout. That year was also the first year since the Detroit Vipers of the IHL folded after the 2000-2001 season that the Lightning had a full-time minor league affiliate: the Springfield Falcons. Absent a full-time affiliate, it became clear the Lightning would struggle to maintain their spot on top of the hockey mountain, because split affiliates would not give prime ice time and coaching help to another organization's players. That problem prompted the start of an 8 year process for the Lightning that ended in building what must be considered the sport's preeminent developmental apparatus with the Norfolk Admirals' Calder Cup championship and the Florida Everblades' Kelly Cup Championship.

Newspaper Report: Riku Helenius Possibly Returning to Tampa Bay?

Finnish sports website Keskisuomalainen is reporting that former Lightning first round pick Riku Helenius is attracting attention from the Lightning as well as multiple KHL clubs, including Amur Khabarovsk, all of which are vying for his services next season. News about Helenius, who won the SM-liiga championship and was one of Finland's best goaltenders last year, broke in the magazine Veikkaaja, which has been cited by several other websites claiming Helenius' asking price was a 1-way deal. Helenius, who stands at 6'3" and 198 lbs, had a 1.64 GAA and .936 save percentage in the regular season for JYP, which he followed with a 1.73 GAA and .947 save percentage in the playoffs.

Newspaper Report: Lightning Offer Contract to Swiss Superstar Brunner?

Swiss online newspaper 20 Minuten quotes a newspaper interview out of Lucerne with Steve Yzerman in which Yzerman confirmed offering a contract to Swiss superstar Damien Brunner. The article goes on to speculate Brunner is almost certain to leave for North America after a strong World Championships has bolstered his stock with several NHL clubs. Brunner, 26, played for Zug in the Swiss NLA league this season, tallying 24 goals and 60 points in 45 regular season games to lead the league in scoring. He also finished tied for the league lead in playoff scoring with 3 goals and 14 points in 9 games, even despite the fact his top seeded club was upset in the Semifinals. The 5'11", 187 pound right winger is an exceptional skater, and has posted 3 goals and 7 points in 7 games thus far at the World Championships.

Update 11:30 ET: Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times tweets that Yzerman denies having offered Brunner a contract, although there is confirmed interest. More on Crisdotero's blog.

</embed>

Syndicate content