Lou Lamoriello's special connection to George Steinbrenner

loulamoriello2.jpgThe death of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is one that reaches across all parts of the sports world, even into the realm of hockey. About the one thing that NHL owners ever took away from Steinbrenner when is their ability to fire head coaches at will. While you could argue that Steinbrenner’s presence and ability to use league economics to his advantage aren’t things that completely crossed over into the NHL, his partnership with one large figure in the NHL, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, had a profound effect on him as the NHL’s Mike Morreale finds out.

“(The relationship) was an exceptional one,” Lamoriello said. “I really knew of him and only met him on isolated occasions prior to being involved with the YankeeNets when we were all one group — the Devils, the Nets and the Yankees.

“For whatever reason, we became fairly close and spent considerable time (together) at different times. He was the sole individual responsible for me taking over the Nets when that transpired. His support throughout all of those years was just exceptional. He had me become part of the Yankee family. I still am to this day on their board.”

While your minds are all blown at the fact that Lou Lamoriello works with the New York Yankees in his own way, there’s something about Steinbrenner that Lamoriello took particular pride in. Given some of the quotes that he’s thrown out there lately, it comes as no surprise.

“He was never afraid to say what he thought, which is what I admired about him,” Lamoriello said. “He was committed to the organization, he was committed to the logo and he had strong beliefs. He followed through the best he could.”

Lamoriello fondly recalls Steinbrenner sitting comfortably in his office during the Devils’ Cup-clinching Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

“He watched the final Stanley Cup game in my office because he didn’t want to go in the crowd,” Lamoriello recalled. “He went to a few games, and he was there that seventh game. He did things like that because he wanted to.”

George Steinbrenner the hockey fan. Just imagine Big Stein sitting in on an NHL Board of Governors meeting if he ever got into it so much he bought a team. It’s about the only thing that would be even more entertaining than a Brian Burke press conference.

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    Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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    Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

    With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

    Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

    The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth.

    Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

    Gleason ends tryout with ‘Canes

    Tim Gleason, David Desharnais
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    Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.

    “Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”

    Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.

    In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.

    Isles call Strome back up

    Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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    Ryan Strome has been called back to the New York Islanders, the club announced this morning.

    The 22-year-old returns to the NHL after eight games with AHL Bridgeport Sound. He had been sent there three weeks ago, after a tough start to the season.

    Strome had two goals and two assists during his stint with the Tigers.

    The Isles’ next game is Friday at Florida.

    McLellan on Oilers’ loss to ‘Canes: ‘That’s a really disappointing effort from our hockey club’

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    With the addition of Connor McDavid, 2015-16 was supposed to be the year Edmonton showed significant progress on the ice.

    We’re less than two months into the season, McDavid’s out because of a broken clavicle, and the so-called progress just hasn’t been there.

    On Wednesday, the Oilers hit a new low, as they were handed their fifth loss in their last six games at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring in the first period, but Carolina answered with four unanswered goals by Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner and Andrej Nestrasil to win 4-1.

    “We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”

    As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupov to injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.

    After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:

    Edmonton collected 14 points in the first 22 games of the 2014-15 season and after the same amount of games this year, they have just one more point.

    They’re currently alone in last place.