The Tampa Bay Lightning's latest signings, hirings and firings

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 2-yzerman.jpgSteve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning keep making changes on and off the ice (and behind the bench). In the first bit of news, the team announced the firing of Norfolk coach Jim Johnson and “roving” goalie coach Cap Raeder according to Damian Cristodero.

In the latest bit of housecleaning from the previous regime, the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday fired Norfolk coach Jim Johnson and roving goaltenders coach Cap Raeder. Somewhat of a surprise as both, especially Johnson, were lauded by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman for the way they ran the recent development camp. Yzerman went as far as to say he and Johnson were “on the same page.”

Unfortunately for Johnson, Yzerman is clearly writing a new chapter.

Earlier this week, the team announced that two of Guy Boucher’s assistants would serve similar roles in Tampa Bay. The team added a third assistant today, bringing in former Edmonton Oilers assistant Wayne Fleming according to TSN. Here is more on Fleming.

The Lightning have also named Wayne Fleming assistant coach. He has more than 30 years of coaching experience, both internationally and at the NHL level. He served as an assistant to Pat Quinn in Edmonton last season.

Finally, in the last bit of small-time Lightning news, the team signed center Marc-Antoine Pouliot to a one-year, two-way contract.

It’s been a busy summer for the Lightning – and while I cannot really tell you much about the changes made in their coaching staff – I will say that I’ve generally been very impressed with the changes made in Tampa Bay. They might have a few more steps to take before they’re a true contender in the East, but a playoff berth is a distinct possibility in 10-11.

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    Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

    Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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    Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

    Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

    Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

    The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

    “When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

    Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

    The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

    “It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



    Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

    Mike Richards

    The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

    Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

    Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

    “Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

    Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

    • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
    • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
    • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

    … Yeah.

    Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

    Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?