It’s hard not to notice how well Lightning captain Martin St. Louis has played lately.
In his past eight games, he has eight goals and four assists including his four-goal game against San Jose on Saturday. That run of great play also coincides with him being omitted from Team Canada’s roster for the Olympics.
St. Louis tells Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times one doesn’t have to do with the other.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m motivated more now,” he said. “That’s far from the truth.”
“I don’t think I’m playing 10 times better now,” he said. “I played some pretty good hockey before then.”
That’s a fact. Prior to his hot play of late, St. Louis had 38 points in 42 games. Now he’s on a point-per-game pace with 50 points in 50 games and leading the Lightning in scoring. Those stats make leaving him off the Canadian roster all the more head-scratching, especially with his own GM, Steve Yzerman, picking the Canadian team.
With Steven Stamkos’ return on the horizon and Tampa Bay tied with Boston atop the Atlantic Division, making a run at the Stanley Cup makes for a decent backup prize.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Taylor Hall would love to be part of Team Canada at the Olympics, he just doesn’t think he’s done enough to prove it. (Sportsnet)
Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton are doing their part to help fill in for Dennis Seidenberg. (CSNNE.com)
The Blues already sent Jake Allen back to the AHL, but Jaroslav Halak still isn’t feeling well. (Post-Dispatch)
Dennis Wideman returned to Calgary’s lineup after missing a month with a broken hand. (Calgary Herald)
More Olympics talk: Blake Wheeler getting named to Team USA is just what he needed. (Winnipeg Free Press)
Meanwhile, Erik Johnson takes his Team USA snub to focus on helping the Avalanche make the playoffs. (Denver Post)
If you haven’t seen what Henrik Lundqvist’s mask for the Rangers’ Stadium Series games, you’re going to want to. His nod to the Yankees is pretty great. (Art of Dave)
The 2014 IIHF Hall of Fame class features Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Ruslan Salei among its six inductees. (IIHF)
Tampa Bay’s 2013 first-round pick won’t be winning the Calder Trophy this year.
The Lightning announced they’re sending third overall pick Jonathan Drouin back to his junior team in Halifax. Just yesterday we shared here how GM Steve Yzerman had a difficult decision on whether to keep their hot prospect or send him back. Clearly the team feels it’s better for his development to head back to the QMJHL.
Some fans may get critical of the move, but it’s one that can work out and the Lightning just need to look across the state for a prime example of that.
Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t join the Panthers immediately after being drafted in 2011, but he turned his first NHL season last year into a Calder Trophy-winning one. Lightning fans may want to see just what they got for such a bad season last year but they’ll have to be patient.
As for Drouin, the rest of the QMJHL should be terrified to see him back after the numbers he put up last season (41-64-105) in 49 games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a big decision on their hands with 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin. Will he stay or will he go back to juniors?
Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune hears from GM Steve Yzerman about what they’re thinking about most when it comes to their top pick.
“Mostly, we want him playing. And if he’s not going to play regular (in the NHL), I want him playing. I don’t really have a timetable on it because we do have the luxury …to stagger their games and delay it for as long as you really want. So, it’s not like we are under a time crunch or anything.”
The Lightning, like any team with a player who’s junior eligible, can have Drouin play in nine games before making a decision. If he plays in more than that, they’ll burn the first year of his contract.
Drouin comes to Tampa with high expectations and a lot of talent. That said, sometimes it takes time for guys to be ready. At 18 years old, he may not be totally ready to go. Expect him to get a long look through at least his first nine games before a decision is made.
Related: Drouin: ‘Exciting’ to play with Stamkos, St. Louis on Bolts’ top line
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has seen his fair share of ups and downs during his three years on the job, but team owner Jeff Vinik likes what he sees.
Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports the team owner fully supports what Yzerman is doing and where the team is headed.
“I think Steve is doing a great job, yes,” Vinik said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the job Steve Yzerman is doing. I think he’s put together the best, or one of the best, staffs in all of hockey. I think they’ve done a great job in drafting and developing young players. I think he’s made a lot of good moves over the years. My general manager has my support 100 percent.”
Vinik goes on to say he feels the team is on the right track to becoming a consistent winner in Tampa. For Yzerman, it has to be encouraging to hear all this.
After seeing the Lightning make the Eastern Conference finals his first year on the job in 2010-2011, they’ve missed the playoffs the last two seasons and had the third-worst record in the league last year finishing with 40 points.
This year’s Lightning team will be very young and still have questions on defense and in goal. If Vinik likes the way things are shaping up, Yzerman’s seat in Tampa should stay cool.