While the NHL’s billionaires and millionaires continue their off ice CBA jousting and the Republicans take over the Tampa Bay Times Forum, there are some morsels of Tampa Bay Lightning news being bantered about. Here are a few to whet your hockey starved palate.
The curious case of Paul Ranger
Smooth skating defenseman Paul Ranger unexpectedly left the Lightning without explanation early in the 2009-10 season which was followed by two shoulder surgeries and two brutally hard rehabs. After the Lightning stated that he had left to tend to an “undisclosed personal issue”, the rumor mill churned out many unsubstantiated stories describing why he left the NHL. His agent, Joe Resnick would not provide any comments, except to say that Ranger was happy coaching 14 and 15 year old players in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.
The 2002 sixth round pick of the Lightning has resurfaced after three years of silence. Apparently, the 27 year old Ranger is ready to give hockey a try again but not with Tampa Bay. Ranger has inked a one year contract with the AHL Toronto Marlies
Is it possible that after three years away from NHL ice that Ranger could be good?
Janus lands in the KHL
Lightning goalie prospect Jaroslav Janus may have found a place to play the 2012-13 season and it is light years away from where he thought it would be. The 22 year old restricted free agent has signed a tryout contract with HC Slovan of the KHL in Slovakia.
Janus was 23-8-2 with 2.36 goals against average and a .914 save percentage for the AHL champion Norfolk Admirals last season. With the Bolts signing of Anders Lindback and Riku Helenius, the Tampa Bay crease became crowded. Incumbent AHL stud Dustin Tokarski will play in Syracuse (AHL) alongside the newly acquired Helenius while Lindback and Mathieu Garon will patrol the NHL net for the Lightning.
The Slovakian born Janus is the odd man out despite having good numbers last season. Even if he signs with the KHL team, the Lightning will retain his North American rights.
Janus is on his way to becoming an NHL goalie and it will be interesting to see what happens in the aftermath of the upcoming season. Don’t count him out just yet.
Number 25 is back with the Bolts
Many Lightning fans are losing here minds over the news that newly acquired defenseman Matt Carle will wear number 25 this season. Yes, the same number that captain Dave Andreychuk wore as he hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2004. In Carle’s previous stint with Tampa Bay, he wore number 5, but that belongs to veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund. Carle had number 25 on his back last season when he skated with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Simmer down Bolt fans! Andreychuk’s contributions to Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup legacy are still intact. Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett stated in an email, “The organization fully recognizes Dave Andreychuk’s impact as a Lightning player and as captain of the 2004 Stanley Cup champions. We look forward to properly saluting and celebrating him for his contributions to the franchise.”
CBA Bolt quotes
Steven Stamkos – “If you look at the last deal, a lot of people said the players took a big hit in their salary, which they did. We’re trying to find a way we can minimize that from a player’s perspective but also help the league. I think we’re trying to really be in partnership with some of the teams that are really doing well financially and trying to partner with them to help some of the teams that may be struggling.”
“For the young players of this league, this new agreement is going to affect us. It’s important for players not only in my position but players that were there to take an interest and learn as much as we can and be involved in this process. It’s been a great learning experience for me.”
BJ Crombeen – “Our proposal is a good proposal. With our proposal we feel we’ll be closer to getting that agreement done.” When asked if he could provide specifics, Crombeen chuckled and said, “I don’t think I can do that. I’d get into trouble.”
Martin St. Louis – “With my age (37), you want to keep playing. I don’t want to take a year off. If the NHL wants to shut us down, we’ll go play somewhere else. If it gets to October, it usually means (a lockout) will go longer. You have to be patient before you go toEurope, but it’s definitely an option guys will look into.”
Bolts on national television
The Lightning are scheduled to be on the NBC Sports Network seven times this season and their games will be broadcast five times on CBC Hockey Night. No games are currently scheduled to show on NBC.
On NBC Sports Network
November 21 at Hurricanes
January 8 at Penguins
February 14 vs. Sharks
February 24 at Penguins
February 26 vs. Sharks
March 3 at Devils
March 26 vs. Sabres
On NHL Network
January 11 vs. Capitals
February 21 vs. Bruins
February 28 vs. Penguins
*Paul Ranger photograph courtesy of Linda Hamilton.
About the Author: WB Philp is a published hockey writer who has a built in disdain for Barry Melrose. He covered the Detroit sports teams for many years until he came to his senses and moved to the Sunshine State. He is a true puckhead on a mission from God (Gordie Howe) to make hockey relevant in the south. He lives in Hockey Bay USA and covers the Lightning full time. Did I mention he hates Barry Melrose?