Nichols’ Notes

Nichols’ Notes: Lightning Looking to add the Right Pieces

Nichols’ Notes: Lightning Looking to add the Right Pieces
Chris Nichols

The Tampa Bay Lightning has as good a chance as anyone to make a run in the East this season, and bench boss Jon Cooper shared his philosophy of the approaching March 2 trade deadline.

“We’ve got a good group that’s all coming up together,” Cooper said. “That’s where you have to balance — are you going to blow this up to make a run at something now, or are we going to keep growing together and add some long-term pieces?

“I think you’re looking for pieces to the puzzle that make sense and fit. I don’t think we’re in a situation where we are bringing in guys to replace guys. It’s more, do we have enough depth in case we get injuries? And I’m sure every GM in the league, including ours, is working their tail off to see what they can do to help the team down the stretch. But if nothing happens, I like our group.”

Source: Smith/ Times

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Good look here at how Max Pacioretty has been working on his one-timers since he was a kid, playing in Connecticut.

Michael Cammalleri also provided key tips to Pacioretty during his time with the Canadiens.

“The science is let the stick do the work,” Pacioretty said. “Brett Hull was the best ever at it. Put your bottom hand in position where you’re able to just get it on net. Don’t try to pick any corners.

“There are four quadrants on a net and if you’re getting a pass across the crease, all you have to do is put it short side and try to get it up a little bit instead of trying to put it bar down. That’s what’s going through my mind. Let the stick do the work. It sounds simple but it’s true.”

Source: Stubbs/ Gazette

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Johnny Boychuk’s on-ice contributions to the New York Islanders have been readily obvious for months now, but John Tavares has seen a noticeable impact on the dressing room too.

“He just makes me laugh, makes it light,” Tavares said. “He’s tremendous within the room when we do hit adversity, just staying with it. There’s no panic.”

Source: Kreda/ Times

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In a very similar vein, Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler shared how happiness is an underrated quality in the building of a winning team.

“If you’re happy or make a joke, the other guy is going to be happy too,” Hudler shared. “We all sit here and talk about regular stuff, like people would in an office or any other work. We’re having fun. You bring that to the ice and if you work hard, then one of the guys blocks a shot and everybody’s into it. They think right away, ‘If everybody else thinks that great, then I’m going to do it too the next time. I’m going to get that cheer from the bench.’ So it’s contagious. Those little things, it takes not much to become a group like this.

“You still need some character, but we’ve got a lot of character. … With this team, we need to always be together. We cannot be on our own. I don’t think it’s our identity – and people love to watch it here.”

Source: Duhatschek/ Globe and Mail

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When Evander Kane met with the Buffalo media on Saturday, there was certainly a ‘fresh start’ message being conveyed.

When he was discussing the pressures of the market from which he came though, he also admitted what many had suspected in terms of having wanted out before.

“I had asked for a trade in the past, so I guess maybe it was overdue,” Kane said. “Winnipeg is a very small town, but it’s a big hockey market. It’s a little tougher than a Vancouver or Toronto where you can maybe get away a little bit. It’s a fishbowl.

“Being a Winnipeg Jet is something that everybody knew who you were, and they always wanted to talk to you, which is great. That was one of the things that you definitely enjoy, but negative things can take a toll a little bit.”

Source: Vogl/ News

Related TSS reading: Evander Kane Talks to Buffalo

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Olli Jokinen is not the least bit surprised with the success of the Jets this season.

“I told the management and the owners after last season that the best thing that happened was hiring Paul Maurice. He turned things around last year. He was one of the best coaches I’ve had a chance to work with. They have not surprised me at all.

Jokinen added: “When everybody’s happy and they believe they have a good role as an important part of the team, it helps collectively in winning games. They work hard. There’s no easy fix. Winning’s hard in this league. A lot of times, if you happen to watch games, Winnipeg is outworking the other teams. They stick with their plan.”

Source: Campbell/ Free Press

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There was a lot of attention for the stats rollout on the NHL’s website, but 39-year-old Martin St. Louis also took a moment to appreciate the advances made in video technology in the years since he broke into the NHL.

“It was VCR,” he said. “Now you can’t hide . . . they don’t miss anything. You can break it down, super slo-mo, so you look even slower,” he said with a wink. “I do like the overhead camera: you can see why guys do things.”

Source: Zipay/ Newsday

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Matt Duchene and Jonathan Toews met at the NHL awards in 2010, and the former’s respect for the latter has only grown since then.

“He’s a guy I looked up to before I was in the league and a guy I still look up to,” Duchene said of Toews.

“He knows when to be vocal, he knows when to lead by example. People think he’s so serious all the time, and that’s not really the case. I don’t know why people say that, and he hates it too. He’s just a great guy, a good person.”

Source: Frei/ Post

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The late-January trade between the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues, where Marcel Goc and Maxim Lapierre were swapped, has fit the bill for both sides thus far.

“Both players have similar responsibilities now with different teams,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “Lapierre is a quick guy for us on the forecheck, a penalty killer, good on draws, good faceoff guy. He’s a guy who adds a little more size and quickness to our lineup when he came in. Sometimes when trades are made, both teams are looking for a certain ingredient to make their team better overall. From our end, it’s been good and Gocher is a real quality guy and a quality player and I’m hearing he’s worked out good here.”

Source: Timmermann/ Post-Dispatch

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It wasn’t surprising to see the Calgary Flames send a now-healthy Sam Bennett back to the OHL over the weekend.

GM Brad Treliving knows what sort of gem he has on his hands moving forward though.

“He would chew off my arm to play a game,” Treliving said. “I think he has a special skill-set. I think he’s got elite sense and will and skill, but to go in there and have expectations that an 18-year-old kid, who hasn’t played a game in the league, is going to come in in February and we’re going to burden him with expectations, that’s just not right. Do I think he could play in the NHL? Sure. Is it the right thing to do? No, it’s not.”

Source: Gilbertson/ Sun

Related TSS reading: Sam Bennett back to the Kingston Frontenacs

Nichols’ Notes
Chris Nichols

Chris has written about both hockey and fantasy hockey for a number of media outlets over the last 14 years, including a combined decade with Sportsnet.ca and ESPN.com. He launched NicholsOnHockey.com in February of 2014. An aversion to wearing socks sparked a move from his hometown of Edmonton to San Diego, California in the mid-’90s, and the Oilers have not won a Cup in his absence.

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