NHL News – January 22, 2010

Kings’ Jack Johnson irate over GM Lombardi’s comments about him and Michigan

Laraque calls release by Habs ‘classless’

Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly has gotten money from NHL, Sun Sports to make payroll

Bolts claim Thompson off waivers from Islanders + Hedman outKings’ Jack Johnson irate over GM Lombardi’s comments about him and Michigan

Helene Elliott

Kings defenseman Jack Johnson reacted angrily Thursday to comments made by General Manager Dean Lombardi in an interview posted on the blog frozenroyalty.net in which Lombardi said Michigan — where Johnson played college hockey — is “the worst” in terms of coaching players and called Johnson “awful as a hockey player” when he played for the Wolverines.

He also criticized Michigan Coach Red Berenson and said Johnson was unable to accept criticism after playing at Michigan and for the U.S. national team development program.

The interview, part of a series, can be found here.

“I’m a Michigan man. I’m very proud of it. I wouldn’t want to have it any other way,” Johnson said after the Kings’ 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres at Staples Center.

“Michigan has produced more NHL players than any other school. Even the U.S. development program, people rip that and they just don’t know anything about it and don’t know what they’re talking about.”


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2010/01/dean-lombardi-jack-johnson-kings-michigan-hockey-.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LAT_Sports_Blog+%28The+Fabulous+Forum%29

Laraque calls release by Habs ‘classless’

By THE CANADIAN PRESS

General manager Bob Gainey feels his Montreal Canadiens have a far better chance of making the playoffs without enforcer Georges Laraque than they do with him.

So even though Laraque will remain on the team’s roster and his salary will still count on the team’s cap figure, Gainey deemed it necessary Thursday to jettison Laraque from the Canadiens for the remainder of the season.

“I told him that he would not be continuing as part of our group for the rest of this season, for reasons of lack of productivity and distractions to our group,” Gainey said.

Laraque told TSN just after receiving the news Thursday morning that it was classless on Gainey’s part to let him go considering everything that was going on in Haiti, where both his parents are born.

Gainey said Thursday that the decision to let Laraque go had in fact been taken prior to the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated the country, but it was put on hold in light of Laraque’s ties to Haiti. He also made an offer to Laraque on Wednesday to take a leave of absence, but it was refused.

http://www.torontosun.com/sports/hockey/2010/01/22/12566991-sun.html

Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly has gotten money from NHL, Sun Sports to make payroll

For months, owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, not to mention the NHL, have tried to find partners or even an outright buyer for the Lightning.

The possibility of Karen Davidson, widow of former Lightning owner Bill Davidson, selling the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment might accelerate that process and none to soon as the Lightning’s financial situation, long known to be tenuous, apparently is dire.

A report on the Web site of SportsBusiness Daily said the league, to help the team cover January’s payroll, advanced it part of the revenue-sharing money it will receive after the season. It also said television-rights holder Sun Sports in April advanced the team $2 million to help it meet last season’s final payroll.

Sun Sports spokeswoman Amy Pempel declined comment.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly would not confirm or deny the report Thursday but texted to reporters: “We are working with the current Lightning owners to resolve a number of issues for their mutual benefit and for the long-term benefit of the franchise and the league. We hope to have a resolution on at least some of those issues in the relatively near future.”

“Otherwise,” Daly texted the St. Petersburg Times, “we are not commenting further on the situation or on what may or may not be true.”

Koules declined comment, and Barrie and Palace Sports CEO Tom Wilson did not respond to phone messages.

http://www.tampabay.com/sports/hockey/lightning/article1067256.ece

Bolts claim Thompson off waivers from Islanders + Hedman out

The Lightning have claimed forward Nate Thompson off waivers from the New York Islanders on Thursday. Thompson is expected to arrive in Tampa later today, although it’s not a certainty he will play tonight against Toronto.
Thompson, 25, is a former sixth round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2003 out of Seattle in the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot, 207-pound native of Anchorage, Alaska, has played in 86 career NHL games since 2006-07, mainly with the Islanders.

Considered a gritty third or fourth line role player, Thompson has three goals, 10 points and 88 penalty minutes in his career. In 39 games with New York this season, Thompson had one goal, five assists and 39 penalty minutes.
With Thompson joining the roster, the team will make a corresponding move later in the day to get under the 23-man roster limit.

Hedman out

Rookie defenseman Victor Hedman will be a healthy scratch tonight against Toronto. The 19-year-old has endured a rough stretch of games the past week. Since the start of January, Hedman has one goal, one assist and is a minus-6.
“It won’t be a long thing, he just needs to catch his breath a little bit,” Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. “He’s a 19-year-old playing 22 minutes a night for us, and when you don’t dress other guys it’s for other reasons. With him, it’s not because he doesn’t work or anything like that. He works. He just needs to catch his breath, the same thing we did with (Steven) Stamkos last year.”

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/jan/21/bolts-claim-thompson-waivers-islanders/sports-lightning/