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Was Kuba given the Boyle treatment by Lightning?

Posted Sep 11, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Sep 11, 2008 at 12:10 AM

Former Lightning defenseman Filip Kuba stopped by the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon on Wednesday and participated in the informal on-ice workouts/scrimmages that will go on until Friday before everything shifts downtown to the big Forum. It looked a little strange to see Kuba skating around with his practice jersey on inside-out, something players typically do if they are not employed by the team (that is unless you have a jersey from the team you currently play for, such as Brad Richards sporting his Dallas practice jersey).

Not knowing how long Kuba might be in town (he said he’s probably heading to Ottawa on Sunday), I figured I’d try to catch up with the soft-spoken Czech defenseman to get his thoughts on the trade and how everything went down.

While he expressed some shock at being moved - as a lot of players will tell you when it happens - especially since he was the most experienced defenseman on the roster. But things started to turn a bit interesting when I asked him about the decision to waive his no-trade clause in order for the deal to acquire Andrej Meszaros.

This is what he had to say: “The way it was presented to me at the time, I knew even if I said no [to the trade] I wasn’t going to stay here on the team,’’ he said. “So it didn’t make any sense to say “no I’m going to stay’’ and then know I’m going somewhere else anyway.’‘

This was one of those ear perk type moments when you start trying to read between the comments and begin to wonder, what does he mean by the way things were presented to him. So I then asked him if he had any thoughts about some of the comments Dan Boyle made when he was traded to San Jose, in which he felt like he was forced into waiving his no-trade after being threatened that he’d be put on waivers and end up in Los Angeles or Atlanta.

Again, here is Kuba’s response: “Not at the time, I was kind of in shock so I wasn’t really thinking about that,’’ Kuba said. “I was talking to my agent most of the time, I didn’t really talk to the owners much — after it happened I did — but they said right away that if I did not go there, I would end up going somewhere else.’‘

Kuba did not want to expand on the thoughts beyond that. But it does call into question whether or not Kuba was pressured somewhat into accepting the trade - and for the record, he said there was no pressure. Given Boyle’s thoughts and comments, however, it is not out of bounds to think things could have happened similarly to Kuba in this case. And maybe there was no direct pressure like there was in Boyle’s case, but perhaps the pressure was still put on as Kuba implied in his comments that he was told that if he declined to waive the no-trade clause, he still was not going to play out the final year of his contract with Tampa. And since Kuba had a no-trade and not a no-movement clause, the waiver threat could still be used and he easily could have ended up in Los Angeles - which has the first right to make a waiver claim - where they are searching for a veteran defenseman.

Again, Kuba did not come out and say he was forced into waiving the no-trade clause, but he made it sound as if he wasn’t given much of a choice in the matter.

You can read the full story here.

On a couple of other Lightning related notes:

* The team will look at getting at least some of the remaining 13 games not on the Sun Sports/Vs. schedule on TV, especially the final stretch of road games. And you can bet that if those final four games away from home have meaning, the team will find a way to get somebody to carry them. Don’t forget also that Sun Sports always has the option of adding more games to the schedule if the choose to free up the broadcast lineup.

* I spoke the other day with Nolan Pratt, who continues to work out with the players in Brandon, and it sounds as if he is close to accepting a deal to play over in Russia this season. He actually signed to play in Russia last year in November, but on the same day the Buffalo Sabres called so he opted to stay in North America. With another baby on the way, Pratt said he would like to stay on this side of the Atlantic but nobody is calling him at this point so he may have to make that decision to sign in the new KHL, which is paying some pretty good money to NHL players right now.

* I also spoke with Chris Dingman and though he’s had chances to play in Europe, sounds like he just might stay here as he was announced as part of the Sun Sports broadcasts this year. Dingman was looking at trying to play in Germany, but nothing has come up yet as the team he was looking to sign with was waiting on another player before deciding on Dingman.

* Former Lightning defenseman Mike McBain was recently named assistant coach for the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL.

* Former Lightning forward Matt Elich - who was the hit of training camp out in Lakeland one year with four goals in a scrimmage game - has signed with the Flint Generals of the IHL. Elich will tryout for the AHL Worcester Sharks and will report to Flint if he does not make the Sharks.

* And finally, with the Lightning prospect camp getting underway this weekend in Traverse City, Mich., two of the Lightning’s games from the tournament will be televised on the NHL Network on a tape delay basis. On Sunday at 8 p.m., Tampa Bay’s game against Atlanta will be available for viewing while on Wednesday at 8 p.m. the Lightning’s prospect game against the New York Rangers will be aired. The championship and third-place games will also be aired on Thursday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Reader Comments

Por (Mike Joyce) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I think that ownership did the right thing in getting rid of two ineffective defensemen.

Don’t forget that the best +/- on the defense last year was Lundin, and he was a rookie that wasn’t expected to make the team.

Just for the record, when the prototypical defenseman, Bobby Orr, established the standard for offense from a defenseman of 100 points, he did it without sacrificing his defense as he also established the defensive standard at the same time +126.

When players sacrifice their position for the glory of scoring, the concept of ME get’s introduced to TEAM.  Good that they are gone.

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Por (Steve) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I certainly agree that our defense is better off without Kuba and Boyle. I do think we still need a proven veteran stay at home type. Not sure how fair it is saying Lundin had the best +/-. He was far below most regulars on ice time. Lundin on averaged 13 minutes of ice time and we had 5 other defenseman that averaged over 20 minutes (if you include Picard), so by playing less on a bad defense you would figure he’d have a better +/- compared to the regulars. In fact if you look at the regulars who played over 20 minutes a game, O’Brien had the best +/- at -2, but I don’t think any of us would say he was a defensive stalwart last year.

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Por (Mario Crociata) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Moving these two defensemen was the right move. We have enough offense to offset the loss of Boyle and his abilities and Kuba always looked tentative when going into the corners. Sometimes he would pinch, but not enough, therefore making him neither offensive minded enough or a “stud” defensively. I still think our defense will surprise. Enthusiasm, a new system and a focus on playing defense and being responsible in the defensive zone are going to raise the bar!

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Por (Andrew) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m just glad that Kuba didn’t outright bash the owners (meaning Barrie) like Boyle did.  I can see why Boyle was mad, but Kuba showed some class in keeping his thoughts to himself.

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Por (Justin) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Mike Joyce, thus is why Bobby Orr is a legend.

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Por (Mike Joyce) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)


Orr is much more than a legend.  No one has come close to either of his marks.  Even Gretzky couldn’t come close to Orr’s +/- mark because no one ever taught him that there were two aspects to the game.

Orr simply set the standard from which we can measure all future defensemen.  Against that standard, Boyle and Kuba were miserable failures.

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Por (TampaFan) on September 11, 2008 (Suggest removal)

It is still a shame they got rid of Picard.  I think with some of the right coaching he would have been very good.  He is a stay-at-home defenseman and didn’t seem comfortable with Torts coaching style.  I wish Kuba and Picard the best.

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Por (sesorkcalb) on September 15, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Everybody seems to be missing EE’s point, or maybe I’m reading too much into it…. 

Given Kuba’s comments and how Boyle was handled, I think that yes there seems to be smoke now with how the new ownership is handling players they deem not worthy of wearing the Lightning colors, and they (the new ownership team) need to be very careful or it’s going to come back and haunt them down the road.

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