Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Newspaper Report: Lightning Offer Contract to Swiss Superstar Brunner?

Swiss online newspaper 20 Minuten quotes a newspaper interview out of Lucerne with Steve Yzerman in which Yzerman confirmed offering a contract to Swiss superstar Damien Brunner. The article goes on to speculate Brunner is almost certain to leave for North America after a strong World Championships has bolstered his stock with several NHL clubs. Brunner, 26, played for Zug in the Swiss NLA league this season, tallying 24 goals and 60 points in 45 regular season games to lead the league in scoring. He also finished tied for the league lead in playoff scoring with 3 goals and 14 points in 9 games, even despite the fact his top seeded club was upset in the Semifinals. The 5'11", 187 pound right winger is an exceptional skater, and has posted 3 goals and 7 points in 7 games thus far at the World Championships.

Update 11:30 ET: Damian Crisdotero of the St. Pete Times tweets that Yzerman denies having offered Brunner a contract, although there is confirmed interest. More on Crisdotero's blog.

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Lightning Will Pick 10th

The Edmonton Oilers have won the NHL Draft Lottery, earning them the right to move up one slot from second to first in the draft order. The Lightning's draft position is unchanged at the 10 pick.

In related news, Columbus fans are seething mad.

Cooper is Coach of the Year

(Norfolk Admirals press release) The American Hockey League announced today that Jon Cooper of the Norfolk Admirals has been named the winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding coach for the 2011-12 season, as voted by coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

In his second season in the professional ranks, Cooper has kept his Admirals at the top of the league for much of the year, finally pulling away from the rest of the pack on the strength of a record 25-game winning streak that remains intact heading into the final week of the season. At 52-18-1-2 (107 points), the Admirals have won their first division title since 2003 and have captured the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the overall points champion for the first time ever. Norfolk, whose top five scorers this season include three rookies and one second-year pro, leads the AHL in offense (3.58 goals per game) and ranks third in defense (2.40 goals against per game), and under Cooper’s development watch nine Admirals were called up to play a total of 142 games with the parent Tampa Bay Lightning in the National Hockey League this season.

A 44-year-old native of Prince George, B.C., Cooper joined the Tampa Bay Lightning organization in August 2010 as head coach of their top development affiliate in Norfolk following a prolific career in the U.S. junior ranks. He won a USHL championship and was that league’s coach of the year with Green Bay in 2010, and was twice coach of the year in the NAHL with St. Louis, winning back-to-back titles there in 2007 and 2008. Cooper has also spent time behind the bench internationally for Team USA’s U-17 and U-18 teams. A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Cooper played hockey and lacrosse at Hofstra University and later obtained a law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Cooper becomes the second Admirals head coach to win the Louis A.R. Pieri Award. Mike Haviland also won the award during the 2006-07 season.

Aulie Joins Norfolk for Playoffs

The Tampa Bay Lightning have assigned defenseman Keith Aulie to the Norfolk Admirals, Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Aulie, 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, appeared in 36 NHL games this season between the Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, recording three assists and 29 penalty minutes. Aulie played in 17 games with the Maple Leafs, collecting two assists and 16 penalty minutes before being acquired by the Lightning on February 27 in exchange for Carter Ashton. Aulie then appeared in 19 games with Tampa Bay, posting one assist and 13 penalty minutes. In 76 career NHL games, Aulie has scored two goals and five points with 61 penalty minutes.

Aulie also skated in 23 games with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL this season, recording one assist and 30 penalty minutes. The 22-year-old native of Regina, Saskatchewan, has skated in 107 career AHL games with the Marlies and Abbotsford Heat, posting five goals and 16 points. He represented the Marlies at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey, PA last season.

Aulie was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round, 116th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by Toronto along with Fredrik Sjostrom and Dion Phaneuf from Calgary in exchange for Jamal Mayers, Niklas Hagman, Matthew Stajan and Ian White on January 31, 2010. (News Observer photo)

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