Archive for the ‘Tampa Bay Lightning’ Category

-Never touched on my thoughts about the Flyers/Lightning 1-3-1 debate.  Neither team broke any rules, and it was a one game issue.  It was a boring game but I don’t think any rules need to be added or changed in response to one occasion.

-Reports are floating around that Jeff Carter wants out of Columbus.  Carter’s agent shot down those rumors, but the internet can’t help but wonder if he’ll be dealt anyway.  Carter played on the 2006-07 disastrous Flyers team, but even with that experience, going from a Stanley Cup contender to the worst team in hockey is still a shock.  It’s been a bad six weeks for the Jackets, especially for Carter who has missed 10 games with an injury and still doesn’t have a goal.  He does have a no-trade clause starting in the summer, but Carter just  needs to focus on hockey, winning games and perhaps better play will help turn Columbus around a bit.  Even if he were traded, Columbus wouldn’t get the return they traded to get him (Jakub Voracek, 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick). (more…)

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Last night we saw the Tampa Bay Lightning play the 1-3-1 trap, clogging the neutral zone and the Philadelphia Flyers responded by not attacking, sitting back in their own zone, waiting for the Lightning to forecheck.  This caused debates around the internet and on TSN. It happened many times throughout the game and the referees told the Flyers they had to keep moving the puck.  It frustrated players and coaches of both teams, analysts and fans.

Video if you missed it:

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With Boston’s 4-1 loss to Carolina last night, the four conference finalists from last season (Boston, San Jose, Tampa Bay and Vancouver) are a combined 6-13-3 in this young season.  All four are in the bottom third in the leagues in standings, although it is still early and there is plenty of time to turn it around.

Let’s take a look at what ails each team.

The Boston Bruins have only allowed 2.17 goals per game (10th) but can’t score.  They are dead last in goals per game (1.67).  They’ve only scored more than two goals in a game once, a 4-1 win over Tampa on October 8th.    Obviously, with the team’s offense struggling, one would assume that their powerplay would suffer.  That would be correct, as the Bruins are near the bottom at 8.3%.  Rich Peverley is the team’s leading goal scorer (3) and only he and Marchand have multiple goals.  This is a far cry from last season when they finished fifth in the league in goals for.

Roberto Luongo allows a goal in a loss to the Flyers.

Vancouver has scored more than Boston (2.33) but it’s not enough to get the job done, not with the lineup they have.  But their biggest problem is that they can’t stop anyone.  They’re tied for fifth worst in goals allowed per game (3.17).  Their penalty killing is near the bottom of the league at 79.3%, and they’ve been shorthanded 29 times so far, which is near the league high.  Looking deeper into the numbers show that starting goalie Roberto Luongo has continued his struggles from June.  After four games, he has a 3.70 GAA and a .856 save percentage.  Backup Cory Schneider (2.03, .953) has been considerably better, but he won’t wrestle the starting job from Luongo any time soon.

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Lightning Goalie Dwayne Roloson

Last season: 46-23-11 103 pts, 2nd Southeast, 5th Eastern Conference

Additions: Matieu Garon, Bruno Gervais, Matt Gilroy, Tom Pyatt, Alexandre Picard, Richard Petiot, Michel Oulette, Trevor Smith

Losses: Simon Gagne, Sean Bergenheim, Mike Smith, Randy Jones, Mike Lundin, Matt Smaby, Mathieu Roy, Marc Pouliot

Offense: Tampa Bay possesses one of the most gifted scorers in the entire National Hockey League in youngster Steven Stamkos, who has already scored 119 goals in his first 3 seasons. Stamkos figures to be a 50+ goal threat and among the NHL’s leaders in goal scoring for the next decade. It doesn’t stop there, as the Lightning also have Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier as scoring threats up front. Veteran Ryan Malone is also there, as is resident hothead Steve Downie, whom the Lightning rely on for offense even if he’s too much of a loose cannon to be relied upon. The guy with the most to prove is probably Teddy Purcell, a castoff from the Los Angeles organization who had a decent year and a good playoff for Tampa in 2010-11. Tampa’s top 6 is solid, while their bottom 6 might be a bit thin. Still with the talent in the top two lines, I expect the Lighning to score in buckets once again.

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Here are some thoughts on some of the potential rule changes being looked at in the NHL Research And Development Camp:

NHL Research And Development Camp (Photo:THN)

 Hybrid Icing: Safety is the main issue that gets addressed here (Remember Kurtis Foster’s injury?), without taking away from the game. Easily something I think that should be implemented in the game.  Although some would argue about the officiating on certain calls, which is the only real argument against it.

No Icing While Shorthanded: If the NHL can find a way to boost scoring, they’ll test it out (Remember the idea of round nets?) Now, I understand the want to score more often, but I don’t really like this idea. You should be able to ice the puck while shorthanded, make the other team actually have to work on the powerplay. The other guy has two or five minutes in the box, that should eb enough of a penalty on his team.

Overtime Changes ( 4 minutes 4 on 4, then 3 minutes of 3 on 3): If this gets rid of the shootout (unless the shootout goes to 5 shooters), im all for it. However, I really do not like the idea of 3 on 3 hockey, it should be 4 on 4 minimum.  Would be interesting to do on a test run basis in the NHL.

No Line Change For Team That Is Offsides: Honestly, I like this idea, if a line can’t come into the zone onsides, they shouldn’t be able to change. Honestly, unless the players on the line have been on the ice a while, but, going offsides is their own fault, is it not? But,like the next rule, it could have an impact on the game negatively.

Faceoff In Own Zone After Offsides Is Called: Now this, I do not like, at all. This would encourage dump and chase hockey, which, just isn’t that good  to watch from a fan standpoint. I don’t see this rule making it very far at all, it will not see the light of day in the NHL.

Eliminate The Trapezoid: Yes, yes, and yes. Getting rid of the trapezoid behind the net has my approval. Goalies should be aloud to play the puck, there is no good reason this rule was ever implemented. Goalies doing a bit more work, I don’t see any defensemen who would have to chase the puck otherwise, that would argue against that. Let the goalies be free from the evil trapezoid!

Goal Line Camera: A brilliant idea I can’t believe they didn’t think of sooner! So many close calls, some right , some wrong . Now, if we can work on defining “kicking motions”, that would be another huge step forward. I would really like to see this implemented in the NHL. But I feel it might not be 100% fool proof depending on the camera’s position if say, the goalie was on top of the puck.

Here are some tidbits from around the NHL

Kris Draper (PHOTO: Getty Images)

– Kris Draper announced his retirement from the NHL. He is a 4 time Stanley Cup winner (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008. All with Detroit), as well as a 2004 Frank J. Selke Trophy winner. He totaled 364 points in his 19 year NHL career that spanned 1157 games. Also has 2 world junior gold, 1 world cup gold, 1 world championship gold and silver to his name with Team Canada. Congrats to him on a great career, and all the best to him in retirement!

– Nikolai Khabibulin is heading to the slammer after deciding to not appeal his 2010 DUI conviction. The lesson, being on injured reserve for a sore back, not the time to get wasted. On the bright side, 15 days is plenty of time  for him to start a prison yoga gang.

– Penguins signed Right Winger Jason Williams. A very good, underrated signing. He seems to always pop up when you need a goal, just don’t count on him all the time. He’s like Alex Kovalev…. without the huge price tag, stickhandling ability, and attitude.   (more…)

Enough with it. End the drama.

Is there a chance Stamkos doesn’t play for the Lightning next year? Surely, but it’s pretty small.  GM Steve Yzerman is trying to do everything in his power to keep Stamkos in Tampa.  Stamkos is the team’s biggest marketing tool, and the future of the franchise.  Trading (or letting Stamkos go) would be Stevie Y’s last resort, but there’s no rush at the moment.

Are teams like the Flyers, Maple Leafs, among other teams,  interested in adding Stamkos? Of course.  He’s one of the best players in the league, everyone’s going to have interest.  How much interest and whether they are willing to part with some pieces is a different story.

A lot of these types of rumors are started because the NHL offseason has hit a dead spot.  Everyone’s bored.  Fans are playing NHL11 and seeing how different players look in different uniforms.  Media members have written stories about “no new news” with the Stamkos negotiations and then fans begin speculating (despite the insistence of “no new news”).  Rumors start, such as that Stamkos “doesn’t want to play in Tampa”, even though no credible reports have said this.  Also, it has been denied over and over.  Yet the rumors persist.

So what do Lightning fans think?   (more…)