Posts Tagged ‘Lightning’

-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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In this roundtable, Realdeal, Cujo and Joey discuss many topics on the NHL’s offseason.

RD: So who did the best this offseason?

Cujo: I would say the CBJ but that would be very homerish of me.

Joey: I like what CBJ did, Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski fit two points of weakness.

Cujo: They got the #1 center they have always wanted, that was the biggest piece it has taken 11 years to get.

RD: They also got the top pair d-man they desperately needed.

Cujo: But you cannot rule out what LA has done this offseason.

RD: They got that #2 center that they needed, even if they gave up the best prospect in hockey.

Joey: Washington had a solid offseason. Beyond just additions but the picks they got for Seymon Varlamov were huge.

RD: I really like Washington’s moves; they got some sandpaper.

Cujo: And Tomas Vokoun cannot forget him, a solid net minder.

Joey: Yeah when I heard Vokoun signed in Washington I hung my head and said ‘oh crap’.

RD: I think people are sleeping on the effect Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer will bring.

Joey: I really think Brouwer was a good pick up, I am a little on the fence on Ward just wondering if he is riding off a playoff showing.

RD: He’s overpaid but he’ll be a solid 2nd/3rd line producer.

Joey: Speaking of overpaid is Brooks Laich worth all that money? I think time will tell on that one.

Cujo: You’ve got to pay for potential, but he nearly had his 3rd straight 50 point season. He missed it by 2 points.

RD: Is he going to get much better? I think 50-55 points is what we’re looking at.

RD: So who’s a team whose moves were puzzling or needed to do more? I’m kind of curious to see how San Jose’s plan works out.

Cujo: I think San Jose thinks they have most of the pieces they need to make a big run at the Cup.

Joey: Buffalo giving 10 years to Christian Ehrhoff, someone who has never played a game in Buffalo?

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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…)

Some quick hits from the first two days of free agency:

-The Brad Richards saga is finally over, as he chose to sign with the New York Rangers for 9 years (and $60 million).  According to reports, he turned down more money from other teams (Calgary, Los Angeles and Toronto).  The Rangers have themselves a big money center to play with Marian Gaborik now.  They also added tough guy Mike Rupp from the rival Penguins.

-Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they added Tim Connolly for two years.  Connolly has averaged .83 points per game since the lockout, but has only played in 302 games in that time.  When healthy, he can form a nice duo with Phil Kessel, but how many games he plays is the question.

-Not going to go into much about the Flyers, who were very active on Day 1, as this post sums it up pretty well.

-The Panthers were also very active, adding over $31 million in salary for 2011-12 in the since the draft.  This includes over $21 million to 6 players in free agency the last two days.  They aren’t done yet, as the team is still $1 million under the salary cap floor. (more…)