Pete Choquette's blog
In my last commentary I took on Hockey's Future's ludicrous organizational rankings. Deservedly, Hockey's Future showed the apropriate amount of shame for the pointed criticism they received for having the audacity to claim legitimacy in their rankings even though they had not updated their Lightning rankings in half a year, had not had an article up on their site about the Lightning in over two months and did not even have a full time writer dedicated to the Lightning. True, they STILL don't have a full time writer covering the team but they at least made an attempt to provide content on their site putting up a cookie cutter story regurgitating the Lightning CHL prospects' statistics. I say cookie cutter because this is the exact same assignment that was given to all 30 teams and it involves nearly zero in the way of cogent, thoughful analysis to cut and paste a players' statistics. Still, given two months of complete journalistic neglect (if we use the loosest definition of journalism to allow for what Hockey's Future has become over the past couple of years) it was at least something.
And then today, much to the shock and surprise of the Lightning fan base, Hockey's Future finally released their top-20 rankings for the Tampa Bay Lightning, albeit months later than most other teams. Unfortunately, this badly cobbled attempt at fulfilling the most bare minimum of their obligations as a hockey site claiming to cover the prospects of every team fell so far short that even the poor fellow who was told to post the article under his name went onto HFboards to apologize to Lightning fans before his apology was pulled. I do not know whether he himself made the decision or if Hockey's Future management, ever more sensitive to the criticism that they're really and truly hacks with no qualifications or business critiquing the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospects, pulled the post. I do, however, know these rankings are awful.
Riddle me this Hockey's Future, how the hell can you have a defenseman who was just demoted to the ECHL ranked as the best prospect in the Lightning organization while Paul Ranger, who is in the NHL averaging 15 minutes of ice time a night with a very respectable +1 rating sits at 9th? Better yet, maybe you can explain to your readers why Nick Tarnasky, who also is in the NHL today is only the 19th best prospect in the organization? It boggles the mind.
I'm still a little sore about this losing streak we're on. Not even Jonathan Boutin's nearly ridiculous 50 save performance or Vasily Koshechkin's 6 shuouts in his last 9 games is fully cheering me up. Last time I felt low, Radek Smolenak's Gordie Howe hat trick picked me up.
Tonight I'm going to the QMJHL for winger Stanislav Lascek who tonight had 1G 4A and earned the game's first star in a 5-2 victory over the Brad Richards owned PEI Rocket (sorry Brad). Stan now has 16 goals and 43 points in 20 games. Get ready Springfield. He's a Falcon next season.
By now you might've seen the laughable hack job committed by Hockey's Future on the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospect system in their Fall Organizational Rankings. As if trying to outdo their previous display of shear ignorance, HF has moved the Lightning down from 29th to 30th despite the fact the Lightning organization's prospects, which they largely ignore, are performing better this year than at any time since the goldmine year of 1999-2000 when Brad Richards, Dimitry Afanasenkov and Sheldon Keefe were in their last year of junior.
What I find extremely laughable is that an organization that hasn't published an article on the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospects in over two months, and which still hasn't updated their top-20 prospects for the Lightning because they lack anyone competent enough to do the job, actually has the chutzpah to claim any legitimacy in their critique. This is a group which does not even have a writer for the Lightning at the moment. How can they be so irresponsible as to publish organizational rankings like this when they have so clearly ignored the Tampa Bay Lightning for the past year?
Coach Tortorella went on a poigniant profanity laced tirade tonight after the game with the best of his vitriol aimed towards Eric Boulton and his cheap shot elbow on young Paul Ranger.
"The . . . guy should be playing in the . . . East Coast Hockey League, but instead he takes out a . . . NHLer," Tortorella said. "He'll be suspended, but who . . . cares? No one wants to see him on the ice anyway."
Eric Boulton may have gotten away with his disgusting act of cowardice tonight by the grace of the officials ushering him out of the building quicker than Colonel Parker got Elvis off the stage in Vegas back-in-the-day, but sans a reprieve from Hartley in the form of a scratch or the league in the form of a well intentioned but ill timed suspension Boulton will have to face retribution Saturday October 29th. Circle it on your calendar Eric Boulton.
And if I may suggest to tool of Eric Boulton's execution. I'd tell Fritzy to put him in the morgue.
If you're looking for a silver lining tonight after the disgraceful effort against the Panthers, and you're looking to the junior ranks to deliver it, Radek Smolenak has you covered with the Gordie Howe hat trick in Kingston's 7-2 pole axing of Brampton. The 2005 third round draft choice now has 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points and 19 PIMs in 7 games for the Frontenacs. He has managed a point in each of his last 6 games.