With the passing of August, the summer is on its decline, and hockey season is almost here in North America. But, in Europe, preseason games are already being played and the regular season is set to begin next week. On Thursday, slick scoring prospect Nikita Kucherov and CSKA will square off against perennial league power Magnitogorsk in their season opener in the Russian KHL. A week later, on 9/15, action starts in the Finnish SM-liiga where Riku Helenius and JYP will open against KalPa. That day also marks the start of the Swedish Elitserien where Johan Harju and Lulea will face Vaxjo.
We're well into the offseason now, with the draft and free agent frenzy behind us. While some teams will make various tweaks and possible additions before training camp begins in two months, the cores of the division's rosters are set.
I looked at the updated depth charts on Forecaster.ca today to see how the division is looking, and how the competition stacks up for against Lightning. While these are not the exact lines for the respective clubs, they give you a pretty good idea of the structure of each teams. Again, these are not exact lines, but the depth charts as Forecaster lists them.
Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on their victory in Game 7 tonight. I didn't think the Bruins had much of a chance going into this season and, on paper, their victory certainly seemed an impossibility once they lost one of their top line forwards, Nathan Horton, to injury for the series. But, games aren't played on paper, and the Bruins were able to get the Canucks so far out of their character that by the end of the series the Canucks looked like a shadow of the team that won the President's Trophy.
As a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, it makes the 1-0 Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference Finals sting that much more. I'll probably go to my grave believing that with one more day's worth of rest the Lightning would've had enough in the tank to take the Bruins out. And, to see how poorly Vancouver played in this series, it's hard not to think the Lightning might very well have been the team lifting the Stanley Cup at the end of this series had they just had the chance to play for it. It's a thought that hurts badly, but it's also a thought that makes me anxious for next season and I suspect will motivate the Lightning's players returning for next year to know it was that close and to take care of the business that was left unfinished.
The only other player even close to as underrated in Lightning history is probably Jassen Cullimore, in my humble opinion.
The Boston Bruins have reportedly removed their signs directed at Lightning fans, something we at Bolt Prospects never wanted to happen. If you believe in them, leave them. And we definitely think attacking the B's marketing department was not the best response.
Did we find the ones going after fans specifically offensive? Sure. Mostly because Lightning fans are tired of biases against ALL southern market teams and the myth that there are no fans in Tampa. We're not the Panthers. Check the stats, check the records, check out the fact the Lightning were a mere two spots behind Boston in average attendance this year (Boston was 16th - it's not our problem they play in a Lil' Tykes Funhouse). At any rate, here's one of the BP Forum's responses to their "Bigfoot. Loch Ness Monster. Lightning Fans." sign.
This photo was taken during the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, in Game 7, a game the Lightning won 2-1 to claim the Stanley Cup. We'll provide a link here for fans of some teams that haven't seen one in a couple generations: Missing in Boston
If you have anything in response to the Bruin's signs, please post in our forum. The best ones will be moved to the front page.