NHL Game Night 12/18: Lightning at Thrashers

Call up Ramo. It's time. Hell, it's past time.

TB-2
ATL-6

Johan Holmqvist allowed 3 goals on 9 shots for the loss before giving way to Marc Denis who allowed 3 goals on 15 shots the rest of the way.

Look, I understand there was a business decision that had to be made at the start of this season that precluded Karri Ramo making this team over Marc Denis. However, this team is collapsing under the weight of putrid goaltending and the resulting lack in confidence and morale that comes from it. This team is playing joyless hockey. There is no swagger, and the reason is simple: this team has to work hard right now to generate scoring chances and score goals and nothing saps a team of its juice more quickly than pouring on the effort to generate 4 or 5 good scoring chances only to have the other team come down on a relatively harmless play and pop in a soft goal. That happened tonight, and it's been happening all season and now it's finally coming to a head.

12/10: Lightning-1 at Leafs-6
Holmqvist 4/22 (L)
Denis 2/7

12/13: Flames-9 at Lightning-6
Holmqvist 4/6
Denis 4/25 (L)

12/18: Lightning-2 at Thrashers-6
Holmqvist 3/9 (L)
Denis 3/15

That isn't in the span of a season, or even in the span of a month. That's in the span of 8 days, and you can spread some blame around to the defense and to turnovers by the forwards, but ultimately common sense says you have to look at your goaltending when you allow 6 or more goals in 3 of the last 4 games. It wouldn't be so bad if teams were simply abusing Holmer high glove side like has been prone to happen over the last couple of seasons. It wouldn't be so bad if teams were simply abusing Denis and his slow feet by making plays moving the puck east to west for one time shots. Those are goals that the defense can at least do something to try to prevent. No, what you saw tonight on the Recchi and Thorburn goals where pucks going through Holmer and Denis, and those are the kind of goals that are inexcusable on this level of hockey.

Now, rather than trading anything that's not nailed down there is a simple move that ought to be made immediately to try and staunch the bleeding. You see, there are folks like me (and I suspect at least one or two people in the organization too) who honestly believe the best goaltender in the organization is playing in Norfolk. Call up Karri Ramo. Call him up because he won't allow pucks to go through him. Call him up because his unflappable swagger might just be contagious. Call him up and see what happens when the team realizes they aren't entering every game spotting the other side (at least) one goal. Call him up because at this stage of the game you just don't have a choice.

October was the time for business decisions. Fine. It's December, the team is 3 games under .500 and tied for second to last in the conference. Now is the time for a hockey decision. Business be damned.

Call. Up. Ramo.

It's time.

Box score from NHL.com.

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call up ramo

Well, apparently some of the Tampa sportswriters have plagarized, er agree with the Ramo sentiment.

It's All Good

Nah, it's not plagiarizing, it's just accepting the obvious. There is no other choice right now.

Maybe give him one more start tomorrow for Norfolk and then make the call.

I'm going to be proud when he finally gets that first start.

Ramo

With the Roster freeze they have to call up Ramo by 11:59 pm tommorrow (25.29 hours from now). He's to hoping.

what about the coach?

Goaltending is an extremely important position, almost as important as team spirit. In the past 5 years, I must say this is the most uninspired Lightning team (especially in the past 2 weeks) that I have ever witnessed... And Ramsey is not there to bail him out. This team does not want to play for that coach. Player changes will not change this underlying problem.

Last resort

With a coach that's been there this long, that's a last resort. From what I've heard behind closed doors about the players, they're still in favor of Torts.

You try what you can with the GT and wherever else, and if all else fails, then maybe you make that move.

Feaster doesn't play into the "fire the coach for a spark" you get around professional sports. His legacy will be being the anti-Dudley.

That said, Torts is being closer to being let go than he ever has. But there still could be a while to go.

If we had 1/2 of the GMs in the league running the Lightning, Torts would probably be gone. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing.

IMO, in addition to Ramo (who's coming in with a ton of pressure on his young shoulders - maybe too much), you also use the upcoming off-days to tweak the system to a more defensive approach.

Torts' system works great when it's clicking, but as he said last night, the line between success and failure with this system is very small. There's no middle ground. And with this young D and the newbies up front, it's just not clicking with any kind of consistency.

So, to review, IMO you :

1. Bring up Ramo/Address GT
2. Tweak the system
3. Look at coaching changes, but starting with the GT coach.

With the ownership in limbo, though, I don't think you'll see anything drastic.

Ramo!!!!!!!????????

An early Merry Christmas and

An early Merry Christmas and a Happy Ramo-dan to you all.

Every time I see Denis I swear it will be the last time ever in a Lightning uniform. Every time I have been proven wrong a few days later. Let's see what kind of spark this brings to the rest of the club.

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