Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

Game Night 11/11: Lightning at Thrashers

OK, OK, is this finally rock bottom? TB-2 ATL-5 I would've preferred Gerald Coleman's debut had come under better circumstances. The Tampa Bay Lightning just blew a two goal lead and allowed themselves to be beaten by an ECHL level goaltender. That's the plain, unvarnished truth. I have no doubt that the word of closed door players only meetings is right around the corner. There needs to be a "come to Jesus" for this team. And it's clear to me that it is no longer Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor's ship to fix. They have fulfilled their charge to nurse a bunch of kids into an NHL contender and Stanley Cup champion. Those kids are all grown up, and those kids are the ones who now need to step up and take ownership of what is happening to this team. There are about $15 million dollars being tied up in three players on this team: Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards. We can talk about the unstable goaltending or the fact Darryl Sydor couldn't defend his way out of a wet paper sack right now, but that ignores the obvious. In all of these games where the Lightning knew going in they had a goaltender with flagging confidence or a wet behind the ears rookie between the pipes they still only managed to score a couple of goals against Atlanta, New York and Montreal. The timely goal scoring has simply not been there. Much of the reason for that is that the Tampa Bay Lightning simply have not made the commitment in moment-of-truth situations in this six game losing streak to make the hard, dirty play. To shoot the puck and crash the net. This team is still looking for answers in tic-tac-toe plays that never work when you're struggling instead of putting on their hard hat, grabbing their lunch pail and doing what it takes to get points in crunch time. It's time to start making that commitment again. It's time to start talking about accountability again. But the one's stepping up in those closed door meetings to talk about accountability need to be the $15M men. It's time to grow up. It's time the torch was passed. It's time that Vincent Lecavalier no longer leads the team in zeros and the end of his check but also he leads vocally in the dark times. And no, I'm not blaming Vinny or saying he's dogging it. Quite the contrary, he's one of the few players on this team playing decent hockey right now. But he can't just sit back anymore while Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor do all the heavy lifting in the locker room. Nor can Brad Richards. Nor can Martin St. Louis. This is their time, and if things are going to turn around they need to make this, unequivocally, their team. Right now. By the grace of God, this team plays in such an awful division 2 games under .500 can still find you in second place ahead of Florida. But that won't last forever. It's time to get back to work.

Game Night 11/10: Ranger at Lightning

Is this rock bottom? NYR-5 TB-2 I want to vomit. Need more analysis? OK, I want to projectile vomit. This team can't seem to buy a timely goal or save in the third period and now even bounces are going off the back of opposing players' necks and into the net. Sub-.500, terrible. You don't want to see the game sheet.

Lightning Recall Gerald Coleman

Jonathan Boutin may be staying put in Springfield for a little while after all... Goaltender Gerald Coleman [url=http://www.falconsahl.com/detpages/pressbox2811.shtml]has been recalled by the Tampa Bay Lightning.[/url] The netminder is 3-2 this season for the Falcons with a .895 save percentage and a 3.21 goals against average.

Game Night 10/8: Lightning at Canadiens

You've got a rookie goaltender in net... you've GOT to give him more than 2 goals of support. TB-2 MTL-3 On the one hand it's gratifying to see Ranger and Artyukhin be two of the best players for the Lightning tonight. On the other, it's frightening that they've been two of the best players for the Lightning both in Montreal and in Toronto. Shot totals were plenty lopsided at 34-19 in favor of the Lightning but scoring chances were pretty much even due to some thoughtless, sloppy play. Paul Ranger ended with an assist, a team leading +2, and 2 shots on goal in 15:39 of ice time. His final shift in the third period epitomized just how well he is playing at both ends of the rink, taking the body to win the puck on a Montreal dump in, keeping a puck in at the Montreal blueline for a shot on goal, then breaking up a 2-on-1 when Boyle was caught pinching to finish the shift off. Evgeny Artyukhin also had an assist and an impressive 5 hits in 17:35 of ice time. The entire rest of the team only had 6 hits combined. On the other side of the coin Nick Tarnasky only played 2 shifts tonight. 2. If that's all he's going to be used I believe the Lightning have an obligation to send him back to Springfield where he can actually play and develop. Brian Eklund stopped 16 of 19 shots faced in the loss. He was also beaten a handful of times and enjoyed the aid of the goalposts to save him. It was a rough spot to put Brian in for his premiere game and all told, he made enough saves to give the Lightning a chance at points. Again, with a rookie netminder in, just two goals is simply unacceptable in terms of support. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/ES020227.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

TSN: Eklund Starts Tonight

TSN.ca is reporting that Brian Eklund [url=http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?fid=10460&hubname=]will make his first NHL start tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.[/url] The former 2000 7th round pick was called up last week when Sean Burke strained his groin in a practice session and rumors abound that starter John Grahame may also be ailing, prompting this decision.
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