Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bolts Report at the Tampa Tribune,
Gang, I’m not one to work on spreading rumors or throwing stuff up against the wall until I hope something sticks. I don’t like to operate that way and to me it’s just a lot of hot air (or wasted print).
But I have to point this fact out tonight that Dallas had co-general manager Brett Hull and director of player personnel Dave Taylor in attendence at the game tonight. Not even completely sure they were there to scout the Lightning, but I can’t imagine they would come here just to scout a team in their own conference.
from the St. Petersburg Times,
“At some point, you have to be realistic,” he said. “If toward the end of February, if we haven’t made a dent in it and we’re still on the outside looking in and it’s an uphill climb, we have to make sure we don’t lose assets and get nothing in return.”
That was a reference to the team’s potential unrestricted free agents, the most high profile being left wing Vinny Prospal and defenseman Dan Boyle.
Feaster stressed, “That is not in the plans as we talk today.”
from Jay Feaster at the Hockey News,
The activity has already heated up as the phone calls have started to come more furiously since the roster freeze at Christmas. I think it’s the mere fact there’s a deadline, that there’s a date you have to get things done by if you’re going to do something. Also, at the midway point in the season you have to assess your team because the GM meeting is coming up in February, about two weeks before the trade deadline.
With the All-Star Game approaching, you can bet the managers have already started thinking about where they are. By the time the GM meeting comes, things will really start to heat up. It’s certainly a time when things start to crystallize a whole lot more.
from John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times,
The scores are no longer important. The standings mean even less.
For too long we have been lost in the day-to-day travails of the Lightning. Hoping, wishing and praying in something we probably understood was a lie. It is time, finally, to face the truth.
The Lightning is great no more. It is not even particularly good. And until the organization recognizes that and starts adjusting accordingly, this devotion to mediocrity will continue.
Update 12:29pm ET: From Erik Erlendsson at TBO.com,
Here’s a quick thought on my part - I know it’s not a great shock considering the way things have gone this year, but it’s time to bag the season, look to sell off and find some draft picks/prospects to get back in return for some players. I don’t mean any of the big three because I just don’t see that happening at this point, but there are certainly players that could provide a boost for a playoff team - such as Vinny Prospal, Filip Kuba and possibly even Dan Boyle should he return to form since he is in a contract year.
via Adam Proteau of the Hockey News,
Finally, a note to fans of the Lightning, Leafs, and Kings: It. Is. Over.
Miracles are never completely out of the question, but thanks to the NHL’s unbalanced schedule, there is virtually no possibility whatsoever Tampa Bay, Toronto or Los Angeles can leapfrog the five or six teams in front of them to secure a playoff berth. Let the firings and/or fire sales begin.
from the Tampa Tribune,
It would have been a fine night to start something, anything, especially after winning in New York on Tuesday, then grabbing the lead against Pittsburgh.
Instead, a Lightning team that was coming off a four-game road trip in which it scored three or more goals scored just one at the Forum on Thursday, despite 36 shots and a four-minute power play in the third period (six shots, one crossbar, no goals).
“We’re trying to build on anything,” St. Louis said.
The building is close to being condemned.
from Lightning Strikes,
Let’s look long term here for a second because in that case, it seems to me like an argument could be made that it might not be the worst thing in the world for the team to miss the playoffs. Yes, there would be some short-term pain. Ticket sales might slump, fans will scream, etc. But for a team that seems to be in a quasi-rebuilding mode anyway—a talented young goaltender and a young defense learning the ropes and growing together is not a bad thing either—the benefits might outweigh the pain.
I’m talking the draft here.
From Erik Erlendsson at The Tampa Tribune,
Hockey Web site Kukla’s Korner had a video link to a highlight of the goal with the description of “a great between-the-legs move” by Lecavalier.
Whatever anybody else wants to call the play, Lecavalier just calls it a bit of instinct combined with plenty of luck.
“I don’t really think about it ... I just kind of do it,” Lecavalier said of the play. “I knew I wanted to fake goaltender Ray Emery out, but for me, the worse thing is that after it happened, if I had missed it I would have been pretty mad at myself and I would have thought that I should have just shot the puck.
*thanks to The Tampa Tribune for the KK mention!
Great between-the-legs move by Lecavalier last night.
Watch the goal…
from the St. Peterburg Times,
The decline starts from the top and is more notable because rookie Karri Ramo has provided in his five starts goaltending that gave the team chances to win.
Richards, a league-worst minus-23, has zero goals in eight games and one in 11. St. Louis has two goals in eight games.
Lecavalier, who leads the league with 56 points, has six shots in his past three games and is minus-3 since Dec. 1.
Since scoring 12 goals in his first 18 games, Prospal has just five in 22.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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