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The Tampa Bay Lightning Face Elimination On Tuesday. Why?

from Joe Smith of The Athletic,

It’s not a fluke. The Lightning didn’t run into a hot goalie. They’ve been getting outworked and out-executed. And stunningly enough, the veteran-laden group that has played in 83 playoff games the past four years is cracking under the pressure while the Columbus team without a playoff series win has shown a steely resolve.

“They are getting their asses kicked on every square inch of the ice,” said former NHL GM Craig Button, now an analyst for TSN. “(Columbus) is in their faces and is doing exactly what you do in the playoffs — respect your opponent but show them no mercy. (The series) is over IMO.

more (paid)

from John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times,

Two games into the 2019 playoffs, the presumed MVP of the league was scoreless and minus-2. He was also suspended for Game 3 for hitting a defenseless player. And, after Sunday’s morning skate, he declined to say much about any of this.

Call it the Kucherov Hat Trick.

This is not a good look for a player in search of a legacy. He was sitting alone in a locker room Sunday morning because the rest of the team had already headed back to the hotel to rest up before a game he wouldn’t play in. And he was smugly deflecting most inquiries by saying “no comment’’ or “next question.’’...

There is some degree of cherry picking to single out the worst games of a superstar’s career but, more than any other league, the NHL defines its game by the postseason. And when Tampa Bay has needed him most, Kucherov has been more forgettable than memorable.

And to compound it, he seems to think he owes no explanation.

This isn’t about whether Kucherov is friendly with the media. This is about being accountable. This is about earning your $5.5 million salary. This is about being an adult.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nikita+kucherov


Hootinani's avatar

Every shift you see hits and scrums along the boards, and in most instances they end with a Tampa player laying on the ice.  They are getting pounded into submission.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 04/15/19 at 08:54 AM ET


And this is without McQuaid who showed he could play tough but disciplined enough Cup winning hockey.

Foligno and Anderson for example have been so disciplined.

No way either gets pulled into a pointless penalty.

Boone Jenner too. Not a star player but you see why he’s Foligno’s deputy.
He plays a hard, smart, grinding game all over the ice. If he takes the worst of a hit he movess on to the next play. The 4-1 goal in game two is telling: he outhustles Sergachev to the puck just inside the Bolts zone when the latter is closer and easily outworks him and centers the puck that puts away the game.

People tho

Posted by lefty.30 on 04/15/19 at 09:11 AM ET


...ugt Tortorella was washed up after Vancouver.
But he’s a smart guy and has matured and adjusted to the new NHL.
He’s still a good leader, tactician and motivator.

I’m wowed by how consistently engaged, smart, structured, competitive and well disciplined this team is.

They are sneakily deep and hard to matchup with at forward.
It’s worth repeating: Oliver Bjorkstrand scored nine goals in the last ten game down the stretch.

But their 3,5,6 D if all were healthy are injured. And they keep cruising.


Posted by lefty.30 on 04/15/19 at 09:18 AM ET


That won’t be the same team next year, though. Without Panarin and Bobrovsky, possibly without Duschene and Dzingle,

Posted by teldar on 04/15/19 at 09:29 AM ET


Posted by teldar on 04/15/19 at 09:29 AM ET

Or possibly with all four of them. Or possibly they’ll all visit Columbus for the banner raising ceremony. Or possibly Tampa will storm back to win the series…and the Cup. Who knows at this point?

Posted by Son of a Blash on 04/15/19 at 10:14 AM ET


Time for Jon Cooper to show what kind of coach he really is. Can he adjust, get his guys playing the right way and motivate them to torch Torts’s team? If the Lightning go down in 4 I would be surprised if he still had the job come September.

Posted by Iggy_Rules_JR on 04/15/19 at 11:15 AM ET


Well. Cooper has coached them to nearly the best record during the regular season? Is some of their play not on the players? At some point, the players need to step up, perfect example is the Kucherov ordeal.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 04/15/19 at 11:26 AM ET


Things could have really gone sideways. I don’t know a GM who can realistically get full value for Panarin let alone anything close for Bob when he has a full NTC.
Remember Bob was healthy scratched for leaving the bench and showering early.

Maybe you can’t keep one let along two guys in their prime from half a world away who have the chance of insane paydays to choose any big cosmopolitan coastal city.

It’s looking like genius that Kekalainen decided to embrace the opportunity.
Realistically both Russian natives leave. Doesn’t mean you can’t embrace what they offer and the two as teammates and win as many as you can together. Notice there is nothing petty about Nick Foligno. Sneaky good captain. Maybe Dzingel resigns for the right place since he played for OSU.
In goal you get Merlikens and Korippsalo. Texier might eventually replace some of Panrin’s offense.

Either way there is plenty of cap room and a still young core.


Posted by lefty.30 on 04/15/19 at 11:39 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Plus CBJ can always trade the negotiating rights for the two and at least get something in return.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 04/15/19 at 11:41 AM ET


Time for Jon Cooper to show what kind of coach he really is. Can he adjust, get his guys playing the right way and motivate them to torch Torts’s team? If the Lightning go down in 4 I would be surprised if he still had the job come September.

They just signed Cooper to an extension so that seems highly unlikely.

Posted by evileye on 04/15/19 at 12:26 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Maybe, again just maybe, the next coming of GMs put together an incredible regular season team that is not built for the playoffs? 

Maybe, again just slight change, the trades the GM was lauded for pulling off, didn’t work, weren’t what this team really needed? 

Maybe, again just speculation really, the free agents brought in, and those let go, were the wrong choices? 

Maybe, and we’re just spitballin, the stars he signed to those rich long term deals that everyone celebrated weren’t guys who can get it done? 

Maybe, just a bit of banter between us girls, that same GM should’ve traded the young goalie and kept Bishop?

Maybe, and I dare to suggest it but, maybe the coach the GM picked isn’t the guy fans of other teams envied, and he’s not a leader that can push an already talented team over the edge? 

And maybe Tampa will come back and win this series in a storybook fashion.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 04/15/19 at 02:47 PM ET


Maybe, again just maybe, the next coming of GMs put together an incredible regular season team that is not built for the playoffs?

Yeah, that’s definitely it. The GM didn’t put together a team build for the playoffs.

Nevermind the whole “made it to the finals once and the conference finals twice in the last four years”, this must be a team that wasn’t built for the playoffs.

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 04/15/19 at 03:37 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

Columbus went all in at the trade dead line and it paid off this far. They are not your typical number 8 seed.

It will be tough to comeback from three games down to win four against the Bluejackets. Possible yes, not probable.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 04/15/19 at 03:37 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I was a huge TB fan years ago when the Wings were in the West.  I’ve been less a TB fan over the years, but still liked to see them do well.  I like the way Stamkos carries himself.

But I’ve changed.  Now I want to see them lose.  I don’t care if it’s the BJ’s who make it happen or if it’s the Leafs.  I want to see them gone.

Posted by TreKronor on 04/15/19 at 03:53 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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