NHL.com has been doing a series called 30 In 30, where they preview each team in the league. Yesterday was the Tampa Bay Lightning’s turn. Let’s do a quick review of what they had to say:
There are several different articles compiled to make the series. Of course it starts off by bringing up the fact of the amazing 2010-2011 season, and they say basically that last season was horrible. They blame it on injuries, lack of goaltending, and they blame the defensive problems on Ohlund being out for the entire season.
The most mentioned name was Anders Lindback, saying that he might be be solution, however, he doesn’t have impressive numbers. They bring up the fact that head coach Guy Boucher switches up forward lines on a shift by shift basis. They say that what the Lightning needs is to do is fill certain areas in training camp. They say that Cory Conacher has to prove that he’s like Marty St. Louis. Um…… really? While Marty’s awesome and all, let’s let Cory prove that he’s Cory. He blew everyone away at camp this year and didn’t cease to amaze and dazzle us throughout the Norfolk season. Anders Lindback will have to fight Garon for the No. 1 spot, but they say that Tikarski might have something to say about it and put a fight in himself. (I’m sorry, Tik was amazing during the Norfolk playoffs, however, I don’t see that happening in the NHL. At least not yet.)
In talking about goaltending, they said “It’s no wonder he (Yzerman) decided to begin upgrading his club from the goal cage out.” (Duh, here’s your sign, genius!)
They’re looking at Victor Hedman to become the foundation of the defense, especially after that shiny new 5 year contract, but they couldn’t help but bring up the fact that he missed 13 games with a concussion and 8 others at various times due to an upper body injury last season alone.
NHL brought up more than once how team captain Vincent Lecavalier is confident that they’ll rebound. (Yeah, like he’s really going to say ‘well… ya know, it’s hopeless, but we get paid to skate around and play so we might as well make the best of it.’) Vinny’s a fighter and he will lead this team back to victory.
They asked the question if Marty has another 70 point season in him. Absolutely! They brought up the fact that even though he’s 36 years old, he ranked 2nd in the league in ice time among forwards with 22.37, extended the franchise record for the most consecutive seasons with at least 70 points (6), was ranked 1st on the team with 49 assists, 2nd in both goals (25) and points (74), and that he saw his consecutive game streak of 499 snapped when he was injured during a practice.
They say that Steve Stamkos has room to improve. With his 60 goals last season, he scored nearly 26% of the team’s offense and becoming the 20th player in history to do so. He finished 2nd in points with 97, a career high. (So far.) He’s lead the league in game-winning goals with 12 and set a new NHL record of 5 in overtime. He played all 82 games for the third season in a row.
NHL brought up the point that Yzerman is looking to build up the defense with young players, and that Ohlund might not return. (They said this more than once.) Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman are to be looked up to for guidance and spirited play. Mark Barberio might very well be a key to this new, young defense.
They summed up Vladdy’s season and says that he stands a chance of making the roster.
They said that Connolly could improve. (Gawd, I hope so.)
Here is how they broke down the top 10 prospects:
1. Andrey Vasilevskiy
2. Slater Koekoek
3. J.T. Brown
4. Cory Conacher
5. Vladislav Namestnikov
6. Alex Killhorn
7. Mark Barberio
8. Richard Panik
9. Nikita Kucherov
10. Tyler Johnson
While Tyler Johnson did great, I don’t see him as NHL ready yet. Cory Conacher, J.T. Brown, and Mark Barberio had better make it. …And what happened to Radko Gudas?
They noted that Guy Boucher said the success of the previous season may have placed unrealistic expectations on 2011-2012. (Ya think?) The Bolts lost 321 man-games due to injury including key losses on numerous times. They talked about the new signings, which I will cover in my season preview, should we have one.
They did update that Marc-Andre Bergeron has recovered well from his back surgery and should be on the ice for training camp. No word on Ohlund. (I hate to say it, but I think we all know the answer to that one.)
They weren’t negative about the team, which honestly surprises me. They did fail to mention, however, the grit that they had during those injured 321 man-games, and how the team kept fighting. They also failed to bring up that despite the fact that so much went wrong, they still set a franchise record for home games. That wasn’t brought up in the media in general much at all. I wouldn’t have realized it if Guy Boucher himself hadn’t of told us.
Should there be a 2011-2012 season, it will be an interesting one to say the least. I think it will be much, much better! I just wish that Bruno Gervais wasn’t skating around in orange.
Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning