March 18, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo (6) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Tampa Times Forum.Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Season's Not Over Yet: Why We Should Still Care

This has been an interesting season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, to say the least. It’s caused division amongst fans, and has raised questions about the ability of the leadership of the team. It’s been a bumpy, roller coaster ride. But we’ve all made it through together. Well, those of us who weren’t fired or traded or quit being a fan because of the team not playing up to standard. Let me rephrase. Those of us who have stuck with the team, which is most of us as Bolt Nation is truly an amazing fan base, and the main of the team has made it through with some new faces for next year.

Sure, the team is now officially eliminated from playoff contention and they just can’t seem to play steadily to pull off at least two wins in a row. But that doesn’t mean that we stop watching. That doesn’t mean that we give up. Why should we spend our time watching? Because the future of the team is out there on the ice, battling it out, getting set so they can be better and stronger next season. Because they are still playing. They haven’t given up. Why should we?

Right now we are seeing Jon Cooper form his team, so that when they regroup in October, he will already have a handle on them and not have to start from scratch. Of course it isn’t going to be exactly the same team. Some of the guys skating right now will not be in a Lightning uniform come next season. There needs to be some changes in the area of defense. I’ve already given my thoughts on the goaltending coach, so I won’t go there. They have the tools that they need for great goaltending, they just need good leadership to show them the way. They have the tools for great offense. We can’t say that the team is in the predicament that they are in because of lack of scoring. They have two of the top goal scorers in the league with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Now if the other forwards can quit being injured for half the season, that would help.

Defense is the main area lacking right now. They invested in Sami Salo and Matt Carle. The younger lines of Radko Gudas and Pierre-Cedric Labrie, or as we like to call them, the Nacho Cheese line, is showing much better defense. They give out hits with out a care. They take hits with no fear. They just need to work on their blue line skills. Turnovers is the biggest problem that I can see right now.

The forwards, the defensemen, all of them. They all have problems with puck possession, and keeping the puck. They have gotten better at the pass pass pass pass take-a-wide-shot pass pass game that plagued them earlier in the season. The are passing less and shooting more, which is great, because the passing is choppy at best.

The keys that they need to work on during the final five games of the season are passing and defense. We need to let them see that we have not abandoned the team just because they are not bringing the Cup home this year. If WE give up, why shouldn’t THEY? That would be no way to come back in the Fall, with heads hung low. No. I feel that they will keep trying, so at the very least, they can end the season on a good note. They can relax and enjoy their offseason, working hard to stay in shape of course, and come back in the Fall with heads held high and ready for a fresh start. Knowing that they didn’t give up in the end of this dismal season, they will have integrity and the class that they are so well known for. Let’s keep it classy ourselves.

Dolly Dolce

Tags: Tampa Bay Lightning

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