Sunday, April 26, 2009
The first game against Belarus, our boy Stamkos got 2 goals and was named player of the game. St. Louis played with Stamkos and got an assist.
In the Canada/Hungary game, the final score ended up being 9-0, Martin St. Louis got a hat trick in and an assist. Nice to see the enthusiasm of the Hungarian fans at the game, non-stop cheering and singing.
For Finland, Karri Ramo's team got a win, 5-0 over Norway on Saturday in Group B. Ramo isn't the starting goalie, but is instead backing up Pekka Rinne.
Martins Karsums playing for Latvia, lost to the USA 4-2.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
"We had discussions with Tampa Bay, we had an agreement with them that I got a call early in January with a list of names from their team that they wanted to talk about, and those players ended up public because they used those names to take them to other teams to see if they could create a different trade for Vincent Lecavalier," Gainey said at his end-of-season news conference. "I think it was disgraceful that Josh Gorges and Tomas Plekanec and Chris Higgins have to read that stuff."
-Sean Gordon from the Globe and Mail
I know that Gainey is just trying to come up with excuses for his hockey team's embarrassing 100th year, but it's interesting to see that he decided to come out with this to the media.
Monday, April 20, 2009
If you don't want to listen here's the basics: Oren
1.was surprised that he couldn't put together a great team even though he spent a lot of money
2. ripped into the Canadian media
3. ripped into bloggers and their 'opinions'. Example:
-“I think blogs, have really …given credence to that. All of a sudden if someone writes something on a blog, you know, someone that pays $29 for an Internet connection, and all of a sudden people now quote somebody that’s in the blog
-People say something about me, you know, or about our organization, even big time mediums, I always say the same thing. Did they call me? My phone didn’t ring.
John at Raw Charge posted this rebuttal. It's well written and I can agree with what he says.
For myself, I would like to explain the reason I started blogging about the Lightning. I have been a quiet Lightning fan for a number of years, which let me tell you is actually quite hard to do when you don't live in Tampa. It has always been hard for me to find out information on a team and have had to rely on various websites for my information. The Lightning website has been, well lacking in comparison to other NHL team websites. The media coverage of the Lightning has been minimal as hockey just isn't getting huge coverage in the local area, though I do owe their beat writers a lot of credit for covering the team as well as they can. The bloggers (fans) who did write about the Lightning added to the information I was looking for. After attending a game this year against the Lightning in Vancouver, where I wore the away jersey, I decided to start writing about the team. It was because of the lack of information about the Lightning that I decided to write about them.
Mr. Koules talks about how so much of this year has been blown out of proportion from the Canadian media and what they have said about the Lightning organization. I live in Vancouver, Canada, so I am regularly exposed to the Canadian media. I would like to point out that the Canadian media are just doing their jobs. In Vancouver, hockey is our dominant sport (we do follow cfl football and soccer in the off season). If you turn on the local sports talk radio station, they talk hockey hockey hockey. From 6am in the morning till 7pm (when the game gets aired) and then finishing off with a post-game show till 11pm, well it's all hockey. If you like another sport, you might want to go live somewhere else. So Mr. Koule's, the Canadian media do a great job of digging up stories. Yes they may blow it out of proportion sometimes, but it's their job. It is because people want to read/listen/watch about it, that's reason they do it. If there was no demand for it, the newspapers would shuts down (ie. Colorado), reduce staff or make reporters take furloughs (ie San Jose).
The trade rumours of Vinny Lecavalier started because the management group tried to shop him. I don't blame you for trying to see what you could get, but when the package offered by Montreal/requested by Tampa was printed, the Tampa organization seemed to downplay it as just a 'rumour'. I know I heard that more than one team was interested in that trade, but with Lecavalier being Montreal born, it was the Vinny to Montreal headlines that really took off. The 'rumours' would not have persisted so long if there wasn't some basis to them.
From what I have written so far on The Hockey Bay, I feel that I have been very fair to the Lightning organization. I have tried to provide the same type of information to other fans that I look for. There will always be a blogger out there that will take his/her opinion to the extreme but I feel those are in the minority.
Some other organizations have welcomed blogger's as "alternative media" into their marketing game plans. Bloggers in Washington have been granted full-season press credentials to the Capitals. Some bloggers for the Canucks get their stories featured on the frontpage of Canucks.com or have been used in the marketing to fans during in game stories, allowed interviews with Canucks staff or on bus/billboard ads.
Do you not realize that blogs are free publicity for the Lightning? I write this for free. I write this blog because I like the team. I am a fan. I would much rather be writing stories about the Lightning's playoff success rather than writing about what's going on in the off season. And as for no one contacting Mr. Koules, well hate to break it to you, but I have no way of doing that. MY e-mail, on the other hand, is on the right side of this blog and I would be more than welcome to any ideas of how blogs can be a help to the marketing of the team. Blogs are just a voice of the fans, and people that read them are fans of the team.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Yes you read that right. The Globe and Mail printed today:
VANCOUVER -- Len Barrie, co-owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, wants a hands-on role next season running one of the worst teams in hockey - as soon as he can sell a major real estate development in British Columbia.
"I'd like to have more of an involvement on the day-to-day stuff [in Tampa]. You can only do so many things."
This may be one of my worst fears for the team realized. I cannot see how more of Len Barrie will help the Lightning. I am just at a loss for words.
-April 18 2009
So I've given this a little bit more thought. There's one part of the Globe & Mail article that I find amusing:
'Barrie is president of the NHL team. A Tampa newspaper this month said he's mostly been invisible and hasn't been in town much, and was silent as the storm raged - but he has been known to micromanage from a distance and get closely involved when he's been in Tampa.' -The Globe and Mail
As fans we knew that Len Barrie was micromanaging the team for a while. Everytime there was a new trade, you knew they were coming from owenership rather than the GM. I've always felt that most of the moves was more of Len Barrie than Oren Koules. I have nothing to support that idea, but it's just a gut feeling. From what I have seen so far, I'm not optimistic about him having more control. As far as I'm concerned, and owner owns a team. He should hire the best people to run the team. Owners are not the person who should react hastily to the team's progress or decisions. Owner's HIRE Gereral Manager's. When owners step in, as a fan, and try to be an armchair GM, the team is doomed to fail. You hired a GM, his name is Brian Lawton. If you do not trust for him to take the team in the right direction, find another GM!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I didn't catch the whole TSN playoff preview, but I did catch Maggie the Monkey's last appearance making her picks.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The 2009 NHL Draft Lottery will occur tomorrow. Last year TSN was able to stretch the event into a 2 hour long show, which included their playoff preview with Maggie the Monkey (who is retired this year). For those of you in the US, who don't get TSN, I am always amazed how TSN can turn a non-event like the lottery into a special that people actually watch. This year, US fans can catch the TSN broadcast by streaming it on the TSN website, the NHL.com website, or on Versus at 5pm PT/8pm ET.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
So after giving it much thought, through process of elimination, I'm throwing this blog's support behind the Pens. I'm not attempting to bandwagon jump another team's success, but just rather make the next few weeks of the playoffs a little more interesting.
There's not a whole lot to say about this game, it was just another loss to close out the season. On a rare occurence this season, Tampa actually had more shots on net than Atlanta (36 v 26), though clearly didn't capitalize on them like Altanta did.
This is it Lightning fans. The last game of the season.
It's warm outside (well yesterday was where I live), and what that means is playoff season. It's too bad the team wasn't better this year. Such high hopes we had going into the season, only to have them slowly crumble. Many things can be blamed for this season, and believe me, I have cursed management for all of them.
The Thrashers are also out of it, so this game is just a friendly. The only thing we can lose now is a possible draft pick order.
-McKenna is supposed to start today on his birthday
After this game,
-I will continue to follow the different Lightning players at the IIHF World Championships
-The Hockey Bay will also adopt a playoff team
-Will look forward to the 2009 Entry Level Draft on Tuesday
-Will hope our circus (management) trades/signs/resigns a better team
-Will look forward to next season
Thursday, April 9, 2009
San Jose Sharks - Good team that dominated the regular season this year. Their home ice record is just scary 32-4-4. All their players are getting healthy at just the right time. Downside? Perennial playoff underachiever.
Boston Bruins- Dominated the East. Had a huge losing streak towards the end, but had enough points that no one could catch them. They have Lucic, who is a beast. And Tim Thomas. Also, ex-Lightning Recchi is on the team. Downside? They have Thomas and they traded away Joe Thornton...you can never get away from that.
Columbus Blue Jackets - First time in the playoffs. Ever. They have Steve Mason. Downside? First time in the playoffs. Ever. And that Mike Commodore money picture.
Chicago Blackhawks - Making an appearance in the playoffs for the first time in forever. Young guys like Toews and Kane. Downside? Very young team. Average age: 26.8 (Khabibulin is bringing up the average), so playoff stubble then.
Montreal Canadiens - Well, according to Four Habs Fans, they don't need more fans. Well, we don't want them either.
Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne and Jordin Tootoo (say it, it's funny). Music city has a hockey team, that in their 11 years has made the playoffs 4 times. They have only had one coach ever. Downside? Four first round exits from the playoffs.
St. Louis Blues - TJ Oshie. This team looks like it's having fun. Chris Mason is pretty solid in goal. Downside? They will be just happy to MAKE the playoffs and will be happy with their exit that will be given to them by the Sharks/Red Wings.
Vancouver Canucks - Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler. The Sedins. This team went from a 9 game losing streak in January to winning pretty much all of the month of March. They have Roberto Luongo, and he will rob you. Downside? The are streaky, so it depends on which team shows up.
Pittsburgh Penguins - Crosby and Malkin both have over 100 points. Malkin should be MVP. We all saw how Marc-Andre Fleury could turn in up in the playoffs last year. The additions of Guerin and Kunitz. Bylsma has the team on a tear since he took over as HC. Downside? Can they do make it to the Finals again?
*Apologies for posting the Mike Commodore pic, like me, you will never be able to erase that from your memory.
The Lightning closed out their home games this year with a loss to the Caps. The Caps clinched the 2nd seed of the Easter Conference, and they have won the last 11 games against Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay has lost 8 in a row, soon to be 9 and has the worst home game record in the NHL with 12-18-11. With this game they took a bunch of penalties, let in a goal on the PK and got out shot. They were without Lashoff due to an injury, and had to call up their 22nd defenceman, which makes that their 50th player to suit up for the Bolts. That pretty much sums up the entire year.
Nothing to recap, it's just another loss.
Stamkos did set a franchise record for goals by a rookie with his 22nd goal of the season.
Great quote from Norfolk GM Mike Butters about Geoff Kinrade's reaction to being called up
"When I told him he was going up, I thought he was going to throw up on my shoes,"
-From Lightning Strikes via Raw Charge
Kinrade was signed to a 1 game amateur tryout contract to play tonight. He's only played 8 games with the Admirals this season. Why? Well he was a call-up to the also injury-laden Admirals. Only a few games ago, he was playing in the WCHA. Uhuh.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Caps Coach Boudreau was up in arms about the PSA that was shown at the Thrashers game. It's about Ovie's latest commercial for Eastern Motors, and why he shouldn't be acting.
The Lightning just decided to roll over and take it during the start of this game. They couldn't capitalize on the 5-3 in the 1st.
A goal from Fedotenko and 2 pp goals from Crosby made it 3-0 after the 2nd (both with assists from Kunitz and Malkin). This was a story that has been told far too many times this season, going into the 3rd down by 3 goals.
A goal from Cooke in the 3rd made it 4-0. It wasn't until after the 4th goal that they decided, that maybe they should try to score some goals. Koci makes a hit on Talbot, Godard doesn't like it, so they scrap.
At least the fight got the fans something to cheer about. While on the penalty, Halpern get's a shorthanded goal, St. Louis get's his 30th of the season and then 45 seconds later Szechura get's another, it's now 4-3. The Pens get a little scared that Tampa could make a comeback, but Sykora scores to make it 5-3. With 40 seconds left, Halpern scores, but Staal ends any hope of a win with an empty netter, 6-4.
“I don’t know what the stats are,” Lightning interim head coach Rick Tocchet said, “but when you don’t score on a 5-on-3, I bet you lose 85% of the time” - Lightning website
Way to state the obvious Tocchet.
-Malone broke his hand during the game, and is done for the season. He blocked a Malkin slap shot. It feels like karma for him for leaving the Pens to the Lightning for the money.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Cycle Like the Sedins has had a series of posts on Adopting a Hockey Orphan that are fantastic. Consider this your primer. They also had a new one today about the Montreal Canadiens from Four Habs Fans, I suggest you click on the link.
It's hard writing a preview, when you know your team is gonna lose, but sh*t happens and after this there's only 2 games left, so I'll savor it. The Lightning website preview also sounds like they have no faith in the team.
On the upside, Colorado got 2 points in a win over the Canucks on Sunday. We are now in 29th spot. We don't need more points, but still make it look like you are trying boys.
*I posted earlier about this, don't forget your phonebook for a $5 ticket! This is almost like Phoenix tix with vodka, sadly you get no vodka, but you get the Pens!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Things of note from the game:
-Pettinger got the only goal for the Lightning on the powerplay
-For once, the Bolts outshot the opposing time (the worst team in the league) 30 to 21, but clearly couldn't capitalize on their shots
During the Bruins/Rangers game Avery hits Thomas on the head, and Thomas just comes after him, watch the video:
The Lightning are playing the worst team in the league tonight.
The Isles sit with 59 points in last, Colorado with 64 and then the Bolts with 66. If you look for the next worse teams to round out the bottom 5 is the Kings (73) and the Thrashers (74) currently, but that changes by the day because there's a whole gaggle of teams around 75 point mark. But back to the Lightning, there's a bit of space between us and number 4 and 5.
So in the race to tank the season, which the Lightning are doing a good job at it, neither team wants these points. But aren't we really past tanking it? We've just stunk the season, and the way I see it, is we are not tanking at this point, we're just giving ourself a better draft pick order than Colorado. In order for us to pick before the Avs, they need to win at least 1 more game and take 1 more to OT in the final stretch, but we won't help our chances at all if we win this game.
For the Islanders, there's really enough of a point spread between the Isles and the Avs, so the two points won't really affect their spot. They are pretty much a lock to get first pick (as long as the lottery works in their favor) for Tavares. Now I know that I should be all for the team to play hard, I am, but winning is another story. We already got a point last night in that OT against NJ, we don't need two more. I really just want to give the team at this point of the season, the best chance at getting a good draft pick.
-The Lightning are missing half their roster, most importantly Lecavalier
-The Isles are missing Streit and Okposo
-If Stamkos nets a goal tonight, he sets a new rookie scoring record for the Lightning
Friday, April 3, 2009
I understand how these tough economic times need joint marketing strategies, but here's an excerpt from the Lightning website:
"The St. Pete Times Forum continues to be a community leader in recycling and energy conservation. The recycling of used phone books saves a large amount of space in harmful landfills annually."
But 5 dollars to see the Pens? They are, since the trade deadline, arguably one of the most exciting teams, this match up should sell itself. PD questions if the phonebooks are to help St. Louis reach the top of his locker.
I understand offering steep discounts for the last couple games of the season just to get bodies in seats, but did they really have to partner with a paper shredding company? The headline on the Lightning website just degrades the hockey game and the team.
Artyukhin opened up the game with a quick goal in the first and the Lightning had a strong 11 shots on net.
In the second, Kevin Weekes injures his wrist falling and Brodeur comes off the bench. I thought this would spell the end for the Lightning. Stamkos ties Richards' rookie scoring record at 21 on a powerplay goal! Ramo gets caught out of his net, threw his stick to deflect the puck. NJ gets a penalty shot. Shanahan beats Ramo and it's 2-1 Lightning The rest of the period, the Devils answer back with goals from Pandolfo and Langenbrunner. Periods over.
The third was another couple of goals. Malone gets one in an unassisted effort, his 26th of the season. Langenbruner answers back, and Karsums ties up the game with his first of the season.
This game goes to OT, and Zach Parise ends the game.
-There was only 5 shots in the seconds and 5 shots in the third from the Lightning
-The Lightning again, let on 39 shots
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Stick a fork in him, Vinny's done for the season. He will be flying to Philly tomorrow for an arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist. This was originally scheduled for last year, but didn't happen because of his shoulder injury. Management had downplayed his wrist pain all season, but with only 5 games left, he's getting the work done. It is supposed to be done to clean up cartilage that has been hurting him.
“Obviously it is disappointing that Vinny will not be able to finish the season, but we feel that it is in both his and the team’s best interest to have the wrist operated on now,” Lawton said. “Vinny has been battling this injury all season and I really can’t say enough about his ability to play through the pain and discomfort.” -Lawton on the Tampa Bay Lightning website.
Lawton also said that it was only re-aggravated this past week. I think we Tampa fans know better than to believe that it only bothered him now.
After the surgery, Vinny will be in a cast for two weeks, then be back on the ice using a stick in four to six weeks. This will take him out of playing for Team Canada in Switzerland, but will be back in time for training camp next season, and Canada's Olympic Camp in Calgary. Having the surgery done now will give him extra time to rehab the wrist for next season.
-The Lightning website posts that the surgery was successful
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Before the Ottawa Senators game on Sunday, Brian Lawton and Oren Koules took an hour during their Fan Appreciation Day, to speak with some "specially selected" fans. I think by specially selected, they meant season ticket holders who haven't yet renewed their tickets for next year. OK Hockey tried to step up and show accountability.
Not much has been said about how they answered their questions, or what was actually asked. A 'news' article was up on the Tampa Bay Lightning website today, but clearly was posted by management, so some nice media spin on it.
Lawton hopes to bring to the team: aggressiveness paired with a high IQ, and to strengthen the D. Tocchet the other day said he wanted guys who "push back", which are great ideas, but how we will achieve all this in the off season waits to be seen.
They also say that we are not in the rebuild phase. I think they realize they can't sell 'rebuilding' to Tampa fans like the Kings or the Leafs are able to.
I would love to hear what questions and what answers were actually said during this 1 hour session, but I haven't been able to find out much about it.
Although I'm pretty sure it wasn't this (spun by the Lightning writers):
"After answering every question with honesty, gratitude, and even a touch of humor, Lawton and Koules thanked everyone in the crowd for attending and listening to the organization’s blueprints for success, while also sharing their thoughts and feelings about the team." -from the Tampa Bay Lightning website
-Len Barrie was not part of the Q&A. I've heard some rumors about a possible falling apart between Barrie and Koules, but again they are just rumors. Barrie I'm sure is dealing with economic housing crisis as is everyone else in that market and the fact that his team sucking the first year didn't help their relationship. I don't think he skipped out on the Q&A, but rather didn't want to stir up trouble while Koules and Lawton tried to answer to the fans about the terrible season.
So the marketing of Steven Stamkos was a lot of pressure on our No. 1 draft pick. But nearing the end of the season, he's got 20 goals and is poised to tie Brad Richards' rookie season. Not so bad from the 19 year old.
Obviously, the Lightning marketing team hoped his career would have started off with more of a bang, especially with the amount of hype they created over Stamkos. The Seen Stamkos website is still up. But after watching the games in Prague, and waiting for the impact moment of our little draft pick, we were a little disappointed. The impact moment didn't come for a long time, and first one was not a goal, but rather an assist. The coaching fiasco from the Mullet did not help the his learning either.
Now 19, he's playing with confidence. You can see that he's making quicker decisions on the ice, rather than looking St. Louis to help direct the play and his shot has definitely gotten stronger.
I've often thought that in a few years from now we may look back on his first year as say that in retrospect it was good for his career. How am I reasoning this? Some rookies come to the NHL and have a great season, and the media goes crazy. Then a season of not so hot scoring or mediocre play and suddenly, and not so nice media attention, and they are questioning their skill level. Stamkos had all of the media from the get go. He dealt with the pressure of expectation, and the let down of not being able achieve the number of goals they were expecting of him. He battled through that, and quietly starting to rack up points.
If you asked me a 2 months ago about his rookie season and the Calder, the thought would not even cross my mind. If he had only played this great all year, he would have gotten a nomination.
It's hard with young players who start so early in the league right now, playing in the NHL at younger age then I really think they should. A few years in the minors would help the progress of the players, but with the salary cap, owners want to get all they can out of their low cost players. So after a rough 1st half and being a healthy scratch a few times for his "off ice training", it seems to have made him a better player.
Since the all-star break, he scored 13 goals in 28 games, and is now being considered to play for Team Canada IIHF in Switzerland along with Doughty and Schenn.
So will he match or break Richards' rookie mark? With 5 games left in the season, I'd say he's got a good chance of setting a new mark. Either way, I'm excited to see him play next season.