Sometimes, with a non-playoff team, you sit, you watch and you wonder how on earth it isn’t more competitive on a night-to-night basis? That’s exactly what happened with the Bolts tonight. With the parity in the National Hockey League, talent doesn’t necessarily mean everything. In today’s game, it’s all about work ethic and effort. In my opinion, the Bolts will beat the Capitals in those two categories nearly every night. Imagine for a second that this team, deemed “sellers”, could indeed make the post-season in the 2011-12. Consider the following points:
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* The Bolts are getting some of the best goaltending they’ve had all season from Mathieu Garon. He’s playing big, strong and incredibly well. The fact of the matter is, he gives this team a chance to win each and every night. Even when Garon has a weaker outing, the Bolts’ offense has been able to pick up the slack.
* The teams above the Lightning are struggling. After tonight’s victory, the Bolts have 58 points. With the Leafs’ loss tonight, the 8th place team in the East has only 64. The Leafs look downright dreadful, the Capitals are just staying afloat, and the Jets are so enigmatic that it’s impossible to get a read on them. Point being, the Lightning could make a real run here.
* Here’s something I like to call the “Florida Factor”. Simply put, players like to play in Tampa. This group has a great GM, great coaches and a committed owner. What more would you want as a player? Oh, the weather! Yzerman has already traded Kubina and Moore. Would it surprise you if players started playing hard to keep their jobs here? Play in Tampa, or in St. Louis…..?
After a busy couple days of travel, I’m ready for the stretch drive here. Join me on trade deadline day for a live blog with Bolts updates and NHL deals throughout the day. It should be a good one. Let’s look forward to the stretch drive.
Sorry for the brief nature of this blog. I've been busy working on starting up my own TB Lightning blog. As of right now, it's just in the development stage. You can visit it here:
I'll be posting all my blogs here at HockeyBuzz and then over there as well. Gotta catch a plane, thanks for reading.
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