So apparently the game plan was lost in the mail on its way from New York to Philadelphia and then from Philly back to Tampa. Not to worry though, things are going to be fine soon enough. Okay, so that may be a little bit of an optimistic view on things. This post-game wrap up is all about one thing; one VERY big thing.
I have lowered my expectations for this team until the point that changes are made.
Yes, gone are the days of optimistic points of view and looking at the positives in each and every single game. The Lightning are a mess right now. There is no drive, no want and no continuity to the style of game they are playing (unless lazy is a style….). That being said, I too would find it tough to get inspired if the team couldn’t find a goalie who could put up a save percentage over 0.800% in a game against the Devils. Would that be too much to ask? For this Lightning team, apparently so.
All that said, the team did fight back from two deficits tonight. The second the Devils had the two goal lead, I honestly thought I could go to sleep. Looking at past performances, was there really any thought that they were going to get the game tied? Not really. But all of a sudden we were in the middle of a tie hockey game. The Lightning had a chance! I felt like a child on Christmas morning. Was I going to get two wins in the span of three games? Of course, I then unwrapped my first present to find socks. Socks of all things. Three more goals for the Devils and this was a 5-2 hockey game.
Give the guys credit; they fought back once again with none other than Steven Stamkos leading the way with 2 goals. When you’re looking for that spark to get the team going, Stamkos is the guy to do it. He now has 18 goals on the season, and despite the team’s struggles, he is putting up fairly decent numbers.
Wait….I’m starting to sound a little optimistic here. All this fighting back talk and how we worked hard to cut leads down. ENOUGH.
A loss is a loss is a loss. There is no way ways around that. Either you win, or you lose. The Lightning are doing more of the latter right now and with the team they have, it’s simply unacceptable. There is only so much losing that a group of guys can endure before changes need to be made. Honestly, I think that point is coming for the Lightning.
The first “domino” may have fallen today with the signing of Antti Miettinen. Is he the sure fire offensive power house that the Lightning need in the top 6 right now? Probably not. That being said, he’s strung together a really nice NHL career and he can’t hurt the team right now. Any change is a good change at this point. He can give you 15 goals in a season and should fit in well with this group.
So with the domino comment having been made, let’s look at some possible moves that could be going down soon enough. Goaltending is still the biggest issue with this team. As alluded to above, when you have two guys who can’t put together a save percentage of above 0.800%, there’s a problem. It’s not even like this is a one off thing, both Roloson and Garon are off at the moment. I’m willing to give Garon the benefit of the doubt as he has had some moments this season. Unfortunately, I think Roloson’s time in Tampa is coming to a close. If a move is made, he has got to be the odd man out.
The name of Evgeni Nabokov keeps popping up in the Twitter-sphere. This isn’t really a surprise when you think about the triangle of goaltenders floating around on the island. In all honesty, it probably wouldn’t take a lot to get Nabokov right now. He’s not playing much and there is reason to believe that he’s not overly happy in New York. That being said, I don’t believe he’s the answer.
Nabokov would be a solution for the short term. He may be able to provide some stability in net this season, but in all honesty, what’s that worth right now? Soon enough we are going to have to count this year as a write off. Yes, that sounds pessimistic, and it is. The Lightning need long term stability in net. Names like Bernier and Schneider continue to pop up in conversation and I do believe that either one of those guys would be a great fit in Tampa.
One of the frequent commenters on my blogs, Norbs, mentioned Anders Lindback out of Nashville. The more I think about it, the more I would love that move. He is big, strong and a great, underrated netminder in this league. What would it cost to get him? Not as much as Bernier or Schneider; that’s for sure.
All of this said, Bernier is probably the most likely. Things in Los Angeles are getting just as bad as they are here in Tampa. Both sides could use a change. So I ask you, the readers, what’s the next move for this Tampa team? Where do we go from here? Do you consider tonight’s game a step in the right direction, or just another loss for the record books?
Thanks for reading and have a good night.
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