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"Covering Bolts Hockey "
" • Canada • 26 Years Old • Male
Over the past few days I’ve been reading a lot of hockey coverage, listening to a lot of hockey talk, and watching a lot of hockey. Not a bad way to spend a few days if you ask me. Now, the consensus I’ve heard from most people is that the Lightning don’t have much of a shot to make the playoffs this season. I thought about of myself, and I think those people are out of their minds. We aren’t even in the New Year yet and people are counting this team out? Come on. Let’s not be stupid. In this blog, let’s take a look at the reasons I believe will get this team into the playoffs.

Lightning Are Only 5 Points Back of 8th
Think about this for a second. We are only 5 points back of a playoff spot and it’s only December. I know they always talk about how teams who aren’t in the playoff bracket by December first don’t usually make it, but let’s be realistic. This roster has more talent than the Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens. We just have to put together a nice string of games (we just happen to be on a 2 game win streak right now).

I’ve always been a believer that it’s easier to come back from a deficit in the Eastern Conference than in the West. In the west, it’s just a rougher style of hockey that wears teams down. In the East, I feel like talent really plays a bigger part (it’s a more exciting style if you ask me). This Lightning roster has the talent to do some damage.

We have the NHL’s Leading Goal Scorer
It’s not often that the team with the NHL’s leading goal scorer misses the playoffs. In fact, since the lockout, it’s only happened once. That was the year Stamkos and Crosby shared the award and we missed the playoffs. So, does it really count then? My point here is that it’s tough to miss when the playoffs when you have that guy. This league is all about scoring goals and few guys can do it like Stamkos. He has the opportunity to steal games for us each and every time he steps out onto the ice.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel as though his game is really rounding into shape right now. I know his offensive totals have been good all season, but it just seems like things are really working for him right now. He is flying around the ice, hard on pucks and just an all around great player. He is a treat to watch night in and night out.

Marty St. Louis Will Be Back
They say that you need the guy with heart to do any damage in the playoffs. Quote me on this: “There is no player with more heart than Martin St. Louis.” Think about everything he has overcome in his career. Every draft year analysts talk about how a guy is too small to make it in this league and that’s why he won’t be drafted highly. Well, I think St. Louis is an inspiration to all those smaller guys who want to make careers out of being a National Hockey League player. He wears his heart on his sleeve every shift and leaves it all out on the ice.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see this team make another long playoff run for Marty? Few guys in this league deserve it more than he does. When he retires, it will be a very sad day for the Lightning fan base. We should just rip the jersey right off his back and throw it up to the rafters. That’s where it’s headed anyways.

Steve Yzerman is Bound to Make a Goalie Change at Some Point
It just has to happen this season. We can’t continue to throw away games because of terrible goaltending. You know it, I know it, and I sure as heck hope that Steve Yzerman knows it. Once this team gets solid goaltending, the defense won’t look so bad and the offense will look much more confident. It was reported on Twitter that one former NHLer called Tampa’s defense the “worst in hockey.” Now, I’m not denying that there’s work to do here, because there certainly is, but come on, the worst? We have Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer who, when playing well, are two of the better Dmen in the game. You’re telling me that Edmonton’s defense isn’t worse? Let’s get real here. Back to my original point, it all starts with goaltending. When the goalie is playing well, guys like Brewer and Hedman can get back to that confident game.

Even if it’s just a guy like Nabokov until the summer hits, I think this team would make the playoffs. We just need someone who can win us some games down the stretch.

Well, there you have it folks. Please let me know why you think the Lightning will make or not make the playoffs this season. Is there still hope in your mind? I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Follow me on Twitter: @michaelstuart93
Filed Under:   tampa   bay   lightning   playoffs  
December 20, 2011 10:48 AM ET | Delete
It is also said that a good defense will make an ok goalie look good. The Bolts play a very different game in front of, then in front of Garon and that is because they have NO faith in Roli anymore. It's nothat they don't like the guy, but they don't trust him to make the stops. A goalie change and and a defensive tweak and we are back in business. Good read, but please no Nabokov.
December 20, 2011 11:24 AM ET | Delete
Totally agree there. There's just no confidence in front of Roli. I'm not a huge fan of Nabokov either, but short term he's better than Roli if you ask me. Long term, no thanks. Thanks for the comment!
December 20, 2011 11:46 AM ET | Delete
December 20, 2011 11:49 AM ET | Delete
On a absolute pathetic note, I was in Columbus for the road game this past weekend and had to listen to there TV guy talk on how he thinks Boucher will be the next coach in Montreal. Please tell me this guy is just an idiot? I can't understand how that could be true.
December 20, 2011 12:16 PM ET | Delete
I am actually hopeful that they will sign Turco. Won't cost us anything and NO GM in there right mind will take on Roloson as a return. As for Boucher to Montreal....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, freaking Habs fans are delusional. And there crying fit over The new guy and his inability to speak French is laughable.
December 20, 2011 12:33 PM ET | Delete
Hey, you make really good points why the Lightning have a solid shot at the playoffs, but by saying they WILL make it, don't you contradict your opening line: "We aren’t even in the New Year yet and people are counting this team out? Come on. Let’s not be stupid." Wouldnt it be equally stupid to count them in this early in the season?
December 20, 2011 1:49 PM ET | Delete
There is a dman that we could really use and the Preds probably won't be able to keep both. Ryan Suter is a great defenseman and is only 26. I would love to see him down here and would give MAB, Downie and a first.
December 20, 2011 2:35 PM ET | Delete
Look, I really like Hedman, and I hope that one day he turns into the player he was drafted to be, but he is horrible for the most part in his own zone. Artuykhin, you can't sign guys now unless you think they will clear waivers, as you all saw with Meittenen. As for your offer for Ryan Suter....that is pathetic. Many teams will be offering much, much, much more than that for Suter.
December 20, 2011 3:43 PM ET | Delete
Oomroy, aha Bob McKenzie actually said that some people were saying that and that they forgot he has a job....Boucher's staying with us. I hope....
December 20, 2011 3:44 PM ET | Delete
Turco, very interesting option. I like that idea, Artyukhin.
December 20, 2011 3:45 PM ET | Delete
I think Hedman will develop nicely. Maybe not into the star that we had hoped, but a solid 1b/2a D-man if you ask me.
December 20, 2011 3:46 PM ET | Delete
Rags2Riches: I suppose so. But if you ask me, at this point, it's a little more ridiculous to count teams out at this point than to count them in. That's jsut me though. (PS - I enjoy reading your blogs)
December 20, 2011 4:48 PM ET | Delete
@Blackstrom. Turco isn't playing anywhere, he shouldn't have to clear waviers
December 20, 2011 4:59 PM ET | Delete
@ Blackstrom. As far as the offer is concerned. MAB has more points at a million this year and next. Downie has the potential for good numbers and Panik, when consistent is a goal scoring machine ( go look at him at world juniors).
December 20, 2011 5:08 PM ET | Delete
Turco won't have to clear waivers as a UFA. I don't think that people will be paying as much for Suter as Weber. Anyone who gets him is just getting his negotiating rights, he's not under contract. Remember what Calgary gave to Florida for Bouwmeester's? Jordan Leopold and a third round pick. He was considered a GREAT defenseman when that deal went down. I'd almost consider the deal you put up, Artyukhin, too much! No way is it overpayment as Blackstrom said.
December 20, 2011 10:35 PM ET | Delete
December 20, 2011 10:35 PM ET | Delete
can someone tell me why post dont make it?
December 20, 2011 10:40 PM ET | Delete
Turco i thought signed in Europe last week? You know someone will block the Bolts from getting better. They need youth in net not a stop gap. I still think Tokarski gets a shot if that doesn't work we hit the trade market. Baberio is tearing it up in Norfolk not sure why he didnt get a call up this road trip.
December 21, 2011 12:03 AM ET | Delete
Tokarski needs more time and they don't want to screw up his or Barberio's development. Nobody is going after Turco if we sign him and if they do then oh well, all we have lost is time. Miettinen is a permanent Jet because of the deal we put him on and nobody is going to have that as a goalie issue.
December 21, 2011 3:28 AM ET | Delete
I believe posts don't make it if they are too long....that's just my experience though.
December 21, 2011 3:28 AM ET | Delete
I think for this season you'll see a stop-gap come in. The youth movement starts next year IMO.
December 21, 2011 10:04 AM ET | Delete
Allot of good thing will happen next year "if" A couple of things happen. First is the penalty free buyout. We have to get out from under Lecavaliers crushing contract (I know its blasphemy, but its killing us) and Ohlunds career is over (he just doesn't know it yet). Second is that Yzerman doesn't make ANY knee-jerk moves to jeopardize this teams future. If those two things happen then we will be in spectacular shape moving forward.
December 21, 2011 12:26 PM ET | Delete
Agree on Ohlund not on Vinny buyouts. I know its bad but Ohlund is much worse and Vinny means to much to the comunity. The good thing is Steevie Y is NO Brian Lawton, if a knee jerk reaction was going to happen it would have happen by now. I see good things happening just need to be patient.
December 21, 2011 12:53 PM ET | Delete
If you sign a UFA after a certain date, European league, playing or not, they must clear waivers.@Micheal_StuartWell first of all, that was offered for the right's to JayBo, not for JayBo. Second of all, if you really think that package is going to get you Suter, then I will tell you right now, you are not getting Suter. You can't trade two complimentary pieces and a 1st for Ryan Suter.
December 21, 2011 2:22 PM ET | Delete
Personally, I think the Preds are going to keep Suter. That's just me though.
December 21, 2011 2:27 PM ET | Delete
http://blogs.lightning.nhl.com/13491/what-happened-with-miettinen/ -- This explains the waiver rule pretty well. It's for players signed in European leagues, not regular free agents. Remember when MAB was signed by the Canadiens early in the season last year?
December 21, 2011 2:29 PM ET | Delete
@Blackstrom: Well that's all you're going to get. If the Preds are in the playoff hunt, they are not going to trade Suter away. They will have to wait until after the season is over at which point any team that acquires him would only be getting his rights. He's bound to be a UFA, therefore lowering his worth after the season by a HUGE amount. Anyone who trades the future away for a players rights (UFA, not RFA) is making a poor decision. Just wait till July 1st and get a real shot for free.
December 21, 2011 11:47 PM ET | Delete
This "team" is a tragedy. At the end of this season there should be two list that this management has. List 1 are players that should stay, list 2 are player that need to go on a fishing trip and be used to chump the water. My list 1. Stamkos, St. Louis, Malone, Connolly, Tyrell, Thompson, Jones, Brewer, Hedman and Gilroy. See next post for list 2.
December 21, 2011 11:56 PM ET | Delete
December 21, 2011 11:57 PM ET | Delete
Ohlund (affective as a traffic cone on I-275), Kubina (good grief where do I start), Clark (i would trade this guy for a punch in the face) Bergeron (for a defensemen he sucks but has good trade value) Gervias (WTF was Y thinking?) Roloson (someone get him to the retirement home), Garon (did is making me eat all the good things I have said about him)
December 22, 2011 12:00 AM ET | Delete
Lecavalier (poster boy for massive overpayment), Purcell (capt inconsistent), Downie (freaking penalty magnet), Moore (will ask for WAY to much money for a third line center) Hall (jones is younger and showing well)
December 22, 2011 12:06 AM ET | Delete
This my offense, Take it for what it's worth. Malone-Stamkos-Purcell (yeah I know, but he's cheap and Stamkos needs a winger), Connolly-Brassard-St. Louis, Conacher-Johnson-Ashton, Tyrell-Thompson-Jones.
December 22, 2011 12:09 AM ET | Delete
Defense is Brewer-Hedman, Commodore-Gilroy, Barberio-Sarich and Gudas. My goalies are Harding (I think we could get him) and keep either Garon or sign Turco.
December 22, 2011 1:05 AM ET | Delete
Watched the game until 4-0, then switched off, had better things to do. Joke of a start. Yzerman please do something.
December 22, 2011 1:44 AM ET | Delete
That was the most embarrassing thing I've seen in a long time. As you said Norbs, an absolute joke of a start. At what point does all this become unacceptable? Does it concern you that coaching and front office don't even seem concerned? It's like an apathetic attitude almost. I know Steve Yzerman cares, but please show that to fans.
December 22, 2011 1:45 AM ET | Delete
Artyukhin: My list of keepers: Stamkos, Hedman, Brewer, St. Louis, Connolly and prospects in AHL. My list of get rid ofs: EVERYONE ELSE.
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Blog Archive

01 Lightning News and Notes to Start December
02 Why Bolts Must Get Into Bobby Ryan Trade Discussions
02 Breaking News: Lightning Make Minor Trade with Panthers
03 10 Bold Predictions for Rangers vs. Lightning Game
04 Lightning Lose to Rangers: My Prediction Round Up
06 Simply Embarassing: Lightning Drop 5th Straight to Islanders
08 Lightning Beat Rangers to End Losing Streak - Mixed Bag
10 The 1-3-1 Returns: Flyers Take on Bolts at Wells Fargo
11 Lightning Fall to Flyers: The Slot Looks Like a Drive-Thru
12 From Bad to Worse + Lightning Sign Miettinen
14 Lightning Talk: Defensemen to Target in Free Agent Frenzy
14 Scenario
15 Bolts Squeeze By Flames Thanks to Dominant Second Period
17 Lightning Should Make a Push for Shea Weber
18 Bolts Down Blue Jackets + Rumor Round-Up
20 Why the Lightning WILL make the Playoffs This Season
22 Lightning Embarrassed by Sharks in San Jose: U-G-L-Y
22 Tampa Bay Lightning: I Want Your Opinions
23 Bolts vs. Avalanche: A Long-Winded Game Preview
24 Bolts Lose to Avalanche in Goalie Battle + Rumor Round-Up
25 Risky Business: Victor Hedman and Other Top-5 D-Men
26 Flyers vs. Bolts Shaping Up to be a Great Game -- Preview
27 Next 6 Games Vital for Lightning + My Predictions
27 Bryzgalov Shaky as Lightning Beat Up on Flyers
29 A Tale of Two Underperforming Teams: Bolts vs. Canadiens
29 A V for Vinny, a V for Victory: Bolts Down Habs 4-3
30 Bolts/Canes Preview + HB Hotstove Response + Rumor Update
31 Lightning Defeat 'Canes 5-2 on Phil Esposito Night