Tampa pre-season: It's true! It exists!
If it weren't for news articles and a few highlight clips, it wouldn't be hard to argue the existence of Tampa's preseason. The Bolts are faring well however, with a 2-1-1 record until now. They have a home and home against the state rival Panthers, a team who seems to have hit rock bottom, but are ready to build. They really haven't seen success since the days of John Vanbiesbrouk took them to the finals (and got swept quickly by the Avs).
Back to the Bolts. Pre-season usually doesn't dictate the season, but it's always a good confidence boost - or reality check, for the team and their fans. Not much should thought of of this game, as half their roster was busy getting full-body massages (happiness of the ending is still unknown). Or maybe they were just at home with the fam relaxing. Nobody can say for certain.
While they were out in Western Canada, they squeezed in a trip to Calgary, and walked away with the sweet burn of a shootout loss. The shootout loss has gotta be the worst feeling. So close, but so far. It's like kissing your cousin, but getting shut down when you go to cop a feel. Brutal. Tampa played a few of their top players in the game, where Vinny, Stammer, and Gagne all skated. Undrafted goalie Cedrick Desjardins (We'll call him Ceddie from now on. Just easier than the last name) managed to stop 19 pucks through the game, but only 1 of 2 during the shootout. Actually pretty good for a guy who's never played an NHL game. The guy played for the Hamilton Bulldogs last season, who were a powerhouse in the AHL but had their playoff run cut short. He had a 2.00 GAA, and .919 save percentage last season in the A. He's a wicked guy to call up if Smith or Ellis go down to injury this year. Or if either of them blow it and stink it up, Ceddie can come up and push them, or steal their job. I'm sure the coaching staff pushed for his signing, and good for them.
Enough of the losses. Let's get to the good stuff. The dubya's.
In their two pre-season wins so far, Tampa has looked pretty good, winning both games 4-2. Adam hall was a surprising source of offence in their opening game against Dallas, scoring a pair in the game. Newcomer Dominic Moore and blueliner Mattias Ohland added the other 2 goals in the 4-2 win. Other than the stats, I can't say too much about the game without blowing smoke. Living in Newfoundland shockingly limits my ability to watch Tampa Bay pre-season games.
In the Bolts 4-2 win over the defending champions of the world, the off-season trade-acquisition Simon Gagne had a goal and two apples in the contest. Seriously, Tampa fans are gonna love this guy. He's possibly the best two-way play in the game, and dude can put up points. Plus he's a French Canadian. Yeah he's got some injury history, but let's just cross out fingers that he can help bring back the dominance of the 2004 Bolts.
Here's hoping that Tampa can keep up the pace throughout the rest of the pre-season and take the confidence into the season, and run the Southeast. I'm tired of the stinkin' Caps stealing the show. Friggin' Ovechkin. What a bum. I truly believe Vinny, Stamkos, St. Louis, Malone, and Gagne and Downie should be able to take on the top 6 of all teams, while they score plenty of goals consistently.
Here's to ya Tampa, a team given little praise, but are finally getting some attention because Stevie Y took the reigns. It's time to win.