While it wasn't Maverick, Ice Man, and Goose (not to mention Kelly McGillis--talk about your young guns), a good time was had by the 2,200 and change inside the SPTimes Forum last Wednesday for the Lightning "Young Guns" event.
What a great idea. Showcase new talent, generate a bit of revenue, and stir up the faithful. As an added bonus, a season ticket raffle helped raise funds for the memorial fund for two fallen TPD officers. Classy move by an increasingly classy Organization.
Number 1 pick Brett Connolly showed some zip in his skating, and soft hands on several occassions. He displayed a willingness (eagerness?) to go to the high-traffic areas, shot when he should have, passed when he should have, and didn't shy away from what little physicality was dished out (clearly the players were under "take it easy" orders the coaching staff).
But the night clearly belonged to Dustin Tokarski. The Norfolk-Admiral-of-late goalie prospect stole the show stopping all 20 shots he faced--several of the "standing on his head" variety. In one memorable sequence he stopped a breakaway and 3 follow up attempts. Most stiking was the calmness, control, and economy of movement he displayed.
Somewhere, Smitty is a tad more nervous.
One thing's for sure. Just weeks into his tenure as GM, the Yzerman Effect is tangible. Having been in town since the days of the old Expo Hall, the hockey juju here hasn't been this good since Andy took that silver cup from Mr. Bettman.
Mr. Vinik has promised to "Bring it Back". Looks like he's on his way.