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FoxSports Releases Their Lightning Top-10

A bit of disclosure ahead of time: Chad and I worked for Shane Malloy when he was online editor at HockeysFuture before the print version of HockeysFuture failed and he was deposed by the current regime at that website. To his credit, Malloy dreams big which is why he has since landed gigs with FoxSports, NHL.com and segment time on XM Center Ice while the folks at HF are still struggling to get articles posted (let alone quality articles). Anyway, he wrote [url=http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/5441640]FoxSports' list of the Lightning's Top-10 prospects.[/url] 1. Stanislav Lascek 2. Vladimir Mihalik 3. Andy Rogers 4. Ryan Craig 5. Radek Smolenak 6. Matt Smaby 7. Paul Ranger 8. Justin Keller 9. Doug O'Brien 10. Gerald Coleman HM: Mike Egener First of all, I don't know if Malloy reads our website, but he's definitely heard our cries about the name obsessed hockey media not recognizing the Lightning are building up quality depth by making good draft picks in the late rounds. It was so nice to read a rankings article from a major media outlet that actually had a clue in that regard. True, he misses the boat with the usual boilerplate line bashing the team's goaltending depth, but this article is a 1000% better reflection of the state of the Lightning's system versus the kind of uninformed drivel you'll find coming out of THN and HF these days. A media organization actually doing some research and arriving at the objective conclusion that the Lightning do indeed deserve some credit; what a concept eh?

How Does That Taste Hockey's Future/THN?

You know, I find it pretty funny "mainstream" media outlets like Hockey's Future and THN can find it fit to ridicule the Tampa Bay Lightning's prospect base, put us dead last in their organizational ranking and keep our players out of their top-50 prospects without even so much as an honorable mention and yet when the puck is dropped and the real games are played the Lightning have three of the better rookies in the league this season. TSN [url=http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=155720&hubname=nhl]released their top-40 rankings for rookie forwards today[/url] and Ryan Craig (#23) and Evgeny Artyukhin (#25) both made the grade. Here's a fun exercise: count the number of well hyped 1st round draft picks lunch pail 8th rounder Ryan Craig has outplayed so far this year. I count nine between the rest of the top-40 and the honorable mentions TSN lists, and I'm sure a certain very biased online editor at Hockey's Future must be thoroughly embarassed by the immortal Jim Slater being bested by [b]two[/b] prospects from the Lightning's allegedly bare cupboard. Earlier TSN [url=http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/news_story/?ID=154226&hubname=fantasy_news]had released their list of the top-20 rookie defensemen prospects and 6th round pick Paul Ranger checked in at #15.[/url] What!? No Braydon Coburn!?!?! To the critics of this organization: [img]http://www.worldbook.com/features/birds/assets/crow.jpg[/img] Would you prefer yours grilled or baked?

THN Lightning Top-10: Who Wasn't Even Considered

I finally was told who the top-10 Lightning prospects were in The Hockey News' Future Watch issue. As I explained in my previous entry, whoever made the list several top prospects didn't. And, as a consequence, those players were not even considered by THN's mysterious panel which saw it fit to (erroneously) name the Lightning the worst prospect system in the league. Again, to reiterate, THN's evaluators only look at the top ten prospects in an organization thereby ignoring whatever depth an organization might have from being considered in the final grade. And [i]that[/i] faulty methodology is one reason I take so much issue with the decision to give the organization a D+.

I Have to Take Tom Jones to Task

The Hockey News has released their annual future watch issue and the underestimated Lightning were once again pigeon holed in last place with a D+ grade. Tom Jones of the St. Pete Times, who is a contributor to the publication, [url=http://www.sptimes.com/2006/02/06/Lightning/Prospect_rankings_nee.shtml]penned an article today portraying the Lightning prospect system as one on the precipice of disaster.[/url] The melodramatic key line of the piece states: [i]"Still, it cannot be ignored that the Lightning system is at a crossroads."[/i] Really?

You Think Maybe the Hacks Are Starting to Get It?

[url=http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=8155&mode=threaded&order=0]This[/url] may be the first competent piece of work that Hockey's Future has published about the Tampa Bay Lightning in over a year. Kudos to Tanya Lyon for having the skill to write it, and even more so to somehow get it approved by the biased individual who currently occupies the online editorial position on the site. Yes indeed, the much maligned Lightning prospect system IS churning out NHL caliber players at a clip that the lazy reporting that went into HF's organizational rankings would lead many to believe was impossible. Here's to hoping the powers that be have finally had an epiphany. Or, if not, that the Lightning's four prospects slated to play at the upcoming WJC's further embarass HF into having one.
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