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Lightning Fans Get Their Bolts Back

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they made some final alterations to their jerseys before sending them into the NHL.

After some fairly pointed criticism from the Lightning fan base, the team stepped up and added back their familiar lightning bolt to the sides of their pants and black trim around the bolts and their numbers. Lightning fans didn't get to keep their celebration stripes, and the amount of black being added to the uniform is more modest than other proposals on the internet, but getting back the bolts on the side of the pants was one of the two most important features that were a point of contention. I give credit to the Lightning fan base for showing their ownership they cared enough about the team's tradition to fight for their colors, and I give the ownership the credit for having the wisdom to reach a compromise. After being steamrolled for almost two decades by ownership groups with commitment to the fan base that ranged from detachment (PS&E) to outright disdain (Koules and Barrie), Lightning fans finally have an owner who legitimately puts the fans and the product first. It's refreshing.

My Thoughts On The Lightning Rebranding

Not that anyone necessarily cares, but here's my two cents on the Lightning's rebranding: I think it misses the mark by a wide margin. So far, it seems like the overall reaction from the fan base has been unfavorable by a two to one margin, and it certainly evoked an unfavorable reaction from me. Now that I've had a little time to think it over: there's a couple of reasons why.

"Not a penalty."

Damned right, Guy.

This organization should be very proud to have a man who is not only a good coach but also a man who's not trying to be an amateur politician sugarcoating a ridiculously bad call. I'll be happy to throw something in the pot to help pay the fine, too. It's two hours later and I'm still angry.

A Continuing Tradition of Awfulness

Just out of curiosity, I went through the Lightning's all-time statistics to see where Mike Smith and Dan Ellis' current save percentages rank amongst the all-time most horrible performances in Lightning history. Sadly, I may have written one of the most depressing blog posts in the history of BoltProspects in the process. Amongst Lightning goaltenders who have appeared in at least 10 games in a given season, 33 have had sub .900 save percentages, including Smith and Ellis this season. If you're wondering, the all-time worst goaltending performance in Lightning history was JC Bergeron's .832 save percentage in 1995-1996. For his part, Dan Ellis has the uncomfortable distinction right now of being tied with the immortal Dieter Kochan's 2000-2001 performance with a .870 save percentage.

'99-'00 Zac Bierk .899
'07-'08 Karri Ramo .899
'93-'94 Daren Puppa .899
'00-'01 Kevin Weekes .898
'96-'97 Corey Schwab .897
'05-'06 Sean Burke .895
'97-'98 Mark Fitzpatrick .895
'08-'09 Karri Ramo .894
'07-'08 Mike Smith .893
'06-'07 Johan Holmqvist .893
'97-'98 Corey Schwab .892
'98-'99 Corey Schwab .891
'07-'08 Johan Holmqvist .890
'00-'01 Dan Cloutier .891
'05-'06 John Grahame .889
'08-'09 Mike McKenna .887
'99-'00 Dan Cloutier .885
'95-'96 Jeff Reese .884
'06-'07 Marc Denis .883
'98-'99 Bill Ranford .881
'10-'11 Mike Smith .880*
'99-'00 Rich Parent .878
'92-'93 JC Bergeron .876
'92-'93 Pat Jablonski .874
'92-'93 Wendell Young .872
'10-'11 Dan Ellis .870*
'00-'01 Dieter Kochan .870
'94-'95 JC Bergeron .869
'07-'08 Marc Denis .859
'97-'98 Zac Bierk .857
'99-'00 Kevin Hodson .856
'93-'94 Pat Jablonski .856
'95-'96 JC Bergeron .832

The list of netminders the Lightning have had who have appeared in 10 or more games and posted a .900 or better save percentage is sadly and decidedly smaller. Only 14 netminders have accomplished that feat in a Lightning jersey, and Mike Smith and Daren Puppa did it by the skin of their teeth both last season and in 1997-1998, respectively.

'01-'02 Nikolai Khabibulin .920
'02-'03 John Grahame .920
'95-'96 Daren Puppa .918
'08-'09 Mike Smith .916
'01-'02 Kevin Weekes .915
'03-'04 John Grahame .913
'02-'03 Nikolai Khabibulin .911
'03-'04 Nikolai Khabibulin .910
'09-'10 Antero Niittymaki .909
'98-'99 Daren Puppa .906
'94-'95 Daren Puppa .905
'96-'97 Rick Tabbaracci .902
'97-'98 Daren Puppa .900
'09-'10 Mike Smith .900

Yuck. I just threw up a little. And, if you can figure out how John Grahame and Mike Smith went from really good seasons in the blink of an eye, please let Lightning management know.

Stupid Northern Hockey Media Tricks

Rob Rossi from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review decides to make himself Exhibit C for the irrational northern hockey media establishment. Speaking on who likely leads the chase for MVP of the league at the quarter post of the season, Rossi pens the following gem:

Quote:
That spot belongs to Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, the NHL leader through Friday in goals and points, according to rankings by ESPN.com and USA Today. Those are subject to personal bias — not that Hart Trophy voting by select members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association eliminates that possibility.

Did you see that? Did you see how Rossi lumped statistics, which are the most objective metric of performance we have in sports, in with meaningless MVP power rankings? See that sleight of hand? See the implication that statistics are subject to personal bias, too? It's either clumsy writing, or an inherently dishonest little piece of propagandizing, and my guess is that it's the latter.

That's the lengths some in the northern hockey media establishment are going to go to try to discredit Stamkos, and they'll even go the extra step of pushing the bizarro world argument that Stamkos now is an overhyped media darling. Pay no attention to the fact that the amount of ink and Sportscenter mentions that Crosby gets relative to Stamkos is probably on the order of 20:1. Rossi's got a story about poor, picked on, forgotten Sidney Crosby to peddle and cognitive dissonance be damned! Stamkos is now a Madison Avenue sensation!!!

What a joke.

Again, it's impossible to prove whether Stamkos is a better player than Crosby or Ovechkin, and I don't think anyone from Tampa Bay is pushing that argument. That's not the point. The fact Stamkos, at 20 years old, is forcing the northern hockey media establishment to address the question, is the point. In three years, when he's Crosby's age, or five years, when he's Ovechkin's age, where will he be in his development? Riddle me that, Rossi. If you're as smart as I think you are, considering that little magic trick you just tried to pull in that column, I think you'll realize it's not smart to be one of the media members planting themselves firmly into the anti-Stamkos camp. Don't be on the wrong side of history.

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