NHL Game Night 10/16: Hurricanes at Lightning

Rock bottom, hopefully. CAR-5 TB-1 Marc Denis allowed 4 goals on 19 shots for the loss before giving way to Johan Holmqvist for the third period where Holmqvist allowed 1 goal on 4 shots. The lone Lightning goal came late in the third period from Nikita Alexeev off helpers from Afanasenkov and Richardson. The odd thing is the Lightning, who looked lethargic, actually outshot the Canes 35-23. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20062007/GS020074.HTM]NHL.com[/url]. Doug Janik was even in 18:10 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot. Eric Perrin was -1 in 12:39 with 5 hits including a second period hit that touched off a large scrum as the game began to get out of hand. He was also 40% on draws. [url=nick-tarnasky]Nick Tarnasky[/url] played 7:08 with 2 shots and 1 hit and answered the bell initiating a second period fight with Mike Commodore. Unfortunately, the front office is essentially helpless at this point in time to make any shake up changes. Last year when the team hit rough patches early they relied on the callups of Paul Ranger, Evgeney Artyukhin and later Ryan Craig. This early in the season, with Springfield struggling so much over the weekend, there aren't any players worthy or ready there to contribute in Tampa right now. So, for the next month or so, the answers are going to have to come from inside the locker room, and in my view they are going to have to come from Brad Richards most of all. Eventually, Martin St. Louis' chances are going to start falling and Vincent Lecavalier hasn't been horrible with 4 points in 6 games. Richards, however, looks nothing like himself right now with just 2 assists and a -4 rating which which is one of the worst on the team. John Tortorella has saved most of his public venom for Lecavalier, but figuring out what is wrong with Richards may be the more crucial puzzle that has to be solved right now.

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Where is our Captain???

This team needs to be fixed NOW. In a month or so it will be too late to salvage this season. What a pathetic performance tonight? Where in the hell is the Lightning Captain? Oh yeah, on the 4th line averaging 6 minutes a game. I guess putting the C on Richard's sweater would be too much pressure for the kid. Is Lecavalier home sick? Does he want to finish his career in Canada? I just wonder if he is just biding his time. How come Torts couldn't get these guys ready to play? I certainly don't have the answers...just venting...

No desire

I've only gotten to see three games so far, but already I'm seeing the same bad habits starting to creep up. Aside from Ranger and Perrin (and to a certain extent Afanasenkov) the rest of the team looked like they'd rather be anywhere else other than on the ice. Everyone seemed to just be going through the motions. I thought Denis was fine except for the errant poke check, but even then he recovered well for the stop only to be left on his own with Williams and Staal alone in his face. Defense looked lost and slow, especially on Brind'amour's goal where he and Cole went untouched to the front of the net for the 2-on-0 down low. Vinny was invisible, and I love St.Louis and Richards but they need to start finishing. Every game I've seen has had an early breakaway for Marty only to see him squander the chance. His other breaks last night resulted in low-percentage slapshots where Ward just took an extra step out on the windup. With the money these guys are making they should score every time they have that much room. Carolina was turning the D every rush because they moved their feet, while the Lightning were just coasting in and waiting for the outside shot opportunity. I just didn't get the impression that anyone really wanted to play. More distressing is that it looked as if the guys on the bench were looking the other way whenever Torts opened his mouth. They just seemed to brush off his rants as if they'd heard it a thousand times before. The players aren't responding to the coach, and that's always a major problem when you're dealing with million dollar athletes. I'm not saying that Torts is the problem by any means, but he needs to find a way to wake these guys up and play the game like they want to win, not like they just want to pass the time.

Grahame loved this one !

Johnny Grahame got to see the old 25 percent rule in effect big time tonite with Denis and then Holmqvist giving up the net. Not to put this disaster of a game on the goalies, but Denis looked sloppy in the 2nd, as did the other Bolts on the ice. No 'O' and No 'D' and unfortunately No points again. I have to turn my head every time Marty and Brad come in alone on net - no creativity, no spark, no goals... just pitch and catch into goalies glove. Cudos to Marty for getting chances, but try something a little different maybe. Team is on auto pilot and if a team leader doesnt surface soon and create some mo, Bolts may tank before midseason am sorry to say. Agree that Timmy Taylor cannot lead from the rear playing spot PK duty.

Floating

Richards is going through the motions without a doubt.Vinny is spotty with his play.St.Louis is having a run of bad luck with the puck not settling for him,he's generating so it will come.But the Triplets have got to get it done for the Bolts to have success. John T. worked them hard yesterday maybe he will get their ear from it.The type of demanding coach he is walks a fine line,it's tough to hold a team year after year as hard as he runs them,but it's his job so he needs to find a way.He did himself no favors blowing a gasket in the press with Grahame during the playoffs.Even though he deserved every bit of it,team unity should have been the bigger concern than his temper.I'm sure deep down the players didn't appreciate it. Anyway you guy's have a great site with well researched info.I have posted a link to you at my site...www.LightningHockeyCentral.com I try to throw some lite stuff in with the opinions.You may like it. TLW

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