Tampa Bay Lightning

Content regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning organization.

The Injury Situation Organization Wide

In Tampa, Pavel Kubina [url=http://bolts.tbo.com/lightning/MGBY4ZSFLHE.html]continues to nurse a groin strain which may or may not prompt the recall of a defenseman from Springfield by Monday's game against Carolina.[/url] Fatigue along the backline was obvious for the Lightning in their game against Buffalo last night as they were forced to go with five defensemen again for the duration of the contest. If a defenseman is recalled, Timo Helbling or Doug O'Brien appear to be the two most logical options for the Lightning. In Springfield, on top of the recalls of Ryan Craig and Darren Reid, winger Zbynek Hrdel [url=http://www.tribune-democrat.com/sports/local_story_356001320.html]is expected to be out for a couple of weeks with a knee injury.[/url] The Falcons had originally decided to recall Justin Kelly, Randy Rowe and winger Brandon Elliot to the Falcons, but Elliot broke his hand in a fight in his last ECHL game prompting Adam Henrich to be recalled instead. Rowe suffered an abdominal injury that also kept him from being recalled and likely won't be back until December 30th. In Johnstown, Mike Egener is finally close to returning from his own knee injury. He should be a welcome addition to the Chiefs lineup. However, the Chiefs have lost not only Rowe and Elliot, but will be without veteran Paul Caponigri for two to three weeks with a concussion also suffered in the midst of a fight.

Game Night 12/23: Sabres at Lightning

All I want for Christmas is my hockey team to get the chip back on its shoulder. Right now this club is doing nothing to dissuade its critics up north from the idea the 2004 Stanley Cup team was nothing more than a flash in the pan. Question is, do these Lightning care enough to prove it wasn't? BUF-4 TB-1 Vincent Lecavalier was given a one game suspension for a high sticking incident that was ruled to be intentional and thus did not play tonight. Pavel Kubina also did not play and thus the team went with 5 defensemen tonight. John Grahame stopped 27 of 30 in the game before the Sabres tacked on an empty net goal. Honestly though, it means little if the club is going to provide so little goal support for him. Paul Ranger played 20:18 of even hockey. Ryan Craig played 10:08 and registered three shots on goal. Darren Reid played 7:43. Evgeny Artyukhin, after taking an early hooking call, was the low man amongst rookies with 6:26 of ice time. I hope this team takes the opportunity over the next two days to reflect on where it is, how it has allowed itself to fall so far behind in its own division, and what will happen if they don't show up to work ready to play 60 minutes of desperate hockey on Monday. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020517.HTM]NHL.com.[/url]

Game Night 12/22: Lightning at Rangers

If they had played 60 minutes of hockey instead of 30, they'd have won this game. TB-2 NYR-4 It was surprising to see this Lightning team come out so flat in the first period considering what transpired in the game against Carolina. The good news is that, despite the loss, I think John Grahame played very well stopping 32 of 35. He made a handful of very good saves late in the 2nd period that gave the Lightning an opportunity to steal a point or two. But, alas, their penalty kill was running around a bit when Tom Poti blasted a slapshot from the high slot right up Broadway to win the game. Ryan Craig has already settled into John Tortorella's regular rotation with 14:42 of ice time tonight and 1 shot on goal. He's exceptional at mucking on the forecheck below the goal line as he demonstrated again tonight, however his skating is a liability on the rush as evidenced by a turnover he made in the second period when a Ranger defenseman simply stepped up, not respecting his skating, took the puck and sent his team away on an odd man rush that nearly resulted in a goal and did result in Paul Ranger taking a penalty. Ranger played a stronger, more physical game tonight and was reqarded with more ice time. He was a -1 in 19:27 tonight blocking three shots. Evgeny Artyukhin played a more modest 8:49 with one shot on goal and sat for much of the second half of the game after taking a goaltender interference penalty while driving to the net on a one-on-one play. Darren Reid had one shot on goal in 3:38 of ice time. As with Tarnasky earlier this season, I don't believe it is positive to play a prospect so little over a long period of time. I'm sure Reid isn't complaining about the extra zeros on his paycheck, but it's not the best for his development if Torts doesn't have enough faith in Reid to play him more than the six shifts he got tonight. For the Lightning as a whole, it doesn't get any easier with Buffalo next on tap. Hard to believe, but the Lightning have now allowed more goals this season than they've scored with an overall differential of -1 on the season. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/standings/index.html]NHL.com.[/url]

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.

Game Night 12/20: Lightning at Hurricanes

I was pretty apathetic to the Carolina Hurricanes prior to tonight. Just like any Southeast Division opposition the Lightning have faced over the past two seasons, they were the weakling kid the Lightning would beat up and steal the lunch money from. No threat, so no animosity. Tonight though? I hate the Carolina Hurricanes. I hate their arrogant, homer, idiotic announcers. I hate their fairweather fans (all three of them). And I hate the fact the Tampa Bay Lightning have allowed themselves to fall seven points behind the Carolina Hurricanes in the division. TB-4 CAR-6 Sean Burke allowed 6 goals on 30 shots faced, although only one of those (Staal's second) I would qualify as a soft goal. The Lightning skaters brought enough passion to the rink to win this game, but they apparently left their brains in the hotel rooms. Carolina capitalized on mistakes like the turnover at the Canes blueline that led to Cole's 2-on-1 goal, and they gave Carolina 9 opportunities on the power play in a game where they were constantly battling uphill to try to get that next goal. Being caught in the box also contributed to another low shot total night as the Lightning only got 24 through on Martin Gerber. The team continues to try too hard to find the perfect shot from the perimeter that they find blocked more often than not and too timid to pay the price to get the puck to the front of the net to produce those multiple shot dirty chances that should be the staple of any successful hockey team. The one line that [i]was[/i] creating those dirty chances was the line that had Ryan Craig and Evgeny Artyukhin on it. Both rookies played very well tonight and Craig had his second goal in as many NHL games going to the net and getting a garbage tally on a scrum caused by Artyukhin. Craig's lack of speed definitely inhibits what he can do off the rush, but he is proving that if you can get him the puck down low he will play strong on the puck and generate forecheck and scoring chances at this level just like he did in the AHL. Tonight Craig receieved a sizable 18:42 of ice time, was even, and had two shots on goal. Artyukhin had 11 minutes even, two shots on goal, and three hits, but he got in the box at the end of the game which hurt the Lightning's comeback bid. Paul Ranger played a rather pedestrian 14:11 of even hockey. He certainly isn't hurting the team right now, but he isn't showing the upside he showed earlier this season either. Darren Reid played a sparing 5:38 with one hit, but he did draw a penalty early in the game. Much like Tarnasky in his callup earlier this season, Reid's working hard but he doesn't look quite steady enough yet to stick at this level. As a whole, tonight should've been the Tampa Bay Lightning's wake up call. They now have the Rangers and Sabres and then a rematch with Carolina on Monday. All three are, for December hockey, must win hockey games. The Lightning have coasted to this point at about 85% of their capability. As the Christmas break looms, now is the time for the Lightning to start paying the price. Reputation alone can no longer carry this team. It's go time. Game sheet from [url=http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20052006/GS020491.HTM]NHL.com.[/url] Lets kill these bastards on Monday.
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