Sunday, March 18, 2007

Tampa's 25-per-cent rule

Boy, things are looking tough in the crease for the Tampa Bay Lightning today against Washington, and it makes you wonder if we're on the verge of another 25-per-cent rule rant by head coach John Tortorella.

The Lightning have been the league's hottest team since the halfway point, but have now lost three in a row and have dropped back into the playoff race (and out of the Southeast Division lead, which appears to be Atlanta's to lose now).

It's quite a turtle derby we've got going in the Eastern Conference — whoever loses the least is going to slink in, likely only to be pounded by Buffalo or New Jersey.



At 3:14 p.m., March 18, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I pointed this out on my blog the other day but the strangest thing about the Lightning's goaltending is that they have a better save % in shootouts (0.936) than overall (league worst 0.886). Honestly, how is that possible? They have only given up 3 goals on 47 shoot out attempts against.

At 4:12 p.m., March 18, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tortorella's rant should be directed at Jay Feaster. He was the guy who signed Richards to that ridiculous $7.8 million long term contract and then had to let Khabibulin walk as a UFA.

Khabibulin wanted to stay in TB and I'm sure would have signed for "Brodeur money" ($5.5 million) to stay there instead of the $6.75 million from Chicago.

One needs to evenly distribute cap space money between goal tending, defence and offence. Instead Feaster put it all into offence.

Tortorella better "up" his blood pressure meds because its only going to get worse next year. If Feaster has to get the payroll down from its current $44 million to the owner's new imposed budget of $40 million, he's going to have to unload either St. Louis or LeCavalier, since no one will touch Richard's contract. That means continued inconsistent goaltending, but with less offence.

Of course knowing Jay Feaster he will probably try to meet the payroll by keeping his offence and unloading his top two defencemen and replacing them with two minimum wage players.

What a brilliant General Manager!

At 4:44 p.m., March 18, 2007, Anonymous Lammy said...

What a dizzying race for the final 2 playoff spots. My feeling is that the goaltenders will have the final say in this one. Among the six bubble teams, only the Rangers have solid goaltending right now. At this point, it seems that the Rangers and whoever else has the hot goalie will make the playoffs. I thought my Habs were doomed, but after seeing Halak's brilliant performance last night, I'm not so sure. What a mess, really...

At 8:59 p.m., March 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pounded by New Jersey"?!? That's funny. Both Tampa and Atlanta are 2-1 against New Jersey this year. I would love for Tampa to play New Jersey. I wouldn't mind if they played Pittsburgh either (4-0). So long as they don't play Toronto.

At 9:08 p.m., March 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having franchise players strengthens the team's roots in the area. Bringing in new free agents each year doesn't do that. No one identifies with those players since they come and go. Having career superstars like Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Richards builds the brand. That's what these newer markets need.


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