Monday, June 30, 2008

Pulling The Goalie

Things I need to get off my chest:

Mike Smith looks like an ogre at the net. An ogre that is hard pressed to find his footing. I hope he's spending the summer with a really good goaltending coach so he can hone that skill that everyone is convinced he has. The skill that was so important to bring to the team that the Lightning gave up Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist. Also, please have better taste in helmets and get a hair cut. Take that honker of a paycheck and go to Sport's Clips. They might even give you the cut for free since you're a Lightning player! Read the quote below, and tell me if anything about it rubs you the wrong way. "...and if we cut the shots down in front of him..." Translation: If the other players do all of the work because homeboy can't hack it. Hmm, that inspires confidence. Especially the part where Melrose says he'll be a "very good" goaltender. Very good is how you explain your meal when the waiter or waitress comes up and asks you how your food is.
“Mike Smith will be able to stop it (the puck), he’ll be able to pass it, he’ll be able to move it up,” Melrose said. “That’s a big asset in today’s game. I think with his size and his competitiveness, and if we cut the shots down in front of him and shut down where the shots are coming from in front of him, I think he’s going to be a very good goaltender for a lot of years here in Tampa.” - Barry Melrose, taken from TampaBayLightning.com
Marc Denis never should have been put on the team. He was a waste of money. I'm still mad the Lightning gave up Freddie Modin for Denis. I will always have a spot in my heart for Modin, and if the Lighting ever brought him back...I would not be disappointed.

They didn't give Johan Holmqvist enough of a chance. There was a lot of potential there, especially if our defense had been stronger at the time. They should have kept him on the team for his hair alone. At least it's not an awkward bush like some people. HinthintSmithhinthint. But to be serious for a moment, I really felt like he could grow as a goaltender given more practice. He had some pretty amazing games. Remember the shut out games? Everyone was so quick to jump on the Anti-Homer train when word of Mike Smith got out. Bet you all are biting your tongue now!

When Nikolai Khabibulin asked for more money, the Lightning should have given him more money. You shouldn't mess with the Bulin Wall!

Karri Ramo needs a lot of work. A lot. Why couldn't we have gotten Marc-Andre Fleury? Granted, he sat on the puck and it slid in the net causing the ruination of the Penguins during the Stanley Cup finals. But up until then, he was rockin!

Let's talk John Grahame for a moment because his entire existence makes me laugh. He went from Lightning to Hurricanes, got put on waivers January of 08, and now is playing for the Avangard Omsk. Basically, he fell apart. Part of me feels bad for him. Part of me laughs at the fact that he got his ass handed to him November 07 during the Lightning vs. Hurricanes game. Yes, I'm awful. But truthfully, there was a time I was rooting for John. I liked Grahame over Sean Burke, that's for sure. Then they both ended up not making the cut.

Goaltending is key. Why hasn't anyone in the franchise figured that out yet? They like to pretend like they have it under control. Let's face it though. They don't.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mullet & The Macedonian

It was no big surprise when Steve Stamkos or Barry Melrose were officially put on Lightning payroll. Since the end of the season, Tampa has been laden with "Seen Stamkos?" stickers and billboards. John Tortorella digged his own grave at the end of last season, making it public that the team needs a breath of fresh air. We all knew he was going, although I hated to admit it. I enjoyed Torts coaching style and disposition. I felt he was smart, classy, tough, and he sure knew how to bring us good comedy. Let us please refer to the post game interview after the Devils took the lead in the 2007 series.


Brooksie didn't stand a chance.

But alas, Torts is gone and now we were given Barry Melrose. A guy who hasn't coached a team in about 13 years. As a fan, you can't help but wonder if he was really the best choice for the Lightning. More importantly, you can't help but wonder if Oren Koules is just addicted to Hollywood. Barry's claim to fame is that damn mullet. I am pretty sure that mullet is going to get more attention than the actual team this year, which is depressing. This is only because he's so commercial. For being on TV as long as he has been, his announcer voice takes over. Once you get past the mullet and his entire persona and actually listen to his philosophy, there could be something there. Known as a player's coach, this could be what we need. The veterans of the team don't need much work, but we do still have a lot of rookies and fresh faces coming in. Papa Andreychuk is off the team and isn't there to babysit the youngin's, which is something Torts definitely did not do. Safe is death, but tough love could be too. If clearly didn't work for the Lightning last season. The dynamic of Torts and Sullivan is the equivalent to bad cop vs. bad cop. I am willing to bet Melrose will not be the answer to our prayers, but I'm hoping he's got enough gusto to get us out of the slump. With the Marty, Vinny, and Prospal line back in action, there is no reason why we shouldn't be a top scoring team. It's just a matter of getting back into a grove. I can go on and on about Melrose and my thoughts on him, but I will save that for another day.

Now let's talk about boy wonder Steve Stamkos. Yes, we all understand the fact that we was amazing in the OHL. But he isn't in the OHL anymore. Now he's in the NHL and playing against a different caliber of players. Will he live up to all of the hype? Here are some Stamkos facts that have been posted all over the internet.

-- > He scored nine goals in the first round of the 2008 OHL playoffs -- including four goals in a 5-4 win in Game 4 -- helping the Sting eliminate the Windsor Spitfires in five games.

-- > Led the Sting and ranked second in the OHL with 58 goals (58-47--105) in 61 games played in 2007-08.

-- > Named the OHL's Player of the Month for February after scoring 13 goals and 22 points in 13 games.

I think Stamkos could be a ray of light after a thunderstorm, but who is to say he's going to handle all of the pressure of being the first round pick? The media has been building him up to be our savior, which he could end up being...but let the kid get some Lightning ice time before anyone makes that call. Although, I do give him credit because he does seem pretty mature. After watching all of the draft interviews, I understand his appeal. He speaks well, comes off older than 18, and it looks as though he wants to really make a dent in the community. He's already making his rounds at Tampa General Hospital. Hopefully, he'll be as good for the commnunity as Vinny is, and Brad Richards was. Let's see whatcha got Mr. 91! Also, does it scare anyone that he's the same number as Brad Richards on the Stars? Was that on purpose? Like he's supposed to fill a void? Granted, I know it was his Sarnia Sting number...but weird none the less.

When it comes to the Mullet & the Macedonian only time will tell if they are a good fit to the Lightning franchise. I know I'm excited to see it all go down. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, that's for damn sure.

Obligatory Introduction Post

Welcome to the first post on Femmes & Fisticuffs! Let me start off by telling you a little about myself, and why this blog has come to existence. It all started in the beginning of the 2005 season when my best friend took me to my first Tampa Bay Lighting game. I didn't know anything of hockey before I walked into the St. Pete Times Forum, so I was definitely going in blind. The only thing I knew to do was wear a blue shirt in order to fit in! After going through the program and reading up on all the players I randomly picked one to root for, in order to break the ice. I'll admit, it's a totally chick thing to do but it definitely helped me get into the game. After that, I was hooked. I watched every game on TV, and did all of the research I could. It was then that I officially became a hockey fan. I was converted! There is nothing I love more than Lightning hockey, to be honest. Sure, we were last in the standings at the end of the 2008 season - but that doesn't change anything for me. The Lightning have a lot of heart, passion and drive, and that is what I love the most. 2008 was the season of set backs, but they never gave up! Okay, I'm getting off course now. Let me reel it back in.

Moral of the story: I'm a 22 year old college student who is counting down the days (3 months & 5 days) til the 2008-09 season starts. I read the Lightning website and the newspaper religiously, taking in any piece of information I can. The day I became a fan, is the day my life definitely made a change for the better. Because of hockey, I've met a lot of great people and got to make memories I wouldn't have had the chance to make prior. My best friend and I even got matching Lighting tattoos in order to commemorate this time of our lives forever. In 20 years, we can look back on our tattoos and remember all of the great memories we were a part of because of this team. And that's a little bit about me, Miss Conduct.

Now, the purpose of this blog is to discuss Lightning news (and there is plenty of it now with all of the changes), but it's also a outlet for me to discuss the funnier things of hockey that a man just might not pick up on. Or the things a guy would NEVER expect a girl to pick up on and find interest in. Basically, a lot of crazy things come out of my mouth and I need a place to put them in writing. I'm not just a puck bunny. I don't go to the game dressed up in my scandalous outfit in hopes of dating a player. I rock the Lightning gear, yell when there is a bad call, and threaten the lives of away team fans. But, you can't not appreciate a cute face, or a good sense of humor. Please let me reference "Rappin' With Roy". With that being said though, I still wouldn't kick Paul Ranger out of bed.