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.

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