Monday, July 14, 2008

Thou Shall Covet Pittsburgh's Team.

It seems as though the number one commandment of the Tampa Bay Lightning is "Thou Shall Covet Pittsburgh's Team". There most certainly has been a surge of former Penguins being put on the Lightning roster. In this off season alone, we have acquired four members of their team. I would have loved to have heard the thought process behind these drafts. On OK's list of things to do in a day, after putting pomade in that coif hair of his, the followed by "must jack members from a team that almost won the Stanley Cup". You can't really blame him though. It makes sense. In the 2002-2003, 2003-2004, and 2005-2006 seasons the Penguins didn't even qualify for the post season. Then in 2006-2007, they were second in the Atlantic division and made it all the way to the conference quarter finals. After three seasons of not making it into post season, that is pretty impressive. Is the Lightning only coveting these players simply because they were part of a Stanley Cup final team, or does the franchise actually have legitimate faith in their abilities? Truthfully, I think it might be a combination of both. If OK and LB are going to covet any players from a team, singling out Penguin players seems to be the best choice. These players will know what it takes to start from bottom and work their way up. Plus, I'm sure being that close to hoisting the cup and not being able to has probably lit a fire under their ass. Having a "so close, but yet so far" moment will drive a person.

Mark Recchi, Adam Hall, Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts were all on the Penguin roster last season. The Lightning franchise having a liking toward their team is actually an ongoing trend and not something new. Before skating with the Lightning both Michel Ouelett and Andre Roy were on the Penguins. Apparently the Penguins like our players too, having signed Fedotenko this year and with Daryl Sydor already being on their team. Hmm, I miss Fedotenko.

As of today, we've got 2 months, 2 weeks and 6 days until the season starts. Yes, I have actually been counting down since the last game the Lightning played in May. I'm sick and twisted. I'm really looking forward to seeing if this mash up of players will actually blend together and be able to exist as a team. More importantly, I'm curious to see how the players handle the Melrose coaching style. The Penguin players are going to be very used to Michel Therrien, while the Lightning players who are left standing will be used to Tortorella's hockey philosophy. The players drafted from minor leagues are going to think they have snuck into a frat party, since it seems like half of them aren't old enough to drink yet. I can see the headlines now. "New Lightning pick found passed out on University of Tampa lawn. Player stated he got lost on his way to Forum."

If the off season is this eventful, I can't even imagine what will happen when the season actually starts.

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