Monday, October 6, 2008

Seriously. What happened?

Well...that was unexpected. Two major loses in Prague against the New York Rangers was most certainly not the ideal way to start off the season. It was almost like the Lightning had never played a game together which is a bit of a head-scratcher since they came off a good pre-season. So, I have to ask - what the heck happened? Defense isn't defending and our shooters aren't shooting. It's almost embarrassing to look how much the Rangers out shot the Lightning this weekend. On top of that, there were too many penalties against the Lightning and a special team that isn't consistent with penalty kills. This weekend basically consisted of missed opportunities by a team that looked like they hadn't played together in weeks. Also, as much as I love Malone - he needs to chill out. He just started to brawl for no reason it seems like. At least with Roy, he always had a reason. Marty St. Louis and Adam Hall were the two with goals under their belt after the two games. I'm glad Marty was the one to score the first Lightning goal of the regular season, because I needed some type of familiarity! Mostly because I'm going to have a seizure trying to get used to this new line up. I miss familiar faces.

I will admit that the defensive line needed a change but I don't think it needed to happen overnight. The Lightning club definitely hit the panic button after Prague and I believe they made a knee jerk reaction in trading both O'Brien and Ouelette. Allbeit, Ouelette has been on the chopping block for some time due to his 1.2 million dollar contract, and the salary cap. But O'Brien? He didn't even make a million dollars! I won't lie, I really liked O'Brien. He played 77 games with the Lightning last season and recorded four goals, and 21 points. Over the span of 158 NHL games, he's accrued 330 penalty minutes. O'Brien was a player we needed. Ouelette never really got to show the Lightning what he was capable of after being taken from the Penguins and thrown onto a team that was playing pitifully last season. But between the Lightning and the Penguins he's got 52 goals and 116 points in 187 games. Honestly, not too shabby at all and that's a lot more than most of the players on the roster right now. In the deal that sent O'Brien and Ouelette on their merry way to Vancouver, the Lightning acquired defense man Lukas Krajicek and minor league winger Juraj Simek, who is being sent to minors automatically. Brian Lawton felt Krajicek is a valuable acquisition due to his ability to take turnovers into scoring opportunities.
"Really, we're just looking to upgrade or quicken the speed of our transition game," Lawton said. "We think that's what Lukas brings to us more than anything. We like the way he moves the puck. We like the way he moves around the ice. We certainly wish Shane well. It's tough when you trade a guy that's as well liked as he was." - St. Pete Times.
Grrr. Then maybe you shouldn't have traded him! Anyway, we'll find on Saturday whether or not the praise of Lukas is true as the Lightning play against yet another Staalh and the Hurricanes. Other changes to the roster consist of Karri Ramo and Vladimir Mihalik being sent to Norfolk with Simek in tow.

In closing, I will say that Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig really held their own over the weekend, especially with our defensive lines scratching their heads most of the time. Letting only two shots in each wouldn't have been half bad if our team was shooting and scoring goals to offset it. I understand that Lundqvist is the human rock, but the Lightning barely tried to get a goal against him! Either way, I was impressed by how our goaltenders played and I think that they could help the team a lot during this season but only if the rest of the team starts doing their part.


TAG said...

I couldn't agree more, as I said on my new blog, Krajicek has less takeaways per game that O'Brien did, so how can he make the first pass? I'm looking on different blogs to try and find someone who can explain to me what the Lightning gained here, and all I get is people agreeing with me. I have to admit, two games is too early for me to feel this badly about the season, but it's starting to creep in.

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