Goodbye Marty: My reaction as a Lightning fan to the trade of Martin St. Louis

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I’m heartbroken and angry. I’m heartbroken to lose a man that gave his heart and soul to this team and this community for 13 years. I’m angry, not but at Marty. I’m angry all the fans that have been bad mouthing Marty despite 13 years of devotion to this team and this community. I’m angry at Yzerman for the way he handled this situation.

Marty is a wonderful man. His leadership skills far outshined Vincent Lecavalier’s in recent years. He should have become captain a long time ago. He is a shining example of what can happen if you work hard to achieve your dreams. He was undrafted because he was too small, but still managed to make it to the NHL and win a Stanley Cup. I don’t blame him for requesting a trade after Yzerman left him off the initial Olympic roster. For every hockey player, winning an Olympic medal is a dream and to lose that dream twice after putting years and years of hard work and being more than qualified, had to be devastating. However, to say that that was the ONLY reason he requested a trade is absolutely absurd.

Marty has won two Lady Bing trophies and was still gracious and classy when he made a statement to the fans/media about the trade. In an interview with Fox in Tampa,  and in a letter to fans Marty thanked fans for their support and came across as very melancholy. Despite both of those statements saying that family was a big part of the decision, many fans, including some local journalists proceeded to bash him.  They called him a crybaby, prick and douchebag just to name a few. They said he chose a personal vendetta against Yzerman over acting like a team player. This makes me angry because like I mentioned before knowing what I know about Marty’s character, that would not be the only reason for his request. Of course the media doesn’t see it that way because this personal vendetta story makes for “better” journalism. The fans are blindly believing the crap that makes for “better” journalism and can’t seem to think for themselves and realize that Marty is a real person with a real family and could possibly leave Tampa for any other reason.

My anger is just magnified by the way Yzerman handled the situation. I already dislike Yzerman but after watching his press conference after the trade was announced, I absolutely hate him.  He talked about a “new era” in Lightning history now that every player from the 2004 Stanley Cup team and the smug look on his face made it seem like this was the final stage of his evil plan to purge Tampa of all of our beloved players under the guise of making the team better. He acted like he was glad Marty requested a trade, even though his words said otherwise. It was no secret that Marty and he didn’t have the best relationship. When asked if the snub had an effect on Marty’s choice to request a trade, Yzerman responded by saying snub means to ignore and that they didn’t ignore anyone. In fact, snub can also mean “reject with disdain or contempt.”  During the press conference, the phrase “the best thing for the organization” kept coming up and I can’t help but wonder how the rest of the team will handle this and keep pushing toward the playoffs. Stamkos is feeling a lot right now, as he made clear in an interview. He feels the pressure leading this team, as well as the loss of a good friend and teammate. All of this happening after finally being cleared to play after being injured for 4 months.

As far as Callahan is concerned, I don’t see him making that much of a difference. The Lightning still suck on defense although Thor aka Michael Kostka could help that situation. It will be interesting to see if the Lightning will make the playoffs without Marty

Overall, I’m bummed that Marty is gone and the Lightning didn’t get anything to help the team in return except for some draft picks that won’t be NHL ready for 5 years. I grew up supporting the Lightning, but this is Florida, not Canada. People won’t keep buying tickets and merchandise if it is going to take 3 years or more for the system Yzerman has been building to start making the team a constant contender for the Cup. With only Stamkos left to be the face of the franchise will the franchise be profitable enough to last until then?  Only time will tell.

Good Luck to Marty in New York.

P.S Here is the picture of the smug look on Yzerman’s face

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Editor’s Note: Make sure to follow Jessica on Twitter @Dnwyourpity, and make sure to “like” us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

Slovakia: the right mix of Olympic veterans and Olympic rookies?

While the question with other teams is “Do we have the right mix of talent” The question with the Slovakian team “Is do we have enough talent?” The talent bank of the Slovaks is nowhere near the caliber of most of the other teams especially if someone gets injured. With that being said, if they can stay healthy and the goaltenders get hot, they might have a chance to medal. With this mix of Olympic veterans and Olympic rookies, things could get interesting.

Since the talent level on the Slovakian team isn’t as deep as some other teams the goalies will need to fill in most of that gap. Jaraslov Halak should be the starter as he was the starter for the last Olympics. He has played 29 games for the St. Louis Blues with a GAA of 2.31 and a save percentage of .911. Peter Budaj should be the number two goalie over Jan Laco because of his NHL experience. He has been a solid number 2 goalie for the Montreal Canadians. He has played 11 games with a GAA of 2.14 and a save percentage of .920. Jan Luco has World Championship experience which could prove valuable if he is needed. He currently plays for Donbass HC and has a 1.72 GAA and a .926 save percentage in 7 games.

On defense, Zdeno Chara is going to be their saving grace. He has 9 goals and 9 assists in 43 games with a +4. Almost everyone knows what a beast he is defensively for the Boston Bruins. He is one of the most experienced Olympians on the team with this being his 3rd.   Lubomir Visnosky, who also is going to be I his 3rd Olympics is a valuable asset with 3 points in 8 games for a +3. He is a big question mark because he is recovering from a concussion and may not be ready in time. This is also the third Olympics for Andrej Mezsaros. He recently has been dealing shoulder problems, but now that he is healthy he could take some of the pressure off of Chara. He has a goal and 7 assists in 24 games with a +3. Although he has only played one NHL game, because this will be his 2nd trip to the Olympics, Ivan Baranka completes the veteran core on defense. He has a goal and 14 assists in 41 games with a +1 for Omsk Avangard. Andrej Skera is the only Olympic rookie on defense to have significant NHL experience. He is +2 with 7 goals and 17 assists in 43 games for the Carolina Hurricanes. Martin Marincin has played 9 games for the Edmonton Oilers. He has 3 goals and 4 assists for a +5. Dominic Granak currently plays for Dynamo Moscow and has 5 goals and 6 assists in 31 games for a +11. Michal Seren is a big question mark. He is currently injured. He has 14 points in 33 games for Slovan Bratislava, but he is at -5. Look for the coach of the Slovakian team to match Olympic rookies with Olympic veterans on defense to keep things balanced.

Thankfully, the offense has plenty of Olympic experience.  The most seasoned Olympian is Michal Handzus. This season with Chicago he has 4 goals and 6 assists in 29 games. Then you have Handzus’s teammate Marian Hossa. Hossa scored 9 goals in Vancouver and has won two Stanley Cups. He currently has 15 goals and 20 assists in 41 games. Marian’s younger brother Marcel is also on the team. He is a two time Olympian and has 61 points in 237 NHL games. He currently plays for Dinamo Riga and has 20 goals and 17 assists. Tomas Kopecky has also won a Stanley Cup with Chicago, although he now plays for the Florida Panthers and this will be his second Olympics. He has 4 goals and 5 assists in 38 games. When Marian Gaborik is not injured he is great. He has 12 points in 18 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he has played less than half the games in a single season for each of the last 3 seasons. He is currently injured and remains questionable for the Olympics. This will be his third time in the Olympics. The rest of the forwards are 1st time Olympians.  Milian Bartovic played 6 seasons in NHL/AHL before going back to Europe where he has remained since 2006. Tomas Surovy has played 126 games in Pittsburgh, but is currently playing for Minsk Dynamo. He has 6 goals and 11 assists in 39 games. Tomas Tatar has played 36 games this season for the Detroit Red Wings. In that time he has 9 goals and 8 assists.  Richard Panik has 2 goals and 9 assists in 36 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Michal Miklik currently has 11 goals and 18 assists in 42 games for Bratislava Slovan.  Tomas Jurco had 2 goals and an assist in 7 games for Detroit, but had 12 goals and 18 assists in 31 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins. Tomas Zaborsky currently plays in the KHL and has 5 goals and 4 assists in 24 games. Tomas Marcinko had 11 goals and 20 assists in 38 games for Kosice HC before being traded to MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik. Peter Olvecky played 32 games in the NHL and had 2 goals and 5 assists.  

For the first time Olympians, the excitement matches nothing else they have ever experienced. This excitement could fuel a “nothing to lose” attitude.  The pressure to perform is not there compared to the pressure that the Canadians, Russians and Americans face. This could lead to outstanding plays by the Olympic rookies, but it can also lead to carelessness. This is where the veterans come in. The veterans know how to handle the excitement of Olympics and can temper the excitement of the rookies. This combination could prove to be a winning one. Of course this team is missing someone special in Pavol Demitra who was killed in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash. His spirit could provide extra drive for the Slovaks to win.  

How Injury Might Impact the Olympic Rosters

The Olympic rosters have to be finalized by New Years and the NHL has seemingly hit the mid-season injury peak, so how will these injuries affect the final rosters? Using the prospective rosters for each team from NHL.com I broke it down team by team.

Canada: To put Stamkos on the roster or not to put Stamkos on the roster? That is the question. Steven Stamkos has set a personal goal to be back practicing by January and playing by February. So far his recovery has been at a remarkable pace as he was back on skates only 33 days after his leg was broken. However, if they put him on the roster and he is not ready they waste a roster spot. On the other hand, if they don’t put him on the roster and he is ready, the team has to wait for another injury to happen. Canada has plenty of talent to choose from so Stamkos’s absence is not devastating, although he would be missed.

USA: With only two injuries, USA is in pretty good shape. Dustin Byfuglin seems to be the logical choice since Paul Martin is injured. If Johnathan Quick is still having groin issues come the Olympics, Corey Schneider could take his spot and the third spot would fall to Ben Bishop or Jimmy Howard.

Sweden: If Henrik Zetterburg (herniated disc) is not ready, this would be a major blow for Sweden.  Louis Erickson (concussion), Victor Hedman and Alexander Edler are also injured. Johnny Oduya is a good replacement for Erickson and Marcus Kruger could fill one of the defensive openings.

Finland: With only Mikael Granlund (head) and Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) injured, Finland could be okay. They have some young talent available that could fill those spots.

Russia: Sergei Bobrovsky has a groin injury and should be good to go come Olympic time, but if he is still injured, Evgeni Nabokov could take his spot and the third spot would be open to someone else. If Bobrovsky is able to play Nabokov could take the third spot.

Slovakia: With Marian Gaborik (sprained knee), Richard Panik (undisclosed), and Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) all questionable, Slovakia will have to go to European teams to fill out there rosters. There is no shortage of talent as several of those players do have some NHL experience.

Czech Republic: They seem to be the luckiest as their prospective team has no injuries.

Of course more injuries can happen and those currently (as of 12/14) on injured reserve can recover so good luck to all the GMs that have to figure this stuff out by January 1st.  

Team USA Potential Roster

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Here is the list of invites to Team USA Olympic camp:

Goaltenders: Craig Anderson (Ottawa), Gibson (Anaheim), Jimmy Howard (Detroit), Miller (Buffalo), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles), Cory Schneider (New Jersey)

Defensemen: Zach Bogosian (Winnipeg), Dustin Byfuglien (Winnipeg), John Carlson (Washington), Dan DeKeyser (Detroit), Justin Faulk (Carolina), Cam Fowler (Anaheim), Jake Gardiner (Toronto), Erik Johnson (Colorado), Jack Johnson (Columbus), Jones (Nashville), Nick Leddy (Chicago), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers), Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis), Suter (Minnesota), Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg), Keith Yandle (Phoenix)

Forwards: Justin Abdelkader (Detroit), David Backes (St. Louis), Beau Bennett (Pittsburgh), Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Brown (Los Angeles), Ryan Callahan (New York Rangers), Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal), Kane (Chicago), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver), Phil Kessel (Toronto), Trevor Lewis (Los Angeles), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis), Max Pacioretty (Montreal) , Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim), Zach Parise (Minnesota), Joe Pavelski (San Jose), Bobby Ryan (Ottawa), Brandon Saad (Chicago), Craig Smith (Nashville), Paul Stastny (Colorado), Derek Stepan (New York Rangers), James van Riemsdyk (Toronto), Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg)

Now the roster for the 2014 Olympics is allowed to contain 25 names. The USA Today article I read suggested that the coaches were looking for a 13 forward, 9 defenseman, and 3 goalies breakdown so that is I what I am using to come up with my potential roster.

Forwards

  1. Patrick Kane
  2. Phil Kessel
  3. Max Pacioretty
  4. Zach Parise
  5. Derek Stepan
  6. James van Riemsdyk
  7. Ryan Kesler
  8. Dustin Brown
  9.  Ryan Callahan
  10.  TJ Oshie
  11.  Joe Pavelski
  12.  Bobby Ryan
  13. Paul Stasny

Defense

  1. John Carlson
  2. Nick Leddy
  3. Paul Martin
  4. Ryan McDonagh
  5. Brooks Orpik
  6. Keith Yandle
  7. Ryan Suter
  8. Kevin Shattenkirk
  9. Dustin Byfuglien

Goalies

Starter: Anderson

Backups: Schneider, Quick

Notes

  • This is based on points per game played for the forwards, plus/minus for the defensemen, and save percentage for goalies. I’m not the best with stats so order on the list does not indicate what line they will be on
  • The camp roster is full of young talent a few of which have no chance in making the team. Some of the older players I have listed on my roster could be replaced by younger camp attendees.
  • I thought a lot of camp invitees were too young/inexperienced to be invited when I look at the level of talent/experience on other countries’ camp rosters. Let’s hope the GM/coaching staff know what they are doing.
  • I have to wonder how they are going to figure out team chemistry, since they can only do off-ice drills and interviews because the cost of insurance is too high.
  • Of course camp doesn’t really mean anything because anyone could in theory come upon a hot-streak before the roster has to be finalized and make the team.

Why the Heck Would You Do That?: The Tampa Bay Lightning Draft Story

Being from Tampa, I am a Lightning fan, but I think Steve Yzerman is an idiot and this draft bolstered this opinion. Apparently everyone who follows hockey as a whole and not just their favorite teams knows that a good defense is necessary to win in the NHL. Everyone that is except Yzerman.

In this draft, the Lightning had picks 3, 33, 124, 154,184,186. The third-round pick was traded for goalie Andres Lindback and the fourth-round pick was traded for BJ Crombeen. It will take at least another year or two to determine if those moves are going to pay off. The extra seventh-round pick came in the Ben Bishop trade.With these picks, I was very hopeful that Tampa, would be able to acquire several defensemen in order to fix the severe weakness in that area.

When both the Avalanche and Panthers passed on Seth Jones, I was ecstatic for the whole minute and a half before Yzerman pick Jonathan Drouin. Tampa’s defense sucks and yet Yzerman chose a left-winger. This baffles me. Yes, I know Martin St. Louis probably does not have many more years left and Drouin could fill his shoes, but we really needed an NHL ready defenseman and Seth Jones was it. After the pick, twitter was ablaze with all of the angry Lightning fans. Even people who were not Tampa fans were shocked by Yzerman’s choice.

The second-round pick was not any better. There were plenty of decent defensemen left on the board, but again Yzerman chose a left-winger in Adam Erne.  At this point I do not understand what Yzerman’s plan for the team is. Not including this year’s draft, according to the Lightning’s prospect site, there are thirty forwards but only fifteen defensemen in the system.

The rest of the picks Tampa had in the draft resulted in a goalie, another left winger, a center and a right-winger. Which begs the question how on earth is Yzerman going to get the Lightning’s defense back to where it needs to be in order to contend for the Stanley Cup?

Thoughts about Games 1 and 2

When this year’s Stanley Cup final started I was more excited about it than I had ever remembered being. Not only was it an original six match up, but you have the Chicago Blackhawks who dominated the regular season and the Boston Bruins who are trying to bring Lord Stanley to a town marked by tragedy. Game 1 of the series did not disappoint. For most of the game the teams were evenly matched. It was a seesaw possession game with the teams trading moments of sustained pressure in the offensive zone the entire game. The goalies were phenomenal. A lot of the saves had me yelling at my tv “how on earth did he save that?!?” The intensity of the game was everything I had expected of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The pace of the game and the multiple scrums after the plays were awesome.

The intensity didn’t let up, even through the first overtime period. Chicago came out feeding on the energy of the crowd and the momentum of overcoming a two-goal deficit so I expected a quick end to the game. Boston didn’t give up though. No one really dominated the first OT. As the game went on Boston was getting more chances than Chicago. I really thought Boston was going to win and they might have if Horton hadn’t gotten injured late in the first OT. The Horton, Krejci, Lucic line was really the thorn in Chicago’s side all game long. Horton’s injury took the productivity away from that line. This allowed Chicago to get more chances and eventually they were able to get a deflection past Rask to win.

After the excitement of Game 1, Game 2 was a disappointment. It lacked the intensity that Game 1. Perhaps this had to do with fatigue from Game 1 but the teams had 2 days off and didn’t have to travel. Both coaches gave their teams ample time to rest between games, so I don’t think that was the issue. Chicago dominated the 1st period, but began to slow down in the 2nd and continued to play at half speed throughout the rest of the game. Boston on the other hand came alive with about 5 minutes to go in the 1st and continued to get better as the game went on. As a Blackhawks fan, I had been praying that when Boston tied up the game it would light a fire under the Hawks and they would start playing the game again. Chicago never got back to the level of play that they had in the 1st and Boston dominated overtime and deserved to win the game.

Now that the series is tied, it changes the dynamic of the series. I expected the crowd to play into the Blackhawks favor and they would go into Boston up 2-0. It is going to be for Chicago difficult to win one in the Garden, and they could easily be headed back into United Center down 3-1. In order for Chicago to win the Cup, they have to shut down the Horton, Krejci, Lucic line. That line killed them in the first two games of this series. They also need Kane and Toews to get back on the scoreboard. For Boston to win the Cup, they just need to keep up the intensity, play their physical game, and generate more offensive chances. They cannot afford to let Chicago dominate them again.