Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Bolts at B.U., and at a crossroads
Posted Dec 9, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Dec 9, 2008 at 01:28 PM
BOSTON - The team is still in Boston this morning before they shuffle off to Buffalo. They are practicing on campus of Boston University in a nifty arena where the B.U. hockey Terriers call home. There is an amazing pipeline of talent that has come through the hockey program here, led by 1980 Olympians Jim Craig, Dave Silk, Jack O’Callahan and Mike Eruzione. Throw in the likes of Chris Drury, former Lightning player John Cullen, Mike Grier, Adrian Aucoin - not to mention associate Lightning coach Mike Sullivan - and you get a feeling for the players that have been Terriers. Walking around the main concourse, there is a wall of Olympians, wall of NHL players, a wall of All-Americans and a wall of BU Hall of Fame members.
The Lightning certainly could use some of those players these days because to sum it up, this team is a mess right now, on the ice and off. There’s been so much turnover since the start of the season it has to take its toll. Interim head coach Rick Tocchet didn’t want to go there last night, stating that the players should be ready no matter what the situation, and he’s probably right about that. But human nature always comes into play, especially when you don’t know what’s coming around the next corner, whether it’s Chris Gratton being waived, Radim Vrbata asking out of his contract this season or the head coach being fired.
There is just so much uncertainty surrounding this team on and off the ice.
So where do they go, where do they turn to for answers? Does it mattwr at this point? Are you the fans willing to watch this team finish at the bottom of the standings again if it means another top two draft pick, which means either John Tavares or Victor Hedman (6-6 Swedish defenseman) winds up in Tampa?
After all, no matter what was being said before the season, this team is not built for this season, they are a couple of years away, but with an identified core of Vinny Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, Andrej Meszaros, Steven Stamkos and Paul Ranger. (Yes, Marty is still a big part of this team, but not long term)
Would another high draft pick be beneficial? Because I just don’t see the season making any kind of a drmatic turnaround anytime soon.