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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.

Reader Comments

Por (Katya) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Andrej Meszaros?  Who is that?  What has he done?

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Por (BOLTS RULE !!!!) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Sadly this story may be true in that the lightning may start losing intentionally to get the first round draft pick again, that will stink for the season ticket holders that paid for the season, and have to watch them lose all over again, and this year at a higher cost, hard to eat that kind of loss when the economy is seemingly tanking as well. They may lose the few season ticket holders they have left.

too bad they cant win intentionally.

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Por (Thunderbug) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I am a TBL fan—even when they finish last.  I never leave early when the blowout occurs either.  I enjoy another refreshing beverage to dull the pain.  I have only booed them a couple of times—this year on horrible powerplay opportunities.  I can deal with them being in last place IF they play with heart and pride and the sweater on their back.  I want to see some LEADERSHIP by example on this Team.  I want to see the physical battles for pucks and passion when they score, and when they cough up a goal or 3 to another team in a 4-minute span.

Basically I am a fan who renewed AFS/Channelside seats again… and right now I am wondering where we’ll sit next year.  Only time and the Bolts’ passion will tell.

Go Bolts!!!

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Por (Mark) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Paul Ranger the future?  We’re in deep trouble if that’s the case. This guy is making terrible decisions with the puck in our own zone. I’ve seen a number of guys make the same mistake this year, but Ranger is doing it more than others with the blind cross ice passes. Meszaros can be good, he shows alot more promise than Ranger. The team is young and a Big D man will help, so getting one of those 2 top spots is critical at this point.

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Por (billiebee) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Check out Barry Melrose’s comments today in Canada about the mess here in Tampa:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=259045

Man, what a mess!

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Por (Thunderstruck) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

What do you mean are we the fans ‘willing’ to watch the team end up last in the standings?  What choice do we have?  That is the sad part, many fans attend the games with their hard earned money because that is their outlet for enjoyment.  It sucks pretty bad that even this outlet of ours is going into the toilet.  Thanks Len & Squiggy!  Torts was right, you two are a couple of cowboys.  The team didn’t need a wholesale change out, just some smart moves here and there.  How about an apology for the Boyle trade for starters?  Oh, that won’t ever happen…too much Hollywood ego there eh?

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Por (Michelle) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Also a TBL fan but like watchin good hockey & @ this point would settle for semi-decent. Its painful & not fun. As a season tix holder, like all has spent a lot of $$ am very disappointed in the season. I’m not ready to give up. I would love to see a turn around. IMO, sittin back & intentionally losing should happen for a #1 pick. That wont solve any of our problems & didnt this year. Season tix- based on the economy & poor play of team I probably wont spend as much next year. Its probably not the right attitude as purchasing tix supports them, but who can afford any $ when you know the games dont have much value? So I stay til the end and have another drink, there goes an extra $8 a game…If they @ least compete maybe its worth it..

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Por (Katya) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

What a great article from tsn…..

As far as season tickets go, we did not renew because they jacked the price way too high.  Now they give out tickets for free…what a disappointment….almost wish this was a bad dream!

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Por (Natty) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Michelle, I completely agree with you! I feel like the new “owners” are just playing a game & do not care about the outcome.  I thought they would be a breath of fresh air but now it is the worst thing that could have possibly happened.  I, like many of u, will be thinking long and hard about what I plan on spending next season. As for throwing games intentionally to get#1 pick, I think this is an awful idea.  Not only are you hurting the team but the fans as well.  If we do throw game and we come in last it should be given to another team. We do not deserve it.  We have more than enough talent on our current roster that we should not even have the option.  They just need to get their act in gear. Stop trying to play fancy and get goals.

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Por (Goalman) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

This team is not going to lose on purpose. They’re going to lose because they play bad hockey.
Here are some things I think about. How about you?
Do we miss camp Torturella.Look at all the injuries we’ve had. Think the team was in better shape when Torts was here?
Should Tocc be rehired even if the team does poorly.I say yes.This team needs cohesion and switching coaches again won’t be a good thing.
Should Lawton go? I say yes. This guy doesn’t have a clue.You mean to say that no one knew that Vrbata was going to be homesick? Its called doing your homework.
Should Len Barrie keep his mouth shut?YES! I liked him better when he was the lead singer for the Dovells.
Can we say goodbye to Malik, Craig,Roberts,and trade Ranger?
YES PLEASE!

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Por (Just an Olie fan) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Best pizza is across the street (T Anthony’s).Thats some D the Lighting got on their hands. Calling up Heward is a MUST…

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Por (b) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Thank you Bill Davidson

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Por (Tampafan) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I don’t think the Lightning are playing as bad as you all are complaining about.  There are no blowouts, they are losing by one goal and some of those losses have been in shootouts.  It will change.  They played hard on Saturday.  They had a bad first 1/2 period last night and then played hard.  It happens with all teams when there is a lot of change.  Let them get it together, show support, fill the seats and things will go the way you want.

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Por (BOLTS RULE !!!!) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I would love to see the team play 60 minutes of hockey, grit,determination and heart. I have seen some of that in a few periods, and seen it in comebacks, but never the entire 60 minutes. I dont want this team to finish last, I want them to fight, tooth and nail, do what it takes to win PLAY HOCKEY. They have players that want to play and some that do play while they are on the ice. Others, just seem to pass the puck to anyone, afraid of hitting others, and basically look like they are just out for a lazy skate. People will say, well can you play hockey? then you do it, Give me 6 or 7 figures salary per year and I’ll find a way. I know it takes talent to play hockey, its just a shame when some of these players waste that talent.

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Por (Will Schur) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Guys, I think Koules and Barrie made significant signings in the offseason that we all thought were good for the team.  The big mistake they made was turning the team over to a guy that really does not have a clue on how to be a GM.  As someone here said, firing Lawton is not really an option as he has a sizable stake in the Barrie initiative.  Where does that leave us?  Well we hope Lawton does the honorable thing and resign his post.  Probably not.  We can stop going to the game and let them see the fans are not approciative of the product they put out and maybe they will get a clue.

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Por (Will Schur) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

And for a lot of us that have season tickets, donate them to a worthy cause as I did.  There are lot of kids who otherwise would not be able to afford to the any game ever.  Let them turn out disappointment to a sense of fulfillment and self worth.  Let them turn our displeasure to their smiles and unforgetable experiences.  For the most part, they do not care about the score and who played well and who didn’t, they just want to say I went to my first hockey game!

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Por (Ruthe) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

We all know they won’t finish anywhere but dead last, however, if they would just make an effort to win we would appreciate it.  The game last night was ungodly awful. How many times do you have to tell players to “get in front of the net?” Is that so hard to understand? Ryan Craig was in front of the net a couple of times and other than that, no one.  Mike Smith deserves some help here! If Vrbata can walk in and ask to go to the Czech Republic, Smith should go in and asked to be traded.  Thank God for Center Ice so I can watch some real hockey! This is getting ugly!

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Por (Dustin Keene) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Get rid of Lawton.

Waive Malik.

Call up Smaby.

Trade Meszaros for Alexandre Picard.

50% of the problems solved.

Show the players video tape of them crashing the net with the goalie pulled in the 3rd, tell them to do it before it’s 3-0 in the first. Also, this doesn’t mean crash the net and sit in the goalie lap, it means crash in, as the shot is taken, glide out and look for the rebound to pop out, you can put rebounds home sitting on the top of the goalie crease, your just going to get shoved around, unless your name is Ryan Malone.

100% of problems solved.

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Por (Dustin Keene) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Oh yeah, call up Ramo and give smith a break, waive Kolzig as well he’s old news now unfortunately.

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Por (Goalman) on December 09, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Two tickets to the next game;100
dollars.
Two beers;16 dollars
The Lightning effort;worthless

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Por (Seth C) on December 10, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Koules is proving that when it comes to producing something horrific, nobody is better than he.

This ownership group came in promising that they were just going to tweak things to get them back on track. Instead, they went for the headline grabbing moves, forgetting entirely the fundamental rule of hockey: you build your team from the net out.

The only hope for this team is that every single player except Vinny, Malone, Stamkos, and Smitty is put on the block and we start stock-piling draft picks and REAL young talent (though I have my doubts that the management would know this if it slapped them in the face), as well as one GOOD veteran defenseman for an earnest rebuilding project.

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