After coming to within one game of the Stanley Cup finals last year, the Lightning are languishing at the bottom of the division this season.
Hockey is unlike any other professional team sport. One player can make or break a team, and that player is the goaltender. Problem with the Bolts -- they don't have a stud in net. Last year's feel good story, Dwayne Roloson hit the age wall this season and the 41 year old is playing like a 41 year old. Career back up goalie Mathieu Garon is showing why he's always been a back up and not a starter. He's had flashes of hot play, but nothing steady or reliable. When Garon went down with an injury, the team called up a kid from the minors, Dustin Tokarski, who literally played his guts out. But with, at one point, eight guys on the ir, the team lost something like six of seven games and any chance of salvaging the season.
I thought at one point, the way GM Yzerman was stockpiling draft picks, Stevie Y was going to package the picks and make a blockbuster trade for a money goalie. He did not, apparently content to slog out the rest of this season with the guys we've got.
It's a pity goal scoring machine Steven Stamkos is tearing up the league with 52 goals and 87 points on a last place team. Kid should be wowing the world in the playoffs, not going home and hoping for better next year.
The big guys on this team, Martin St. Louis and Vinnie Lecavalier aren't getting any younger. I think there's only a one or two year window to get these guys back into the finals again. I'm hoping Yzerman has something up his sleeve besides the wart on his elbow, otherwise it could be a long wait until I get to see another Cup final in Tampa.