Sunday, October 5, 2008

Game 2: Tampa Bay vs. the NY Rangers at Prague, CZ

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost by the same score to the same team as yesterday - 1-2 New York Rangers. After that the adrenaline of the first game of the season had worn off, I can tell that this team doesn't have a lot of chemistry right now. That's understandable since over half the team is new.

If you compared just about any line combination for the Lightning with that of the Naslund-Drury-Dubinsky(?) line, nothing was really clicking. That line for the Rangers was amazing. I'm very happy to see Naslund doing so well in New York, particularly since most people thought he'd quietly blend into the background after he got there.

I liked the Roberts-Gratton-Hall line. And I really liked the St. Louis-Lecavalier-Malone line, although that was only on the ice once. I think that Malone would really push Lecavalier - in a good way. Prospal would be good with Stamkos - and maybe Recchi? It's something to think about, anyway.

Kolzig was not on early in this game. I think it was only because he's played in the league for years that he was able to make it thru the first half of this game unscathed. He was a lot better the second half, though.

For once, the lack of shots by the Lightning didn't really bother me. I know that I've complained about that on occasion, but in this instance, trying to figure out your place on the ice I think is much more important. Guys are still feeling their way, and that to me takes precedence over shooting. If you're not in position, and you're not sure where your position is, then shooting more probably won't make much of a difference.

Again, penalties were a problem. Shots on goal was a problem. Positioning was a problem. There wasn't a lot of forechecking. And no one from the Lightning seemed like they wanted to keep the puck for very long. Everyone was passing instead of holding on to the puck to set up plays. And there were times when guys forgot the first rule of playing hockey - keep it simple - and tried to be overly fancy.

There was a bit more hitting today as compared to yesterday. Faceoffs were good. Communication also seemed better. Passing was good as well, and that was nice to see. It was really sloppy for much of last season. Again, the defense was right about where I expected them to be.

I don't know that these two games in Prague are really a great indication of what's to come for Tampa. Athletes are very much creatures of habit, and it's hard to establish new habits in unfamiliar places. So once they get into a routine in Tampa, I think things will work themselves out. In a week or two, I think we'll see the real Tampa Bay Lightning and know better of what to expect from them.

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Weiss Tech Hockey said...

I agree - tough to get a good gauge on all these games over in Europe. Let's see what happens after a few weeks of a regular routine for these teams.