Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Game 6 - Atlanta at Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Lightning played their 4th – yes, 4th – overtime game in a row last night. Happily, they actually won this one. It’s their first win of the season, and first win for Barry Melrose as head coach. They beat the Atlanta Thrashers 3-2 in overtime.

They came out flying in the first period. And then they all but disappeared in the second. The third was better, but still quiet as compared to the first. It was kind of a weird game that way. I think they were lucky to win this game since they didn’t seem to have a lot of momentum going into overtime. But, as the saying goes, it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes.

Only three players really stood out as being consistently good all game. Stamkos had a great night, I think. He seemed to really be on top of everything. I think the awe of playing in the NHL is starting to wear off for him. Gratton had a very good night as well, and so did Smith.

They still need to work on how to play when they have a lead. They've blown two leads in the last two games. And also need to come up with a team-wide consistent effort for three periods. Not one of their best games so far, but Lecavalier's winning powerplay goal in overtime saved them this time around. Not that he had a spectacular game himself after the first, but he came through when it counted.

On a lighter note, the guys over on the Barry Melrose Rocks blog (started during Melrose's ESPN days) has downgraded Melrose’s chances for being fired on the Coach-O-Meter 3000 from “Richards” to “Stamkos.” They felt he didn’t deserve to be downgraded to “Lecavalier” just yet, so they had to create a new category. It’s still a work in progress, I think.

Oh, and, Malone didn’t commit any penalties last night, so he’s got one game on his penalty watch.

And, in keeping with the Malone penalty watch, which I’m going to rename the Malone Lady Byng watch, I’m also going to institute a Lecavalier Art Ross watch and a Stamkos Calder watch. I’m still tossing around the idea of a Smith Vezina watch. I won’t bother with the Jack Adams watch for Melrose since, if these guys manage to win the Southeast, he’ll probably be up for it.

I’d like to do a St. Louis Hart watch, but I can’t come up with any stats to track for that. There’s no one on this team that I can legitimately put up for the Norris, but in a couple of years that will probably change. And I think I’ll be generous and let the Richard Trophy end up with Ovechkin.

I’ll post updates for all that on Sundays, along with the top 5 players in the league for comparison. I’ll keep doing that until it’s out of reach for the players in question to accomplish. Ryan Malone as perhaps the lone exception, since his is more tongue-in-cheek than anything.

Does that cover all of the major awards? Yes? Okay, moving on then….

In other Lightning news, Koci & Ward were put on waivers – and Koci was picked up by the St. Louis Blues. And the Lightning claimed left wing Matt Pettinger from the Vancouver Canucks. That’s all that Tampa Bay needs – yet another forward. How’s a team supposed to gel with all of these roster changes, anyway?

Pettinger, incidentally, happens to be a minority owner with Len Barrie (who’s a majority owner) for a resort on Vancouver Island. Supposedly, tho, there’s not any connection with that. They can deny it all they want but, seriously, who’s actually going to believe it?

Isn’t it nice to know that cronyism is alive and well in Tampa Bay? Sports aren’t the best about that, and hockey itself tends to be pretty bad, so that’s not too surprising. What really bothers me about the ownership team is their complete and total lack of professionalism, tho. But maybe I’ll save that for a future blog.

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