There are a number of things with the Lightning that are and were under the microscope this season -- be it there play under the new system, goaltending, or defense... Goaltending was by far and away the most scrutinized aspect for the Bolts... Or Brad Richards looming restricted free agent status (which has been on the mouth of journalists since Martin St. Louis signed his contract before pre-season).
Yet I've wondered time and again about other problems with the team -- problems that the talking-heads weren't talking about while they waited for more offense that didn't come... The current poll on the left sidebar represents four characteristics I thought were dismissed during the regular season:
- Lack of Challenging incumbents (veterans) during pre-season -- This wasn't a shocker to me. It's John Tortorella's consistent habit during "Camp Torturella": give as much playing time to the guys who are locks for the roster and screw the minor leaguers. The problem with that logic this year is that veterans were complacent and weren't ready to play under the new NHL rules. Three rookies cracked the Lightning roster and stayed there during the course of the season -- and yet you have to wonder why Paul Ranger, Evgeny Artyukhin and Ryan Craig weren't given more of a chance during the pre-season? Add to it the goaltenders in the Lightning system who were in camp initially -- why weren't the rookie goalies given more chances if goaltending was the biggest question mark for the team going into the season -- and you have all the makings of writing off the future of the franchise. Torts learned the hard way this season that you can't do that. More on that in a minute.
The Andreychuk situation is what underlines Tortorella being very out-of-character this year. Maybe it was justified because he was trying to show the respect that was due to his teams captain? Tortorella gave Andreychuk every opportunity to show that he could play in the new NHL and it (possibly) had an adverse affect on the roster -- by not pulling the trigger earlier.
The scratched practices for rest, the preferred treatment in training camp... It may have worked in the stretch run of a normal NHL season but last season was anything but normal, with thanks to the work stoppage during the previous year.
So with 23 votes on the poll as of this point, I further define the poll selections and leave it to the readers to voice their thoughts...