41 games in and I want a do over.
41 games in and I half (pun intended) to wonder just where the Lightning would be if Rick Tocchet had been in charge of the club, starting last summer? Where would the Lightning be with a training camp that was more than a few scrimmages and a European vacation? The Euro games would still have happened, but the camp part of training camp may have made an impact.
41 games in, and I'm thinking about cogs that shouldn't have been jettisoned (Shane O'Brien) and other roster volatility that has been a hindrence for the franchise more than a strength. Trades, promotions, demotions, secondary promotions, demotions, waivings... It's just been a fight for mediocrity on the lower lines and defense, all to round out a core of would-be upper echelon players on offense.
Cassie at Boltsblog provides the statistics and pain of the roster volatility in her mid-season report:
The debacle that was the first half of the season seems to be past them. At least until they get closer to the trade deadline on March 4th. January, at least, ought to be pretty quiet in terms of personnel changes, I think.
And that's what has gotten the Lightning to where they are now - personnel changes. And I don't mean that in a good way. They have used 14 defensemen so far this season, as well as a total of 38 players on their roster thru 41 games. Only 5 players on the current roster have played in all 41 Lightning games thus far.
41 games in, with an non-performing team. I'm intimidated at the thought of what the trade deadline will bring and what it will send away. The one thing from the roster volatility that we saw was an inconsistency on who was brought in and how they worked into the overall scheme. Who would be sold off and for what downright frightens me. While there are players I would not cry about being let go, there are others whose attitudes and character are too valuable to a franchise that needs to be reconstructed.
A franchise that needs direction. A roster that needs self respect and purpose and the drive to obtain Lord Stanley's Cup. And an ownership group that knows better than to mess with it's product like it's decisions and choices are all on paper and have no consequences in real life.
41 games in. I'm antsy about what the second half will bring.