The Lightning lost Matt Smaby on Friday at the Verizon Center with that "lower body injury" thing that's going around (sidenote: will the team please stop treating injuries like a state secret? Injury exploitation isn't a factor when you are playing like crap anyway). Another defensiveman lost, more man-games lost and a season that is mercifully coming to it's end.
So why did the Lightning promote a forward instead of promoting a defensivemen on Sunday?
Sometimes there seems to be a second world in place for the Lightning: the real world seems to be the general NHL and the second world seems to be the reality that exists inside the bubble of Lightning management. In the world of the general NHL, you see a team with a blue line that has been both savaged by injuries and is riddled with inexperience. The general NHL concept would be to promote other defensivemen to cycle with the group you already have.
In the bubble? Offensive production will solve any defensive lapses... And if the offense isn't producing (and the Bolts anemic shots-on-goal totals of late would seem to indicate that), adding more fresh bodies to the offensive scheme will solve ills.
Worlds of wonder, worlds apart.
Mike Lundin can't be promoted from the Norfolk Admirals because of waiver rules and the risk of losing him -- he's a veteran of 106 NHL games at age 24. On the other hand, Vlad Mihalik is available for recall. Whose doghouse is he in where David Koci serving as the sixth defensiveman is more sound than Vlad? With Matt Lashoff, Noah Welch and Richard Petiot only having so many games to their NHL resume, shouldn't they be cycled between playing time and watching from the press box? The bench is not deep, as we all know, but wouldn't it be wiser to focus on the learning experience instead of a trial-by-fire?
This brings me back to a statement that was used by GM Brian Lawton the other day, regarding goalie Mike Smith. "The mandate is, if you're ready to go, then you're going." The statement seems more perilious now than it previously seemed, especially with knowing how brittle the team has proven to be. Riding-the-nag-until-she-drops is not going to turn a rookie into a Norris Trophy candidate...
Losing another starter to injury is not going to make the offense more proficient either, nor is it going to make the "mandate" look less like a poor attempt at machismo.