"Why, yes... Yes, I do kick ass."
On Saturday night, just before the Lightning/
Thrashers Winnipeg game, I was told by a friend that The Hockey News had published a special issue, The Best of Everything, declaring All-Time teams for every NHL team among other things. Of course, that's going to be subjective with just about any team, and a trying chore when attempting it with the younger franchises.
Awkward, or possibly an interesting challenge for writing staff and editors who are really interested in compiling something thorough.
Like I already noted, there would be (and are) varying opinions on whomever is selected as an all-time anything. There is going to be different criteria used in selections made. This should never be a "just pick the guys with the most points all time and be done with it".
That being said, there were two teams compiled for each franchise. A first and second all-time team. You may be surprised and may disagree with some of the All-Time Tampa Bay Lightning team members that The Hockey News selected.
The issue from THN is not online in a traditional sense, but available through Zinio with the Tampa Bay Lightning listed on pages 158-159.
That being said, each team is comprised of 6 players. Three forwards, two defensemen, one goalie. Players are not picked by position as four centers, two left wings and one right wing made THN's all-time Lightning list. What criteria was used? Not sure, but ultimately it was editors picks:
Martin St. Louis was deemed by The Hockey News as the Lightning's best player all-time. Is there even the slightest doubt about that? The team's two-time Hart Trophy nominee and 2004's winner, the dynamo that makes the offense go, the all around player that we know, respect, and admire who never seems to give up.
Really, some of the selections seem like a no brainer. Lecavalier and Brad Richards, for sure, Khabibulin and Puppa were the standouts in net (and the team struggles after each departed)...
When I look at Dave Andreychuk on the first team, I start having issues with the selection. Not because Andreychuk doesn't have worth in the grand scheme of Lightning folklore... It's just I don't know if it's as potent as a first-team selection implies. Dave played three-and-a-half seasons with the Lightning before being waived during the 2005-06 campaign. He (and Tim Taylor, who joined the Bolts at the same time Andreychuk did) helped set the mood in the locker room and gave the team direction. Leadership is vital. Oh, he wasn't too shabby on faceoffs either.
Fredrik Modin's selection is warranted, in my opinion, as Freddie was one of the often overlooked standards that the Bolts had during their turnaround years. Solid two-way play, his booming slap-shot. The loss of Modin, after he was traded to Columbus in 2006-07, seemed to hasten the downfall of the John Tortorella era of the team.
Defense is arguable, with thanks to so many players that have passed through on the blueline. Some were temporary cogs, others had long tenures but mediocre legacies (hello, Cory Cross).
Boyle, Hamrlik, Cullimore, Kubina... With the exception of Boyle, the defense is all up for debate. Kubina and Cullimore have/had longevity with the team; Hamrlik has career longevity, but did he have the same potency in his early years with the Lightning?
The one selection that I cannot even try to defend, is Alexander Selivanov's appearance on this list. Alex's reputation with the Bolts lived through the nickname "Son-in-law-ov". His 52 points during the 1995-96 season was his best seasonal performance of his NHL career.
Alexander Selivanov? Selected instead of someone like Brian Bradley, who played more games, notched more points, and left a bigger mark on the franchise? Selivanov, instead of Vaclav "Vinny" Prospal, who still holds the admiration of fans for his three tenures with the Lightning and the potency of the fabled M-V-P line?
Alexander Selivanov before Chris Gratton, who put up numbers as well as his own stamp on team folklore with the fuzzy-fax incident of 1996-97? Selly, or Rob Zamuner? Or Mikael Andersson? Hell, lets stop talking players with longevity - what about Cory Stillman? What about Dino Cicarelli? Ruslan Fedotenko?
Selivanov may be 10th all-time with the Lightning in the goal scoring department, but to include him on any all-time, top 12 players list for the franchise seems like a cop-out.
In the end, it's all subjective. It's all opinion mixed with some statistical facts here and there. For a more in-depth take (be it four years old now) on the Lightning's all-time team, as selected by actual Lightning fans, check out Bolt Prospects post from the summer of 2007.