Everything you learned during the 2010-11 Tampa Bay Lightning campaign is in the books now. It's over. It happened. Revel in it and rejoice at the over-achievements and accomplishments made by a franchise reborn under new ownership, management, and coaching.
But that chapter is over. Turn the page, please.
Don't get lost in the fact that the Bolts team that you knew last season are not the same heroes that will be protagonists in the story of the 2011-12 NHL season. The players on the roster that will participate in Lightning training camp, when it gets underway on Friday, have largely remained the same (with some notable exceptions). But things are different.
Guy Boucher, in an excellent Q and A with Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, made it a point to bring the fact that the team starts over:
... But what we were at the end of the year is not what we are going to be at the beginning of this year. I think that's the common misconception that teams, organizations and fans usually have is that they think it just continues and it's an on-going process, which it's not. There is a break in between, there's a change of players, there's chemistry that is going to be a little different to start.
The bar has been raised for the organization as a whole over the past 18 months. The on-ice product raised the bar substantially from expectations of the recent past.
But the process of becoming, begins on Friday. And in that process, the team can only go as far as the desire, effort, and contributions by the players within the system.