Mercifully, it’s Friday. Which means another week of the NHL season is just about in the books. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s unclear whether that’s a good or a bad thing.
At first, like the rest of you, I wasn't thrilled about Steve Downie being shipped to the Colorado Avalanche. But at the end of the day, I've watched countless fan favorites jettisoned from the team for far less value. I liked Downie, but I trust Steve Yzerman, so it is what it is.
What disappointed me much, much more was the fact that the Bolts decided to wait until halfway through the third period to show up for what was pretty much without question the most important game of the season. I never really gave the fairy tale run from 10 points out much of a chance to begin with, but with two important points to pick up ground on the two teams directly in front of them (and as it turned out, all three teams in front of them in the division) in the playoff race hanging in the balance, the Lightning waited until they were out of the game to try.
As it turns out, the Bolts are only one point farther out of the eighth spot because everyone important lost their most recent games too. Which I guess is just further proof of that whole "Southleast" stigma.
After the fold: Ward out, but you'd never know it; Mr. Panther Stephen Weiss; Caps are done; Jets control their fate. The week that was in the Southeast.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Canes have played the week without Cam Ward, but you'd never know it. Justin Peters has only given up two goals in regulation in two games so far, and Carolina has three of a possible four points to show for it. I've mentioned this kid here before; I think he'll be darn solid in the future. Ward is out with an unspecified lower body injury, by the way.
It's official, Tuomo Ruutu isn't going anywhere. A four-year, $19M extension was announced Wednesday. I guess that's good.
In other news that isn't a bad thing, the Canes are about to rename their arena. It's always good for teams to have continued sponsorship. Especially in the south.
Jim Rutherford talks about what it's like for a GM around the trade deadline.
Evidently the Hurricanes are pretty much staying put prior to Monday. We'll see how that works out next year, I suppose.
Florida Panthers: Things are not great in Miami. For the hockey team, anyway. They've managed just one point out of their last four games, and have managed to fumble the division lead to the Jets.
This almost seems hard to believe: Stephen Weiss of all people is all-time record holder for games played with the Panthers. I thought for sure that would belong to one of those guys that the Panthers got in the expansion draft. At any rate, congrats Stephen. Here are some of his other achievements with the team.
As you would expect, with the tanking the Cats have done lately, the players are trending the wrong way as well.
The Panthers need to do something and fast before they tank right out of the fight. Here's a look at the deadline for them.
Washington Capitals: Also winless this week are the Caps. They've given up ten (10) goals in two games and only scored two. I'll let that speak for itself.
One of those was a 5-0 shutout at the hands of the previously mentioned Cam Ward-less Hurricanes. Everyone on the planet is calling it the worst loss of the season. Even GM George McPhee.
It's not all bad though, as obviously, Caps fans are glad to see Downs leave the division. They'll soon know our pain when their team is blown to smithereens in the offseason.
I thought for sure that by now, the Caps would have done something. Here's a look heading into Monday.
Winnipeg Jets: Well, don't look now, but it finally happened. The Airplanes are not only in a playoff spot, but in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference thanks to their division lead. Are the Jets going to swoop in this year - and like the Lightning last year - be the feel good story of the playoffs? That would just be grand, wouldn't it? One more reason for Canadian hockey fans to chirp at us.
Winnipeg controls their destiny for the rest of the season at this point. Might they do something between now and Monday?
Important matchups: Once again, all or none.