Come here, little buddy! (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
As you all know, the trade deadline was Monday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning have pretty much an entirely new defensive corps. You've probably read about it. So, I'll spare you the details.
But, doesn't this Bolts team just drive you batty? Every time they go through a heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, season-ending defeat, they turn right around and win three in a row to keep the glimmer alive.
And so, here we are. The team is still "just" six points out of the final playoff spot with 19 games to go. There are injuries, young guys in the lineup, tough scheduling and everything else to overcome. But, Guy Boucher managed to take last year's team from the brink of elimination to the brink of playing for the Stanley Cup, and that would appear now to be a much tougher task than rallying past a group of teams fumbling around trying to decide if they really want to face the New York Rangers in April or not.
If all else fails and the Lightning come up short, at least we can watch Eric Brewer, Mike Commodore, and Dwayne Roloson all take the ice together, which at a combined age of 287 has to be some sort of record.
After the fold: Canes Casino; Panthers caged; Caps back in it; and Jets Beer. The week that was in the Southeast.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Canes have had a fairly impressive week, beating the Nashville Predators - who are pretty good in case you missed it - on Tuesday, then coming up just short to the Rangers last night. Both were one goal affairs, which should surprise no one as Carolina has been involved in one-goal games 13 times in it's last 18 contests. Wow.
It's been a pretty good week for Bryan Allen. On Tuesday, he scored the game winner over Nashville, and then on Wednesday, he pulled a fast one on his teammates. Love it. A guy with a smile like that has to be fooling around all the time.
The Hurricanes sold out their annual Casino and Wine Tasting event. How freaking sweet is that? Note to all 29 other NHL teams: have an event like that.
Brian Boucher is back. Or at least removed from injured reserve. Justin Peters will be sent back to Charlotte. If I'm Jim Rutherford, I get Peters up all season next year. The kid has looked pretty good.
The Canes have dug themselves out of the cellar, and technically are still in the mix. They need a LOT of help though.
Florida Panthers: Ticked off that I granted the Jets the keys to the Southeast Division car last Friday, the Cats turned around and won three straight to take back the top spot in the division and make me eat my words. Then last night, they got completely shellacked by the Jets yet are still in the top spot. So I guess no one was right.
You could say the Panthers weren't quite prepared for last night. "With 30 seconds left, Bill Lindsay was talking about Canadian taxes. Yeah this game sucked right down to the commentary." Classic.
Florida players are trending the right way. Or at least were.....
Florida is still two points ahead of Winnipeg for the division lead, but last night's statement was exactly that.
Washington Capitals: The definite shocker of the week was with the Caps not doing a darn thing at the deadline. I've been saying for weeks that George McPhee would pull the trigger on something at the deadline. Evidently he conspired with the Panthers to make me shut up. McPhee said they weren't going to chase a bad deal, but did he miss the point?
If you're wondering why McPhee was so quiet, his Facebook page may tell some of the story.
In other news, the Caps have won three in a row. Is it due to better puck possession?
If the Capitals intend to make the playoffs, which knowing them, they do, it all starts this weekend. Important games indeed.
Did you know February was Hockey for Everyone month? Me neither. But the Capitals did, and made the most of it. Sweet.
Washington made their presence known and sit just one point behind Winnipeg for 8th place in the East and just three points behind Florida.
Winnipeg Jets: The beginning of the week really doesn't even matter for the Airplanes. They beat the smithereens out of the Panthers so bad that they're still beating them. And that was pretty important. I personally cannot wait for April 3rd. If things are as tight as they are now, that game could determine the fates of a lot of teams. But, unless you have Center Ice, you won't get to see it, let's be honest.
Speaking of last night, the Jets scored on a 5-on-1. Yes, five. Isn't coming up with a "Plays of the Year" list on March 2nd kind of like announcing the Three Stars of the Game with like five minutes left in the third? Who does that? Oh. Oh, shoot.
And speaking of the 5-on-1, pretty much everyone on the planet is comparing it to the "Flying V" from the Mighty Ducks movies. Evander Kane is no different. The fundamental difference being that the Jets' 5-on-1 wasn't blatently offside and illegal. Details....
Jets Beer! If the Lightning had a beer, the spout would be like three feet wide and let in everything.
Are the Jets a playoff team? If you can find a firm opinion on whether they are or not in that article, let us know.
Winnipeg is still two points behind Florida for the division lead, but last night's statement was exactly that.
All the games matter for everyone at this point.