Mike Chen can't look away at the train wreck here in Tampa, and who can blame him? Ooh, blame... Good subject for an article Mike! Have at it!
The real culprit? I can see why people can point fingers at one guy or another (though Stamkos is absolved of everything other than simply being an 18-year-old rookie learning the ways of the NHL) but when it comes down to it, everyone is at fault here from the wacky ownership duo of Len Barrie and Oren Koules to Melrose and his then-assistants to veteran leaders like team captain Vincent Lecavalier.
Yep, you're all guilty and you should feel bad because the fan base that slowly built up from the early 2000s is now disintegrating as the team becomes one of the biggest sideshows in professional sports.
Mike goes on to break down the X's and D'oh's of the Lightning, post-Palace Sports, like an ESPN analyst without a bone to pick with a former employer. Blame lies from the top down, and from the bottom up. As a fan, I've focused on the top-down side instead of looking at the players, the lock room and the atmosphere generated by team leaders...
Just to tickle my fancy on the blame heirachy, lemme highlight the one paragraph that stands out for me:
The thing that I don't get is that even though moviemaking (Koules) and real estate (Barrie) are completely separate businesses than running a pro-sports franchise, the basic tenants of "get good people/have a plan/work hard" are still in place. Here's how any organization, pro sports or otherwise, should work: leadership at the top has a vision and a plan. They bring in supervisors (coaches) to create strategy for that plan, then the supervisors motivate the workers (players) to properly execute the plan with a good attitude and strong work ethic while providing feedback about what's working and what's not. I don't see any of this here.
Some people really hated Palace Sports ownership... I mean, seriously despised "Dollar" Bill Davidson and outside-the-area ownership. They didn't care for Rick Dudley or the types of players he brought in at the get-go of Palace Sports tenure of ownership.
But -- this is inarguable -- Davidson, Tom Wilson, Bill Campbell and the rest of Palace Sports had a plan and a vision of all facets of the operation. On ice, the venue, the administrative organization... They assigned a well-versed individual into a role and let them work.
With OK Hockey? It's been anarchy without a general MO of the moves, without a definition of the how or why.
Mike goes on to dissect coaching and then throwing some blame the players ways... Not everyone, just the C and A's of the team. The article is certainly worth a read and a thought or three.
In essence, it comes back to the volatility of the off season as a foreshadowing of the season so far. A new administration does indeed have a right to put who they want in positions of power... But these people need to know what the plan is, spread the plan down the chain of command and get everyone on message and in sync on that.
Right now, we're still devoid of that vision / message from any level of command.
...which has contributed to the Bolts being run straight into the ground.