John and I put our heads together and came up with an OK Hockey time line of travesty. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights?) of Lightning hockey since they've taken control of the franchise. Buckle up, grab some tissue, and remember that your keyboad isn't waterproof - or ruggedized, for that matter. And please, don't shoot the messengers. We're just trying to make sense of this disaster same as you are.
Let's start at the very beginning, shall we?
- August 7th, 2007. Absolute Hockey (Doug MacLean, Jeff Sherrin and producer Oren Koules) announce intentions to purchase the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey club from Palace Sports and Entertainment.
- November 27th, 2007. Absolute Hockey's deal with Palace Sports falls through after not paying Palace Sports a 5 million dollar deposit. Oren Koules withholds money to cancel the deal. Partners Sherrin and MacLean sue.
- December 2007. OK Hockey is formed, as is a second group seeking to purchase the Lightning (with former members of Absolute Hockey involved).
- December 20, 2007. Settlement reached between OK Hockey and Doug MacLean/Jeff Sherrin. The deal reduces the suitors for the Lightning franchise to one - Koules lead OK Hockey group.
- February 25, 2008. D Dan Boyle signs a 6-year, $40 million contract with a no-trade clause.
- February 26, 2008. C Brad Richards and G Johan Holmqvist are traded to Dallas for C Jeff Halpern, LW Jussi Jokinen, G Mike Smith, and a 2008 4th round draft pick.
- April 2008. The Tampa Bay Lightning ends the 2007-2008 season 30th overall in the NHL, with a record of 31-42-9.
- June 3, 2008. Head coach John Tortorella is fired.
- June 20, 2008. C Steven Stamkos is drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa.
- June 24, 2008. Barry Melrose is hired as head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- June 25, 2008 Hired former-NHL-player-turned-agent Brian Lawton as the team's Vice President of Hockey Operations; also serving in the capacity as acting General Manager.
If we've missed anything significant, please feel free to leave it in the comments.