-There’s been a lot of chatter about what’s “wrong” with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but all Greg Wyshynski of ESPN sees is a team on the right path for gradual success.
The final path is the one the Lightning are currently strolling down, filled with tweaks and adjustments and calibrations and fine-tuning. The one where they identify some parts that need repairing, without scrapping the engine.
”Our group is known as a high-flying, high-octane offensive team,” said Stamkos. “It’s great. It’s entertaining hockey. But come playoff time, it’s a different animal. We realize that.”
The thing about this path? It’s a bumpy one.
-The Lightning are off until Saturday. Given the lull in the schedule, Geo decided to have a bit of fun and take a nice walk down Bolts Memory Lane yesterday. Here’s a cool fact:
89 players in total have recorded their first career goal with the Lightning. The first player was Roman Hamrlik on 10/20/1992. He was one of four Lightning players to score their first goal in Expo Hall. Chris Gratton was the first to score his first goal in the Thunderdome. Daymond Langkow was the first Lightning player to score his first career goal in the Ice Palace and what is today known as Amalie Arena.
-Josh Yohe, the Pittsburgh Penguins writer for The Athletic, took a look at the Pens’ loss to the Lightning Wednesday night.
On two losses that weren’t so bad, what Kris Letang called “luck” on the game’s final play, and my 10 observations of Wednesday’s loss in Tampa: https://t.co/jfDGnldQx5— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) October 24, 2019
-Lightning forward Cedric Paquette made his return in that game. Tampa was happy to have him back:
On Paquette: “He is an extremely important player for us… he brings an identity to his line and I thought they spent a lot of their night in the offensive zone.”#PITvsTBL | Jon Cooper: pic.twitter.com/aTEqE9eN4O— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 24, 2019
-SportNet took a different look at the NHL’s power ranking this week: They ranked all 31 NHL teams according to their power, but then pondered what moves their GMs might make next to move up such rankings. What will Julian BriseBois do? Well...
12. Tampa Bay Lightning
Once again, the Lightning have the roster depth to go all the way. Once again, Julien BriseBois’s cap is about to get tested, with critical RFAs Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev on deck. The GM surely will be tempted to spend his extra first-round pick (via Vancouver) to bolster his already-strong roster.
-Sean’s charts turned into a bit of a Where’s Waldo situation this week, but I think I found the Lightning hiding underneath the Colorado Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets (I can just see the Lightning tail):
Good morning, friends.— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) October 24, 2019
Team charts are updated at https://t.co/4esLgfVOKQ: https://t.co/OFYz09vPGM
Only a couple of games last night so there wasn't a ton of movement but OTT hopped back into "fun" and PIT dove for the middle too. pic.twitter.com/8jmtCiWY0N
Ah, “pace.” Coach Ben Groulx’s favorite term. I don’t think he’d be very happy with his former pupils and their friends here:
"Pace"— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) October 24, 2019
This is descriptive of a team's games -- it's Corsi for and against mashed together.
LAK, OTT, and TOR hanging together in "fun" is a look. pic.twitter.com/GZYl2dZI5V
Look at all the pretty colors!
Team stats heatmap— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) October 24, 2019
I'm fixated on SJS and DET, the two teams at the bottom of the goals for percentage at 5v5.
DET's actually doing a good job of limiting quality against.
SJS has been good at limiting overall shot quantity against.
It hasn't been enough in either case though. pic.twitter.com/n8qAH5OJuU
-Dan Girardi’s Lightning podcast is now available!
Your new favorite podcast is officially here.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 24, 2019
The Block Party with Dan Girardi will be available every Wednesday on https://t.co/oI5FYVtra2, @spotify, @applepodcasts, and wherever you get your podcasts!
-Hey, uh, prospects? Could you...(pokes with stick)...do something?
Still pretty early in some leagues, especially the AHL, and the NCAA sample still isn't ready yet, but here's an early look at NHL team prospect pipelines and their NHLeS.— Will Scouch (@Scouching) October 24, 2019
The #1 NHLeS across all teams is Dallas defender Thomas Harley. 65%INV through 8 games and almost 2 PPG. pic.twitter.com/RQdDp3M7zD
-Syracuse Speaks, Raw Charge’s Syracuse Crunch podcast, published its newest episode yesterday.
In this episode, host Alex Ackerman takes a look back at Syracuse’s October. She selects Cory Conacher as her player of the month and discusses why she picked him. She also ponders the two “yardstick” games the Crunch played - and lost - this month, and expounds on why it truly isn’t yet time to panic. Finally, she highlights some of the positive changes around the Onondaga County War Memorial, including the addition of regional dishes to the menu.
-Syracuse made a couple of player moves in reaction to some of the best news so far this October: Daniel Walcott appears to be ready to go this weekend. He was assigned to Syracuse after clearing waives at noon yesterday.
The Crunch, in an attempt to make room for Walcott and also to get these guys some playing time, then assigned Oleg Sosunov and Jimmy Huntington to the Orlando Solar Bears. Syracuse, whose defense has struggled this season, also recalled Matthew Spencer.
Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon polled young players about how they’d make hockey more fun, then made some of those suggestions come to life in a new ad for Tim Hortons.
“Puppies!” screamed another.
”Puppies on the ice!” added one more.
The merits of bringing in an additional external body versus promoting from within can be debated, but facts are facts. Both Darren Dreger and Elloitte Friedman have confirmed that Ottawa is scouring the trade market for a forward. Whether you like the idea or not, that’s the reality in which we live. So, the question becomes: Which team makes the most sense as a potential trading partner?
The Vancouver Canucks immediately spring to mind.
-Speaking of Vancouver, Harman Dayal sang JT Miller’s praises for The Athletic yesterday.
On a team with Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat, it’s JT Miller who’s been the #Canucks best forward so far— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) October 24, 2019
Why? Let’s take a deep dive into his excellent all-round skill set. https://t.co/oz7MMeQZj4
-November is Hockey Fights Cancer month, and the goalie masks are just starting to make an appearance. Here’s Connor Hellebuyck’s:
-Amanda Kessel will be playing in the New York Rangers Alumni Classic this weekend.
-Nothing like the phrase “wet underwear” bright and early on a Friday to make you scrunch up your face and try to stop your imagination.
Nic Dowd added that “we like baseball to the point that right as the game ended (in Calgary) all the boys didn’t even wait to take off all their stuff and we were watching the game in our wet underwear in the training room, cheering them on and the boys gave a pretty big cheer when the game ended.”
Ho-Sang for the rights to Jesse Puljujarvi. Make it happen. Ho-Sang could strengthen Edmonton’s right side, and the wings could use some extra loving despite the Oilers’ strong start to 2019-20. It’s extremely unlikely Puljujarvi will ever play a game again in Edmonton and after showing newfound confidence with Karpat in the Finnish League, Puljujarvi could be of value to the Islanders, even if he doesn’t return to the NHL until next season. The kicker? Ho-Sang was Connor McDavid’s finisher with the Toronto Marlboros minor midget club, and the pair was one of the most lethal scoring duos in GTHL history. (Ho-Sang actually out-scored McDavid in league play.) That was nearly a decade ago, but could a reunion spark Ho-Sang? A one-for-one for two talented prospects looking for a new home makes sense.
-Congratulations to Isabelle Khurshudyan!
I have some (personal) news: I’m moving to Moscow to be a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post! It’s my dream job.— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) October 24, 2019
Covering this World Series is my last assignment in Sports, which I haven’t totally wrapped my mind around yet.