NBC Sports released their full regular season schedule of national broadcasts on Tuesday, and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be getting four games throughout the year. Meanwhile, teams like Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, and Washington will all get seven games on national TV.
The Lightning will get the first game of the season against the Chicago Black Hawks, this will be on a Wednesday night. Then it’s a long wait for three Sunday games in April and May against the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets. Four games (three against expected bottom feeders) is definitely how you treat your best team in the league, especially when the term “schedule diversity” showed up in the press release.
In February and March, the Lightning play games against their Finals opponent Dallas Stars, the young exciting Carolina Hurricanes, and arguably the most underrated team in the Central - the Florida Panthers. Those games will be exciting, they’ll have a reason to care beyond two points. Detroit and Columbus? No offense, but even they’ll tell you “meh.” Those two teams have changed drastically since the last time the Lightning had anything to do with them. Same goes for Chicago to an even greater extent. This schedule is just lazy from the broadcasters. Even if they can’t give us more games due to TV rights or whatever, at least give us interesting games.
In case you missed it at the site (and honestly, how could you), the final changes have been made to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s roster. I took the team apart and tried to sift through all the names in order to find a roster and lineup that works. [Raw Charge]
“Looking at the team itself, the Bolts will be able to hold 21 players (12F, 7D, 2G) on their roster with about $200k-$300k in pool money left over. This extra money won’t grow through the year, it’s static so the Lightning will not be able to add at the trade deadline without taking away from their roster.”
“There wasn’t much at stake on Monday at the World Junior Tournament in Edmonton. Sweden was the only team in action that is considered a contender for the gold medal. Yet, the two games that took place were pretty entertaining. Sweden won easily, but watching Austria play a disciplined defensive game for the entire 60 minutes and force their opponents to work hard to score their four goals (two of them on the power play) was enjoyable.”
Lightning prospect Gabriel Fortier has been traded from the Moncton Wildcats to the Shawinigan Cataractes. During the QMJHL’s mid-season pause due to COVID-19, Fortier goes from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best. This is a great move for him and will hopefully include a long playoff run playing with some good players against some other really good players.
The Florida Panthers have hired a former professional poker player and hockey analytics genius Sunny Mehta to be their VP of Hockey Strategy and Intelligence. Fancy name, but basically he’s in charge of finding the most effective tactics to implement on the ice — a task a poker player has to do constantly during a game. Mehta has done a similar role with the New Jersey Devils in the past, starting in 2015 and has some very impressive talks at the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
For us Syracuse Crunch fans, depending on how many teams end up playing the season, there’s a good chance we will see teams loaning their NHL-contracted players to different affiliates during this season. The Crunch are currently very short on bodies right now so an influx of talent from any team choosing to sit out the season will be a big help. A fellow New York team like Utica likely won’t be a part of this as it’s more likely their key NHL-contracted players will be moved to Canada for easier access by the Vancouver Canucks.
That would echo what I have been hearing more frequently lately. There has been quite a bit of talk of potential dual affiliations (or at the very least, player loans) for this season.#AHL— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) December 29, 2020
On the same day as the team announced Kirby Dach has missed the 2021 season due to wrist surgery, Jonathan Toews will also miss the season due to an unknown condition.