After over a month of voting, we reached the end of the voting on the best Bolts team of all time. In what shouldn’t be much of a surprise, the Cup winning 2003-2004 team took home the top spot. But in a bit of a surprise, the 2017-2018 team came in second with the 2014-2015 and 2016-2017 both making it all the way to the semi finals.
By the quarter finals, we were down to all teams from this century. The first playoff team in franchise history, 1995-1996, made the best showing of any team from the 90s moving to the second round comfortably and garnering a few votes in their matchup against the 18-19 group. The only other team from the 90s to advance was the 96-97 team but they got blown out in the second round.
All in all, the end result was the expected one. But we hope you had some fun remembering the teams from the early part of the franchise’s history. And who knows, maybe we’ll still get an end to this season and the 19-20 team can make their case to be among the best Lightning teams.
For posterity, here’s the final bracket results.
Today’s News and Notes
With the bracket completed, we’re going to return to a more normal format with these Lightning Rounds, which is a little daunting considering most days don’t offer much in the way of hockey news for us to discuss. But we’ll persevere in the name of content.
Hopefully you’ve been following along with Natalia’s translations of a Russian article on Nikita Kucherov’s background. We ran part three yesterday and the fourth and final part will run later this morning.
This, too, took root in childhood. Kurdin remembers a story. When Nikita was around 15, the family moved to Kozhukhovo, where they were finally given a decent three-room apartment. The skating rink where the White Bears were training was halfway across Moscow. Kucherov’s team had the day off, and Kurdin was training with the ’97 kids. Suddenly, he saw Kucherov and Gusev come out onto the soccer field. Fine, Gusev lived nearby, but…
“Nikita, it’s such a long subway trip for you! And on an off day,” the coach said, stunned.
“Well, I went outside and all the guys I knew were smoking and drinking.”
So he went to play soccer, just like that. Halfway across the enormous city that is Moscow.
Fulemin from Pension Plan Puppets wrote a fun article yesterday on wild and weird ideas to change hockey. No one tell him I wrote something nice about him. His ego is already big enough.
Sumo is a form of Japanese wrestling in which two men fight to either make their opponent contact the ground with a body part other than his feet soles or to eject him from the ring. Sumo wrestlers are famously some of the bulkiest athletes in the world, but they really are athletes; you need strength and mobility to be a sumo wrestler.
The problem is legs. Your torso might be huge, but it’s still supported by your legs. No sumo wrestler is going to cover most of the lower net, even in pads, while standing up. It’s worth noting, given the rules of sumo wrestling, their extensive athletic training involves keeping upright under immense pressure. It’s pretty much the opposite of dropping into a butterfly or setting up against the post in RVH. Even if we can do all the years of training to prep our sumo for hockey, the additional weight is going to limit his agility in the net to such a degree he gets shredded by low shots. Sports Science made a video about this a while back where George Parros demonstrated as much; thanks to Exit Steve Left for the tip.
If the Panthers were able to move Matheson’s $4,875,000 cap hit, they could possibly add what many seem to think they need the most, an upgrade to the defense corps. This can de done through free agency or via a trade for perhaps one of the other defensemen on Boylen’s list, like Minnesota’s Mathew Dumba, Jake Gardiner of the Carolina Hurricanes, or Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen. Wild blueliner Jonas Brodin is also rumored t be available.