As we cruise into Christmas and enjoy a few days of not stressing about hockey, it’s a good time to look back at the season so far and think about some of the fun things that have happened over the first 30 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning. On a day-to-day basis I think we sometimes get lost in the minutiae and struggle and might forget to appreciate how good this team is and how much fun they bring us.
So let’s take today to celebrate some of the more entertaining moments of the season so far. Despite the season being less than halfway complete there are still plenty of moments to choose from.
How about a good ol’ banner raising?
Was it the wild game against Detroit that the Bolts won 7-6 in overtime?
Maybe Steven Stamkos recording his 900th point on a Victor Hedman goal (doesn’t it usually go the other way around on the power play)?
The Great Wall of Vasilevskiy. pic.twitter.com/LGzbz9Me5x— Tampa Sleigh Lightning (@TBLightning) December 15, 2021
Or maybe it was Vasy doing Vasy things while missing a skate blade.
Andrei Vasilevskiy lasted over a minute without a skate blade during Carolina's two man advantage pic.twitter.com/lTYjDRvvHS— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) November 10, 2021
What was your favorite moment of the season so far? I’m sure I left some out, so feel free to comment below!
Lightning / NHL News
Andrej Sustr reassigned to Syracuse [Tampa Bay Lightning]
The Giraffe is on the move once again. Prior to the holiday roster freeze, the Lightning sent him back to Syracuse (at least on paper, if not physically). With the possibly of Erik Cernak returning soon, Sustr may actually play for the Crunch, or if Cernak isn’t ready to go, it’s an easy paper transaction to bring the big guy back as the seventh defenseman.
NHL is not going to the Olympics [NHL.com]
At this point we’re not shocked, right? With the rising number of positive tests in the league and the Omicron variant on it’s way to becoming the dominant COVID strain, the writing was on the wall that the NHL (with agreement from the NHLPA) was going to pull out of the Beijing games. It was interesting to see how the two different bodies worded their statement with the league citing the health of the players and the Players’ Association seeming to stress the importance of completing the 82-game schedule.
The February break that was scheduled for the Olympics will now be used to fill in some of the postponed games. It will be interesting to see how the league fills in the open dates as some arenas have already booked events. There could be some flip-flopping of home and away games in order to make this all work out. The Bolts have yet to have any home games moved, but Amalie Arena does have a ton of open days that could be filled.
Lightning players won’t be able to live out Olympic dream [Tampa Bay Times]
From a greedy I-want-to-see-a-threepeat stand point, the players not going to the Games could be a good thing as it’s a little less wear and tear on their bodies in what will be a long season. However, I do feel really bad for the contingent of players where this might have been their only or last shot to represent their country. Steven Stamkos is the one that comes to mind, but Ondrej Palat also falls into that category. Victor Hedman will be 35 when the next Winter Olympics roll around, but he should still be in the running, The same goes for Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
It’s really a shame for Coach Cooper as well. Will he get another shot at coaching Team Canada or will there be another hot name to put behind the bench in four years?
It doesn’t seem like the IOC is going to cancel or postpone the Games, so someone will be playing hockey. Countries now have just a couple of months to scramble to put their rosters together and it will likely be a mix of young prospects and guys your forgot about representing their countries. There may still be a smattering of ex-Lightning players mixed into the fold. Without NHL players, it seems Russia has emerged as the favorite as they have a wealth of talent in the KHL to draw from.
AHL Postpones All-Star Game [AHL.com]
The AHL is erring on the side of caution as they have postponed the All-Star Classic that had been scheduled for February 6-7 in Laval, Quebec. It’s the second season in a row the event has been postponed (both years it was scheduled to be held in Laval). Chances are Gabriel Dumont would have been the Syracuse Crunch’s representative.