Following the loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Pat Maroon spoke at length to reporters about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s current struggles. When asked if they were caught by surprise by the speed of the Jets since they hadn’t played them in quite a while, Maroon ruefully chuckled as he answered, “I feel like that’s the last seven games we’ve been scrambling. It’s nothing the other team’s doing. I think we’re hurting ourselves.”
It should be noted that, even with the loss to Winnipeg, the Lightning are 5-2 in their last seven games and have allowed two or fewer goals in three of them. They are still second in the division and their 80 points is currently the fourth most in the league. A lot of teams would take their spot in a heartbeat.
His comments, echoed by his teammates and the coaching staff, reinforce the notion that the process remains more important than the result for this organization. That’s the mantra that has been repeated time and time again from the top down over their recent run of success. The team knows they haven’t been good enough as of late and have been either bailed out by Andrei Vasilevskiy or by outplaying teams that don’t have the depth they do.
Constantly starting slow and chasing the game is not a pathway to long-term success and the players know it. They also know that there isn’t anyone to blame other than themselves and they are the ones that need to make the changes.
In Maroon’s eyes the number one thing they have to address is the compete level at the beginning of the games. The coaching staff agrees as that is one area they worked on yesterday during one of the few on-ice practices that they will have from now until the end of the regular season.
A hallmark of this team over the last three seasons is that they have had the ability to nip bad habits in the bud rather quickly and not have long, sustained funks. The good news is that as a veteran-leaden team they’ve been down this road before and know the effort needed to pull themselves out of it. As cliche as it sounds, it starts with one good shift. Then the next line builds on that shift and things start taking off from there.
Hopefully the turnaround starts tonight in Calgary with a full 60-minute effort.
Lightning / NHL News
Lightning recognize slow starts are a problem, but not ready to hit panic button [Tampa Bay Times]
“Don’t Panic. It’s the first helpful or intelligible thing anybody’s said to me all day”. I doubt Douglas Adams was a Lightning fan, but if he was (and if he hadn’t died in 2001) he’d be happy with the Lightning’s approach to their recent woes.
Who says no? Evaluating your Lightning trade proposals [The Athletic]
Y’all really want to trade Boris Katchouk aka Ondrej Palat 2.0 away don’t you? Joe Smith and the gang at The Athletic take a look at some of the trade proposals the readers submitted. Gotta love this time of year.
Learning from history: The 2016-17 Lightning [SinBin Vegas]
The only full season with Jon Cooper behind the bench where the Lightning didn’t make the playoffs, but they really gave it a run at the end. Injuries to just about everyone were a little too much to overcome.
Coach Cooper’s ejection - a breakdown [Jomboy Media]
Before you click on the link, please note there is some extreme NSFW language. Neither Coach Cooper or Corey Perry were amused by the refs that night.
32 Thoughts: A Look Around the NHL Trade Market [SportsNet]
As usual, nothing about the Lightning, but Friedman does bring up the possibility of New Jersey and PK Subban agreeing to terminate his current deal which would allow him to sign as a free agent. The Bolts benefited from a similar move a few years ago when Buffalo and Zach Bogosian came to a mutual agreement to end his contract.
Analyzing the goaltender trade market [SportsNet]
There are some interesting names in this article, with Florida’s Spencer Knight being one of them. He would be a pretty nice trade trip if the Panthers are looking for a big move this deadline.
Jared McGann signs 5-year extension to stay in Seattle [Davy Jones’ Locker Room]
The Kraken will be one of the teams to watch over the next few weeks as they try and mold their team for the future. One player that appears to be sticking around is McGann as he inked a 5-year, $5 million AAV extension to stay in Seattle. I guess being the franchise leader in career goals will get you paid.
Nicklas Backstrom hits the 1,000 point mark in Capitals overtime loss [Japers’ Rink]
Congratulations to the future hall-of-famer. With an assist on T.J. Oshie’s goal, he became just the sixth Swedish player in NHL history to hit that mark.