Five Games without Vinny
Like I said, Vincenzo is done for the season. Surgery tomorrow in Philadelphia, two weeks in a cast, four to six weeks until he's back on ice and using a stick again.
So what now?
Oh, it's not as if this is going to put the season in doubt. We're already there, this is just a topper for the Tampa Bay season from hell. And while the World Championships are out for Lecavalier, Vincent will be joining up with Team Canada in August for a pre-Olympic camp.
OK, but what now?
We got five, count'em, 5 more games to be played this season and none of them should be easy. Nassau Veterans Memorial Colesseum will truly be a pride-or-puke game between the Bolts and the Islanders on Saturday. Either it will be a drubbing by one team or another whos till has pride, or it will be a goalie duel while inept teams skate circles around the puck but dare not shoot it at each others net.
OK, that's a rather cynical take on things but I am not looking for a playoff caliber game on Saturday. Lets just say that.
Let's get back to the question: What now?
Management's keeping their hand of cards close to their chest regarding moves the team will make to deal with more injuries to the Lightning defensive unit. While Vinny's season is done, Matt Smaby and Richard Petiot are looking to be out for at least Friday's game... If not longer. That creates a two player void on Defense that David Koci alone can't fill in for the Bolts.
Which makes me wonder again: why the team called up Bochenski instead of rotating in a fresh body into the defensive unit?
Paul Szczechura is supposed to be back in game shape, so you have exactly who will likely inserted into the starting lineup in place of Vinny on offense -- but that doesn't mean the call-ups will be defensive only (even if they should be). It's all part of the guessing game of what is on the mind of management with the Bolts.
What now? Your guess is as good as mine. The team either tanks it's remaining games in an attempt to improve draft-lotto positition or rallies with the chips stacked against them - taking advantage of teams resting starters for the playoffs. I'm expecting the former, but hoping for the latter.