Lightning Round: Welcome Back, Alex Barre-Boulet
So far fourth-line Barre-Boulet his been okay
For a waiver-wire pick-up there was a lot of excitement last week when it was announced that Alex Barre-Boulet was heading back to the Tampa Bay Lightning after a brief stint with the Seattle Kraken. Since then he’s appeared in three games for the Lightning and, after debuting on the third line, has played fourth-line minutes over the last two nights on the ice.
When ABB re-joined the team, Geo was quick to douse any hopes of him jumping right in and taking Nikita Kucherov’s spot on the top line. He would have to earn a spot with the top guys and the only way to do that would be to work hard in practice and on whichever line he did end up with in games. After slotting in for Patrick Maroon on the third line for one game, Barre-Boulet has settled in on the fourth line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Taylor Raddysh.
Since joining that line he has picked up two points (an assist and a goal) but has been about even in regards to possession stats. A really strong game against Arizona (60% CF, 68.36% xGF, 77.78 SCF%) helped that trio offset a game where they were a bit under water.
The eye test shows that ABB is putting in the effort that he needs to in order to be effective as a bottom-six player. He is backchecking and playing hard in his own zone. If he keeps it up, he should see his ice time pick up a little. With the reshuffled lines clicking right now, it’s unlikely that he’ll jump all of the way up to the top, but he could see a little more power play time (he’s been around 1:22 a game so far since his return) and could be a big help as a playmaker. If the top unit continues to struggle to score, there is a chance Coach Cooper might be inclined to see if ABB can spark some life into them with his passing skills.
The jury is still out on how his second stint will turn out. He will have to keep playing his best to stay in the line-up because if he falters, Raddysh or Boris Katchouk will be there to pick up the slack.
Lightning / NHL News
Killorn, Vasilevskiy lead the Lightning past the Coyotes [Raw Charge]
It took awhile but the Lightning finally picked up their first home win (and first power play goal without Nikita Kucherov in the line-up). The win puts them at 4-3-1 on the season and gives them a two-game winning streak in which they’ve outscored their opponents 10-2. That’s good!
Coyotes extend losing streak to 7 [Five for Howling]
The view from the other side is a bit bleaker. The Coyotes rough start to the season continues and they’ve now lost seven games in a row. That’s bad!
Lightning jump on Coyotes in home win [Tampa Bay Times]
The win was nice, but there were some things the Lightning weren’t happy with (getting outshot 17-6 over the last two periods and some breakdowns in their structure). They’ll have to make sure there is no carryover into their next game, which isn’t until Monday against Washington.
Alex Barre-Boulet’s journey shows the human side of waivers [The Athletic]
The Lightning forward barely found Seattle on the map before he was heading back to the East Coast. It was also a little chaotic for his wife, Anne-Marie Labrecque, who was in an airport waiting to meet him in Seattle when ABB found out he was on waivers again. Oh, and she’s six-months pregnant. Also, she’s not a big fan of flying. That would be quite stressful. This was a nice look at the behind-the-scenes effects of waiver acquisitions.
The Block Party with Seth Kushner [Pierre-Edouard Bellemare]
Podcast time! This one has been out for a few days, but it’s an absolute delight to listen to. Bellemare talks about what he might have been if he hadn’t chosen hockey, his trash-talking skills, and being the only French man not to like wine.
Let’s keep the podcast recommendations rolling. Blog Auntie Alexandra Ackerman talks about returning to Upstate Medical Arena at the Oncenter War Memorial after 603 days between games with fans. She also talks about which players have stood out so far for the Crunch.
Joel Quenneville resigns as head coach of the Florida Panthers
The fallout from the Chicago hockey organization’s failures continued on Thursday as Joel Quenneville, who was the head coach of the Hawks in 2010, resigned from his position as head coach of the Florida Panthers. The coach denied knowing about the abuse of Kyle Beach until hearing about it last summer despite a preponderance of evidence that he knew about it when it happened.Andrew Brunette assumes the role of interim coach for the undefeated Panthers.