Quick Strikes: More like a Stanley Cup sliding door

Matt Sammon lays down some wisdom about the Tampa Bay Lightning Cup window.

The Bolts

We’re heading into Tampa Bay Lightning’s off-season, and what remains is analysis of last season and careful consideration about what the roster needs to do to be even more effective next season (although it’s kind of hard to figure out how to “fix” the 27th or 28th-best team in the league — the fixes are a matter of inches).

But here we go with some words to put a bow on the season.

End of the Season Thoughts. [Raw Charge]

Matt Sammon of Lightning Radio fame had a great comment on the post game radio show after game seven. A lot of times we talk about Stanley Cup windows of when a team is in a position to compete for a championship. Sammon said that he preferred to think of it as a sliding glass door for the Lightning. That opportunity is always open, it’s just a matter of it moving one way or the other each season as the roster changes.

Lightning disappointed, but don’t feel like playoff failures. [Associated Press]

”It’s everything from agonizing to angry to disappointed to shock,” the coach said Thursday, less than 24 hours after one of the most successful seasons in franchise history came to a screeching halt with a 4-0 loss to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final.

”I’m sure that’s going to turn into proud and happy for our group,” he added. “There are so many good emotions about coaching this team ... but the emotions of how it ended is tough.”

Humbled by Capitals, Lightning Should Still Be Proud. [THW]

Their successful season is what makes the end so stunning. The team that won a division title and were the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in 14 years folded like a house of cards when the lights were brightest. After finding ways to fight back in so many different circumstances throughout the year, they just couldn’t muster one last miracle to save their Stanley Cup dreams.

There was a shitty article about Steven Stamkos coming out of Toronto, otherwise known as “The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t advance to the Stanley Cup: how this impacts Toronto”. Our Site Manager Alan had some thoughts. [Raw Charge]

Feschuk’s article is a masterclass in hot takery. The headline is Nobel caliber click bait. The first several paragraphs establish a premise so absurd that I was incredulously staring at my laptop wondering how the rest of the article could deliver on the opening’s promise. And predictably, the second half is a weak retreat into hedging and qualifying as the hot take whimpers to a cold unsatisfying finish.

Charged Up: A Raw Charge Podcast, Episode 25 - A Failure to Capitalize. [Raw Charge]

On this episode, our Site Manager Alan (@loserpoints) joins the podcast for the first time all season to discuss the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Eastern Conference Final loss to the Washington Capitals. We cover the emotions of losing the game/series, the poor play of the Lightning, the emotions we felt, the overreactions others, the exit interviews and quotes from the exit meetings, and what the Lightning could do moving forward (both roster wise and coaching staff wise).

Stamkos devastated, believed Lightning would win Stanley Cup. [NHL]

”I think it [will] probably take a little longer to sink in, but this was one of the tougher feelings and ends to the season based on the quality of players and people we had on the team,” Stamkos, the Lightning captain, said Thursday. “Just the feeling that this is the year. I think when we beat Boston in five and you’re like, ‘Whoa, that’s a really good hockey team’ and you’re coming in and you kind of felt ‘OK, let’s keep riding that momentum.’

”That’s why it’s the toughest trophy in sports to win. You can have a lot of things go right but you run into a very good team and you lose a Game 7, so it’s very disappointing.”

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt. [Tampa Bay]

Callahan said he played with a dislocated shoulder sustained Dec. 14 at Arizona. He missed the two road games in the first-round playoff series with the Devils because of it.

The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn’t headed to the Stanley Cup final. [Tampa Bay]

The Lightning sealed its fate when it dropped the first two games of the series. It spent itself battling to get back, even taking a 3-2 lead after five games. But a physical Game 6 exhausted its reserves, and by Game 7, when it needed it most, Tampa Bay didn’t appear to have much fight left.

The Prospects

The Syracuse Crunch season in photos: Alex’s favorites. [Raw Charge]

We here at Raw Charge are so lucky to have our coverage of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL club enhanced by Scott Thomas’ photography. Scott does so much work every Syracuse Crunch game to capture moments, goal, and players. All of us who are able to access his work are truly blessed.

With the sting of the Crunch’s second-round exit now fading, I thought it would be fun to go through the archives and grab out my favorite shots from the past season. Some were selected for the sheer brilliance of the shot, but others were selected for...different reasons.

The Game

NHL releases schedule for Stanley Cup Finals [Knights on Ice]

Game 1 — May 28 - 5 p.m. PT

Game 2 — May 30 - 5 p.m. PT

Game 3 — June 2 - 5 p.m. PT

Game 4 — June 4 - 5 p.m. PT

Golden Knights to face Washington Capitals in Stanley Cup Final [Knights on Ice]

It’s been a running joke amongst many hockey fans that Ovechkin is the Dan Marino of hockey. But now he’s getting his well-deserved shot at hoisting the Cup.

Amazingly enough, he has to get through an expansion team to do so. What a world we live in.