Summer Reading For The Tampa Bay Lightning

There's a long summer ahead for the players on the Tampa Bay Lightning. For the modern NHLer, a good deal of the summer is spent preparing for the next season, and I thought I would recommend some summer beach reads that might help the boys in black, white, blue and silver get ready for next year.

Mike Smith: It was a trying season for Smith, who is ostensibly the team's starting goaltender. He was often hurt, his stats were back-up worthy, and it sometimes felt like he actually was the back-up to Antero Niittymaki. To regain the starting spirit, I recommend Todd Denault's biography of Jacques Plante: The Man Who Changed the Face of Hockey. Plante won six Vezina awards for best goalie, a Hart Trophy as league MVP, and five Stanley Cups. Here's hoping Mike can channel a bit of that for 2010-2011.

Mattias Ohlund: He was signed to solidify the blueline and tutor Victor Hedman, but Ohlund went without scoring a goal for the first time in an NHL season and had his lowest ever points total. I suggest he read Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith. Ohlund had mojo once in Vancouver. Hopefully Goldsmith can help him find it again. Perhaps he can lend his copy to Ryan Malone when he's finished.

Speaking of Victor Hedman, it was great to see that the Swedish teenager was willing to drop the gloves and stick up for himself this season. However, his technique left something to be desired. I would suggest Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat by MMA goon Forrest Griffin to sharpen up a little.

Speaking of fighting, Steve Downie had a breakout season under coach Rich Tocchet, who was able to help Downie control his, um, temper. Tocchet is gone though, and there is understandable worry that Downie might get nuts again without him and spend the whole season either in the penalty box or suspended. I suggest Downie pick up The Anger Control Workbook by Matthew Mckay. Couldn't hurt, right?

Speaking of Coach Tocchet, both he and GM Brian Lawton were shown the door within heartbeats of season's end. I would hate to see them stew and dwell on their dismissals, and Thank You for Firing Me!: How to Catch the Next Wave of Success After You Lose Your Job by Kitty Martini could help them both keep their spirits up.

Speaking of the GM position, Tom Kurvers is interim GM until Lawton's permanent successor is found. Working for this club must have been a nightmare over the last few years, and there is probably a good dose of poison in the office atmosphere. Kurvers might look to Kevin Kelly's book Leading in Turbulent Times for some support until the cavalry arrives.

Speaking of leadership, there is no question that Martin St. Louis is the leader on this club. He brings out the best in whoever plays near him. What would be a dream scenario is if his influence could rub off on guys who aren't actually on his line. Perhaps John C. Maxwell's Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others Reach Their Full Potential could help St. Louis instill the will to win in every player on the team. It would be amazing to have a room full of guys with even a fraction of his guts and leadership.

Speaking of potential, we saw what Steven Stamkos is capable of this year. And now the pressure will be on him, even more so than when he was a top rated prospect or a first overall pick. He's now one of the most visible scorers in the league, and will have to deal with the extra attention from the media and his opponents. I hope Saul Miller's Performing Under Pressure: Gaining the Mental Edge in Business and Sport could help him during the tough times.

And finally, speaking of tough times, congratulations and best wishes to Vincent Lecavalier. His first child will be arriving soon, and hopefully The New Dad's Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice for First-Time Fathers from Scott Mactavish will make the times a little less tough. Good luck!