Lightning Round: last year’s Stanley Cup Finals rematch is tonight

Tampa Bay vs Colorado at Amalie.

The Colorado Avalanche make their one and only visit to Amalie Arena tonight. The last time they were here they took the Stanley Cup home with them. As the Bolts came out of the All-Star break in a bit of a mess, hopefully a day off and this matchup staring at them will bring them back to their A-game. [Tampa Bay Times]

“It wasn’t even eight full months ago that the Avalanche scratched out a win at Amalie Arena in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, ending Tampa Bay’s run of back-to-back championships. So, it’s still a pretty vivid memory for this group, even with the roster turnover from last season.”

I know some are frustrated when the team plays poorly in losses, they certainly don’t have the same bite as they did in their prime years, but I think they’ve earned some patience as the team walks down the mountain of competitiveness. It’s frankly impossible to meet the standards of the team from the past decade.

Scott Wheeler has his prospect pool rankings for this year. Don’t expect the Lightning to have much, but maybe some prospects stand out as trade chips?

Whatever you think of Patrick Kane on the ice, the player doesn’t exist this year. The passing is still there, but there is no play driving, no possession value, no forechecking, and his defense has gone from bad during his prime to the worst forward in the league. Whoever pays for Kane in assets and cap space will be immediately making their team worse. I wouldn’t take him even for free. [Bleacher Report]

“A few insiders, including The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, have indicated injury troubles. ‘Seems like the whole league knows now that Kane needs hip surgery,’ Staple wrote with his trademark bluntness.”

As a late-comer with a bad reputation and shaky legal standing, Virtanen was already on a short leash when he joined Visp of the Swiss league. Once he started picking fights with teammates, there was no reason why they needed to tolerate him.