The Burden of Proof: Lightning Q and A session at the St. Pete Times Forum

It's pessimism that keeps rearing it's head.

Pessimism by way of print journalists and bloggers alike regarding the Question and Answer session tonight at Times Palace.

Oren Koules, Brian Lawton and Rick Tocchet (Head coach, minus "interim") will be on hand to take questions.  If the questions will be censored or pre-screened is anyone's guess...  Or how limited the audience allowed to ask questions will be.  Whatever the case, the team has trumpeted for over a month how they will show you why the Lightning will win again.

They're out to earn trust and restore confidence...  But truly that burden is on actions during the course of this coming off-season.  Actions that have already been foreshadowed by a staff house cleaning and rumors about everything from team finances to player personnel.

Erik Erlendsson at the Tampa Tribune is interested in what questions you would like asked at during tonights meeting, and here are a few of our own to throw in on things:

  1. Directly to all persons participating in this forum:  Will the team be retooling or rebuilding in the coming off-season?
  2. Is long term viability the concern now, or simply next season's performance?
  3. If you are rebuilding, and this draft is supposed to be very deep, does the fact that you traded off several picks last season for exclusive negotiating rights with upcoming Free Agents seem like a mistake now?
  4. There was a glut of defensemen who have come and gone from the Lightning this year, and only four players are under contract for next season (Paul Ranger, Andrej Meszaros, Vladmir Mihalik and Ty Wishart).  Which Lightning RFA's and UFA's on defense are a priority to resign?
  5. Speaking of Defense:  I like the idea of Jacques Lemaire as a consultant, but is this also a sign the Lightning might consider employing a Neutral Zone Trap defense next season?
  6. You also talked about wanting to add free agents this off season.  Is it wiser to build with what you have acquired over season instead and round them out with a veteran or two for guidence?
  7. With the performances of Torrie Jung and Dustin Tokarski during the CHL (Canadian Junior) playoffs, will either netminder be invited to camp next fall?
  8. Brian Lawton - during the season you stated a team mandate that "If you're ready to go, you're going".  With how brittle the Lightning proved to be, is that mandate still in place or will caution be used in the future regarding overworking players?
  9. Will we see any jersey modifications for next season?  Especially with the popularity of the Alternate jersey (blue) this season?
  10. For Oren Koules:  You remarked about bloggers negatively a few weeks ago on AM radio, and under former PR man Jay Preble, the Lightning didn't even acknowledge the existence of bloggers.  Will OK Hockey, in the future, work with electronic media, or continue to treat them as "guys with a 30 dollar internet connection"?  
    Are any changes at the arena planned during the offseason?
  11. For Oren and Brian each:  If you could have a do over with a decision you made regarding the team, what would that be and what would you do differently?
    What is the most vital thing that each of you learned this past season that will help moving forward?
    What players are considered the nucleus of this roster?

Got any other questions that you wish someone would ask?  Post them in comments.