Tampa Bay Lightning News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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2/28/13: The Lightning are in a tough fight for the Southeast division crown. Currently, they are tied with Carolina at 19 points, and just beat the Hurricanes with a late flourish from some of their youngsters. Tampa has had most of their games at home, and won for only the second time in six tries on the road with the 5-2 victory over Carolina. The upgrade in goaltending and defense is making a definitive impact on this team. The Bolts could always score, but now the can defend as well - and that makes them very dangerous as the playoffs approach.
2/21/13: At one game above .500, the Lightning are ahead of last year's pace and just a win behind the Carolina Panthers for the top spot in the Southeast. However, this has to be a frustrating time for fans. The team can score - as expected. They lead the league with 55 goals in 14 games; an average of almost four goals a game. But they have also given up 45 goals, so they find themselves in shootouts. The upgrades in net and at the blueline have made a difference, but not enough to separate themselves from the pack . Don't be surprised if GM Steve Yzerman makes a move for another defenseman before the trade deadline.
2/14/13: Nail Yakupov was the number one overall pick and is contributing in Edmonton. Fellow Russian Vladimir Tarasenko started out on fire and is a must-watch every time he touches the puck. Justin Schultz spurned the Ducks, got to Edmonton and is showing he can play. But the guy who may win the Rookie of the Year is in Tampa - Cory Conacher. Conacher had five goals in his first 10 games and is showing he is a complete player. The Lightning struck gold with this youngster, though the league should be proud of all of their talented rookies.
2/7/13: At 6-3, the Lightning are atop of the Southeast Division by three points over Winnepeg. Give GM Steve Yzerman and the front office credit, they identified their biggest need and filled it. Although anyone could see they needed defensive help. Last season they were among the best on offense and Steven Stamkos led the league with 60 goals. But the defense and goaltending let the opposition pass through like a turnstile. Yzerman convinced Matt Clarke and Sami Salo to come to Tampa and traded for goalie Anders Lindback. So far the results speak for themselves. Tampa should win their division this season and can make a run for the Cup.
1/31/13: Its only been a few games but it looks like the Lightning learned from last season. It is no secret that the team has as much offensive fire power as any in the league, led by Steven Stamkos who led the league with 60 goals last season. But the defense was awful last year. The addition of goaltender Anders Lindback, as well as defensemen Sami Salo and Matt Clarke seems to have bolstered the group, as evidenced by the 5-1 thrashing on the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. If this trend continues, expect the Lightning to be playing deep in to the post season.
1/17/13: The Bolts will open the shortened NHL season against the rival Washington Capitals on Saturday, January 19th. Tampa made the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago as goaltender Dwane Rolloson had a remarkable resurgence. But he could not duplicate his work last season, so even though the Lightning could score with any team, they simply could not stop anyone on defense. This season, former Nashville backup Anders Lindback takes over between the pipes. He has impressed so far in informal practices. If he is anywhere above average, then Tampa will be a force in the East.
11/29/12: Most of the focus in the Lightning organization these days is on the Syracuse Crunch. The Crunch, whose players comprised the Norfolk Admirals last season and won the Calder Cup while sporting a record 28 game winning streak, are showing their strenght again, continuing to give hope to the Tampa fans who follow the prospects. Brett Connelly is a very interesting prospect. The big center is back from knee injuries and is making his mark in the AHL along with goaltenders Riku Helinius and Dustin Tokarski. Connelly has a chance to make the Lightning roster this season, that is, if there is a season.
11/22/12: Sad news for the Lightning family, as word is out that former defenseman Kaspars Ashtashenko has died. Ashtashenko only played in 23 games for the Bolts between 1999 and 2001. He played for the Latvian Olympic Team in 2002 as well. He was only 37 years old. Meanwhile, the lockout continues in the NHL, and many NHLers have transplanted themselves to European and Russian teams. Tampa fans are getting restless, and desperately want to fill the Forum this season. Tampa may not be a traditional hockey hotbed, but the fans are loyal and abundant, and can't wait to get back to the games.
11/15/12: With the NHL on hiatus (read: owner-imposed lockout), it's a good time to check in on some of the Lightning's prospects. Tampa's AHL affiliate is the Syracuse Crunch. Most, if not all of the players, were on the Norfolk Admirals last season, which was then Tampa's AHL affiliate. the Admirals cruised to the AHL championship, setting records by dominating the league. The Crunch this year are leading the AHL East division, ironically, by two points over the Admirals. Former first round pick Riku Helenius notched his first shutout since 2009 in a 3-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs, who are the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
11/8/12: Putting aside all of the hand wringing about Tampa's defense and goal tending concerns, Lightning fans can appreciate their hoards of riches when it comes to offense. Sure, there are the usual suspects such as Vinny Lecalvalier, Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Teddy Purcel. But the Lightning may have another blue chip prospect in the pipeline. Cory Conacher was the AHL MVP last season and should make a strong push to join the NHL club soon. Though not big (5'8, 175 lbs), he can score - and would make a great addition with St. Louis and Stamkos.
11/1/12: This could be coach Guy Boucher's make or break year in Tampa, should there be an NHL season. The Lightning invested heavily in improving their back half by acquiring defensemen Sami Salo and Matt Carle. More importantly, GM Steve Yzerman pulled the trigger and traded for Nashville backup goalie Anders Lindback to be the starter in Tampa. The Bolts are already loaded offensively, and now believe they have the defense and goaltending to compete. All that is left is to actually have a season so the team can prove they belong in the contenders bracket, rather than play golf early again.
10/18/12: The Lightning players, through their own dedication, managed to keep practicing together during the lockout. In recent weeks, the numbers have dwindled as several players have gone back to their summer homes or opted to play overseas. But those that stayed should be commended. This is now Steven Stamkos' team, even though Vinny LeCalvalier and Martin St. Louis are still on the roster. And Bolts fans should expect a significant improvement over last season now that Anders Lindback is between the pipes. Considering the dedication of the players, the strong young talent, and an improved netminding situation, Tampa should be on the road back to the playoffs.
10/4/12: Lighting players are still trying to skate together, despite the lockout. But numbers are dwindling, and recently, only 11 players showed up for player-organized workouts. To make matters worse, defenseman Eric Brewer took a puck to the face and had to leave for medical treatment. And since it is a lockout, the treatment would have to be by a regular hospital/doctor, rather than team-provided personnel. Players and fans are getting frustrated by the lack of progress in the CBA negotiations and a perceived unwillingness by the owners to negotiate, but hopefully it will get settled soon and the games can begin.
8/16/12: Outside of lottery draft picks, rarely ever does an 18 year old prospect have a chance to make the NHL. However, the Sabres have two young guns with a legitimate shot of making the team. Buffalo selected Mikhail Grigorenko (No. 12) and Zemgus Girgensons (No. 14) with their two first round picks. Both centers are under contract and will compete for a job with the big club. Grigorenko was the third rated skater going into the draft, but fell due to concerns that he wanted to return to Russia and play in the KHL. The Sabres believe he is worth the risk and expect him in the NHL soon.
8/2/12: While some teams (the Islanders come to mind) are fighting for a new arena to call home through public and private financing, the Lightning are getting some upgrades at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Republican National Convention will use the facility for their political convention in late August, and has run of the joint from mid-July to mid-September. Some improvements include better cell phone coverage and an enhanced audio system. The Times Forum underwent a major renovation a year ago, which amounted to a much better fan experience as well as a more aesthetically pleasing look.
7/26/12: The Lightning underachieved last season mostly due to shaky goaltending throuhout the year. GM Steve Yzerman filled the void by trading for Nashville backup Anders Lindback, who gets rave reviews among NHL players. The Bolts also re-signed Riku Helenius, presumably to be the backup. Which poses a problem for young Jaroslav Janus, whom the team qualified but not re-signed. Tampa has hinted that he would be the odd man out in Syracuse (AHL affiliate) and he is far too good for the ECHL. A loan to a European club is an option, but it is very possible the team coul lose the talented young netminder.
5/22/12: The Tampa Bay Lightning have fifteen players signed to play the next season in self-proclaimed 'Hockey Paradise'. Cornerstones Vinny LeCalvalier, Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman are locked up - which is a good start. Those are players who can lead a team to a Championship. But aside from Eric Brewer, the Bolts really need to work on getting some defensemen on the roster. Of course the white elephant in the room is goaltending. Play between the pipes ultimately doomed Tampa in 2001-12, and an upgrade is deparately needed. Only Matieu Giron is under contract today.
5/15/12: Offense is not a problem in Tampa. The Bolts boast four prolific talents in Marty St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, and Teddy Purcell. However, lackluster goaltending and defensive play doomed the team to a finish out of the playoffs, just one year removed from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. Head coach Guy Boucher believes over-confidence at the beginning of the season, combined with injuries were the major causes for the team's decent. At onetime, the Lightning were last in the East, but rallied to get within three points of the playoffs. Unfortunately, a 1-5-1 slide to finish the season ultimately ended any postseason hopes.
5/11/12: Tampa's goaltending problems highlighted its fall from Eastern Conference Finalist in the 2010-11 season to missing the playoffs outright in 2011-12. Veteran Dwane Roloson could not recapture his magic from the previous season, leading to a tough first half of the season. Tampa did have an opportunity to make a move mid-season and passed. St. Louis Blues' minor-league goaltender Ben Bishop was available at the trade deadline. Bishop was a top minor league goalie but not likely to play in majors behind the top league's goaltending tandem. Tampa stayed pat while Ottowa made the trade - and then the playoffs.
5/3/12: While the Tampa Bay Lightning missed the postseason this year, some players are invited to the World Hockey Championships. Nate Thompson and JT Brown will join Team USA and Teddy Purcell, who enjoyed a breakout season with 24 goals and 65 points, will play for Team Canada. Team Canada will also have Lightning coach Guy Boucher serving as an Assistant Coach, offering Purcell the chance to continue his growth as a player over the summer. Purcell was one of five Bolts players to score at least 20 goals, joining Steven Stamkos (60), Martin St. Louis (25), Vinny Lecalvalier (22), and Ryan Malone (20).
4/25/12: The Bolts showed they can score, finishing 8th in the NHL in scoring and owning the league's only 60-goal scorer in Steven Stamkos. Additionally, they have Vinny LeCavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Teddy Purcel, making this a very potent offense. But defense/goaltending and special teams were an issue this past season. The club allowed a league-worst 3.4 goals against per game, and ranked 25th and 26th in penalty kill and power play, respectively. Lightning fans are already clammoring to acquire either Roberto Luongo or Cory Schnieder from Vancouver to replace Dwayne Roloson in net, though Tampa would probably have to pay heavily for either one.
4/15/12: Where did the Lightning go wrong? The Bolts have a championship resume, stars who can score, good defense, a refurnished arena, and better looking uniforms than past years? Goaltending is the obvious and correct place to put the blame. Dwayne Rolosson was mediocre this season and the Lightning let the trade deadline slip by without addressing the issue. Unlike the crosstown Rays, the Bolts play in a well-located arena and have dedicated fans. Management owes it to them to find a true number one goalie for a team that should be able to contend for a few more years.
Tampa Bay Lightning Tickets -Team History
Tampa Bay Lightning tickets allow fans the opportunity to see one of the NHL's youngest franchises rise in the Eastern Conference. Established in 1992, the Lightning brought their first Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay in 2004. The Bolts play at St. Pete Times Forum and have called the venue home since it was opened in 1996. Watch as the Lightning go for their second cup in 2011!
Tampa Bay Lightning Tickets -Season Info
The Tampa Bay Lightning have experienced a revival since drafting superstar Steven Stamkos No.1 overall in 2008. After scoring an astounding 51 goals last season, Stamkos won the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2010. With strong veteran leadership from Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, the Lightning are playoff bound once again in 2011.
Tampa Bay Lightning Tickets -Ticket Information
Tampa Bay Lightning tickets ensure that fans see the Lightning playing top contenders throughout the entire NHL season. The Lightning have their work cut out for them in a tough Southeast Division. With matchups against great teams like the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes and non-divisional meetings with Patrick Kane's Chicago Blackhawks, the Lightning are sure to be tested all season long. Grab your Bolts tickets now and don't miss the action!
Tampa Bay Lightning Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Tampa Bay Lightning First Game 2013
Tampa Bay Lightning Regular Season Last Game 2013
Tampa Bay Lightning Preseason Beginning 2013
LIGHTNING SCORES5 wins, 2 losses (71.4%)
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