Brayden Point signed. What else is there to say!? Lots, actually…and Eugene Helfrick from The Hockey Writers joins us look at the upcoming season for the Lightning! Add Brent Pedersen to the list of players returning to the Solar Bears for the upcoming season. Can you feel the excitement building for the Bears’ 19/20 campaign? Bryan can! Also, TSN published their Top 50 players in the NHL – and 2 of the top 11 players…are on a losing team! How can this be?!
Brayden Point is still without contract – even as the Tampa Bay Lightning start their training camp. Is it time to think about…life with out him? Trade? Offer Sheet?
The Solar Bears add a player with a tough-guy pedigree in his Family Tree! We’ll take a look at Jake Marchment, who will join the Bears for the 2019/20 campaign.
Alex Ovechkin is under 250 goals away from Wayne Gretzky’s all time goal scoring record. Can he reach it? Does he want to? Does he NEED to?
Isn’t it kind of appropriate, for an area that’s used to the weather patterns we are, that we get a really intense and potentially dangerous storm that attacks with fierce precision, multiple threats, and no sign of slowing down…
…and before long…
…it just…fizzles out.
That’s pretty much exactly what happened to the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning.
Record setting point and win totals. Personal accolades. Team dominance. Not only did they clinch a playoff spot in incredible time, but they clinched the PRESIDENT’S TROPHY, the award that goes to the top point getting team in the league for the Regular Season, before ANY OTHER TEAM in the Eastern Conference clinched a playoff spot.
Now, if you’re new to Hockey, understand, it’s widely known that the Presidents Trophy is the kiss-of-death of all kisses-of-death in the sport. You don’t win the Season and then cake walk to the Cup. There is no cake walk to the Cup. There is a reason it’s said that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in sports to win, and it keeps being proven right.
When the Lightning sprinted out to a 3-0 lead after the first period in Game 1, it couldn’t have felt more obvious that the Bolts would simply handle the Columbus Blue Jackets. But what came was the proverbial egg on the face of the Lightning. Underwhelming efforts from their stars, which included most importantly, the offensive crown jewel of the team, Nikita Kucherov, who’s Art Ross effort (Most Points in a season) is just not that impressive anymore, clearly showing his emotions at the end of Game 2, with frustrated actions that led to his suspension for Game 3. This is not the Kuch we watched all season.
And then…Steven Stamkos. The #1 Overall Pick the Bolts inherited in the 2008 Entry Draft. Stamkos, the Captain of the team, started the season off slow but rebounded to collect 98 points for his team this year. He’s been productive in past Playoff campaigns, namely the 18 points (7g, 11a) in the Cup Final run in 2015, and the 16 points (7g, 9a) in last years Playoffs. But there is a disturbing stat that can only be exposed when things go wrong:
Stamkos’s last six playoff games. Over the same span, Kucherov has one assist (in that first game) and a one-game suspension. <slow whistle> pic.twitter.com/MUEc2LEgoQ
— Japers’ Rink 🏆 (@JapersRink) April 15, 2019
Of course, to be fair, Stammer scored a goal on Tuesday Night, but…you see where I’m going with this?
However, the problem, for me, wasn’t the offensive production, the defensive meltdowns, the special teams failures…all of which WERE problems. The problem is the reaction to these events. Post-game press conferences tell EVERYTHING you need to know, and in this day and age, we can all watch them. This team was not angry. Intense. Pissed. Motivated. Annoyed.
We got the “we know we can do better, so we need to do better next game and do better” comments. The kind of comments that New York Ranger fans (like myself, at a time) came to be annoyed by from the likes of Ryan Callahan and Ryan McDonagh. Where’s the vinegar. Where’s the Salt. Where’s the emotion it takes to win the Stanley Cup. The Grit. The Heart.
Looking forward to next season, we can be sure the Lightning still have the framework to have a season like they had this year. Stars to score and produce at will. A strong defense centered around Victor Hedman, and yes, even Ryan McDonagh. Andrei Vasilevskiy isn’t expected to get worse with age, so things can hold steady there. Jon Cooper is getting up there in years with one team, statistically speaking, but signed an extension.
But you’ll have time this summer, Lightning fans…to figure out where the grit and heart come from next season.
You’ll just have more time to think about it than ANY of us planned.
Replay of our live show on 96.9 The Game before Game 4 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bryan and Floor Nick made observations before the game, but how right were they? SPOILER ALERT – they were very right. Also, we’ll cover the Solar Bears South Division Semi-Final series vs South Carolina, and the outlook on the games to come! We’ll also go around the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and some coaching changes in the ‘chel.
(0:00) Orlando Solar Bears
(17:25) Tampa Bay Lightning
(1:01) Solar Bears Defenseman Alexander Kuqali calls in to talk about the Solar Bears efforts and quest to gain a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, as well as whether or not the guys on the team are aware of the teams around them in the standings. Also, we talk to Kuqali about the idea of playing Hockey in Europe, and the NHL-level players he played with when he was younger. Does Bryan have his own pregame routine like the players do? You bet he does!
(28:04) Should Nikita Kucherov be in the running for the Hart Trophy? We’ll talk about the leagues leading scorer being in the conversation about the MVP Trophy…and…what that trophy should mean! Is it time for the Bolts to rest players? Jon Cooper’s extension, and the ultimatum…is it win or bust for the Lightning?
(42:05) Florida Panthers Coach Bob Boughner leads the NHL segment with a comment about his young team and their mission for their last 20 games, and you won’t believe what we think of it. Plus, what would another week be without Carolina Hurricanes foolishness and we’ll preview the “If They Started Today” Stanley Cup Playoffs!
Check out the first live episode of Hockey Now on 96.9 The Game! We jumped right into the Lightning’s big comeback win over the Boston Bruins and the continued magic provided by Nikita Kucherov. We shared a clip of our interview with Jackson Playfair of the Orlando Solar Bears and set up the remaining season for the team.
(1:13) Solar Bears Assistant Coach and former Solar Bear Eric Baier joins us to talk about the recent set of games against the Idaho Steelheads, including their game at RDV Sportsplex Ice Den. Also, we talk about the raw talent of Solar Bears F Mathieu Foget and Akim Aliu’s opportunities with the Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL.
(16:57) Short and sweet: we talk at length about the moment that started the building of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2018-19 President Trophy winning season’s Roster.
(34:16) In the NHLPA Players Survey, Brad Marchand is both loved and hated by his fellow NHL brethren – in the same category. With the season wrapping up, we’ll talk about the Playoff Magic Numbers and possible playoff scenarios. Bryan also continues his relentless assault on the Carolina Hurricanes and their post game choreography.
(:38) Solar Bears broadcaster Jesse Liebman joins the show to talk about the recent success of the team and the impact Akim Aliu has had! Also, we talk about Mike Monfredo taking a greater role on forward and give an outlook at the possibilities for the Solar Bears in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
(13:03) John Cooper is one lucky guy. He is currently coaching the handcrafted roster that leads the league by many! We’ll discuss the keys to the Bolts remaining season and whether or not the Lightning need to make a trade to set up the stretch. Also, Floor Nick will show you what its like to be a fan of any other team in the league facing the Bolts.
(28:06) TRADE DEADLINE!!! TRADE DEADLINE!!! TRADE DEADLINE!!! John Tavares’ legacy among his teammates is in the crossfire, and the Carolina Hurricanes celebrations. But, again, TRADE DEADLINE!!! TRADE DEADLINE!!! TRADE DEADLINE!!!
(:57) Solar Bears Defenseman Cody Donaghey joins to talk about the teams recent success, and setbacks, in the last few weeks of the season! Cody also talks about his days in Juniors, including playing for Patrick Roy in Quebec, and what it’s like to be reunited with a teammate from those days, Olivier Archambault. Plus, as a native Newfoundlander, Donaghey explains what exactly “screeching” is to those not from Eastern Canada!
(18:35) Nikita Kucherov had 4 points in the Lightning’s recent game against Calgary, so the question remains, how many points CAN Kuch accumulate before the seasons end? The year 2017 was so important to the Bolts and their current roster, but 2 moves in particular helped sure up the defense corps the Lightning take the ice with every night. With the trade deadline approaching, we’ll discuss the options the Lightning could have.
(31:55) Evgeni Malkin was suspended for only 1 game on his careless stick swinging towards Michael Raffl. Floor Nick is livid and says its not enough, Bryan agrees, but not as intensely. Kevin Boyle got his first NHL start and shutout last night, his cousin and friend of the show, Chris Boyle of the Daytona News-Journal, joins to talk about his cousin’s rise to success! Well talk trade deadline and wrap up the show…by professing our love…for our favorite players.
3:16 – Orlando Solar Bears Forward Trevor Olson joins Hockey Now, after their 5-2 loss to Norfolk. Olson shares his thoughts on the Solar Bears recent schedule and the impact that AHL Call-Ups has had on their team. Also, Trevor tells Bryan and Bacon about his Amateur Hockey experience, including his National Championship won with North Dakota, and some of the NHL-caliber teammates he’s had in his career!
21:04 – This week’s Lightning segment starts with a clip from Bolts defensemen Ryan McDonagh explaining how the teams one loss to San Jose last weekend inspired the team to bounce back with a dominating effort vs. Columbus. Nikita Kucherov achieves yet another milestone in this years season, and we discuss what the Lightning could do to improve. Spoiler alert: they’re already very damn good!
32:10 – Bryan’s patience and understanding with the New York Rangers has finally come to a head. What is the key problem with the Rangers this year, and can the team move along from fan favorites with ease? The NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and targets are finally being named! Who are the players with most value coming up to the deadline, and which teams will be in the market for upgrades. Also, some quick hit headlines around the league.