Lots happening in the first week of the offseason, with some names already off the Free Agency board, and GM chatter heating up. The NHL Awards happened and host Keenan Thompson roasted the Tampa Bay Lightning. Robin Lehner brought a serious issue to forefront during his acceptance speech, and the debate about how these awards are given. Also, the Draft is this week and the same 2 names are on the tip of everyone’s tongue…but what about AFTER those 2?
The Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues find themselves tied at 2 games each (as of Thursday 6/6/19 @1p), and with Games 5 and 6 upon us, we’ll preview the games and recap the events of the first four.
The Newfoundland Growlers have won the Kelly Cup as the Champion of the ECHL Playoffs! With so many former Solar Bears on the team, there’s lots of reasons to be excited for the team! Of course though, with the end of the 2018/19 season…comes the shift to 2019/20 season, and activity has already started with the Orlando Solar Bears!
Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. They’ll go 1 and 2 in the upcoming NHL Draft, but one thing is for certain: the Metropolitan Division is set for dominance in the years to come!
The Stanley Cup Final has begun and the both the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues have had high and low points. What are the keys to the next game, and one player has delivered in the spotlight, after years being a “Secondary Market Star”.
Also, Not Floor Nick hates fans and their rituals in the stands and Walt impresses by remembering the 16 teams in this years’ Stanley Cup Playoffs. Don’t miss “the why is “Old Town Road” a thing?” either.
There are only two left to battle for the Stanley Cup, the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins. Are the Blues the better story line than the Bruins? Have these teams had to face as strong of an opponent in the Playoffs so far as they will now?
Also, Bacon’s handshakes with fmr. FL Governor Rick Scott and HHH, plus Not Floor Nick/Floor Nick breaks down the Philly Cheesesteak rivalry as he prepares to go home to Philadelphia straight from the show.
(:54) The San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues have delivered with the entertaining Hockey so far, but as is too often the case lately, the Officials pulled the rope and cost the Blues the game. But WAS it their fault? What could they have done and what did they do right? It’s the top story in the Hockey World right now!
(24:33) The Boston Bruins are on the brink of eliminating the Carolina Hurricanes and someone on the show is fairly excited about it. (Spoiler Alert: It’s Bryan.) Why the league and the Stanley Cup Final is better off without the Jerks.
(37:48) Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. The New Jersey Devils have quite a decision on their hands with their 1st Overall Pick, but Devils GM Ray Shero has shown he isn’t afraid to bypass the consensus #1 to go with the ready now player. Draft day is approaching, and we’ll be covering it all the way!
(:54) Before we look intently ahead at the Solar Bears future, we’ll talk once more about the recent past and the heartbreaking end to their season. Also, we’ll look at the Former Solar Bears still in the hunt for the Kelly Cup!
(21:48) San Jose beat Colorado in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, and the big story is the Gabe Landeskog offsides call. We’ll also talk about the Jerks’ and Bruins’ upcoming Eastern Conference Final match up.
(37:41) GLORIA! The Blues have got your number! St. Louis beat Dallas in double OT in an INCREDIBLE display of goaltending to secure a date with San Jose In the Western Conference Final. PLUS, the moment you’ve ALL been waiting for…Floor Nick’s Rink Report. Quick headlines, commentary and chirp to finish out the episode.
(:36) We’ll go in depth into Game 3 of the South Division Finals in the Kelly Cup Playoffs between the Solar Bears and Everblades that ended in a 3-2 Florida win, and giving the Everblades a 2-1 advantage in the series. Also, Bryan may have irked the superstition Gods – but will it work?!
(28:14) The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, so we’ll go around to each series to get you up to date on the headlines and stats that are making this wild 2019 quest for the Cup so crazy!!! Also, Jack Hughes’ next big challenge. How will he do? We’ll try to figure that out!
(:38) Solar Bears Head Coach Drake Berehowsky joins the show before the team boards the bus to Estero for Games 1 & 2 in the South Division Finals. Berehowsky touches on the team closing out South Carolina, the familiarity with the Florida Everblades and the benefit of having solid goaltending.
(22:24) Should SJ have gotten a 5 Minute Major penalty in the 3rd period of their game 7 vs Vegas? It’s the hot topic in the Hockey world, and we’ll discuss it. Also, we’ll go around the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the NHL Award Nominees announced so far.
(0:36) The Tampa Bay Lightning are out of the running for the Stanley Cup, as a 4-0 sweep by Columbus ended an otherwise successful season. We’ll get overly emotional in our frustrations and try to figure out what went wrong. What was missing?
(16:47) Hunter Fejes recently rejoined the Solar Bears for the Playoffs, and had an immediate impact in Game 3, a 2OT contest in which he scored the game winning goal! Fejes also talks about his time in Manitoba in the AHL and what he see’s in the Solar Bears from when he started his PTO, to him coming back to Orlando. And of course…the 2OT goal celly!
(38:41) The New York Islanders swept the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs, what was the key to their victory? Alex Ovechkin got into his second fight of the year, which opens the bigger discussion about fighting in Hockey. Coaching Changes, World Championships, and the rest of the NHL Playoffs.
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.