Thunderstruck…In A Bad Way

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:

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.

Solar Bears are still playing. The Bolts are not. WTF!?

Listen to “Solar Bears are still playing. The Bolts are not. WTF!?” on Spreaker.

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
(34:34) NHL

Hard Start for the Solar Bears and Bolts, so Lets Play The Lottery!

Listen to “Hard Start for the Solar Bears and Bolts, so Lets Play The Lottery!” on Spreaker.

(:39) The Solar Bears dropped their series opener against the South Carolina Stingrays 2-0, but the Solar Bears were closer than the score says, as SC caught an empty netter in the last minute. What happened to the Bears, and the outlook for the rest of the series.

(13:53) Over-confident? Feeling out the Opponent? Missing superstars? What happened to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of their series in which the Columbus Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 Bolts lead after the 1st Period? We’ll talk about it…and how to fix it.

(24:22) Nick kind of rhymes with fix, and that’s what Floor Nick thinks the NHL Draft Lotto is…a fix. How did the New Jersey Devils win the 1st spot, and how upset should Colorado really be with their lottery luck, as they prepare for their Playoff Series vs. the Calgary Flames? We’ll look over all of the Playoff Series and what could be next in South Florida for the Panthers.

It’s nearly Playoff time with the Solar Bears, Lightning and the NHL!

Listen to “It’s nearly Playoff time with the Solar Bears, Lightning and the NHL!” on Spreaker.

(1:12) Solar Bears assistant coach and former Captain Eric Baier joins us to talk about the influx of youth that has joined the team in the last week, in Alexei Lipanov and Parker AuCoin, and what players who are playing their first Professional Hockey can bring to a team at this point of the season. We’ll set up the playoffs for the Bears, and also talk to Baier about playing as himself in a video game.

(20:08) As the Tampa Bay Lightning are under a week away from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we’ll talk about the player/players the team wouldn’t be in this position without. Also, are the injuries to Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy just a smokescreen for rest before the Cup push?

(36:52) As much as Connor McDavid is frustrated about missing the playoffs, should we, as hockey fans, be equally upset that one of the best players in the league wont be playing Playoff Hockey? John Tavares faces the music and makes you wonder if its time to leave the guy alone! Stanley Cup Playoff Matchups and Floor Nick’s quick headlines.

OSB D Alexander Kuqali, It Must Storm, and Tamed Cats!

Listen to “OSB D Alexander Kuqali, It Must Storm, and Tamed Cats” on Spreaker.

(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!

Baier’s Back, The Spark of the Bolts and the NHLPA Awards.

Listen to “Baier’s Back, The Spark of the Bolts and the NHLPA Awards.” on Spreaker.

(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.

Solar Bears hit Newfoundland, RawCharge’s Matt Esteves and UCF Hockey Goes National!

Listen to “Solar Bears hit Newfoundland, RawCharge's Matt Esteves and UCF Hockey Goes National!” on Spreaker.

(1:08) Solar Bears play-by-play man Jesse Liebman joins us in studio for an extended talk about the teams’ trip to Newfoundland this past weekend and a recap of their games in Canada. We’ll also talk about the team’s game against Florida on Wednesday 3/13, and the physicality that came with the match. Plus, weeks ago we talked to Solar Bears Defenseman Cody Donaghey, who told us about the Newfoundland tradition called “Screeching”. Did Jesse get Screeched in?! Listen to his story about this most interesting Eastern Canadian Tradition!

(26:43) Matt Esteves of Raw Charge joins the show to talk about the Lightning and their recent schedule of games, including the instances in the loss to Minnesota last week at home. Steven Stamkos doesn’t like the Playoff structure in the NHL, but Bryan disagrees. Hear the discussion about that, and the importance of the Lightning upcoming schedule, including 3 games against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

(42:36) We’ll talk about Geno Malkin’s 1000’th point, Ovi’s 1200’th point…and where Sidney Crosby fits into the equation between those 2 players. Plus, the UCF Knights Club Hockey Team has made it to the National ACHA DIII Tournament in Texas – we talk to Assistant Coach Anthony Mariani about the team, their early season hurdles and the outlook for Florida Collegiate Hockey! Then, we make the mistake of letting Floor Nick bring up his stats, including why “the Lightning ain’t that fire”.

Drake Berehowsky, The Best Russian? and the rat is back!

Listen to “Drake Berehowsky, the best Russian? and the rat is back!” on Spreaker.

1:02) Solar Bears Head Coach Drake Berehowsky calls in as the team travels to Newfoundland to take on the Growlers this weekend. What does Coach think about highlight reel goals like the one Otto Somppi scored this past weekend, and how he feels his team is responding to the process they’re going through. Is there drama in the Solar Bears locker room? Something might be up, and it could end up benefitting the team in the end!

(20:08) The Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for just one win to clinch a Playoff Position, so we’ll talk about the next chapter for the Bolts and their schedule down the stretch. Also, Bryan asks Walt and Floor Nick the question of the hour: Is Nikita Kucherov the most underrated player in the NHL? You must hear this conversation!!!

(35:36) Brad Marchand is starting to throw the playoff shade at the Toronto Maple Leafs, surely the Bruins’ 1st round opponent. John Tavares returned to Long Island last week to face the Islanders faithful. Hear some of the chants they yelled, and whether anyone cares about Sean Avery’s opinion on the subject. Magic Numbers and Playoff Scenarios!

Episode 18 – Jackson Playfair, The Path of the Bolts and Trade Deadline Transactions!

Listen to “Episode 18 – Jackson Playfair, The Path of the Bolts and Trade Deadline Transactions!” on Spreaker.

(:52) Solar Bears Forward Jackson Playfair joins the show to talk about the process of him joining the team after his season at Dalhousie University and his thoughts on the team’s current potential. Jackson talks about taking on teams who play a chippy game, and what he brings to the ice as a player. Also, Playfair shares how his families hockey legacy influences his game. Oh – and his brother is Reilly in Letterkenny!

(24:55) The road is set for the Lightning towards the playoffs, and their 10 game winning streak is evidence of their domination. When do the Lightning start their preparation for the Playoffs? Resting Players? There so much, and so little, to discuss when it comes to the Bolts!

(39:19) Trade Deadline transactions. Pretty much the whole NHL Segment is Trade Deadline transactions. AND John Tavares going back to Long Island to see his old team, and their very upset fans. Mostly Trade Deadline transactions, though.