Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lightning Need to Make Game Four Power Play Adjustments Permanent

One of the big mysteries in today's NHL is how a team with as much talent as the Tampa Bay Lightning can have such a useless (for lack of a better word) power play.  While there's been some talk of the team's power play being fixed as a result of some "success" against the Detroit Red Wings, the reality is that this team still has a lot of work to do with its man-advantage unit.

Consider the following: Among the 16 teams that made the playoffs this season, and through the first handful of games in the postseason, Tampa ranks third last in CF/60 on the power play.  They simply aren't throwing the puck towards the net with regularity.  And, if you look at teams that have consistently strong power plays, you'll see that they typically send the puck in the opposing goaltender's direction with some measure of regularity.  Tampa didn't do that in the regular season.  Tampa hasn't done that for the most part so far in the postseason.  A visual representation:

Obviously the small sample size makes the disparity far greater than it likely would be over time, but the fact remains that Tampa Bay has failed to generate shot attempts at the same rate as some of the teams they are competing against for hockey's biggest prize.  It's just not a recipe for success if you're looking to score with the man advantage.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Quick Thoughts on Drouin's Start to the 2016 Playoffs

One of the big questions for the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into the playoffs this year was who would fill the void left by Steven Stamkos, who continues to sit on the sidelines after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot in his arm.  Down the stretch in the regular season, offence was at a premium, so it was only natural to wonder who would replace one of the game's biggest scoring threats.  Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson have done a lot of the heavy lifting through two games, but another guy who deserves oodles of credit is Jonathan Drouin.

Yes, that Jonathan Drouin.  The same Jonathan Drouin who wanted out by the trade deadline.  The same Jonathan Drouin who sat at home for a huge chunk of the season.  He's been fantastic, and he's quickly establishing himself as a very important piece for the Lightning.  Maybe trading him isn't such a good idea, after all.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Thoughts on the Stamkos Injury and Its Impact on the Lightning

When news that Steven Stamkos will miss the next 1-3 months with a blood clot issue broke last night, a sense of shock echoed through the hockey world.  The immediate reaction from all corners of hockey's tight-knit community was to wish the Tampa Bay Lightning Captain all the best during his surgery, which is scheduled for Monday, and recovery.  Beyond that, there were big questions posed about the injury's impact on the team's chances this season.  I mean, let's be honest, the Lightning are now without two (Stralman is out with a fractured fibula) very key cogs in their machine:
The picture painted there is bleak, so it's only reasonable to be a little bit down on the Lightning's chances this spring.  Combine that with the very real possibility that Stamkos may never suit up in a Lightning jersey again, and it would be easy to get quite morose about this whole situation.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Stamkos to Undergo Surgery for Blood Clot Issue, Out 1-3 Months

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced tonight that Captain Steven Stamkos will miss 1-3 months due to a blood clot issue, similar to what Andrei Vasilevskiy dealt with earlier in the season.  The news comes on the heels of the team's 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Amalie Arena on Saturday night, a game that Stamkos missed with what was originally described as an upper-body injury.  Per the team's press release (included below), Stamkos will undergo vascular surgery on Monday to treat the condition:
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos is scheduled to undergo surgery to treat a type of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (called Effort Thrombosis) near his right collarbone, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today. The procedure is scheduled to be performed on Monday, April 4 by Dr. Karl Illig, Director of Vascular Surgery at Tampa General Hospital. Stamkos is expected to fully recover and he should be able to return to the ice in 1-3 months.  
“Obviously this situation is extremely disappointing because I wanted to help my team clinch a playoff spot and prepare for the start of the postseason,” Stamkos said.  “During my recovery I will do all I can to help my teammates, and I hope to rejoin them soon in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.”

Reaction to the announcement has been swift and consistent.  Tampa fans are rightly concerned about the team's chances at success in the postseason with Stamkos and Anton Stralman (fibula) both injured, but they are also concerned about the Captain's health from a non-hockey-related perspective.  Some things are bigger than the game, and health is certainly one of them.  The outpouring of support for Stamkos from Tampa fans and hockey fans in general is certainly special to see.