Thoughts…

– No surprise from anyone that Dustin Penner got benched by Craig MacTavish. The $4.25m man never lived up to expectations and probably never well. Brian Burke felt that the massive overpayment would have ramifications on the free agent market, but it didn’t, but regardless Burke gets the last laugh because now the Oilers are stuck with Penner for a long time. Except the hockey gods are giving Penner another chance, now with Fernando Pisani is sidelined with a broken ankle. – Craig Hartsburg is once again going to re-unite the Pizza Line. I never understood the fascination with breaking

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Lightning Strikes Melrose

The Lightning are seemingly trying their best to become the laughing stock of the NHL taking the crown away from the New York “lets promote our backup goalie to General Manager” Islanders. Just 16 games into the season the Lightning have fired head coach Barry Melrose. This comes just a couple days after Melrose skipped out on practice and rumours of part owner Len Barrie stepping into the dressing room to draw up power play tactics earlier in the season. It is becoming apparent that the Lightning’s new ownerships management style is better known as a revolving door. Matt Carle

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Pulling the Trigger

Everyone knew that the Lightning’s defense would have a hard time keeping up with the rest of the league. After a poor offensive start, the Lightning did a little shake-up by swapping the tougher Shane O’Brien for Lukas Krajicek to get more mobile on defense. It was assumed that Andrej Meszaros, Paul Ranger, and Matt Carle, one of the key pieces in the Dan Boyle deal, would handle the puck-moving duties. However, the three of them have only combined for 9 points and a harmless -1 rating. Meszaros has yet to score this year, and Ranger and Carle both have

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Tampa Bay Lightning

No team in the league went through as much turnover as the Lightning this summer. Spearheaded by a new ownership group led by Oren Koules and Len Barrie, who have made many headlines this summer, the Lightning have promised their fans an exciting brand of Lightning hockey and a replication of success they enjoyed in 2004. The Lightning enter the season with much intrigue, as many fans and experts are wondering what sort of Lightning team that features as many as five new key players and a coach that hasn’t worked in the NHL for a decade, will show up.

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Quick Hit Rumours

– Marian Gaborik‘s name will be a fixture in the rumour mill from now on, and I can safely say that at least 10 teams are seriously interested in his services. The sniper has recently rejected a multi-year contract (6+ years) at around $8m/season (although the folks at Hockey Central don’t believe this rumour). The Gaborik camp is reportedly looking for a contract that will pay him $10m/season, or somewhere close to that neighbourhood. Doug Risebrough isn’t a man who just throws money around – he did lose Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston this summer after all – but if

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A Coach to Ignite Us

Over the summer months I lambasted the Lightning for owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie‘s handling of the team, and the hiring of Barry Melrose, amongst other things. On the Lightning’s official website, Melrose was advertised as the “Coach to Ignite Us.” Okay, I’ll bite, a coach who hasn’t been in the league in a decade could provide a new voice, direction, and more importantly, a breath of fresh air. However, after two straight losses against the Rangers to open the season, Melrose didn’t hold anything back: “I hope our guys were embarrassed by that second period.” Sound a little

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Thoughts…

– Mike Smith proved that he can handle the load. And it also proved that the Lightning need more time to gel together, after their choppy game. Speaking of turnovers, Andrej Meszaros played one of his more subpar games. I still question whether or not he deserves the ‘A’. The Lightning couldn’t get anything going, and none of the lines other than the top line showed any real chemistry. If it wasn’t for Smith the game could’ve been a blowout had the Rangers not been so rusty. – The Rangers’ top line looks good, but the second line, other than

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Captains

Much ado has been made about the Canucks making Roberto Luongo their captain. The move was very surprising, considering goalies are not allowed to wear the traditional ‘C’ on their jersey and there hasn’t been a goalie captain since Bill Durnan in the 1940s. One of the reasons it became illegal was because of the inefficiency of being both a captain and a goalie. Captains are designated by their respective teams to provide an on-ice voice for the team with the refs, and because the game is so fluid and the refs are constantly moving, it made it very difficult

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Quick Hit News

Old news, but Mathieu Schneider is now a Thrasher, pending physicals on Brad Larsen and Ken Klee, the players going the other way. Klee and Larsen are in the last years of their contracts and were not part of the Thrashers’ plans going forward. Schneider makes the Thrashers defense better, but they won’t be making the playoffs anytime soon. It also means that perhaps Atlanta isn’t too interested in finish first in the draft sweepstakes. Don Waddell was not interested in Schneider through waivers saying he was too expensive and wasn’t the right fit. The Thrashers’ payroll increased by about

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Quick Hit News

The Thrashers were interested in Mathieu Schneider, but felt that given the veteran’s price tag and current skill set it was just too expensive. Don Waddell claims that Schneider’s age was not a factor in the decision. Nikolai Khabibulin is looking forward to the start of the season, but admits he was surprised when the Hawks signed Cristobal Huet to a multi-year deal. He also admits that even though he hasn’t been at his best, he didn’t have a “championship calibre” team in front of him either. Not exactly the words management wants to hear, but Khabibulin has to make

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