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Commentary

Hear the latest commentary from the original Lightning Insider Erik Erlendsson as well as other prominent sports writers and sports celebrities through the hockey world. Stay tuned as we ramp up so please check back.

 

Monday Morning Faceoff: Chicken Little running scared, best lineup and heading to Sin City

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December 11, 2017


Welcome again to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com (which simulcasts on 970-AM in Tampa for the final 30 minutes) as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also look to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week Erik and Greg discuss the four-game homestand, whether the Lightning are best suited with six or seven defensemen in the lineup and what to look for on the upcoming road trip.

Erik: What a difference a week can make. It wasn’t that long ago that Chicken Little was running around pointing to the ceiling inside Amalie Arena acting as if the roof was collapsing around the team. A couple of Nikita Kucherov goals, a three-point night from Steven Stamkos and a four-game homestand sweep later and all seems right in the Lightning world. OK, so that’s a little over the top sarcasm going on, but that’s what happens when you are battling the sinus issue I’ve dealt with since Tuesday 😊

In all seriousness, Tampa Bay looked a lot like Tampa Bay during the homestand, forechecking with a speed game. Still some issues in their own zone from time to time, but for the most part, the Lightning seem to have located their missing game.

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Johnny on track, goaltending concerns and a potential Stanley Cup Preview

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December 4, 2017


Welcome back to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also like to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week NHL.com Lightning correspondent Corey Long joins Erik and Greg to discuss if Tyler Johnson is back, the Lightning goaltending situation and a potential Stanley Cup Final preview this week.

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Trade targets, line juggling and Chicken Little Syndrome, all in this week's Monday Morning Faceoff

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 27, 2017


Welcome again to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com (which simulcasts on 970-AM in Tampa for the final 30 minutes) as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also look to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week Erik and Greg discuss Chicken Little syndrome, if line juggling will take place and exactly what potential trade targets should center around.

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Should we be concerned with Tampa Bay Lightning loss or Tyler Johnson, and is player safety on the right path?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 20, 2017


Welcome back to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also like to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week NHL.com Lightning correspondent Corey Long joins Erik and Greg to discuss if Saturday's loss to the Islanders is cause for concern, if there is something wrong with Tyler Johnson and looking at the latest incident involving former Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas.

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Herrejon: Early season observations from a stellar start for Tampa Bay Lightning

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
November 14, 2017


After the first few weeks of the 2017-18 regular NHL season, things are looking bright for the Tampa Bay Lightning. \Leading the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference with 30 total points in their first 18 games. Oh yeah, they also have the most points in the entire NHL.

There have been some games that the players would welcome a do-over, the first Anaheim game comes to mind. There have been some playoff like games already and there have been some games where the Lightning look downright unbeatable this week during their sweep of California.

Let’s take a look at some of the things we know now that the first 18 games are in the books.

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Weekly Power Rankings - Nov. 13

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 13, 2017


Who’s on top, who’s rising and who sits at the bottom.

No, we’re not talking about the current state of the standings (that would be way too easy to do). Instead, we present to you the weekly NHL power rankings, going from 1-31 (yes, 31, remember the Vegas Golden Knights became the newest team to join the league this season).

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Monday Morning Faceoff: California trip, Bishop vs. Vasilevskiy

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 13, 2017


Welcome back to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also like to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

Read more ...

NHL Power Rankings: Week of Nov. 6

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 6, 2017


Who’s on top, who’s rising and who sits at the bottom.

No, we’re not talking about the current state of the standings (that would be way too easy to do). Instead, we present to you the weekly NHL power rankings, going from 1-31 (yes, 31, remember the Vegas Golden Knights became the newest team, which you might notice early on in this countdown).

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Stanley Cup comparisons, road woes and who won the Duchene trade

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 6, 2017


Welcome back to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also like to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week WDAE 620-AM producer, reporter and weekend host Jay Recher joins Erik and Greg to discuss if we can compare this year's team compares to the 2004 team, if Tampa Bay is built to win on the road and who won the blockbuster deal involving Matt Duchene and Kyle Turris in a three-way deal between Ottawa, Nashville and Colorado.

And make sure you catch Jay Sunday mornings on 620-AM as well as producing the J.P. Peterson and Ron Diaz show from 12-3 p.m. weekdays.

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Herrejon: Tampa Bay Lightning experiencing Storm Serge

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
September 30, 2017


November usually marks the end of the hurricane season in the Tampa Bay area. As the NHL season really begins to kick it in gear, a 19-year-old defenseman begins his Lightning career by taking Tampa by storm.

Mikhail Sergachev, selected by the Montreal Canadiens, was the ninth pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. After seeing action in three early games last season for the Canadiens, Sergachev was sent back to his junior team in the Ontario Hockey League, the Windsor Spitfires to complete the 2016-17 season, though he appeared in the season finale for Montreal on an emergency basis, going on to capture a Memorial Cup title.

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Tampa Bay Lightning too small? Changes in the Big Apple?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 30, 2017


Welcome back to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also like to bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week Siriux XM and Sportsnet radio personality Nick Alberga joins Erik and Greg to discuss whether size really matters, the Los Angeles Kings turn around and whether the New York Rangers' slow start might mean changes are on the horizon

And make sure you catch Nick as he hosts Ice Cap and Off The Rush shows on Sirius XM, Hockey Central Saturday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m on Sportsnet Radio as well as Fantasy Focus weekly on @TBLPowerPlay

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In his first full season with Tampa Bay Lightning, Yanni has been very Gourde

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
October 27, 2017


Yanni Gourde is tenaciously making the most of his ice time as part of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s second line. It would probably would not come to the surprise of anyone that Gourde is the least known forward of Tampa’s top six.

He plays on the same line as last year’s surprise rookie, Brayden Point and with former Triplet, Ondrej Palat. Gourde’s height on the roster is listed at 5’9”. Only Tyler Johnson keeps Gourde from having the distinction of being the smallest Lightning.

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Herrejon: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov "86-ing'' the league

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
October 23, 2017


Not sure where the term “86” originated. We all know it means to do away with something. “I’m going to 86 this project” or “I’m going to 86 this guy right out of my store”.

In today’s NHL, the term 86 is taking on a whole new meaning. Mainly, because Nikita Kucherov wears the number 86 and he is leading the high powered offense of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Weighing good starts and bad

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 23, 2017


Welcome to the Monday Morning Faceoff a weekly debate here on LightningInsider.com.

This new weekly feature brings together Erik Erlendsson, creator of LightningInsider.com, and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. or one hour prior to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning.

This week Lightning Insider contributor Dan Herrejon joins Erik and Greg to discuss the fast start enjoyed by the Lightning, whether the Vegas Golden Knights need to be in the playoff conversation and what is going on with the Montreal Canadiens.

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Herrejon: Brayden Point sidestepping sophomore jinx in second season with Tampa Bay Lightning

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
October 18, 2017


It is a well-worn sports cliché. The Sophomore Jinx. Spanning the entire world of sports. For whatever reason, whether based on hard evidence or not, the calamities that seemingly occur for second-year players is real in the minds of fans of all teams in all sports.

Tampa Bay Lightning fans are no different. They were very happily surprised at Brayden Point’s rookie season last year. Coming out of nowhere before last season, he made fans do a double take by making the team out of training camp a year ago.

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Dave Mishkin joins to discuss the homestand sweep, Kucherov and hitting the road

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 16, 2017


Welcome to the 2017-18 Tampa Bay Lightning season.

With the start of a new season comes the launch of new weekly content here at Lightning Insider that will feature Erik Erlendsson and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. one hour prier to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning that we like to call the Monday Morning Faceoff.

This week Lightning radio voice Dave Mishkin joins Erik and Greg to take a look back at the impressive sweep of three-game homestand, the play of Nikita Kucherov and a look at the team's first extended road trip.

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Monday Morning Faceoff: The good and bad from opening weekend with a tough schedule ahead

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 9, 2017


Welcome to the 2017-18 Tampa Bay Lightning season.

With the start of a new season comes the launch of new weekly content here at Lightning Insider that will feature Erik Erlendsson and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. one hour prier to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth exchange that will appear every Monday morning that we like to call the Monday Morning Faceoff.

This week Erik and Greg take a look back at the opening weekend for the Lightning, what stood out both good and bad and how that relates to the upcoming week.

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On eve of NHL season opener, some (mostly) correct predictions

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 3, 2017


Game On!

Two words that hold deep meaning for hockey fans. Just like Wayne and Garth uttered, it means now is the time to put the nets in place and drop the puck on the 2017-18 season.

It also means its preview time around media circles and we here at LightningInsider.com don’t want to be left out of that fun. So with the season set to begin on Wednesday when the puck drops for four games, starting in Winnipeg where the Toronto Maple Leafs face the Jets.

And remember, the Lightning will wait until Friday to start off when they host the Florida Panthers. But that doesn’t mean we’ll wait to tell you how things are going to play out this season. And we’ve never been wrong with our predictions. Seriously, we’re just that good. (Or, we didn’t make any last year since the site launched in December. But definitely one of the two).

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Monday Morning Faceoff: Preseason impressions, top six forwards

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 2, 2017


Welcome to the 2017-18 Tampa Bay Lightning season.

With the start of a new season comes the launch of new weekly content here at Lightning Insider that will feature Erik Erlendsson and Greg Linnelli, who hosts Lightning Power Play Live weekdays from 6-7 p.m. and one hour prioer to puck drop on game days on TBLPowerplay.com as well as intermission host during radio broadcasts. We will also bring in special guests on a regular basis to debate topical items surrounding the Tampa Bay Lightning and around the NHL as we exchange our thoughts in a back-and-forth format that will appear every Monday morning, a new addition that we like to call the Monday Morning Faceoff.

This week Erik and Greg take a look back at impressions from training camp, who looks ready to get things started and some thoughts on who should be in the Lightning top six forward group when the seasons opens on Friday at home against the Florida Panthers.

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Projecting the opening night roster and line after three preseason games

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 23, 2017


TAMPA – It’s less than two weeks until the season opener. The deadline to set the roster for the season opener comes in a little over a week.

The Lightning are more than a week in to training camp and three games in to the preseason and that roster is starting to take shape.

So before Sunday’s 4 p.m. preseason game against Florida at Amalie Arena (followed by the US Women’s Olympic team facing off against a group of Lightning alumni), let’s examine how things are starting unfold and see how it compares to what it looked like two months ago after free agency died down and how things might break down in the next week leading up to the season opener on Oct. 6.

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Analysis of the Tampa Bay Lightning roster, predicting line combinations and D pairings

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
July 20, 2017


For all intents and purposes, the Tampa Bay Lightning figure to be quiet the rest of the summer.

Doesn’t necessarily mean that’s exactly how things will pan out as all it takes is one phone call to kick-start more conversations, whether that’s in the form of more signings or a trade. With all but one of Tampa Bay’s restricted free agents signed (Tye McGinn is the lone unsigned player), the training camp roster appears to be set.

Assuming McGinn gets done, that would put Tampa Bay at 48 of the allowable 50 contracts, according to CapFriendly which allows flexibility moving forward.

So let’s take a look at the breakdown of the depth chart and the type of lineup Tampa Bay might put on the ice for opening night on Oct. 6 against the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena.

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Tampa Bay Lightning free agent primer: Shattenkirk, Williams, Girardi among those on radar


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 30, 2017


BRANDON – As the Lightning prospect camp reached the 3-on-3 tournament portion of the week, the scene will quickly shift to the big club on Saturday.

Just after that 3-on-3 tournament starts at the Ice Sports Forum, the free agency period officially opens up at noon Eastern Time. It’s that time of year where everybody gets up in arms over the length and salaries handed out to the top players on the open market.

It’s that time when teams look to fill holes in the lineup in preparation for training camp. Free agency, when general managers tend to make the biggest mistakes that can put their teams in to salary cap hell that can cripple their team down the road which often gets tag-teamed off to the next general manager.

And by all accounts, the Lightning expect to be right in the middle of it all on the opening day of free agency.

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Dan Girardi? Seems Lightning fans should get used to the idea


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 29, 2017


BRANDON - Sure seems like it doesn’t take much these days to rile up Lightning fans on Twitter (or any social media platform, to be honest).

Free agency opens on Saturday at noon and Steve Yzerman has a shopping list. It’s not a long one, certainly not like years past when Tampa Bay had some significant holes in the lineup to try to fill. But the Lightning do have some holes, just maybe not of the gaping variety.

On the list are a defenseman of some sort, preferably a right-handed shot that might be able to help the power play, and perhaps a forward, though that may not be as pressing as the first thing on the list.

A backup goaltender was on the list, but that was taken care of when Peter Budaj was re-signed last week, though another veteran type goaltender to serve as the No. 3 in the organization and serve as the regular starter Syracuse will be on the list if Mike McKenna does not return.

But has Tampa Bay already found the defenseman they are looking for during the exclusive free agent window to talk to teams? It would appear so, and Lightning fans seem none too happy about it.

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A group effort: Predicting how the expansion draft will play out for Tampa Bay Lightning


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 13, 2017


The offseason is already underway.

Just hours after Sidney Crosby picked up the Stanley Cup and paraded it around Bridgestone Arena as the Pittsburgh Penguins captured their second consecutive championship, the clock started, counting down to several key dates in the offseason calendar.

While the buyout window is the first to come up on the list, it’s not the main focus. And for Lightning fans, don’t expect Steve Yzerman to utilize it this year, despite what anybody thinks about Ryan Callahan.

After that, it’s all about the expansion draft, which will unfold over the next 10 days, culminating with the revealing taking place on June 21 during the NHL Awards show.

In the days to come, there will be plenty of speculation about which players are protected and which players Vegas will end up selecting. So I invited a few other outlets to participate in an expansion draft by providing their choices for who will be protected by Tampa Bay and which Lightning player will be selected by Vegas.

Those participating are Corey Long from NHL.com, Alex Boucher and W.B. Philip from LightningShout.com, Trevor Grout from The Scrum Sports, Chad Schnarr of BoltProspects.com and Saima Siddiqi from RawCharge.com

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Nashville Hot - the Best Lesson From A Southern Fanbase


By Andrew Weiss | @WeissHockeyQ | Like us on Facebook
June 10, 2017


The calendar has flipped to June. Or rather, the calendar app on your iPhone silently switched from May to June to little or no fanfare.

When it comes to hockey, however, that is a significant change in time for avid fans. If your team is still playing on rinks rather than links this time of the year, they’ve been successful enough to make the Stanley Cup Final.

For the first time, this applies to the fan base in Nashville, the golden swarm that flocks to Bridgestone Arena. From smashing cars to country stars, Predators hockey has provided a unique take on how hockey is watched. As the playoffs grow deeper, Nashville has gotten spicier than the Colonel’s special 11-part blend.

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Kucherov, a man of few words, offered his fair share of them recently. So what do they mean?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 27, 2017


A man of few words had plenty to say recently.

Throughout the season, Tampa Bay Lightning All-Star Nikita Kucherov did not hold many sessions with the media. When it did, they were usually short.

That tends to happen when he is asked his reaction to being named to the NHL All-Star game results in a two-word answer of, “I’m excited’’. That was it, didn’t expand on the thought, didn’t share why he was excited to be heading to Los Angeles to play in the league’s showcase event. He didn’t even crack a smile while saying it.

No real problem with that, English is not his native tongue and it’s not uncommon for players from Russia not wanting to open up to the North American media in case something gets twisted and the wrong message gets out. And quite honestly, since Kucherov arrived in Tampa, he’s always been a bit shy and reserved when it comes to a lot of media attention. In one-on-one interviews, he’s more relaxed and tends to be more open if it’s with somebody he feels a sense of trust with.

Well, on Wednesday, an interview with Kucherov conducted in his native tongue was posted and made the rounds. And apparently, Kucherov had a lot to say.

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Tampa Bay Lightning will end the season in disappointment, but the pain will be temporary

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 8, 2017


The dream died on Saturday sometime around 9:40 p.m. EDT, on the ice at Air Canada Centre.

Connor Brown, one of the half-dozen impressive Toronto Maple Leaf rookies, capped off a third-period comeback to lift Toronto to a 5-3 victory against a Pittsburgh team that was already missing some of its top players due to injury before opting to sit a handful of other regulars for the game.

With the victory, Toronto clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings, thereby eliminating the Tampa Bay Lightning from postseason play. It’s the first time Tampa Bay won’t make the playoffs since 2013, when Jon Cooper took over the head coaching duties. It also ends a remarkable run by Cooper

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Looking back at the Ben Bishop era with fondness and appreciation

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 26, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – The move many Lightning fans didn’t want to see happen came to fruition.

Ben Bishop was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. It was a move that was always going to happen. It was a deal that Steve Yzerman had to make, something he agonized over for nearly two years.

It was a decision made for the right reasons, even if it’s unpopular.

The end of one era opens to door to another as Andrei Vasilevskiy assumes the role he was destined to assume ever since the Lightning made Vasilevskiy the first goaltender selected in the 2012 draft as the 19th overall pick.

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The curious case of Ben Bishop: trade him or keep him?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 24, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – The trade deadline is rapidly approaching. Steve Yzerman has some serious decisions to make.

Are the Lightning a buyer? A seller? Neither?

Good chance this all comes down to the wire before he fully commits one way or the other.

And of course the biggest decision he has to make is what to do with goaltender Ben Bishop, who is all but certain to playing elsewhere next season no matter what decision Yzerman makes before Wedensday’s deadline.

So let’s lay it out there and offer reasons why Tampa Bay should hang on to Bishop and reasons why the team should move the pending unrestricted free agent.

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Commentary: How to handle the goaltending situation.

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 20, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – What to do about the goaltending

How do the Lightning handle that situation between now and March 1, when the NHL trading deadline comes to pass?

As it sits going in to Tuesday's home game against Edmonton 7:30 p.m, Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM, the Lightning remain six points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Which means, even while riding a season-best six-game point streak (4-0-2) after the dramatic overtime victory in Colorado on Sunday, Tampa Bay has gained a total of two points in the standings.

So as Tampa Bay appears to be on the type of run it knew they needed to have any chance to make the postseason, a move up the standings hasn't exactly taken place to this point as on Feb. 3, while occupying the basement in the conference standings, they sat eight points out of the playoffs.

If you're Steve Yzerman, what do you do with the goaltending?

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Looking at trade deadline strategy Lightning should take

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 8, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – The NHL trade deadline is less than a month away.

That means silly season is nearly at hand. It’s that time of year around the league when every pending UFA is on the trading block, every team needs a top four defenseman and every time scratches are announced prior to a game, a buzz begins trying to find out exactly why they were scratched.

The trade deadline, though, is always a topic of conversation right up until the deadline passes – this year on March 1 – and then for a few days beyond.

So what should we expect from the Lightning as we enter silly season?

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Are winds of change starting to circle around Tampa Bay Lightning?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 6, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Something appears to be materializing on the Lightning horizon.

A slow, but steady, breeze is starting to build up as the winds of change start to whisper through the air.

After weeks of sensing that changes needed to take place with the season sinking, the Lightning might finally be to that point.

There is growing speculation starting to bubble to the surface that Steve Yzerman might final be ready to pull the trigger on possible roster moves.

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Path to the playoffs daunting task for Tampa Bay Lightning, but not impossible

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 5, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Bring out your clichés.

It ain’t over until it’s over.

So you’re saying there’s a chance

It’s not over until the Fat Lady sings

You’ve heard them all before, trying to keep hope alive.

And this is why we love sports – because they are all true, just as Sunday’s Super Bowl taught us.

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Why was Jonathan Drouin on the bench in the dying minutes of a one-goal loss?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 31, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – With the Lightning season all but hanging in the balance, one of the top offensive threats sat plastered to the bench.

With Tampa Bay trailing by a goal late in the third period and in desperate need of a goal, one of the top offensive produces this season didn’t step on to the ice.

But in the dying seconds of a one-goal game, a game that Tampa Bay absolutely had to find a way to get points out of, one of the team’s less offensive talents was tapped to go over the boards to try to find a way to tie the game and at least get it to overtime.

The Lightning would go on to lose 4-3.

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Tampa Bay Lightning at the All-Star break; assessing recent moves and looking ahead

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 28, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – All-Star weekend is hardly a time to relax. But it can be a time for reflection.

For three days, the focus of the league zeroes in on Los Angeles, with festivities getting underway on Friday during a gala celebration to announce the full list of the 100 Greatest Players from the first 100 years of the league.

The skills competition takes place Saturday while the actual 3-on-3 All-Star tournament takes place Sunday afternoon, with Tampa Bay Lightning players Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman participating.

So while the league is focused on the happenings taking place in Hollywood, there have been some happenings surround the Lightning in the past few days, including the trade of Nikita Nesterov to the Montreal Canadiens.

Now, with a couple of days off, let’s reflect on where the Lightning sit at the All-Star break, how they got here and what lies ahead, potentially in the form of moves to help set this team right.

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Steve Yzerman can't afford to stand pat, changes must take place

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 22, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. - This is painful to watch.

Those are the words of somebody involved with the Lightning when I asked them about that state of affairs surrounding the on-ice situation with the Lightning. And that was over two weeks ago.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like on Saturday night watching Tampa Bay get burned in the desert by the 29th ranked team in the league, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Arizona Coyotes, which had two victories in the previous 15 games.

Tampa Bay woke up in last place in the Atlantic Division standings. Now it’s time to wake this team up.

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Marty St. Louis has been honored with his number retired, who should also be considered?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 19, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. - Resting in the rafters of Amalie Arena, the No. 26 sits among the other banners, proclaiming team successes of the past.

It only seems fitting that the jersey number belonging to Marty St. Louis rests among them. After all, he was right in the middle of all of those other banners – 2003 division crown, 2004 conference champions, 2004 Stanley Cup champions. St. Louis even had an indirect hand in the 2015 conference championship banner.

So, in revisiting the ceremony from Jan. 13 in which the No. 26 was officially retired and never to be worn again following a likely Hall of Fame career that goes beyond just the numbers, the question after witnessing such an emotional ceremony is, who goes up next?

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A special ceremony for a special player; St. Louis honored with jersey retirement

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 13, 2017


Tampa, Fla. - There were going to be tears, and there were tears.

There were going to be laughs, and there were laughs.

And, oh, the memories, there were plenty of memories flashed all over the video board. And they flashed through the minds of everybody inside Amalie Arena on Friday.

There was a special celebration, the kind of which had never been seen in Lightning franchise history. For the first time ever, the team held a jersey retirement ceremony in honor of Marty St. Louis.

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Assessing the Tampa Bay Lightning coaching situation amidst firestorm

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 9, 2017


TAMPA, Fla..- A firestorm feels as if it's starting to swirl around the Lightning.

It will continue to burn as long as the losing and defensive deficiencies continue.

And amidst the topic of whether changes need to take place, the biggest hot-button topic centers around the status of head coach Jon Cooper and whether or not his job security is in jeopardy

Is it?

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Vasilevskiy's been challenged, has he provided any answers?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December 30, 2016


The moment Ben Bishop overstretched his right leg, skated to the Lightning bench and pulled himself out of a game on Dec. 20, the focus changed.

A top tandem quickly became a solo act.

The spotlight shifted straight on to Andrei Vasilevskiy and will remain focused on the 22-year-old for the time being.

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Slumping Lightning in need of some changes?

 

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December, 11, 2016


TAMPA, Fla. – The sense of frustration is starting to mount. It’s not hard to notice as the Lightning’s losing ways continue an antagonizing trend.

Tampa Bay has one win in the past eight games. They have not won a regulation game since a third-period rally to knock off Philadelphia on Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving. That’s more than two weeks without a victory (the lone win in that span came in a shootout against Washington).

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Where the Tampa Bay Lightning stand through 27 games

 

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December, 6, 2016


TAMPA, Fla. – What to make of the Tampa Bay Lightning through 27 games – contender or pretender?

Just past the one-quarter mark of the season, Tampa Bay has 30 points, one point behind the Boston Bruins for the third spot in the Atlantic Division as of games of Dec. 5 but just two points behind Ottawa for second.

The pace through 27 games (14-11-2) this season is one ahead of last season through the same mark when they were 13-11-3. Last season Tampa Bay played 15 road games with a 7-6-2 road record through the opening 27 games while this year they have played 16 away from Amalie Arena with a 7-8-1 record.

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What exactly are the Panthers doing down in Sunrise?

 

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook


TAMPA, Fla. – Quite the virtual scene erupted on the night of Nov. 27 as an otherwise peaceful night around the NHL turned in to one that one that took on the form of pitchforks and burning torches.

Shortly after the Florida Panthers blew a two-goal lead and lost 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena news broke that the Panthers had fired head coach Gerard Gallant along with assistant coach Mike Kelly. The two were seen outside the loading dock at PNC Arena, bags in hand, waiting for a taxi cab.

Both were fired shortly after Gallant met with the media following the game with general manager Tom Rowe assuming the head coaching duties on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.

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There is no goalie controversy - for now

 

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook


TAMPA, Fla. – In football circles there is an adage that states if a team has two No. 1 quarterbacks, they don’t have one.

That saying doesn’t exactly translate over to hockey. Teams can successfully operate in a two goalie system. In recent years there have been some teams that have thrived under those circumstances. In today’s game, having two quality goaltenders is almost a necessity as points are so valuable teams can’t afford to give any away.

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Marty was always going to be first

 

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook


TAMPA, Fla. – It was always going to be Marty.

I get it, many are unhappy with the decision by the Tampa Bay Lightning to retire the jersey of former captain Marty St. Louis, which the team will do on Jan. 13.

The departure of St. Louis from the franchise that made him a star left a bitter feeling among many in the fan base, maybe even in the organization. Those feelings are difficult to put aside.

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