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Deplorable Decades #1 (Part 2)- 1940’s New York Rangers
By Zane Miller Check out Part 1 here: https://scorum.com/en-us/nhl/@zmiller82/deplorable-decades-1-part-1-1940-s-new-york-rangers The 1943 offseason would continue to see the exit of established players in the Rangers organization, as following the trade of future Hall of Fame defenseman Babe Pratt to the Toronto Maple Leafs just six games into the 1942-43 season, Hall of Fame forwards Lynn Patrick and Clint Smith, along with veteran forward Phil Watson, would not return to the team for the upcoming 1943-44 season. Any hope that the Rangers would be able to turn the season around would be squashed as the team would be unable to score a win until the 16th game of the 50-game season. While the middle portion of the season saw New York claim all their victories on the campaign, taking a season-best showing of 6-22-1, they would not get any wins for their final 21 games to easily fall to last place in the season standings for a second consecutive season. While one of the few remaining bright spots for New York in veteran forward and future Hall of Famer Bryan Hextall led the team in goals with 21, starting netminder Ken McAuley would be thrown directly into the fire for his rookie season as he took a 6-39-5 record along with a goals against average of 6.24, which remains as of this writing as the worst average in a full-season effort in league history. Unlike the previous season, where the Rangers at least had the saving grace of remaining somewhat competitive in terms of goals scored, this would not be the case in 1943-44, as they would finish 16 goals behind the second-to-last Chicago Black Hawks (now Chicago Blackhawks) in offensive output. If you’re thinking that the team would at least be able to improve a little bit on defense, you would be very wrong as they also gave up 310 goals, 63 more than they had allowed the previous season. For the second year in a row, the Rangers were the worst in every aspect of the game, and it unfortunately would struggle to improve in the upcoming seasons. The 1944-45 season continued the downward trend for New York with their third consecutive last-place finish, holding an 11-29-10 record. After leading the team in both goals and assists the previous season, Hextall would be unable to rejoin the team for 1944-45 after being denied entry back into the United States by the Canadian government. Nevertheless, forward Ab DeMarco picked up the team lead in scoring with 24 goals and 54 points, helping the team to not lead the league in losses for the first time since 1941-42, with the Black Hawks and Boston Bruins each finishing with 30. However, McAuley’s second season in the NHL would also be his last, getting a 4.93 GAA with an 11-25-10 showing. McAuley would return to his hometown of Edmonton to play for the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Canada Senior Hockey League from 1945 to 1947, before joining the Saskatoon Quakers of the same league from 1947 to 1949. Although the Rangers would again take the last spot in goals allowed with 247, their offense would pick up a bit with 154 goals scored, 13 above the last place Black Hawks. 1945-46 would prove to be an important turning point for the team, as the end of World War II allowed the return of many players who had left the team for military service prior to the 1942-43 offseason, including forward Neil Colville, who would named as team captain. However, the reunion would not immediately go according to plan as the team suffered their fourth consecutive last place finish at 13-28-9. DeMarco would again lead the way on offense on the strength of 20 goals and 47 points, with new goaltender Chuck Rayner taking the reins for a 12-21-7 record and a 3.72 GAA. While the Rangers again placed last in overall offense and defense, they would still remain competitive in both categories, finishing just two behind the Detroit Red Wings in goals for and six behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals against. In spite of their recent disappointments, however, the Rangers’ fortunes would begin to turn around the following season. Although the 1946-47 campaign would again see the Rangers miss the playoffs, they would finally break their bottom of the standings streak, finishing eight points ahead of the Black Hawks to avoid finishing last for the first time since 1941-42. New York mounted an even stronger challenge the following year, making the 1948 playoffs as goaltender Jim Henry completed his full-time season in over half a decade, although the team would be defeated in the first round by the Red Wings. Going into the 1948-49 season, the situation was looking up for the Rangers, as it seemed the organization would be able to end a tumultuous decade on a high note. However, the 1940s would have one more trick up its sleeve to throw at the Rangers, as the team dropped from a playoff appearance the year before to last place in the standings for a fifth time. Following the trade of Henry to the Black Hawks, Rayner claimed the starting goaltender spot once again, going 16-31-11 with a 2.90 GAA, as forward Edgar Laprade led the team in goals while 1947-48 Hart Trophy winner Buddy O’Connor earned the most assists with 24. Keeping up with tradition for the decade, the team claimed last in goals scored, but would finish well above last in goals against, allowing 39 less than the Black Hawks on the campaign. The first half of 1949-50 would see the Rangers struggle to get going initially, although by December they would hit their stride, closing out 1949 with a four-game winning streak, punctuated by a 4-1 home victory over the Bruins on December 31st. The team would go on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals later in the season. With that, the Rangers claimed a final record of 183-271-82 throughout the 1940s, reaching the playoffs four times including a Stanley Cup championship to start off the decade. However, they would fall short with a total of five last-place results afterwards. Despite the hardship, the team would largely be able to bounce back in the seasons that followed. As of this writing, the team has not finished in last place since the 1965-66 season. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zmiller_82
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zmiller82updated
Deplorable Decades #1 (Part 2)- 1940’s New York Rangers
By Zane Miller Check out Part 1 here: https://scorum.com/en-us/nhl/@zmiller82/deplorable-decades-1-part-1-1940-s-new-york-rangers The 1943 offseason would continue to see the exit of established players in the Rangers organization, as following the trade of future Hall of Fame defenseman Babe Pratt to the Toronto Maple Leafs just six games into the 1942-43 season, Hall of Fame forwards Lynn Patrick and Clint Smith, along with veteran forward Phil Watson, would not return to the team for the upcoming 1943-44 season. Any hope that the Rangers would be able to turn the season around would be squashed as the team would be unable to score a win until the 16th game of the 50-game season. While the middle portion of the season saw New York claim all their victories on the campaign, taking a season-best showing of 6-22-1, they would not get any wins for their final 21 games to easily fall to last place in the season standings for a second consecutive season. While one of the few remaining bright spots for New York in veteran forward and future Hall of Famer Bryan Hextall led the team in goals with 21, starting netminder Ken McAuley would be thrown directly into the fire for his rookie season as he took a 6-39-5 record along with a goals against average of 6.24, which remains as of this writing as the worst average in a full-season effort in league history. Unlike the previous season, where the Rangers at least had the saving grace of remaining somewhat competitive in terms of goals scored, this would not be the case in 1943-44, as they would finish 16 goals behind the second-to-last Chicago Black Hawks (now Chicago Blackhawks) in offensive output. If you’re thinking that the team would at least be able to improve a little bit on defense, you would be very wrong as they also gave up 310 goals, 63 more than they had allowed the previous season. For the second year in a row, the Rangers were the worst in every aspect of the game, and it unfortunately would struggle to improve in the upcoming seasons. The 1944-45 season continued the downward trend for New York with their third consecutive last-place finish, holding an 11-29-10 record. After leading the team in both goals and assists the previous season, Hextall would be unable to rejoin the team for 1944-45 after being denied entry back into the United States by the Canadian government. Nevertheless, forward Ab DeMarco picked up the team lead in scoring with 24 goals and 54 points, helping the team to not lead the league in losses for the first time since 1941-42, with the Black Hawks and Boston Bruins each finishing with 30. However, McAuley’s second season in the NHL would also be his last, getting a 4.93 GAA with an 11-25-10 showing. McAuley would return to his hometown of Edmonton to play for the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Canada Senior Hockey League from 1945 to 1947, before joining the Saskatoon Quakers of the same league from 1947 to 1949. Although the Rangers would again take the last spot in goals allowed with 247, their offense would pick up a bit with 154 goals scored, 13 above the last place Black Hawks. 1945-46 would prove to be an important turning point for the team, as the end of World War II allowed the return of many players who had left the team for military service prior to the 1942-43 offseason, including forward Neil Colville, who would named as team captain. However, the reunion would not immediately go according to plan as the team suffered their fourth consecutive last place finish at 13-28-9. DeMarco would again lead the way on offense on the strength of 20 goals and 47 points, with new goaltender Chuck Rayner taking the reins for a 12-21-7 record and a 3.72 GAA. While the Rangers again placed last in overall offense and defense, they would still remain competitive in both categories, finishing just two behind the Detroit Red Wings in goals for and six behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals against. In spite of their recent disappointments, however, the Rangers’ fortunes would begin to turn around the following season. Although the 1946-47 campaign would again see the Rangers miss the playoffs, they would finally break their bottom of the standings streak, finishing eight points ahead of the Black Hawks to avoid finishing last for the first time since 1941-42. New York mounted an even stronger challenge the following year, making the 1948 playoffs as goaltender Jim Henry completed his full-time season in over half a decade, although the team would be defeated in the first round by the Red Wings. Going into the 1948-49 season, the situation was looking up for the Rangers, as it seemed the organization would be able to end a tumultuous decade on a high note. However, the 1940s would have one more trick up its sleeve to throw at the Rangers, as the team dropped from a playoff appearance the year before to last place in the standings for a fifth time. Following the trade of Henry to the Black Hawks, Rayner claimed the starting goaltender spot once again, going 16-31-11 with a 2.90 GAA, as forward Edgar Laprade led the team in goals while 1947-48 Hart Trophy winner Buddy O’Connor earned the most assists with 24. Keeping up with tradition for the decade, the team claimed last in goals scored, but would finish well above last in goals against, allowing 39 less than the Black Hawks on the campaign. The first half of 1949-50 would see the Rangers struggle to get going initially, although by December they would hit their stride, closing out 1949 with a four-game winning streak, punctuated by a 4-1 home victory over the Bruins on December 31st. The team would go on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals later in the season. With that, the Rangers claimed a final record of 183-271-82 throughout the 1940s, reaching the playoffs four times including a Stanley Cup championship to start off the decade. However, they would fall short with a total of five last-place results afterwards. Despite the hardship, the team would largely be able to bounce back in the seasons that followed. As of this writing, the team has not finished in last place since the 1965-66 season. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zmiller_82
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zmiller82updated
Deplorable Decades #1 (Part 2)- 1940’s New York Rangers
By Zane Miller Check out Part 1 here: https://scorum.com/en-us/nhl/@zmiller82/deplorable-decades-1-part-1-1940-s-new-york-rangers The 1943 offseason would continue to see the exit of established players in the Rangers organization, as following the trade of future Hall of Fame defenseman Babe Pratt to the Toronto Maple Leafs just six games into the 1942-43 season, Hall of Fame forwards Lynn Patrick and Clint Smith, along with veteran forward Phil Watson, would not return to the team for the upcoming 1943-44 season. Any hope that the Rangers would be able to turn the season around would be squashed as the team would be unable to score a win until the 16th game of the 50-game season. While the middle portion of the season saw New York claim all their victories on the campaign, taking a season-best showing of 6-22-1, they would not get any wins for their final 21 games to easily fall to last place in the season standings for a second consecutive season. While one of the few remaining bright spots for New York in veteran forward and future Hall of Famer Bryan Hextall led the team in goals with 21, starting netminder Ken McAuley would be thrown directly into the fire for his rookie season as he took a 6-39-5 record along with a goals against average of 6.24, which remains as of this writing as the worst average in a full-season effort in league history. Unlike the previous season, where the Rangers at least had the saving grace of remaining somewhat competitive in terms of goals scored, this would not be the case in 1943-44, as they would finish 16 goals behind the second-to-last Chicago Black Hawks (now Chicago Blackhawks) in offensive output. If you’re thinking that the team would at least be able to improve a little bit on defense, you would be very wrong as they also gave up 310 goals, 63 more than they had allowed the previous season. For the second year in a row, the Rangers were the worst in every aspect of the game, and it unfortunately would struggle to improve in the upcoming seasons. The 1944-45 season continued the downward trend for New York with their third consecutive last-place finish, holding an 11-29-10 record. After leading the team in both goals and assists the previous season, Hextall would be unable to rejoin the team for 1944-45 after being denied entry back into the United States by the Canadian government. Nevertheless, forward Ab DeMarco picked up the team lead in scoring with 24 goals and 54 points, helping the team to not lead the league in losses for the first time since 1941-42, with the Black Hawks and Boston Bruins each finishing with 30. However, McAuley’s second season in the NHL would also be his last, getting a 4.93 GAA with an 11-25-10 showing. McAuley would return to his hometown of Edmonton to play for the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Canada Senior Hockey League from 1945 to 1947, before joining the Saskatoon Quakers of the same league from 1947 to 1949. Although the Rangers would again take the last spot in goals allowed with 247, their offense would pick up a bit with 154 goals scored, 13 above the last place Black Hawks. 1945-46 would prove to be an important turning point for the team, as the end of World War II allowed the return of many players who had left the team for military service prior to the 1942-43 offseason, including forward Neil Colville, who would named as team captain. However, the reunion would not immediately go according to plan as the team suffered their fourth consecutive last place finish at 13-28-9. DeMarco would again lead the way on offense on the strength of 20 goals and 47 points, with new goaltender Chuck Rayner taking the reins for a 12-21-7 record and a 3.72 GAA. While the Rangers again placed last in overall offense and defense, they would still remain competitive in both categories, finishing just two behind the Detroit Red Wings in goals for and six behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in goals against. In spite of their recent disappointments, however, the Rangers’ fortunes would begin to turn around the following season. Although the 1946-47 campaign would again see the Rangers miss the playoffs, they would finally break their bottom of the standings streak, finishing eight points ahead of the Black Hawks to avoid finishing last for the first time since 1941-42. New York mounted an even stronger challenge the following year, making the 1948 playoffs as goaltender Jim Henry completed his full-time season in over half a decade, although the team would be defeated in the first round by the Red Wings. Going into the 1948-49 season, the situation was looking up for the Rangers, as it seemed the organization would be able to end a tumultuous decade on a high note. However, the 1940s would have one more trick up its sleeve to throw at the Rangers, as the team dropped from a playoff appearance the year before to last place in the standings for a fifth time. Following the trade of Henry to the Black Hawks, Rayner claimed the starting goaltender spot once again, going 16-31-11 with a 2.90 GAA, as forward Edgar Laprade led the team in goals while 1947-48 Hart Trophy winner Buddy O’Connor earned the most assists with 24. Keeping up with tradition for the decade, the team claimed last in goals scored, but would finish well above last in goals against, allowing 39 less than the Black Hawks on the campaign. The first half of 1949-50 would see the Rangers struggle to get going initially, although by December they would hit their stride, closing out 1949 with a four-game winning streak, punctuated by a 4-1 home victory over the Bruins on December 31st. The team would go on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals later in the season. With that, the Rangers claimed a final record of 183-271-82 throughout the 1940s, reaching the playoffs four times including a Stanley Cup championship to start off the decade. However, they would fall short with a total of five last-place results afterwards. Despite the hardship, the team would largely be able to bounce back in the seasons that followed. As of this writing, the team has not finished in last place since the 1965-66 season. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Zmiller_82
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dan-herrejon
Lightning are going to Three-peat
A new season is upon us. For the Tampa Bay Lightning it begins tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today every team is undefeated. All 32 NHL teams are still mathematically in the hunt for the postseason. That’ll change by American Thanksgiving when the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Lightning are the only team that can repeat as champions this season. They will be reminded of that when the 2021 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the Amalie Arena rafters. The other 31 teams will also remind them when the Lightning is on the schedule. If last season was any indication the Lightning core group will forget last season the moment the banner is hung. Actually this Lightning team can achieve something that hasn’t happened in the salary cap era. A “Three-peat”. Winning three consecutive Cups is rare. Since the original expansion in 1967, only two teams have won three consecutive Cups. Joining the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders could be the proper level of incentive the Lightning need. Since the Cup win over the Canadiens last Spring, there have been numerous changes to the Lightning roster. Sadly, gone is the third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. No doubt that trio will be missed. Fans shouldn’t expect three players to play like those recently departed players. Their departure however does present opportunities for other players. Also gone are Tyler Johnson, Luke Schenn and David Savard. Now that the final roster has been set, we know who the new faces are. New to the Lightning are forwards: Corey Perry, Pierre-Edoard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. On defense, there is a new old name. Zach Bogosian re-signed with the team. Lastly, All-Galaxy Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy has a new understudy - Brian Elliott replacing the recently retired Curtis McElhinney. As they prepare for the first puck drop of the new season, a review of the division shows that the Lightning are the cream of the crop. Who is going to step up and challenge them? The aging Boston Bruins? The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs? The much improved Florida Panthers? To be the king, you have to beat the king. Because the core group of the Lightning remains intact, they don’t seem willing to abdicate. This makes it harder for the challengers to dethrone them. So which team will challenge the Lightning the most? I think we saw the team that will ruffle the Lightning feathers the most in the division during the preseason. The Panthers coached by Joel Quenneville should be nipping at the Lightning heels throughout the season. Ultimately, the little brother Cats won’t have enough to supplant the bigger brother Lightning during the regular season or playoffs. Many in the NHL media seem to love Toronto. I get it. They have some of the best forwards in the game. Any team would love to throw Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the ice. Yet as we’ve seen in recent postseasons, those guys aren’t enough. In the off-season, the Leafs added more questions than answers to their goaltending and defense. Every team changes every year and the Boston Bruins are no exception. For most playoff contenders it’s the names that remain that give them a leg up. Again, the Bruins are no exception. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand make one of the best lines in the league. Any opponent that underestimates this line does so to their own detriment. Of the remaining teams, only the Montreal Canadiens could sneak their way into the postseason. Though if they do, they will do it without Captain shea Weber. The other teams: Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are clearly in the pretender pile. Ottawa and Detroit are on the rise but let’s not forget their starting point. Here’s my prediction for the Atlantic: Lightning Panthers Bruins Maple Leafs Canadiens Detroit Ottawa Buffalo The salary cap era has leveled the playing field. We’ve seen that over the last almost 20 years. It has been difficult to maintain a level of excellency season to season. In this time, the Lightning have proved to be the exception. A quick recap of the Jeff Vinik era in Lightning history showing this level of greatness. Two Stanley Cups in three appearances. Six Conference Finals appearances, winning three of those. Their superiority in this league is well documented over the last dozen years. The thing is this season can catapult this franchise into a stratosphere rarely seen. They have a chance to go back to back to back. A Three-Peat. Some say good things come in threes but the pressure on this 2021-22 roster will be intense. There are a plethora of teams that are looking to dethrone our champions. The issue for those contenders is they lack one thing. The Lightning’s core group. That is where the last two Cups were won. Vasilevskiy is the best big game goalie in the game. On defense, Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman and arguably still the best in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are two of the best forwards in the game. Kucherov impressed with his stellar postseason last season while missing every regular season game. Aside from being one of the fastest centers in the game, Point has an incredible nose for the net. Last but not least, their lynchpin - Captain Steven Stamkos. If you have read any of my previous work, you know I am a Stamkos fan. His body of work is Hall of Fame worthy, yet he still maintains a high level of skills. Who on the roster would you rather have on the right dot on the power play? The core group carries the load but no team wins a Cup without all the players playing their roles. The Lightning check all the boxes here. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is as solid a player as he is a leader. I am convinced Anthony Cirelli is a future Selke Award winner. Steady Alex Killorn and 200 foot playing, Ondrej Palat. But wait! There’s more. Among the forwards, Ross Colton, Matthieu Joseph, Pat Maroon join the new players to the roster. On defense, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Cal Foote join Bogosian. As this team has done during the Vinik era, these guys are deep. They are not going to hand back the Cup without a fight. Battles throughout the 82 game regular season. The boys begin to bond over some of the tough wins and losses. The combat at the start of the playoffs. When the games get real, this team has played balls out. The war the Stanley Cup Final brings. Something tells me our boys are ready. Something tells me they are ready to make some NHL history. First team to win three consecutive Cups in the Cap era. One of only three teams to win that many consecutive Cups since 1967 (First NHL expansion). These boys, our boys, are on the precipice of history. Something tells me there isn’t a team ready to take what’s theirs.
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dan-herrejon
Lightning are going to Three-peat
A new season is upon us. For the Tampa Bay Lightning it begins tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today every team is undefeated. All 32 NHL teams are still mathematically in the hunt for the postseason. That’ll change by American Thanksgiving when the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Lightning are the only team that can repeat as champions this season. They will be reminded of that when the 2021 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the Amalie Arena rafters. The other 31 teams will also remind them when the Lightning is on the schedule. If last season was any indication the Lightning core group will forget last season the moment the banner is hung. Actually this Lightning team can achieve something that hasn’t happened in the salary cap era. A “Three-peat”. Winning three consecutive Cups is rare. Since the original expansion in 1967, only two teams have won three consecutive Cups. Joining the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders could be the proper level of incentive the Lightning need. Since the Cup win over the Canadiens last Spring, there have been numerous changes to the Lightning roster. Sadly, gone is the third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. No doubt that trio will be missed. Fans shouldn’t expect three players to play like those recently departed players. Their departure however does present opportunities for other players. Also gone are Tyler Johnson, Luke Schenn and David Savard. Now that the final roster has been set, we know who the new faces are. New to the Lightning are forwards: Corey Perry, Pierre-Edoard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. On defense, there is a new old name. Zach Bogosian re-signed with the team. Lastly, All-Galaxy Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy has a new understudy - Brian Elliott replacing the recently retired Curtis McElhinney. As they prepare for the first puck drop of the new season, a review of the division shows that the Lightning are the cream of the crop. Who is going to step up and challenge them? The aging Boston Bruins? The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs? The much improved Florida Panthers? To be the king, you have to beat the king. Because the core group of the Lightning remains intact, they don’t seem willing to abdicate. This makes it harder for the challengers to dethrone them. So which team will challenge the Lightning the most? I think we saw the team that will ruffle the Lightning feathers the most in the division during the preseason. The Panthers coached by Joel Quenneville should be nipping at the Lightning heels throughout the season. Ultimately, the little brother Cats won’t have enough to supplant the bigger brother Lightning during the regular season or playoffs. Many in the NHL media seem to love Toronto. I get it. They have some of the best forwards in the game. Any team would love to throw Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the ice. Yet as we’ve seen in recent postseasons, those guys aren’t enough. In the off-season, the Leafs added more questions than answers to their goaltending and defense. Every team changes every year and the Boston Bruins are no exception. For most playoff contenders it’s the names that remain that give them a leg up. Again, the Bruins are no exception. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand make one of the best lines in the league. Any opponent that underestimates this line does so to their own detriment. Of the remaining teams, only the Montreal Canadiens could sneak their way into the postseason. Though if they do, they will do it without Captain shea Weber. The other teams: Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are clearly in the pretender pile. Ottawa and Detroit are on the rise but let’s not forget their starting point. Here’s my prediction for the Atlantic: Lightning Panthers Bruins Maple Leafs Canadiens Detroit Ottawa Buffalo The salary cap era has leveled the playing field. We’ve seen that over the last almost 20 years. It has been difficult to maintain a level of excellency season to season. In this time, the Lightning have proved to be the exception. A quick recap of the Jeff Vinik era in Lightning history showing this level of greatness. Two Stanley Cups in three appearances. Six Conference Finals appearances, winning three of those. Their superiority in this league is well documented over the last dozen years. The thing is this season can catapult this franchise into a stratosphere rarely seen. They have a chance to go back to back to back. A Three-Peat. Some say good things come in threes but the pressure on this 2021-22 roster will be intense. There are a plethora of teams that are looking to dethrone our champions. The issue for those contenders is they lack one thing. The Lightning’s core group. That is where the last two Cups were won. Vasilevskiy is the best big game goalie in the game. On defense, Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman and arguably still the best in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are two of the best forwards in the game. Kucherov impressed with his stellar postseason last season while missing every regular season game. Aside from being one of the fastest centers in the game, Point has an incredible nose for the net. Last but not least, their lynchpin - Captain Steven Stamkos. If you have read any of my previous work, you know I am a Stamkos fan. His body of work is Hall of Fame worthy, yet he still maintains a high level of skills. Who on the roster would you rather have on the right dot on the power play? The core group carries the load but no team wins a Cup without all the players playing their roles. The Lightning check all the boxes here. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is as solid a player as he is a leader. I am convinced Anthony Cirelli is a future Selke Award winner. Steady Alex Killorn and 200 foot playing, Ondrej Palat. But wait! There’s more. Among the forwards, Ross Colton, Matthieu Joseph, Pat Maroon join the new players to the roster. On defense, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Cal Foote join Bogosian. As this team has done during the Vinik era, these guys are deep. They are not going to hand back the Cup without a fight. Battles throughout the 82 game regular season. The boys begin to bond over some of the tough wins and losses. The combat at the start of the playoffs. When the games get real, this team has played balls out. The war the Stanley Cup Final brings. Something tells me our boys are ready. Something tells me they are ready to make some NHL history. First team to win three consecutive Cups in the Cap era. One of only three teams to win that many consecutive Cups since 1967 (First NHL expansion). These boys, our boys, are on the precipice of history. Something tells me there isn’t a team ready to take what’s theirs.
0.00
11
2
dan-herrejon
Lightning are going to Three-peat
A new season is upon us. For the Tampa Bay Lightning it begins tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. Today every team is undefeated. All 32 NHL teams are still mathematically in the hunt for the postseason. That’ll change by American Thanksgiving when the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Lightning are the only team that can repeat as champions this season. They will be reminded of that when the 2021 Stanley Cup banner is raised to the Amalie Arena rafters. The other 31 teams will also remind them when the Lightning is on the schedule. If last season was any indication the Lightning core group will forget last season the moment the banner is hung. Actually this Lightning team can achieve something that hasn’t happened in the salary cap era. A “Three-peat”. Winning three consecutive Cups is rare. Since the original expansion in 1967, only two teams have won three consecutive Cups. Joining the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Islanders could be the proper level of incentive the Lightning need. Since the Cup win over the Canadiens last Spring, there have been numerous changes to the Lightning roster. Sadly, gone is the third line of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. No doubt that trio will be missed. Fans shouldn’t expect three players to play like those recently departed players. Their departure however does present opportunities for other players. Also gone are Tyler Johnson, Luke Schenn and David Savard. Now that the final roster has been set, we know who the new faces are. New to the Lightning are forwards: Corey Perry, Pierre-Edoard Bellemare, Taylor Raddysh and Boris Katchouk. On defense, there is a new old name. Zach Bogosian re-signed with the team. Lastly, All-Galaxy Goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy has a new understudy - Brian Elliott replacing the recently retired Curtis McElhinney. As they prepare for the first puck drop of the new season, a review of the division shows that the Lightning are the cream of the crop. Who is going to step up and challenge them? The aging Boston Bruins? The underachieving Toronto Maple Leafs? The much improved Florida Panthers? To be the king, you have to beat the king. Because the core group of the Lightning remains intact, they don’t seem willing to abdicate. This makes it harder for the challengers to dethrone them. So which team will challenge the Lightning the most? I think we saw the team that will ruffle the Lightning feathers the most in the division during the preseason. The Panthers coached by Joel Quenneville should be nipping at the Lightning heels throughout the season. Ultimately, the little brother Cats won’t have enough to supplant the bigger brother Lightning during the regular season or playoffs. Many in the NHL media seem to love Toronto. I get it. They have some of the best forwards in the game. Any team would love to throw Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the ice. Yet as we’ve seen in recent postseasons, those guys aren’t enough. In the off-season, the Leafs added more questions than answers to their goaltending and defense. Every team changes every year and the Boston Bruins are no exception. For most playoff contenders it’s the names that remain that give them a leg up. Again, the Bruins are no exception. Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand make one of the best lines in the league. Any opponent that underestimates this line does so to their own detriment. Of the remaining teams, only the Montreal Canadiens could sneak their way into the postseason. Though if they do, they will do it without Captain shea Weber. The other teams: Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are clearly in the pretender pile. Ottawa and Detroit are on the rise but let’s not forget their starting point. Here’s my prediction for the Atlantic: Lightning Panthers Bruins Maple Leafs Canadiens Detroit Ottawa Buffalo The salary cap era has leveled the playing field. We’ve seen that over the last almost 20 years. It has been difficult to maintain a level of excellency season to season. In this time, the Lightning have proved to be the exception. A quick recap of the Jeff Vinik era in Lightning history showing this level of greatness. Two Stanley Cups in three appearances. Six Conference Finals appearances, winning three of those. Their superiority in this league is well documented over the last dozen years. The thing is this season can catapult this franchise into a stratosphere rarely seen. They have a chance to go back to back to back. A Three-Peat. Some say good things come in threes but the pressure on this 2021-22 roster will be intense. There are a plethora of teams that are looking to dethrone our champions. The issue for those contenders is they lack one thing. The Lightning’s core group. That is where the last two Cups were won. Vasilevskiy is the best big game goalie in the game. On defense, Victor Hedman is an elite defenseman and arguably still the best in the NHL. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point are two of the best forwards in the game. Kucherov impressed with his stellar postseason last season while missing every regular season game. Aside from being one of the fastest centers in the game, Point has an incredible nose for the net. Last but not least, their lynchpin - Captain Steven Stamkos. If you have read any of my previous work, you know I am a Stamkos fan. His body of work is Hall of Fame worthy, yet he still maintains a high level of skills. Who on the roster would you rather have on the right dot on the power play? The core group carries the load but no team wins a Cup without all the players playing their roles. The Lightning check all the boxes here. On defense, Ryan McDonagh is as solid a player as he is a leader. I am convinced Anthony Cirelli is a future Selke Award winner. Steady Alex Killorn and 200 foot playing, Ondrej Palat. But wait! There’s more. Among the forwards, Ross Colton, Matthieu Joseph, Pat Maroon join the new players to the roster. On defense, Mikhail Sergachev, Erik Cernak, Jan Rutta, and Cal Foote join Bogosian. As this team has done during the Vinik era, these guys are deep. They are not going to hand back the Cup without a fight. Battles throughout the 82 game regular season. The boys begin to bond over some of the tough wins and losses. The combat at the start of the playoffs. When the games get real, this team has played balls out. The war the Stanley Cup Final brings. Something tells me our boys are ready. Something tells me they are ready to make some NHL history. First team to win three consecutive Cups in the Cap era. One of only three teams to win that many consecutive Cups since 1967 (First NHL expansion). These boys, our boys, are on the precipice of history. Something tells me there isn’t a team ready to take what’s theirs.
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