The Weekly Roundup
Weekly Record: 1-2
Overall Record: 3-6, 9 points, 3rd in the Southeast 5 points behind the Caps
Wasteland +/-: -1
Key Injuries: Paul Ranger - Personal Reasons. The reason for Ranger leaving the team hasn’t been announced yet, but hopefully it’s something that can be fixed and he can return to the team soon.
Highlight: This was a tough one. I was torn between their first win against a quality opponent (the Sharks) or Vinny scoring his first goal. Since I am the proud owner of a Vincent Lecavalier jersey I’m going with Vinny’s goal. He scored in the dying seconds of Saturday’s game against the Sabres.
Since Coach Tocchet redistributed the scoring wealth the Lecavalier line has scored twice. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a dramatic improvement over the zero goals they scored in the previous seven games.
Disappointed By: The entire team’s shootout performance. It would be comical if it wasn’t costing the team points. Losing three games in shootouts isn’t horrible, not scoring a single goal in any of the shootouts is. Ten times they have skated one-on-one with the opposing goalie and ten times they’ve failed to put the puck in the back of the net.
What’s worse is that with the exception of Steven Stamkos rattling a post none of the attempts have even threatened crossing the goal line. Marty St Louis even tried his patented, backwards skating move to no avail. At some point they might as well just start ripping slap shots at the goalie.
Surprised By: Mike Smith’s performance over the past two games has been a welcome sight. Against the Sharks he picked up his first win and his game against the Sabres might have been his strongest this season. By stopping 30 of the 32 shots fired his way he‘s showed the form that makes the organization believe he has the potential to be an elite goaltender. His performance in the shootout against Buffalo, stopping five of six, silenced some of his critics as well.
Perhaps sitting out two games was a bit of a wakeup call for the big net minder.
Playoff Confidence: 60% For the first time this season the Bolts looked like they belonged on the ice with a couple of a playoff-caliber teams. Games against Ottawa and New Jersey will test them against this week.
Pet Peeve of the Week
The use of “we” when talking about a sports team. Unless you are getting a check from that team you are not part of the we, nothing you did helped them win or lose. So please stop saying things like “We really kicked butt tonight” or “If we don’t get in gear we won’t make the playoffs”.
The only exception I grant - if you are talking about a college team and you went to that school. With what it costs to go to school you’ve earned the right to feel like a part of the team.