Monday, December 21, 2009

Farewell, Goodbye, and Na Shledanou Mr. Krajicek

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bummed out. Yeah the Lightning won and yeah Vincent has 5 points in his last 3 games, but I’m still not feeling all that chipper. What’s got me down, might you ask? Well, it’s simple. I have to find a new scapegoat for the Lightning.

As of last week Lukas Krajicek is no longer a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was sent down to Norfolk last week (just in time for the Blizzard of 2009!) and according to GM Brian Lawton he “won’t be on re-entry waivers under any circumstances”.

The dismissal seems mostly performance based, Coach Tocchet said he was “at the scene of the crime” too many times. The crime apparently being turnovers or overall less than stellar play. It will be interesting to see who is going to replace his 17:31 of ice time. The masses are begging for The Savior (Matt Smaby), the 25 year-old, 240lb defenseman who’s been raring to get in the lineup since the season started.

I have to believe money also plays a part in his dismissal. The Lightning will have to pay his whole salary since he has a one way deal, but it looks like they aren’t interested in placing him on re-entry waivers because they would be on the hook for half of his salary if a team claims him.

The Times mentioned that there was some interest from other teams, but they wanted to trade an “asset” to the Lightning. That means another player, which would mean salary for the Bolts. So if the Czech defenseman is moved it will likely be for a draft pick.

So after 23 games, 17 shots, -4 and 1 assist I have no one to pick one when the Lightning lose a game. I guess I’ll have to take a look at the roster and choose a new person to blame. At first glance the candidates are: David Hale, Matt Walker, Stephane Veilleux or Alex Tanguay.

I think I’ll have a candidate selected by the time the new year rolls around. I want to give them another week and a half to show why they deserve the wrath of The Wasteland.

Overall, despite the long losing streak the Lightning have been playing a little bit better. They’ve been killing penalties, scoring on the power play and winning face-offs. Vincent might be waking up, since the benching of Tanguay and Jeff Halpern the Lightning captain has been playing inspired hockey.

In those three games he has 2 goals and 3 assists, he has launched 12 shots at the net and won the majority of his face-offs. He’s back checking in the defensive zone and skating harder. He’s seemed to regained a bit of the edge that he used to play with and I wouldn’t be surprised if he picks up a fighting major sometime in the next couple of games.

I’ll wrap up by saying good day to Mr. Krajicek. Please spread your wealth while you’re in Norfolk. Your $1.4 million salary will by a lot of cheeseburgers for your teammates. I’ll miss your soft checks and the wonderful sight of you flipping the puck out to center. I honestly believe if you had been given an entire year you would have eventually hit the scoreboard.

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