Saturday, February 28, 2009

Lightning Strikes Vancouver

So I have been a closet Lightning fan for a while. As my 'about me' says, I've never been to Tampa Bay. I just like the team. I don't know how is started, but it has just grown over the years.

Living in a city, with hockey as its major sport, on wait, only sport, you just grow up loving hockey. I'll admit that I cheer for the home team when I go to games since I am also a Canuck fan.

But once every 3 years or so, when the Bolts come to Vancouver to play, I get to bring out the my Tampa jersey. This is the day I switch from cheering from the home team and cheer for the bolts.

Last night was one of those nights. Now there are not a lot of Lightning fans in Vancouver, I ran into maybe 4 of them all night. But always nice to get a few "nice jersey's" when walking around gm place. For tonight, my friends disowned me, and the section which I have my seats turned on me.

With the Canucks this season, you never know which team is going to show up. They can play good teams, like detroit or calgary, 'show up' and beat them. But this season, they have played teams like the thrashers, the islanders and st. louis, and LOST. For those games, its like the team didn't even show up.

The problem is they get to a team that they think should be an easy win, such as Tampa last night, they just don't play hard. We've been force fed a lot of hockey mediocrity here. Last night was no different.

But the Bolts played well last night for a team that would gain nothing by winning, except maybe support from their fans. I was proud to see my team not being blown out 7-1 like they were the last time they were here.

It's nice to see Stamkos playing with St. Louis on a line together. Stamkos has really come a long way from the first half of the season. The local radio station was talking the night before the game about how he was only 2 goals away from having the same rookie record as when Lecavalier played his rookie season. It'll be exciting to see what he will do next year. Stamkos' goal was from some nice hard work around the net, and did it ever feel good to stand up and cheer for the goal.

And of course, you just can't beat having Lecavalier on your team. The skill.

Bernier's 'goal' off of the skate of Lecavalier was bad luck. I got razzed by my friends after that one. V4 got a goal, wrong net. The chance that he had at the end of the 3rd.... bouncing off of Salo's skate, well, when things aren't going your way, brittle Finnish defencemen seem to get inside of net's to thwart goals. Bad luck.

Other thoughts on the game:
-Ramo had a good night, I was expecting him to be lit up, a few solid saves

-The team's chemistry has something to be desired. There was a few passes that players over skated, or players passing to no one. I attribute this to the Len Barrie and the Koules-Aid that attempted to throw together a team just cause they could. I have a higher hope for next year now that they have a gm and not just owners putting together a fantasy team.

-Shane O'Brien gave an interview to The Province a couple days before the game, stating that he wanted to win "10 -0". After being traded to Vancouver earlier this year, he did not have good things to say about the ownership group. I'll side with him on this one. The ownership really didn't give him a chance. And if you trade away Dan Boyle, well, that was not a good move either. Where is Matt Carle these days? I was a little worried that O'Brien would do something retarded during this game, take a stupid fight against a team he was pissed about. But his play was controlled, not taking a single penalty, and even made a few good moves. It's nice to see the progress he's made over the year. One thing he hasn't learnt? Running your mouth to the press. I don't know how this will effect him being resigned (he's an RFA this summer), though I hope the Canucks will.

-There's quite a few former Canuck players on the Lightning. For the majority of them, I didn't think they were good players on the Canucks, so I can't really see them being good on the Lightning, ahem, Pettinger? Though, I did forget about how much of a giant that Malik was. A GIANT.

Although I didn't get the win I was hoping for, it was a good game to watch. I got to cheer for my team! And now I hope they beat the sh*t out of Calgary.