Stanley Cups are won by a combination of talent, luck, team work, work ethic and probably most important of all - heart. The Lightning had much less offensive talent (and were missing a big key in the cog with the injury of Simon Gagne) but their heart and soul guys Sean Bergenheim and the pesty Steve Downie came up big when it mattered. Guy Boucher totally outcoached the affable Gabby and the Bolt's stars Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis were game killers. So after a second season of finishing number one in the East and not getting to Conference Finals, what to do? Here are some of my thoughts (just a thought, not a sermon folks):
- Unfortunately, I think Bruce Boudreau's stint as bench boss should come to an end. They need a hardass in there who scoffs at the mere thought of an "optional" skate. Yes, Gabby was successful in transitioning the game plan to a more defensive style of play, but he apparently lost their attention as that plan went out the window in the Tampa series.
- Alex Semin too - he's proved time and time again that he is ineffective in post-season play.
- Young guns: No more pictures of you partying all over D.C. during the season- agree wholeheartedly with PucksandBooks of On Frozen Blog who touched on this earlier- if you're seen out the night before a game, bag skate.
Yes, Sidney Crosby might be a total nerd who stays home with his milk and cookies but in the playoffs (when he's healthy and all hockey fans hope that is soon), he schools opponents. Plain and simple.
- On aforementioned note, more bag skates in general.
- Ovi should not be the captain. I said it when they gave him the 'C' and say it again. Just because he is one of the most elite talents in the world, does not mean he is the guy to hold fellow players accountable for not stepping up. I hope that in the aftermath of yet another post-season undoing, the team can manage to hold onto Jason Arnott - who would be the perfect guy to wear the "C", or Mike Knuble.
I'm sure you're with me when I say I'm pretty tired of hearing "wait til next year".....