When Brett Connolly skates his 7th game tomorrow, the Lightning will only have two games left to decide if they want to keep him up for the year or send him back to the WHL. It's a tough decision for the team because he's looked good in the six games he's played even if the team as a whole has not.
Connolly came into camp looking to make the team. He was confident and when speaking to the press said just that. He came in after having spent a summer in Toronto putting on 10lbs in weight and coming in with a determined attitude. He has not just looked good playing with the Lightning so far, it's how he doesn't look out of place. Sure there are moments where he makes a mistake or his timing with Stamkos and St. Louis is a little off, but that just takes time to adapt to the faster pace and to develop the chemistry with his linemates.
He started on the 3rd line in the first few games of the season with an occasional shift up on the top line, but lately Boucher has been testing his skills with having him skate with St. Louis and Stamkos. He still has only 1 assist but I think it is just be a matter for time for the points to come when you are skating with those two.
If we look at the benefits of him being up with the club, it's obvious that his skill set will improve being up with the Lightning instead of being back in the WHL with the Cougars. No matter which line he'll play on, he's going to learn more than he can down in the WHL.
The question the coaching staff will address will be if he'll be able to take the 82 game grind of the regular season grind. The NHL has a long season and for a player that didn't play much in the 2009-2010 season due to injury, this will be a tough year physically for him. Add on the pressure of having to score consistently when you are playing on a top line with Stamkos and St. Louis, now you have a mental pressure added to the rookie's first year. Then add in the fact that if he skates on the top line, he'll be facing the top defencemen of the league night after night. And let's be truthful, having Chara try to shut you down, that's scary. That's assuming he'll skate on the top line of course, though, again, he didn't look out of place doing it so far doing it.
From a team standpoint, the Lightning can also use a player like Connolly to round out the top line instead of a player like Downie. Although I have to admit that Downie has far surpassed my expectations playing on a top line, Connolly could be a better fit than Downie right? He sees the play better and is quicker than Downie, allowing for the top line to be more fluid. But again, I'm not here to trash Downie as I'm sure he'll be back on the top line if Connolly doesn't stick with the team. It's just that I've liked the look of the line with Connolly on it.
The decision on keeping him won't be if the Lightning want to burn through Connolly's first year of his three-year $2.7 million contract, it will come down to if they think he can take all the pressures of playing at such a high level each night with the team. He's going to be an impact player eventually, and his skillset is something the team can use this year, but the question we'll see answered by post-game next Tuesday is whether the management has the confidence in him being able to survive a full season.
Oh, and scoring a goal or two in the next few games will help that decision too.
I can fly!!!!!
The mess continues, even at home. At least the newly renovated digs look nice?
That's a positive right?
- Five powerplay goals were let in on NINE penalties
- Five powerplay goals is the most Tampa has ever let in at home
- You can't win a game when you spend the majority of it killing penalties
- Why isn't Weiss being covered by somebody on that 6th goal?
- As soon as Brewer took that delay of game penalty, you could bank on the Panthers scoring another PP goal
- Bergenheim strikes with a shorthanded goal
- Steve Downie is lucky he didn't get ejected from the game
- Matt Gilroy walked away a plus three out of this debacle
- Hedman and Clark should end up a minus 50 each. For all the praise I've been giving Hedman, he was atrocious.
- Martin St. Louis had 8 shots but no points
"We need to find a way to get out of this & get something going because it's definitely unacceptable right now"
Next game: Thursday October 20th against the Islanders. That's three days to figure out your sh-t team. no comments
Record: Lightning (1-2-2) Panthers (2-1-0)
Previous games: 3-2 OT Shootout loss on Saturday Oct 15
Game time: 7:30pm EST on SUN (HD)It's the home opener of the season. Finally. After completing a pretty abysmal road trip, the Lightning are back at home at their newly renovated arena for three games. That's $40 million in renovations. A list of all the renovations that were being done can be found here. The list really is extensive, no? Personally I would be psyched for the cupholders.
We start things off our homestand with the second game in our home and home against the Panthers. Saturday night's affair looked like a mess of a team and Marc-Andre Bergeron taking things into his own hands. Too bad those hands aren't in the shootout. But a two wins in this homestand will have us back on track.
This is a huge night for the team tonight. Big expectations for the team playing at home for a game that means something since the playoffs. Big night for Roloson tonight and only a few more games until the Connolly decision comes down.
- Roloson gets the start for the Lightning and rookie Jacob Markstrom for the Panthers makes his NHL debut
- Shannon, Purcell and Gilroy are in
- Pyatt and Gervais are scratched
Enemy Blog: Head over to Litter Box Cats for your opposition blog coverage
Record: Lightning (1-2-1) Panthers (1-1-0)
Previous games: None yet
Game time: 7:30pm EST on SUN (HD), FS-FloridaIt's the Panthers home opener tonight and the Panthers are going to wear some new jerseys. The first I even heard about them getting new jersey's this season was when I read the LBC's preview this morning, how bad can they be compared to their current ones?
Tonight is part of a home and home matchup against the Panthers and this is the last game in our road trip. The boys are no doubt looking to get home for our home opener, hopefully with a win. It's been three losing games in a row so maybe there is some concern about it, but looking at how the lineup keeps getting juggled and how many games we played last year, I would say to be patient. We can judge the team after their three game homestand and if we are still on a losing streak, then we can start hitting the panic button. Right now, be patient.
The Lightning are again having a line-up change as Connolly will skate with Stamkos and St. Louis again. Connolly only has a few more games before he's played out his 9 games and then the management will have to make a decision with him. Nice to see him getting a shot up on the big line with Stammer and St. Louis, he has moments last game where he looked like he could be a good fit, and then of course flashes where he looked a step behind. And Pyatt, Jones and Gilroy is in while Purcell, Shannon and Gervais is out.
Tonight some of you will be looking forward to seeing Sean Bergenheim again. Whatever. He went for some money with a team that looks like a mess. Have fun with that Bergenheim.
The Panther's line-up will look like this:
- Garon was first off the ice this morning so I'm assuming he's in goal and Jose Theodore for the Panthers
- Connolly, Pyatt, Jones, and Gilroy are in
- Purcell, Shannon and Gervais are scratched
Today we got our first look at the Tesla coils that will shoot lightning bolts to a length of about 20 feet. Did anyone else think The Prestige when they saw it? It seems pretty loud and a little small for 20 feet, but I'll hold back my judgement until we see the finished product on a game night.
Cristodero reports that it may not be ready to go for the home opener on Monday though:
The issue with the two coils, which are supposed to shoot lightning bolts about 20 feet to celebrate Lightning goals, is they need to be extensively tested. If delayed it would be because of "technical related issues," Lightning chief operating officer Steve Griggs said.
"Our goal is to have the majority of the changes completed," Griggs said. "But with the construction schedule going right to Monday there could be a couple things that could be off line."
Ok, so safety first but hopefully we'll get see it soonno comments
This photo pretty much sums up the game: players standing around watching the puck go in
The game started out with Hedman trying to clear the puck and instead batting the puck in. From there, you know this was going to be a sign of terrible things to come.
Stamkos tied it at 1-1 with his first goal of the season and maybe you thought that things were looking up. But then turnovers, weak coverage by the D, players caught standing still and Roloson getting the hook midway through the 2nd period was my summary of the game. After that 2nd period, I didn't make it through watching the 3rd period, hopefully neither did you. no comments
Enemy Blog: Head over to Islanders Hockey Blog for your opposition blog coverage
Record: Lightning (1-1-1) Islanders (1-1-0)
Previous games: None yet
Game time: 7:00pm EST on SUN (HD)
I know the Forum is under renovations, but already it feels like we've been on the road for like FOREVER. Just two more games before we finally get our home opener next Monday.
This is the first time we play the Islanders this year with the 2nd one coming up at home next week. Last year the Islanders won three out of the four games we played but it's a fresh start now. Though the Lightning are 1-1-1 now, it's only three games into the season, so don't fret.
For the first two games of the season the Islanders have started Al Montoya instead of DiPietro or Nabokov, and he'll get the start again tonight with Nabokov backing him up. For the record, DiPietro is possibly hurt, again. Enjoy laughing until the game starts
- Roloson will get the start in goal
- Mattias Ritola and Bruno Gervais are in
- Gilroy, Pyatt and Jones are scratched