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Photo Credit: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: Sweep

It’s the story everyone is talking about. In a shocking upset, the Columbus Blue Jackets have swept the President’s Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning after a 7-3 victory last night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

It’s a familiar story for Canucks fans, who watched the home team suffer a similar fate six years ago, as they were quickly dusted off by the Los Angeles Kings in five games mere weeks after being crowned the league’s best team in 2011-2012.

We all know what happened after that. That incarnation of the Canucks was never the same and quickly imploded after firing head coach Alain Vigneault and replacing him with current Blue Jackets bench boss John Tortorella. If Tampa overreacts this offseason, they could be headed for a similar fate.

That having been said, it clear something is up in Tampa after watching them pull off arguably the worst choke job in Stanley Cup Playoff history. What changes would you make to the Tampa Bay Lightning organization this offseason to insure they don’t suffer a similar fate next season?

Last week I asked:

Are you satisfied with the current Draft Lottery system? If not, what changes would you make?

Ragnarok Ouroboros:

I don’t feel sorry for the Avalanche right now. They are in the playoffs right now. Even getting the 4th overall pick is awesome for them, considering it was Ottawa’s pick.

They should have the draft lottery, but limit how many places they can move up in the draft. IE limit it to moving up 4 spots. Teams on the playoff bubble, shouldn’t be able to win top pick. It’s too unfair for the teams rebuilding to be beat out by a team who missed the playoffs by a couple of points. Let a team like Chicago move up 4 spots instead of 8-10 spots. The other change I would make is that if a team wins the draft lottery in a previous year, that they automatically drop a spot in the following year before the lottery. IE if you win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd over all, then the team finishes in the 6th worst spot the following year, then they should automatically drop to 7th spot, and get the 7th spot odds for winning the lottery. I’m tired of Buffalo, New Jersey, and Edmonton always getting the best draft picks year in and year out.

Fred-65:

The concept of the draft ie an attempt for teams throughout the league to rebuild and compete is IMO a good one. I’m looking at it from a fan perspective. Amateur hockeey players are not forced to join the NHL, it’s their choice. They know in advance the system that is offered to them prior to their commitment. Indeed a lot of youngsters are choosing education rather than the CHL. Good for them it’s their choice. But how the draft works now compared with the original concept is way to far apart, IMO. Teams that did better in the league play are being rewarded over those that were far worse, Chicago who ended the season at the # 20th spot ends up getting the 3rd O/A pick. To me that’s undefensible. I’m not sure how much actual tanking has gone on in the past but nothing justifies the Chicago leap up the draft order. If a lottery is needed ( ? ) then the odds of success must be changed. I hope it’s just a consequence that major US TV markets seem to be favoured in the lottery but it’s not a good look for the NHL. What do they say if it quacks and waddles when it walks chances are it’s a duck … if major TV markets are the beneficiary of the lottery that maybe it is rigged. Those benefitting from a 1st round pick due to the lottery are automatically excluded from the top 3 spots for the next 3 years. The teams ending the season should at least hold a combined 50% chance of success however you split it.

Burnabybob:

Even-odds lottery of all non-playoff teams. Teams that pick in the top three are ineligible to pick in the top three the following year.

Goon:

Eliminate the lottery all together. Pro sports is the only industry in the world that colludes to control the lives of its employees from the time they’re teenagers until they’re in their late-20s. When you actually spend the time to think about what’s being done here, it’s grotesque.

Allow teams to sign players to contracts on their 19th birthdays. Limit teams in the number of contracts they can sign. Leave it up to teams to scout players and develop talent. If you’re bad, well, fire your scouting staff and hire more competent scouts.

Dan the Fan:

Use the “Gold Plan,” Canucks Army has discussed this before, and/or

Limit lotto wins to once per X years, and/or

Have a win mean you can move up X spots, IE Chicago wins a spot and moves up 3 spots, or

Possibly the best of all, eliminate the lottery and allow tanking. Obviously the current format hasn’t eliminated tanking, it’s only made it slightly less appealing. And the cost has been that teams on the playoff cusp are getting lotto wins, which isn’t at all fair to the true bottom-dwellers.

arjay:

Add some credibility to the lottery by at least making the lottery selection process public re the ping pong selection process.

That would help eliminate a lot of conspiracy theories around the process…..transparency is a good thing.

Spiel:

The point of the entry draft is to provide a way for the worst teams to get better, not punish them.
Two ideas. One uses simple math, one uses no math.

Idea #1. Instead of only using the standings from the current season, use a weighted average of previous seasons.
For example, current season counts for 50%, current-1 counts for 33.3%, current-2 counts for 16.7%.
The order with this system would have been: Ottawa, Buffalo, Detroit, Van, Arizona, NJ, NYR, LA, Edmonton, Chicago, Philly, Florida, Montreal, Anaheim.

Idea #2. Assemble a panel of experts which could be media and former NHL executives and players. That panel ranks the teams in the NHL based on the overall talent state of the organization: NHL roster, prospects in the system, etc. The worst ranked teams pick first. Have a show where your reveal and discuss the rankings. This system would generate lots of discussion and generate a ton of heat for management teams around the NHL. You get the first pick, but are also recognized as the worst team in the NHL!

KearnsScoredOnHimself:

Get rid of the lottery, eliminate tanking, provide fairness and certainty. Here’s how:
Have one big lottery now to randomly assign each teams first round picks for the next 32 years.
Each of the 32 teams pick once in each of the 32 first round positions.
So over the next 32 years each team gets the first overall once, the second overall once, 3rd overall once, etc.
This provides certainty — each team can see when they get #1 overall and can plan accordingly.
It provides certainty for trades because you know exactly which pick is getting traded.
Eliminates tanking and doesn’t reward failure because picks are predetermined.
It’s fair — every team will get #1 once over the 32 year cycle.

What’s the downside of my idea??

TheRealPB:

I agree entirely with Goon — we should get rid of the draft altogether. The model of pro sports in North America is entirely suspect, with all of the four major pro leagues and the minor league systems and NCAA participating in the wholesale exploitation of athletes (less than 2% of whom actually make it to the big leagues). It is ludicrous that athletes have to make it to their late 20s to be able to get free of being literally owned by franchises.

Outside of North America, what sports employ drafts? Cricket in its pro leagues has them in India and I think the KHL and I think Phillipines basketball. But soccer, the biggest sport in the world doesn’t use drafts. I don’t want to romanticize those sports — there’s more than a little corrupt and problematic about the youth programs and the selling of players through transfer fees. But it would be interesting to see how the European hockey leagues outside of the KHL operate without drafts, even with their best talents being poached by the NHL and KHL.



  • canucksfan

    This is why hockey is the best – it’s so unpredictable and regular season form means little in the playoffs. You just have to make it in and anything can happen as Columbus have shown this season.

    As for Tampa, how can you even comtemplate change on this team after such a great regular season, they are so stacked. Better goaltending perhaps. More experienced coaching maybe. Real tough to pinpoint anything though.

    My only thought is as Detriot and Pittsburgh have done in the past, just coast along in the regular season and try to avoid injury/fatigue by busting a gut and save some juice for what matters most, the playoffs.

      • Locust

        Even the most ardent supporters of lightweight, soft, perimeter, “potentially” offensively gifted peachfuzz-faced, Corwick and Fensi darlings have to admit that Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh were swept by hard nosed gritty play by dedicated guys playing for each other, playing a system, hitting everything that moves and taking away the will of their opponents at every opportunity. NONE of those things will show up in the fancy stat man bag.
        St Louis dominated the second half of the season playing exactly the same way.
        A team full of EP’s and QHughes would get decimated in the playoffs. We have one of each – good enough for me. Surround them with some skill, speed and toughness and come together as a team, play a system and play unselfishly (bye bye Goldy) and be gritty and tough as required. THAT is winning hockey in todays NHL playoffs.

        • Dirk22

          Locust doesn’t realize that the teams he’s describing as hard nosed, gritty etc will probably have good ‘fancy stats’ by virtue of outworking the other team. The ‘grittiness’ gets them there and the ‘fancy stats’ reflect that. How in 2019 do people have that low a comprehension ? All the ‘fancy stats’ do is give a reflection of what went on in a game….nothing to do with how hard a team is working but if they’re out working the other opponent the stats probably WILL reflect that. It’s not one or the other. If you’re playing a tenacious forecheck the opposition will probably have trouble with their zone exits. If you’re not letting them through the neutral zone the other team will probably have trouble with their zone entries. If you’re beating them to loose pucks the other team will probably not generate as many scoring chances.

          • DogBreath

            Fancy stats have their place, but not when they’re treated on par with religion. They are effective for describing certain components of the game, but are an incomplete analysis. Rarely do we hear those that advocate for stats based assessment, describe the limitations of the models ability to describe aspects of the game, models bias etc. Instead, it often comes off as holier than thou preaching of their benefits with inevitable put downs to those that don’t fully subscribe.

          • Locust

            Dirk – fancy stat boys always douche anyone that is tough, gritty, hard nosed and tenacious. The cherry picking on this site gets called out time and time again and it is always in favour of soft perimeter “has potential” types of players and always against anyone that plays harder than a female hockey player.
            DogBreath explained it perfectly.
            Talking real hockey to fancy stat boys is like debating morality with a Trump supporter…..

          • TRod

            The hockey analytics community lives in their own bubble. I’ve yet to hear any of them address the glaring problem with evaluating players based on regular season stats when it’s so obvious playoff hockey is played so differently. When there’s been one team in the last 11 years to win both the President’s trophy AND the Stanley Cup (and it was in a lockout-shortened 48 game season), there’s clearly a disparity. If the goal is to get a 360 degree view of a player, their regular season fancy stats are probably less than 25% of the picture- knowing how a player plays in big games, their character and motivation for playing hockey, combined with the eye-test are equally, if not more, important. Until the mathletes start acknowledging the constraints of their statistics, they’re never going to earn any respect.

        • Freud

          Locust appears too dim to realize he’s the reflection of the most ardent Trump supporter.

          Angry, insulting, simple minded, crude, dismissive of facts. Incapable of understanding a complex argument. Hypocritical, faux tough. Uneducated.

          His angry ramblings here look like something found in a CNN chat room. He’s so upset those liberals are creating fake news that he just has to go to CNN.com and set them straight with his hard hitting, tough guy truth bombs!

          lol

          • Locust

            The CLASSIC troll! Way to stay on topic Fraud!
            I have handed him his ass so many times he only comes here to comment on my comments. What a loser. He just proved my comment above … “fancy stat boys always douche anyone that is tough, gritty, hard nosed and tenacious…”Haha – too funny.

  • Braindead Benning

    When a team gets spanked as bad as the lightning did in ALL aspects of the game there definetly needs some change.. The difference between the 2012 canucks and the lighting was Johnathan Quick was unbeatable and it got into the Canucks heads. This year’s lightning were not prepared in all areas and were Lazy

    • Goon

      Well, that and they were missing their top two defencemen and leading scorer, and the Blue Jackets loaded up at the deadline and got phenomenal performances from their deadline additions and goaltender.

      • TD

        Tampa didn’t win a game. Of course they need change. Even if they ignored the sweep, their salary cap issues means they need to change. Which vets performed and which didn’t? They have a ton of talent and cant keep it all, not should they want to after a four game sweep. If the executive leadership is as strong as everyone has said over the past years, then they should be able to figure out the playoff performers from pretenders. They are in great shape because the players they decide to trade will have value. But anyone that thinks no change is needed after a first round sweep is crazy.

  • wojohowitz

    Torts wanted a tough physical game and Columbus players knew they could not skate with Tampa. No team wants to play a physical game during the season unless there`s animosity and a rivalry. No one`s more surprised than Tampa. What does Columbus have in common with the Islanders?

    • LTFan

      What does Columbus have in common with the Islanders? They both have veteran Coaches who have won a Stanley Cup. Plus both coaches and their assistants put together a plan on how to play against the other team. The players bought in and voila – it worked and both teams are off to the 2nd round. It will be interesting to see how they do in round 2.

  • Goon

    The Lightning have been to the conference finals and the cup finals in the past couple of years, and matched a regular season record this year. They got hurt and demoralized at the wrong time, nothing more. They should maybe tinker around the edges, but anyone who thinks there need to be big, fundamental changes to the Lightning is out of his mind.

    • crofton

      And as Cooper said, clinching a playoff spot so early hurt their compete level…not in playoff mode. Columbus, on the other hand, had to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs….playoff mode

  • rediiis

    The fellatios forechecked, and they did it well. Bob’s wasn’t tested. Jon Cooper just received a big contract. Playoff hockey is a different animal. Match-ups are critical. Some teams don’t match-up well with others. Deal with it or lose.

  • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

    I would make absolutely zero changes. This is simply something to learn from. TB (outside of that Van game earlier this year) has never been a big strong team that throws the body, finishes checks, and makes their opponent work for every inch of space on the ice. They’ve always won with speed and skill. Naysayers may argue that they simply aren’t built for the playoffs, but their past success in the post season says otherwise. I think they just need to use this as a reality check going forward. They just need to really up their game intensity both individually and collectively. No rash decisions whatsoever.

    • Holly Wood

      Well Dumpster, it appears you didn’t learn anything here. The balance between skill and grit makes the difference when playoffs arrive and the referees adjust their game

  • Kanuckhotep

    It’s gotten to the point where it is NOT a reward for first place divisional finishers to get the 7th and 8th place wildcard teams as this year’s first round has mostly proven. We can all figure out the wildcard teams have been ostensibly playing post season hockey most of the year and play with jump. It also proves about playoffs: if you’re in it you can win it.

  • Bobaner

    Tampa Bay will probably see enough changes to their line up through free agency and salary cap considerations to avoid having to do anything to drastic. I think the more pertinent issue is how any elite team goes about preparing for a playoff run and I imagine a historically bad playoff performance will change the conversation around this. Traditional hockey pundits and the players themselves won’t like the idea but it might be time for top contending teams to pull some of their stars out of the line up down the stretch. It’s as much about resting those players as it is about changing the dynamic around the team. It will also force the coaches to change up strategies on the fly. Hopefully that will ramp up the intensity and force the team to tighten up defensively.

  • TheRealPB

    I agree that they shouldn’t overreact to this. They have a solid core that is all resigned with the exception of Point. The injuries to Hedman and Stralman were really big. Kucherov’s dumb suspension didn’t help. And Vasilevsky couldn’t seem to adjust to the Blue Jackets strategy of crashing the net and throwing point shots at him. He’ll be better next year.

    They should invest in a better backup, and turn over some of that D–four UFAs and you don’t need to bring back Coburn, Rutta, Girardi, but replace them with Cernak and Foote. Anything can happen in a playoff series. Just like you don’t want to overplay the puck carrier on the PK, you don’t want to overthink what a series like this teaches you. Torts’ crazy collapsing, shot-blocking and yell-coaching ways can always win you one or two. Hard to see much more than that but their top players came to play. I still don’t think they can beat the Bruins, Caps or Islanders but then I thought that they’d never get by the Bolts, so who knows?

  • DogBreath

    This isn’t answering the question, but this first round of the playoffs is a reminder of the high level of play. Its also a reminder of how far the Canucks are away from being a legitimate challenger in the playoffs. Much more patience (a la Winnipeg) is required from management and the fanbase if we ever want this team to be a legitimate challenger for the cup. Three or four more high performing pieces are likely required in the top half of the line-up.

    • Kootenaydude

      Funny you state patience. Vancouver media doesn’t have any patience. The team over achieved expectations from the beginning of the season. Yet as the team improved this year. The critics just kept raising their expectations of this team. Now these same people are disappointed that the team didn’t improve enough. It’s a long process with a lot of moving pieces.

    • If it wasn’t for Anders Nilsson, there was a good chance that we could have gotten into the playoffs this year. Nilsson had a Quality Start % of 33% with this season which was when he was hot for a week (3 wins, 0.943 SV%). After that, he lost 9 games in a row, providing only 1 QS and a 0.879 SV%. To put those figures into context, when compared to other goaltenders with more than 5 games played, his 0.879 SV% in the remaining 9 games would put him 73 out of 75 goaltenders (0.859 was the worst by Neuvirth).

      In my opinion, the team is better than what the final standings showed. If Markstrom has really turned the corner and with Demko as a solid back-up, I could see us getting at least another 10 points next season and making the playoffs simply with the goaltender upgrade.

      By the way, I’ll add that Demko finished the season with a SV% of 0.913 which was just above Markstrom’s 0.912. Though a small sample, Demko is already putting up better numbers than Markstrom in less than a dozen career games (as opposed to several years for Markstrom). This is why I’m so confident that Demko could be our starter after next season and give us playoff caliber goaltending all the time.

      • Goon

        If the Canucks had won four more games on the strength of goaltending, they still would have missed the playoffs.

        This season, the Canucks were 16th in save percentage among 31 teams, or smack in the middle of the league. They received average goaltending, a lot of luck in the shootout, and still missed the playoffs. Their forward group and defense are simply not good enough to sneak into the playoffs, let alone to be a contender.

        • Statistically, the averages suggest average goaltending but I think Markstrom and Demko were much better than it appears. Markstrom was around Top 5 in terms of TOI and consistently gave Quality Starts. Markstrom’s SV% went up from 0.909 in the first half (2018) to 0.914 in the second half (2019). Demko finished the season with 3 games with an average SV% of 0.945. Again, I drag up the figure that show that, outside of two blowouts, Demko had a SV% of 0.935. Statistically, Nilsson dragged down everything but he’s gone and Demko is a huge upgrade.

          I agree that the defence is not good enough, it needs a major revamp. But if we were to keep the forward core as is, having Baertschi and Pearson for an entire year and less deadweight like Goldobin and Eriksson would make a huge difference.

  • Duh. Trade all veterans over the age of 26 for draft picks, sign bargain bin UFA’s as replacements, win the draft lottery, and draft impact players with every pick in this year’s draft. If they only followed the tank strategy properly, they wouldn’t have been swept.

      • Tampa Bay didn’t tank, they had two lousy seasons with essentially the same roster as before (2007-2008 and 2008-2009) and won the lottery in 2008. The two previous years, Tampa Bay had 90+ points and made the playoffs.

        In 2006-2007, Lecavalier had 108 pts and St. Louis had 102 pts. In 2008 (Stamkos), they had Vincent Lecavalier (92 pts) and Martin St. Louis (83 pts). In 2009 (Hedman), they still had Lecavalier (67 pts) and St. Louis (80 pts). The Tampa Bay core was essentially the same the entire time through. In 2009-2010, they had rebounded and had Stamkos (95 pts) and *still* had St. Louis (94 pts) and Lecavalier (70 pts). The only major trade of veterans was sending Brad Richards to Dallas as a salary dump in 2008. In fact, the year before “the 2008 tank”, Feaster traded their 1st round pick (#16) to Anaheim for Shane O’Brien which is the exact opposite of what a tanking team would do.

        • truthseeker

          Interesting how actual facts get in the way of other people’s “feelings”. lol. The definition of “tanking” trotted out by the pro tanking crowd changes more than anyone could ever keep up with. So much so that they can’t keep it straight in their own heads. No wonder none of them can ever explain how it’s actually supposed to work.

    • Dirk22

      Forever – hate to break it to you but the results are in – tank has already happened. Second worst record in the league the last 4 seasons. That’s the goal and it’s been achieved. Since that’s their standing amongst the other peers can you explain how the Canucks are better off today by not selling their veterans over that time period… as in how is not having more draft picks or prospects better at this stage? I guess we’ve been better than Buffalo by a couple of points so there’s that.

      • Nope. That’s totally laughable. Now #TeamTank is trying to take credit for the state that the Canucks are in? Straight up, no. You’re confusing “process” with “outcome”. Your “mission accomplished” is just as laughable as George Bush on the aircraft carrier.

        In 2014-2015, the Canucks exceeded expectations. I checked the playoff odds and at that time, the Canucks had about a 75% chance of making the playoffs. And you know what happened? Benning supported his players. And that was the right call at the time. That’s the right call anytime. If your players band together and think they have a legitimate shot at the playoffs, you support those players or resign as GM.

        #TeamTank would have cut the legs out from under the team and sold them and the fans down the river. “Yeah, I know we had a shot at the playoffs but it’s better than we crap on our players’ efforts and help them *not* make the playoffs. By the way, you fans are still responsible for paying for the garbage that we’re going to ice.”

        Sorry, I don’t buy your revisionism. The real reason why we’re in this spot is because Gillis couldn’t develop a prospect pipeline to save his life. Even with the draft picks that he retained in his tenure, he couldn’t draw a single player while he was here. We only got Horvat and Hutton and even then, Horvat cost us one of the league’s elite goaltenders. Is more draft picks and prospects better? Yes. Is icing a garbage team that sells out your players and fans for draft picks and prospects better? No.

        Really? I have a challenge for anyone on #TeamTank. Tell me how much you actually spend on the team. Do you even attend the games? I endured those crap games in person before Desjardins got turfed and I can tell you, a bad team sucks. But the difference is that Benning didn’t try to engineer a bad team intentionally, like #TeamTank wants. Benning had a bad team because Gillis left him virtually nothing to work with. And now the team is improving thanks to classic team building: build through the draft, build from the goal out, and draft the best players available. Sorry to burst your bubble but the team is improving and it’s only because Benning’s hard work in the draft process is starting to bear fruit.

        • Dirk22

          The team has a future only because of Pettersson, Hughes, Boeser and Horvat. Apart from Boeser those are all top-10 picks. That’s the best way to get elite talent. The way to get those picks is to be a bad hockey team – hence team Tank. This isn’t even a debate. The fact that Benning didn’t tank on purpose doesn’t make a lick of difference but only shows his incompetence.

          Take an objective look at a team like the Kings. Let’s say they go on to be the worst team in the league over the next 4 years. Let’s say in that time they don’t accumulate one extra draft pick and hang onto their veterans. How does that sound.

          Let’s look at the Rangers right now. Would they have been better off hanging onto their veterans instead of having 7 first round picks in the past 3 seasons? That’s what you’re implying about the Canucks.

          You’re lost in your misplaced loyalty to Benning and trying to be right about a guy who was fired 5 years ago.

          • Bud Poile

            “The team has a future only because of Pettersson, Hughes, Boeser and Horvat.
            The way to get those picks is to be a bad hockey team – hence team Tank. This isn’t even a debate. “Dirk

            Boeser drafted #23 after a 101 point season.
            Horvat acquired for Schneider,a #1 NHL starter.

            Neither of these two CORE players were drafted by tanking.
            You can’t even accept what happened to the NTC core from Gillis’ tenure and how Benning has compiled his core.
            As the Benning regime keeps building through the draft Gillis’ draft record will forever be measured against it for those too daft to figure it out today.

          • DogBreath

            It gets back to the same tired argument. It’s easy to trade everyone and get draft picks. Everyone wants top draft picks. Seems like a winning ideas until you have to build your team up again and realize your team has no identify, culture etc (those things you can’t measure). Your approach may prove correct in this case, but there are too many examples of teams that have follows this approach and fail.

  • Dirty30

    An immediate change is that playoff hockey just got interesting again!

    As for TB, they simply need to look at the Leafs *spit*spit* and how they’ve adapted to the Bruins *puke*puke*. That’s simply coaching and while Jon “The Fistula” Cooper might not get fired, he will need to look at his game plans and come up with some playoff ready strategies. Injuries happen, opposing goalies get hot just when your’s is not, your top players go head to head against top players and your supporting cast and understudies become your only source of offence.

    Tampa got outplayed and out coached and didn’t adapt to the reality of playoff hockey. Making changes now won’t help. Planning on how to deal with those inevitabilities in future might.

    • canuckfan

      Just as with Tampa the Flames didn’t outwork Colorado the playoffs you cannot take a break you have to give it your all every shift Johnny Hockey was frustrated and couldn’t get his head out of his butt. Besides being physically challenging playoffs are mentally challenging and he was totally off his game. If he just blocked all the noise out and quit whining and just kept his head inn the game he would have scored on a couple more of those breakaways but he was thinking woo is me look at how he looked after each miss he was beat before he started.
      Flames thought they could get away with winning on pure talent but they lost the battles for the puck it is all those little battles within the game where the games are won such as the Blues when they scored in the last 30 seconds from a puck battle that killed the Jets.
      Yes talent will win most games but the playoffs are different and Ovechken has figured out the battle side of the game and has got the rest of the team to understand they will be hard to beat.

  • Captain Video

    The Bolts simply need to “man up”, by which I mean they need Hedman and Stralman up and healthy. Those two guys would have made all the difference. Kucherov should also try to avoid boneheaded suspensions.

    • wojohowitz

      Kucherov was targeted as a guy who would lose his temper if he received a lot of stickwork and cheap shots. The fault lies with the officials for letting the expected Hart Trophy winner suffer that type of abuse. What did Mario Lemieux say that forced him to retire early; The holding, the hooking, the abuse wore him down.

      It took Washington 11 years with Ovie to finally figure out the right mix of skill and toughness that wins cups. With the right mix they might have won 4 or 5 cups instead of one. That was a decade of George McPhee but now he`s a genius.

    • canuckfan

      If Columbus wins the cup they likely won’t be able to hold the team together. The management took the ultimate gamble and traded the future to win now. Not sure if they will show up for the draft as all their picks were traded to load the team up. They had not been good up to the beginning of the playoffs and likely took a big speach from their coach to wake them up when they fell behind 3-0 in the first playoff game then they woke up and haven’t looked back. Team is loaded with players who want to cash in big July 1st pretty good strategy to load up with these players.
      They could end up being the next Ottawa when they need to put on team on the ice next year.

      • Beer Can Boyd

        So what? At least they will have won the Cup, which is more than we can say in 50 years of being in the league. Are you trying to tell me that you wouldn’t trade a few more years in the wilderness for a Stanley Cup in your lifetime?

        • canuckfan

          That is why some teams in the mix make their moves at the trade deadline to stock up. Canucks traded Nedved at the deadline and were just a so so team but with the haul of players they got they made it to the finals. Gillis was a good manager at the deadline adding parts to the team, but it ended up hurting the team for the future. I would trade anyone one the team whether it hurt the future or not to win the cup. The Columbus GM had a choice to get ready for trying to prepare to lose a couple good players to free agency or stack up more talent to help those free agents build up a case for another team to over pay when July 1st comes around. If they are able to keep playing over their heads they will be challengers. Gillis was wanting to win the Cup as was the city but the window closed could he have done things differently of course he could have but he didn’t.

  • Kootenaydude

    I don’t think a team full of skilled small players are the answer in the playoffs. Washington won with the heaviest team last year. I’m not saying go the LA route, but to remember when the playoffs come. You will need guys that can dig deep and push back. We seen how Pettersson tired out at the end of the season. While Horvat was still bringing it. Obviously you need skilled guys like Pettersson, but you need the Horvats, Beagles and Roussel’s too if you’re going anywhere in the playoffs.

    • truthseeker

      I think it’s more likely that Pettersson “tired out” due to playing a huge amount of hockey at such a high level, for his age. His season in Sweden last year was massive. He’s simply going to realize that his conditioning needs another level beyond what he’s at, and that will require more training.

  • Kootenaydude

    The playoffs are a real eye opener for soft teams. I personally don’t think we should have too many small players that can get pushed off the puck or tire out come playoff time. The average weight may be declining in the NHL, but come playoff time. The weight is still there. The top ten point getters from the 2016 playoffs weighed an average of 199 pounds. 2017 playoffs average weight for top ten point getters 202. 2018 average weight for top ten playoff points 200. This year, so far the average weight of the top ten playoff performers is 197. This is something that should be taken into consideration if we’re going to build a playoff hockey team. Unless the player is a genuine top talent. Save your picks / trades for guys that are going to be at least around 190 pounds. We don’t want a team of Little Johnny Hockey’s that disappear come playoff time.

  • Spiel

    Tampa will need to retool their defense, but that was going to be done regardless of the outcome of the series. They had 4 UFA defense.
    With only 6-7 million in projected cap space for next year, they probably won’t be able to get a significant D to add to Hedman and McDonagh unless they clear some cap space. I’d consider moving on from either JT Miller or Yanni Gourde. Not because they are bad players, but because they both have no trade clauses that kick in starting on July 1st. Tampa also seems to have young players waiting in the wings in the minor league system at forward and NHL depth to make up for a loss of a forward.
    So, I would survey what I can do to improve my defense and if I needed to, move one of Gourde or Miller to help with cap space and the inevitable retool of my bottom 4 D.

    • TheRealPB

      I think it’s most likely that Point gets sacrificed and they trade his RFA rights to add additional prospects or picks and the cap space to address getting another mid-range D. I wonder what we’d have to give up to land him (probably Tanev and maybe next year’s first plus a decent prospect?)

      • truthseeker

        A 92 point 40 goal scoring 23 year old center? We’d have to give more than that for sure. More likely it would have to be Stetcher or Hughes, a couple of “decent” prospects and the 1st rounder.

        • TheRealPB

          I think Point is worth more as you say. But I also think that while the Lightning shouldn’t overreact, he’s going to be the one sacrificed both to the mistaken narrative that there’s too many smallish players and the correct narrative that they can’t afford to pay more money to forwards and need to invest in D and a backup goalie

        • canuckfan

          I think they would target a player like Juolevi and a high draft pick. They have some big contracts so want to have younger players at lower end salaries not sure if they really have a problem as they have an awful lot of depth waiting to come in as Colorado does.

  • Robson Street

    To quote an xkcd comic:
    All sports commentary: “A weighted random number generator just produced a new batch of numbers. Let’s use them to build narratives!”

    Today’s story: team that won in the playoffs can no longer win in the playoffs.

    In six full seasons under Cooper, they made the conference final twice and Stanley Cup final once.

    Draft and develop, same as it ever was.

  • KCasey

    This is far from a burn it down playoff performance from a team that has proven capable of dominating in all facets of the game, albeit not this series but I digress. Dont forget either that Tampa is only 4 years removed from a Cup final against Chicago. This team has added an immense amount of new talent since than but have also held onto some of the Vets that have acquired some bloated contracts. Thats where I would focus the bulk of my attention. Any of proven scorers that have lived up to there contracts since 14/15 should be held on to as well as anyone that falls into what could be considered prospect territory. If they need to sweeten some trades to offload some of the under performing contracts with prospects or picks than I would entertain those trades on a case to case basis. Im not sure if what they require most however is gonna be found via free agency or possibly internally via growth of players from this experience and an off season with filled with a chip on shoulder work ethic. One thing is for sure though, they need ‘grit’ and some push back. I know these terms have a little stigma around these parts but dont shoot the messenger. This has that feeling of John Tortorella striking these kids with the fear of god and these kids skating and checking tell their own bones turn to dust. Either work hard and kill these guys in this game or tomorrow morning I bag skate and kill you. It sounds harsh but whipping really gets the horses moving. The problem is having horses that respond and thrive under the stress.