Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All In Tonight

Photo by Me

I am going to take a break from planning the “thank you Bengie Molina” parade through downtown Tampa to get back to hockey for a moment. I missed the Lightning’s home opener due to being out of town for a friend’s wedding, so my first regular season look at the new system took place during Monday night’s game against the Dallas Stars. Brad Richards was back in town with the Stars as well. It got me thinking about the trade that sent him to Dallas and the glory days of 2004. Is it coincidence that I start getting extra philosophical about these types of things the more Labatts I drink?

The new playing system being used by the Bolts has some huge upsides. It’s fast, creative, and it forces the opposition to be the ones to react. It can lead to a ton of scoring chances as evidenced by the fact that the Lightning are one of the top teams in the shots on goal count in this young season. They were one of the worst in the league last season in scoring chances, so that is definitely an improvement. You get more chances, you get more goals. It’s just a law of the universe. The biggest downsides I am seeing with the system so far is that the Lightning seem to be more tentative with the puck when they are leading a game. When they are leading, they should be extra aggressive so no one backs off and allows the other team a chance to creep back in, like Dallas almost did. There is a big upside when it's played well. When it's not? Well, we get what happened in the loss to the Panthers.

It's exciting though. And fun to watch. Really fun. It's been a long time since Lightning hockey has been this enjoyable. I don't know if it's the novelty of a new season, but I am enjoying it all so much.

The Islanders are in town tomorrow night to play the Bolts and I'll be there. It will be interesting to see if anyone squares off against former Bolt Zenon Konopka. Man I'm glad hockey is back.

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