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S13 - Mid season recap (®)


Tampa Florida - I take this time in the middle of the season to make things in perspective with that impressive season in Tampa. Coming into the season the expectation with the big club and the farm team were pretty low if we rely upon last year results. There was 2 bright spots in last season, the first one was the excellent performance of first year phenom Henrik Zetterberg with the Calder trophy in his back pocket. The second star that is stilll shinning bright from last season is the savy trade that brought superstar Jumbo Joe Thornton. Jumbo had a good end of the year with the club but he really exploded this year with the first line duty flanked with Zetterberg and Ryan Smyth. He sits 3rd in the scoring title with his 28 goals/ 37 helpers for 65 pts and fellow 1st liner Zetternerg is having a wonderful season with 21 goals and 33 assists. An honorable mention to Toni Lydman who continues to excel since he arrived in the league, he has 45 pts in 51 games.... an other All-Star caliber performance.

The Lightning is performing really well this year, sits 3rd in the Atlantic Divison and in 5th place in the eastern conferenceé Let's just say it has been a long time since the Bolts were sitting in that spot and the first time the Ouellet plan shows signs of success. Funny stats to brag a bit , Tampa is 5 points behind (with 1 game in hand) of the NY Rangers, but the Bolts are 3-0-2 against the heated rival, let's just say that the organisation is not afraid (for the moment) to be paired with them in the playoffs. One scary stats tought is the PP efficiancy...a scary 15%.... Coach Lemaire tried to shuffle th lines numerous times but nothing cicks... PK% is middle of the road with a 80% grade. Things took a small fall since Alexandre Daigle and Greg Brown fell down due to injuries.

The tamdem in net of Jose Théodore and Martin Prusek, is doing a very nice job since the Bolts are the 5ft team with the less goals allowed with 134. Théo has a 2,62GAA and a Sv%907, while Prusek supports a 3,41GAA and Sv%922. Both of them splits reguraly the net to ensure that they stay fresh all season long. Last year starter is watching almost all the games from the pressbox, has his numnbers were catastrophic last year , 2 years remove from a 5,5M$ per year contract extension that he signed with the club.

Other sad notes from the big club, is the let down from Alain Nasredine show refused to re-up with club even tought the maxed out all there offers... he prefered to test the free agent market. The Bolts would like to trade him before the deadline but are willing to keep him for a playoff run if the right price is not met. Ouellet had a small scare as hometoen favorite Darryl Sydor took his time to anwser back from the offers made by him. He finally chose to re-up with the club for the next 4 years with a 3,5M$ per.

In the farm club, Uwe Krupp found the fountain of youth since he his having the best season of his career at 38 years old with 34 pts in 48 games. With the injury to Alexande Daigle, young prospect Ryan Malone was summoned to the bigs since he was amazing an amazing year in Orlando with 35 pts in 40 games. The best player this year with the Thunder is new comer Arthus Irbe who carries a 18-8-5 record with a 2,09GAA with a Sv%929. Honorable mention too Jiri Slegr who has the best year of his career with 38 pts in 48 games... requested a trade from the team.

Let's just hope that Tampa will miss the injury train and play the rest of the regular season with healthy bodies. If things follow their course, Tampa will finally be back in the VHL playoff and battle with everything they got to go until the end.....


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