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Kudos to the Bolts


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This club is one fire, and yes, Stamkos and the old man are scoring but this is a young club that is dangerous because they have cap space to fill holes by the deadline and a bunch of young kids who are playing smart hockey. They include:


Tyler Johnson winning faceoffs and playing tough PK minutes,

Alex Killorn 12 points in 14 games

Radko Gudas defenseman 5 points, 55 penalty minutes. Unlike most fighters this guy can really play

Brett Connolly scored his first NHL goal two days ago. Hopefully up for good

Andrej Sustr another solid d-man not afraid to get dirty

Add in Labrie, Palat and Panik who have all contributed and you see this club has a ton of solid young players who are contributing on a nightly basis. Free agent signee Val Filpulla has been contributing nicely Matt carle has been a nice puck mover.


  And then there is Ben Bishop


 I really was shocked and could not understand the trade of Cory Conacher to the Senators for Bishop at the deadline last season, here was a goalie going to his third organization in less than a year. In retrospect, Bishop had been stuck behind brick walls in St. Louis and Ottawa and coming to Tampa has given him a chance to excel and show what he is capable of. a 9-2 record with a 2.15 GAA and a save pct. of .925 is looking less like a fluke every start. He is playing with confidence and giving it to his team, make no mistake, this is quickly becoming HIS team.

  I said before the year that this club would finish ahead of either Toronto or Montreal. Nothing I have seen has discouraged this belief.

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This is going to be a tough team to play. I am actually starting to see Lightning fans here in Florida so they are finally starting to draw fans again after their previous Cup season. There have always been a few of the hard core fans but they were pretty invisible fan-wise for a few years now. Stamkos is one of the most exciting guys to watch on the ice and it looks as if Tampa has found a pretty good complimentary team around him.

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Great start by the Bolts, but still a long season ahead.


The team is showing many signs that Steve Yzerman does indeed know what he is doing (many were calling for his head during last season's shortened schedule...which is ridiculous), and he has gone about quietly building a big, mobile defense, while at the same time addressing the goaltending issues the team so desperately needed to have fixed.


I can see the youth on the team make some big time mistakes when playing seasoned teams the likes of the Pens and Bruins for instance, but really, if the team stays the course, it's nothing that can't be remedied.


Jon Cooper and his systems has been great for the team so far and having the team play with a bit more of an edge (and removing anyone who can't or won't play that way) has gone a long way to ensure other teams aren't pushing the Lightning around game in, game out.


I still am not happy that Vinnie Lecavalier isn't part of the seemingly resurgent Bolts, but then again, this was Stevie Y thinking ahead and knowing full well he has a compliment of young players he will need to pay to keep down the road and Vinnie's salary was simply a roadblock to that.

And for all intents and purpose, Valtteri Filppula has taken Vinnie's roster spot, and he has been excellent for the team.


No, Filppula won't be as physical as Lecavalier can be, but I've seen him playmake like nobody's business, and have also seen him stick handle in close quarters in ways that I don't believe Lecavalier could have.


Looking forward to seeing what else this team can do against more of the "big boys" in the Eastern Conference in the weeks and months to come.


Bolts beating the Blackhawks twice, the Blues, and the Wild was pretty impressive, however, the bottom line is, they need to be able to handle the elite EC teams....beating Detroit IN Detroit was a good start for that, but I wanna see this team really take it to the likes of Toronto, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Ottawa (yes, Ottawa IS better than their record currently indicates..mark that!).


Keep it going Tampa Bay!

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