The Lightning, at one time a major threat to take back the Southeast crown after years of wandering in post-lockout "Saw" and pony show mismanagement, are now a victim of division leader Washington's 9-1 streak and their own stumbles, just 2-4-4 in their last 10. With 89 points (three behind 4th-seed Pittsburgh), they're still on a playoff course and have an outside shot at home ice advantage. With Islanders alumni Dwayne Roloson, Sean Bergenheim and Nate Thompson on board, that push has the support of some Isles fans looking for a playoff horse to back.
So we haven't discussed this in this forum yet, but I know we have uni-watchers here: What do you think of the Lightning's brand and jersey revamp for next season? My first reaction was they went too far in trying to imitate Steve Yzerman's old franchise. Simplicity is good, blue is good -- but the Lightning are one of the few teams for whom black was a major part of their identity from the beginning. Eliminating that in favor of two-tonal monotony was wrong; they've since relented a bit and will add hints of black as well as bolts on the pants to the new design.
The new logo reminds me of a superhero cartoon chest logo, but I think that's purely personal taste. It's hard to capture the crooked and oblong motif of a lightning bolt within the more traditional shapes of a hockey crest -- every previous incarnation of their logo has felt off to me, too -- so I think they may have done the best you can there. Hopefully it will eventually feel like a classic.
We Can Talk about the Actual Game, Too
As for the game, Roloson is indeed reported to be starting against his old mates, while Al Montoya gets the nod at the opposite end. When Montoya was drafted, Roloson -- a late bloomer himself -- had already played 300 NHL regular season and playoff games.
|2010-11 - Sean Bergenheim
|2010-11 - Nate Thompson
The two forward alumni are doing the grinder's life quite similar to what they were doing on the Island. Bergenheim, who's used less on the PK than Thompson, also gets a ration of PP time, but that's only accounted for three of his points.
Bergenheim has also taken 24 minor penalties, which -- well Isles fans know that's always been an issue with him. He still draws his share (about 1.2 per 60 minutes of TOI, which is fairly high on that team), but that ledger still tips against him.
As for Thompson, there is a new interview with him on SNY-Point Blank, which I haven't listened to yet but I'm sure is good. Billing says he talks about the Isles turnaround and the respectful fight he had with Matt Martin soon after Thompson was waived.
But enough about former Islanders. Marc-Andre Bergeron-- hey, I said enough! The Islanders got some golfing in between these two Florida games, while the Lightning need to correct a few things and finish this season like a team that means to make real noise in the playoffs. Among the stories in that last link is a bit about "breakdowns" and the Lightning's league-leading 13 shorthanded goals allowed. You know what that means: Release the Grabner.
Links and Threads O' Plenty
- Michael Fornabaio's weekly Bridgeport chat is today at 1:30. They've added a few guys on ATO's who...well let's just say they keep their kitchen stocked with foil.
- As mentioned above, here's the SNY-Point Blank interview with Thompson.
- Can't find this reported anywhere, but a source tells me Evgeni Nabokov will be a scratch tonight (severe case of athlete's fit, month to month).
- Down Goes Brown as only DGB can: Inside the Cooke suspension hearing. [Fanshot thread here.]
- Discuss, discuss, discuss! FanPosts galore, including where you see Nino Niederreiter and Calvin de Haan on next year's team, a microstat look at how the Islanders forwards are doing (with colors!)...
- ...And among several FanShots, one question I've been asking: How often should we expect Michael Grabner to score on breakaways? To me this is a question that goes into situational observation rather than shot-distance numbers, etc., but of course that requires going back and looking at every time he's had a breakaway. (Also: How do we define breakaway?)
We're getting down to the wire. Several members have three FIG wins each. Only nine games left to go. Get your pick in at this FanShot.