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Written by Dani Toth | 14 May 2011

Good morning Bolts fans....

It's been a while since we've watched some Lightning hockey, but the Eastern Conference Finals are finally getting underway tonight. They'll be a few posts coming up today, like our Conversations with the Enemy post and a preview to Game 1 tonight in Boston, so check back later for more content.

To start off today, I have a video of a phone interview I did with Butch Stearns of The Pulse Network about the Lightning/Bruins matchup from earlier in the week:


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Written by Dani Toth | 11 May 2011

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Touching on two things here, one on what the title is about and the other is what he said in today's conference call with the press.

Let's start with his 'success'.

Lots has been made about the dramatic one year turnaround that Steve Yzerman has done with the Lightning. But I think lately the press has been getting a little carried away with crowning him a success as a General Manager. Yes, the Lightning are doing much better than any fan had hoped for. After many dismal years of being a fan of the team, the hope was that Yzerman could make this team competitive. His goal was to get the team in the playoffs. That's it, just the playoffs. The expectation was not to even win a series, and most certainly was not to have the team appear in the Eastern Conference Finals. So it's great that we're still in it, but I think we can all agree that no one expected it.

Steve Yzerman has added some pieces to the Lightning but a lot of the key pieces pieces that we have on this team were here before Yzerman became the GM. The two players who have been lightning it up, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, were here before Yzerman was here. Steven Stamkos, already here. Victor Hedman, already here. Ryan Malone, already here. Steve Downie, already here. I'm sure you are getting my point, but what I'm pointing out, is that forming this team, was not all Steve Yzerman.

Yzerman inherited a lot of players on a team that didn't have an identity or direction. And that's where he improved it. He brought in coaching and hardworking players. He brought in solid goaltending and a top 2 defenceman in Eric Brewer. And most importantly, he brought the team direction.

So while its great to laud him as being a good GM from the team's initial success, I think this is premature.

Yzerman's success will be best measured in 5 years, when we can see if the team can be regularly competitive year after year. This early praise of his great work as GM just seems a little premature. Maybe we've headed in this direction because we've had so much time off and the media are running out of things to write, but let's not start congratulating him on being a success, as opposed to having just a surprisingly successful first year.

Now as for what he said during today's talk with the press, he did talk about why so many teams this year have been able to come from being down 3-0 or 3-1 in the series to push a Game 7. He said he didn't know why there were more but he did point out:

"The games are so close. Every game is a one-goal game. In the Pittsburgh series we lost Game 4 in overtime, but really played a good game. It came down to one shot and it went in. The San Jose-Detroit series is the same way. Every single game is one goal and could go either way. The teams that fall behind, as long as they don't get discouraged, and make any adjustment they see fit, there's always hope."

"It seems like once a year throughout the playoffs there is a significant comeback. The more comebacks that happen, the more teams believe, 'Hey, we can do this' or it's possible."

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Written by Dani Toth | 10 May 2011

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Full schedule details of what the West might look like here on NHL.com no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 09 May 2011

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In Damien Cristodero's blog Lightning Strikes, Simon Gagne declares himself to be likely ready to play in Game 1.

The exact quote was: "I think," Gagne said, "we'll be good to go in Game 1."

Gagne didn't practice with the team on Sunday but in today's practice he wore a red non-contact jersey. It's a good sign to see him skating after dropping to the ice after that hit from Scott Hannan. Scary moment for his fans knowing his history with concussions. Now don't read too much into the red jersey as it is team protocol for an injured player to wear a red jersey their first practice back from injury, so we'll see if he's still wearing it later in the week, but this is fantastic news for the team. no comments

Written by Dani Toth | 09 May 2011

During the EC Final, Games 3, 4 and 6 (if needed) will be played at the St. Pete Times Forum. No dates have been released as of yet as the West is still playing Round 2, but ticket details for the games in Tampa have been released today.

The Lightning have announced that tickets to the general public goes on sale on Friday May 13th at 10am. And there is a pre-sale for full and half season ticket holders that will begin on Wednesday May 11th at 10am. There is a limit to four tickets per purchase during the pre-sale period. Prices range between $40 to $200 plus applicable taxes.

Full details here. #AllIn
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Written by Dani Toth | 09 May 2011

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After Sunday's practice, Coach Boucher called Tim Thomas 'an enigma' while talking to the media according to CSNNE.com suggesting that Tim Thomas might be the biggest potential difference-maker in the series.

Now Boucher has used strategy when talking to the media before each series had started, building up one aspect of the other team, it seemed he was doing it to let the press run with a particular story he planted the seed for. In the Lightning-Pens series, it was all about Boucher telling the media that he expected Crosby to play which had the reporters writing that story to death when Crosby was nowhere near playing. Then in the Lightning-Caps series it was all about the David-Goliath series, which as we can see from the outcome, was not a very true comparison.

So you might think that when Boucher talks now about Thomas, maybe he's creating the same media smoke screen as he had done previously to deflect attention from his team. We'll get to the enigma part in another post, but as for the other part, I'd have to agree with what he says about Thomas being the potential difference-maker, although I'd limit that to being for Boston not the series in general. I think this series' potential difference-maker is the goaltending for either team.

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Written by Dani Toth | 07 May 2011

We have ourselves an opponent

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The Boston Bruins completed their sweep of the Philadephia Flyers last night with a 5-1 win. They advance on the Eastern Conference Finals. Now we are just waiting for the West to finish up before the schedule gets released.

Say hello to our new enemy blog: Days of Y'Orr

Bring it on Bruins no comments