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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Dumpster Fire in Tampa Bay

Gbs sign
By Scp333 (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons
With all that water on the shores of Tampa Bay, they can’t put out this dumpster fire any time soon. It’s not often that you see a team go from the Eastern Conference Finals to last place. Usually you see their superstar go to greener pa$tures or out to pasture. A talented team that had a long run with a core of players and it’s just time to get a new core. But with Stamkos out 4 months with a bad knee, one could see how they have started to circle the drain. But this is a team that lost him late last season to thoracic outlet syndrome (basically the outlet for the nerves from the neck gets impeded). He is a large cog in their machine, but they made it through 2 rounds of the playoffs and forced a game 7 in the finals.

So we can take Stamkos out of the equation of why they are in last. A good team can lose that level of player and still function. Might not be in the top of the league, but shouldn’t be in last place. Steve Yzerman did not skimp on the free agent market either. He was able to get Drouin to rescind his trade request, signed Stamkos to 8 years, Hedman to 8 years, Killorn to 7 and Vasilevskiy to 3. It’s not like he had the constraints of Bob Nutting’s wallet going into the off-season. Seeing those signings and keeping a great player as well, one would think the team would be fine.

So what does that leave… Ownership is spending money, GM making good choices. A solid team even without a star… Coaching? This is a team that made the Stanley Cup finals in 2015 and lost the Conference finals this past year in a 7th game to a red hot Pittsburgh team. So it’s not his lack of coaching experience or knowledge. For one reason or another it seems head coaches in the NHL have a shelf life shorter than a college relationship. Even Scotty Bowman and Mike Babcock wore out their welcomes after a while. Dan Bylsma came in and opened up the offense of Pittsburgh in the 08/09 season and led them to a cup. Then it was obvious a few years later he lost the room. Hockey players are fickle when it comes to coaches. A relationship that works for a few years will just stop working. The players might just get board of the same style of play or the same message over and over. I think it’s time for a coaching change in Tampa. A fresh start for both the coach and the players is what is needed.

Waiting until the end of the year might be a good call, give a long tendered coach a chance to turn it around. If he doesn’t; they need to be picky on who they hire. They have a core and quality management; I would expect this team to be a bottom feeder much past this season.

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