March 4, 2009

The Tampa Bay Lightning at the Trade Deadline

Today was the NHL Trade Deadline, and the Tampa Bay Lightning didn't disappoint. As expected, they made some really bad moves and traded away some more veteran defense. But that's par for the course with these guys, right?

In all honesty, the only thing that I can come up with to explain all of today's Lightning trades is that they're making cap room for Lecavalier's contract extension, which starts in July, as well as anticipating the continued decline in attendance due to the economy. (Well, really it's because of moves like today's, and we'll let them keep their little delusions - but only because they refuse to acknowledge reality.) The only other alternative that I come up with to that scenario is that they're just completely insane.

Say it with me, guys. "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (That's a quote from Philip K. Dick, by the way.) Tattoo that on your body somewhere where you can see it.

I don't blame Lecavalier at all for this - if it is the contract thing, that is. Personally, I'm leaning towards insanity, myself. Maybe someone needs to do an intervention with these guys. Or perhap an exorcism instead? Anyone know any priests?

Frankly, it doesn't matter who put the numbers on the table for Lecavalier's contract. The fact of the matter is that the owners were more than happy to pay it - at least at the time. They could've offered (counter-offered? somehow I doubt that) something less. And anyone - anyone - in Vinny's position would've done the exact same thing and taken it.

No, it's poor management, plain and simple. It makes me wonder if they did any kind of assessment before buying this team. Did they know what they were getting themselves into? Was there some kind of business plan? Probably not. Judging by how they've mismanaged the players and the coaches, I'd say they've been winging it from the very beginning. And still are.

There have been conspiracy theories suggesting that they've been out to destroy the team from the beginning so they could move it. But I don't think so. Everything they've done has been too haphazard. There's no overall pattern to suggest it's been deliberate - other than to continually gut the defense.

Speaking of which, you know how I was saying that any organization would have to gut their team to make a trade for Lecavalier? Well, it looks like the Lightning are gutting their own team to keep him. And they have to keep him or else they'll risk alienating their entire fan base - including corporate sponsors. (Though I still think he could ask for a trade and none of the fans would blame him for it.)

Like I've said, it's not Vinny's fault. But he is the face of the franchise - he is the Lightning - and that's just how it is. So he's going to have to take the bad with the good. He could always ask for a trade in the offseason, though.

So gone are Eminger, Heward, Kolzig, & Recchi. Stuck is Roberts. That whole waiver thing had to have been pretty humiliating for him. And in return, they got a three minor league defensemen, a minor league forward, and a couple of draft picks.

Think the defense was young this season? This coming season will it'll probably be worse. It seems that they think that the defense is the only truly expendable part of the team.

What gets me about the whole situation is that Lawton has come out and said that they need to get better on defense. Personnel wise, I mean. So they are aware of the problem. My guess is that Barrie had something to do with it. I had thought it was all Lawton's show until I'd read on TSN today that Recchi hadn't been told anything during the process, and was finally told he was traded by Barrie - not by Lawton. So who's really the GM on this team, anyways?

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