Hello. Today we're talking to John Fantana of Raw Charge. Enjoy.
1. You guys beat the Toronto Maple Leafs last night with the help of Maine goalie Ben Bishop and Vermont forward Martin St. Louis. When do we see a school in Florida join Hockey East?
You know, that’s a great question that actually deserves a full post sometime… While a lot of schools in Florida and in the south have club hockey, the only NCAA Division I hockey program in the south Is the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Florida schools actually push their club teams to NCAA sanctioned status… But being part of Hockey East? I can’t even begin to guess if and when a Florida school attempts to climb that mountain (or gets asked to join the conference).
2. With two games to go, Tampa Bay is cruising in 3rd-last in the league. What went wrong?
Everything? The team started on a torrid pace to open the season and then the NHL caught up. The offense-first philosophy that was beign employed ran up scores early, but then other teams started playing defense… And the Bolts failed to do that well.
And everything unraveled from there. Poor defense exposed flaws in goaltending (which I maintain isn’t personnel related), coaching didn’t adapt to those flaws and that lead to the ouster of Guy Boucher as head coach. By the time that happened, there was too little season left to realistically expect the team to adjust on-the-fly to Jon Cooper as head coach.
Despite scoring more goals than opponents, the Lightning of 2013 are one of the most underperforming disappointments of all time in Tampa Bay.
3. Speaking of 3rd-worst in the league...if that's where you end up, you'll be guaranteed a top-4 pick. In fact, at this point I think you can end up no better than 7th-worst. Which draftee are you guys hoping to get?
Maybe I’m living in denial but I haven’t been thinking all that much about the draft up to this point. The draft lottery will happen soon enough and we’ll know the order of things (and, this year, any team can win the #1 overall pick in the lottery, which may further screw up draft order).
Unrealistically, and like every other non-playoff team, the ideal player that the Bolts land is likely-#1 pick defenseman Seth Jones. But that’s dependent on actually, y’know, winning the draft lottery.
The Lightning system is producing talent, player development is becoming a strong suit for the Lightning… So I’m not going to name anyone. I trust in management.
Thanks again to Raw Charge for doing this! Be sure to check out their coverage, as well.