Tampa Bay Lightning Pregame: Tampa Smells

Doug Johnson of the Puck Buddys is back from break. Follow PB on Twitter.

The Pregame: Tampa. Sh*t, I’m still only in Tampa.

Or them, technically. Meaning us. As in, them, Tuesday night, isn’t us. And us don’t like them.

As dance partners go, Tampa Bay is the nattering, grabby-hands B.O. champion* of NHL cities. The one you get stuck with while your date runs off for a giggle as you try to shake him/her/it loose, but you can’t, because no-one else will even look at them, as they are now adhered to you like dog stain on rug, like flab on hips, like a vote-starved politician (redundant!) to your wallet.

Try as you might, they just won’t go away, and the longer they stay attached to you your social capital sucks dry as you furiously look for some escape but come to realize that, no, you and this thing are now welded together in a grotesque, condemned to dancing together for all eternity, or at least until realignment. Face it, Tampa: you smell.

The Puck Drop

Wideman! (Photo credit: Christian Petersen)

So whoopee, here we go again, like another “presidential” debate, another roundhouse with the smelly Bolts, all of us fresh from the pointless All-Star Game shenanigans. And by all of us we mean, duh, Wides, who gave good help to Team Ook Chiara while the rest of the Capitals bench went to go see The Artist or pickled tomatoes or whatever it is they do during break ::coughXBoxcough::

Twice before, once at home and once down in stink-town, we shimmied out a victory against Tampa, but only in the last post-last moments. Honestly, they were both strange games. Given that a measly nine points separate us in SE division, and given the up-and-downs we’ve both experienced this year, and what with them being what they’uns is, it’s hard to know what to expect. Meaning:

What Makes Them Hot, and Not

Dwayne Roloson

1: Damn You Stam(ko).  Remember when we used to laugh and laugh at the old man antics of Dwayne “When Is Matlock On?” Roloson? Hoho,with a save percent of .882 and GAA of 3.65, we figure he’s mostly sucking down his Metamucil while in net. Sadly, we can’t so glibly dismiss Tampa’s real talents… and at the top of the list is Steve Stamkos.

Only one man can claim top honors where it counts, and Stamkos (32G/20A, plus-1) has it. Far behind, but not far enough, are Martin “Short Man” St. Louis and Vincent “Le Biz Nasty” Lecavalier. Largely nonthreatening so far has been Steve “Dryer Sheet” Downie  (minus-18?!), but of course you can’t build a team on just one or two stars, because lulz who would do that? We’ve got our eye on Matt Gilroy (off an injury and angry) and Tom Pyatt this game.

Vincent Lecavalier

2: Road Non-Warriors: So OK, the Bolts are 4 for their last 5, although only one of those (Boston) really counts by our metric.While we’re rockin’ the home games (18-6-1) but sorta sucky on the road (8-13-2), they’re also kinda getting their freak-on down at the Times Forum (13-7-1.) We’re saddled with injuries we don’t need, and the Bolts are, weirdly, largely band-aid free.

And in news you already know, the Caps have called up Cody “Squeak” Eakin and Joel “You Lookin At Me” Rechlicz from Hershey. At 1G/27A, Mr. ReSchlitz isn’t exactly a power player, except for his fists. Perhaps this is another bit of Coach Hunter’s perspective, but look for a little more aggressive play by the Caps. Which we think factors them as hotter than notter.

The Line

Puck drop at 7:30 (isn’t that like Albanian time?) on that NBC sports-mess. Expect every one of their on-air talent to be swimming madly in the pool for Tampa and whining about Ovi’s no-show at the meaningless All-Star yecch. Because I bet over my head, not with it, we’ve got Caps by 2. Yes, by two. Suck on that, Smell-ville.

Meme of the Night

*Postscript: haha we tried working in “halitosis” here but were checked by our realization that there really is no such thing except in the feverish dreams of avarice of ad-men, and that we already had one smelly reference in the joke, which is exactly enough for Tampa.

  • Guest

    any update on when Backstrom is coming back?