For quite some time, the Washington Capitals rolled through a laughable Southeast Division without breaking a sweat. That seemed to change last season, as the upstart Tampa Bay Lightning held the top spot during parts of 2010-11 until the Caps outlasted them.
Not surprisingly, Bolts head coach Guy Boucher wants to develop the Lightning into a fixture in the Southeast – and therefore, a thorn in the Capitals side. CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley captured this juicy little bit of bulletin board material from Boucher.
“Last year we showed that we were the new kids on the block for them and they are used to being first,” Boucher told the Tampa Tribune. “We were kind of in their way as a thorn in their side and this year we are planning on being a thorn in both sides, hopefully.’’
That quote demands not one but two awful pop culture references. The first one is obvious (New Kids on the Block/Donnie Wahlberg jokes), while the second should revolve around the horrid hair metal ballad “Every Rose has its thorn.” At least, that’s the way I read that one …
Anyway, the Lightning have some pieces to be a thorn in at least one of the Capitals’ sides for the foreseeable future. Martin St. Louis still has plenty of life left in his game while Tampa Bay boasts young star Steven Stamkos and potential franchise blueliner Victor Hedman.
Still, the Lightning must prove they can stick around like the Caps have, even if they’ve already reached a higher peak in the postseason. The two teams will provide the first taste of how that rivalry will shake out on Versus tonight.