Interesting piece today from the Tampa Bay Times’ Damien Cristodero in which several Lightning players — Martin St. Louis, Dwayne Roloson, Ryan Malone — copped to not working hard, smart or consistently enough this season.
After getting to within a game of the Stanley Cup finals last year, the Lightning admitted to feeling a sense of “entitlement” (St. Louis’ term, not mine) that’s resulted in an inattention to detail and inconsistent effort.
Hearing his players admit this publicly pleased head coach Guy Boucher.
“It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous,” he told the Times. “Until you say that you’re an alcoholic you can’t make the steps.
“Players maybe felt a sense of entitlement, so it’s good it’s internalized. Before they were being told but it wasn’t internalized. Now they realize where they are.”
Where they are is buried in the Eastern Conference standings. Tampa sits 13th with 37 points, nine back of eighth-place Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot. While nine points isn’t insurmountable, Tampa’s real issue is the number of teams they’ll have to leapfrog: Montreal, Buffalo, Washington and Winnipeg, the latter playing some solid hockey as of late (the Jets are 6-3-1 over their last 10 and have the third-best home record in the East.)
Despite this, St. Louis said the team is still optimistic about its chances of making the postseason.
“All the guys who had success last year are still here,” he said. “We lost a few guys but we still have some key guys here who got it done.
“We’ve got to get on a long run pretty quick.”