A Lightning Festivus For The Rest Of Us!
Instead of heading out to spend a ton of money on Christmas Eve Eve, LightningShout is taking a different approach. Inspired by “Seinfeld” and Frank Costanza, we’re using today to celebrate Festivus as one of the best secular holidays out there. We’re going pick a few moments from the 2014-15 season and divide them into a few key categories: Airing of Grievances, Feats of Strength, and Festivus miracles. (Photo/Tarra Dunlop)
It’s a Festivus for the rest of us! Here’s what LightningShout staffers W.B. Philp, Alexis Boucher and Benjamin Woodward came up with.
Airing of Grievances: During the traditional Festivus meal each person tells everyone how they have disappointed them in the past year. To paraphrase Frank Costanza: “I’ve got a lot of problems with the Lightning and now you’re gonna hear about it!”
– I’ve been ranting about this for a while: lack of shots on goal. In the 12/15/14 loss to Pittsburgh, Steven Stamkos registered only 1 SOG for the entire game. One of the best scorers in the league had 1 SOG. This team has so much offensive prowess that not putting the puck on net is maddening.
– The Wheel of Hate for Lightning d-men and back up goaltenders. After long time scapegoat Eric Brewer was traded to Anaheim the haters have been out in force for Matt Carle and Evgeni Nabokov. Even if it’s not warranted.
– The Amalie Arena DJ. Nothing quite pumps you up for intense hockey action like… Katy Perry? There are so many choices out there and we hear the same crappy pop songs every single game.
– The trade of Nate Thompson. Oh, I know there are younger and less expensive players who can fill the same role. They got rid of my favorite player so it’s a matter of principle.
– Radko Gudas seems to be very proficient at skating deep into the offensive zone and then tripping over his own feet. Stepping on his beard?
– T.J. Brown (The Chief’s drunk name for him) is shooting blanks. He cannot finish…EVER! Brown sports a microscopic shooting percentage of 3.0 and has one goal in 26 games. Whiffffff!
– The wave…’nuff said.
– “The sky is falling”, “Chicken Little”, bitch, moan and complain after every loss Lightning fan. You know who you are! We’re doomed!
– The guy incessantly banging the free thunder sticks together with farm boy strength for the entire 60 minute game. Pass the Excedrin please. What?
– I hate to point out the obvious, and Jason has already covered this topic in excellent detail, but back-up goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has certainly fallen far short of expectations this season. After being signed in the off-season to provide insurance in case of another injury to Ben Bishop, Nabokov has already given way to 20-year-old rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy in the battle among Tampa Bay’s goaltending depth chart. Nabokov remains first in line should Bishop suffer any minor setback , but at this point it is clear that should Tampa Bay be forced to call upon another goaltender for an extended period of time, that man would be Vasilevskiy.
– Seems an awful lot like nitpicking, but it does say a lot about how the year has gone thus far when the only other item I can come up with here is Valterri Filppula’s peculiar -8 number in the plus/minus department. On the league’s highest scoring team, the number looks a bit out of place, espeically for a player typically strong on the puck in the defensive zone. Only one other Lightning player (Brian Boyle, minus-1) with more than thirty games played has produced a negative rating; an impressive statistic indeed.
After grievances have been aired another key part of the celebration takes place:
Feats of Strength: Traditionally Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the flood and pinned. Here’s a few moments where the Lightning have shown great intestinal fortitude.
– The Bolts hosted their first preseason game at home against the Nashville Predators on 9/23/14. With a line up comprised mostly of AHLers and prospects, one young man made a name for himself in Tampa that night. Defenseman Luke Witkowski dropped the gloves against Jonathan-Ismael Diaby in a hard hitting bout that brought the crowd to their feet. He also earned an assist and was named the 3rd star of the game.
– Ryan Callahan’s wrecking ball approach on the ice. Listed at 5’11” he is far from the biggest man on the ice. This doesn’t stop him from physically imposing himself in the corners and in front of the net. Seriously, he threw a check that broke a camera this season.
– Nikita Kucherov’s off season work to round out his game. A gifted scorer from the first shift of his NHL career, Kuch struggled as last season went on. His speed and skill have been a revelation on the “Triplet Line” with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. He’s also doing interviews in English. You go, Nikita.
– Lightning season ticket holders who have to endure the Kiss Cam 40+ times a year.
– The 12/4/14 penalty filled win against the Buffalo Sabres. The game ended with over 100 penalty minutes and had four fights. The Lightning have long been maligned as not being tough enough. They showed they have more than their fair share of sandpaper that night.
– A 19 year old, under six foot junior’s kid playing like a veteran in the NHL and making seasoned players look like plugs with his silky mitts. Meet Jonathan Drouin.
– Any real Lightning fan who restrains themselves from punching the bro behind them in the throat as he yells “SHOOOOT!” during the full two minute power play. Ugh.
– Tyler Johnson who NEVER EVER stops skating…EVER!
– Brett Connolly who fought back over and over again and now is firmly in the NHL. Huzzah!
– The ambiguously gifted one, coach Jon Cooper who may be the best doublespeaker in the NHL. “Well I wouldn’t say he’s injured but we’ll see after the morning skate if he shows up after the no big deal MRI. But a call up is possible.” Huh?
– Among his many savvy moves since taking over as Lightning general manager, Steve Yzerman has performed excellently on draft day, rebuilding the Bolts’ prospect cupboard and turning the franchise into a premier location for player development. This past summer, Stevie Y appears to have hit another home run, landing dazzling playmaker Brayden Point in the third round of the draft. Point, who’s recorded 44 points in 29 Western Hockey League games this season, was recently selected to Team Canada for the 39th annual World Junior Championships. The undersized forward has received heavy praise over the past several months for an incredible work ethic and tremendous on-ice vision.
– After bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 2013-14, registering 50 points while serving as Tampa Bay’s proverbial utility man, Tyler Johnson has emerged as a true superstar in the first half of this season. Averaging nearly a point per game, the Spokane, Washington native has been every bit the offensive catalyst that Steven Stamkos has been for the Bolts this season. In Johnson and rookie Russian Nikita Kucherov, Lightning bench boss Jon Cooper seems to have found a dynamic duo capable of anchoring his team’s second line for many years to come.
While not traditionally part of the day, Festivus Miracles have become a part of the celebration. They’re typically an ordinary or easily explained event.
– Valtteri Filppula putting the puck on net instead of always resorting to passing. He’s registered two goals in the last five games. It’s a Festivus Miracle!
– My Festivus Miracle occurred on December 4th at Amalie Arena. The Bolts crushed the hapless Sabres 5-0 in a penalty filled affair. In fact, both teams combined for 25 penalties totaling 106 penalty minutes. Four fighting majors and six misconducts were called. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Brett Connolly, Brenden Morrow, Brian Boyle, Cedric Paquette, Ryan Callahan and Tyler Johnson all saw time in the sin bin. What name is missing? Radko Gudas of course, who played 18:24 without being escorted to the box. Certainly a freaking miracle!
– Jon Cooper has finally decided to deploy Jonathan Drouin on the power-play! Yes, while he’s still behind Filppula, Callahan and a host of other forwards, Tampa Bay’s most-prized prospect is finally seeing time on the team’s first and second power-play unit.