I’m still flinching from last night’s maddening Lightning game against the Penguins. Can I remain in blissful denial a bit longer, and would you pretend to believe me if I said the Lightning didn’t blow countless scoring opportunities, that they didn’t humiliate themselves, and that they weren’t shut out 2-0?
The only Lightning player who showed any signs of life or brain activity was someone who only recently acquired the Lightning uniform: the goalie from Dallas, Mike Smith. He did the best he could, with the lousy team he was forced to work with. His playing style concerned me the first time I watched him goaltend. He has a very bored, unanimated way of standing, and he makes saves by casually flipping out a glove or nonchalantly dropping a knee. It works for him though, except when the Lightning can’t keep the puck at the other goal, can’t score, and force Smith to work twice as hard as the other goalie. In his defense, the 2nd goal was scored on an empty net.
The best part of the game was Petr Sykora’s penalty shot for a bogus tripping call on Lecavalier. Oh, he was tripping all right; he was falling down himself, flailed his arms out to break the fall, and accidentally swung his stick in the way of a Penguins player. (Never mind 2 Penguins who football-tackled a Lightning player later in the game, with not a peep from the refs.) Sykora got to make a one-on-one run against Smith, who dropped a knee to block the shot, held out the puck in his glove for a moment, then flipped it onto the ice as if to say “There’s your damn puck. Fetch.”
Smith also blocked 2 shots by Sidney Crosby, who decided to join his team last night. I waited the entire game for someone to check bratty boy into the glass, but so far, nada.
How can my team lose to a gang of hockey players like Malkin and Crosby, who both traipse about with their lower lips jutted out like cavemen and I’ve-been-hit-in-the-head-one-time-too-many-times, dazed expressions permanently etched on their faces?
I’m still shaking my head.