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Free LCS 1997-98
Reader Hockey Pool
head coach: Jacques Demers
roster: C - Jason Bonsignore, Steve Kelly, Paul Ysebaert, Daymond Langkow, Brian Bradley. RW - Mikael Renberg, Mick Vukota, Dino Ciccarelli, Alexander Selivanov, Mikael Anderson. LW - Rob Zamuner, Troy Mallette, Jason Wiemer, Patrick Poulin, Vladimir Vujtek, Louie Debrusk. D - Cory Cross, Jeff Norton, Jamie Huscroft, Karl Dykhuis, David Shaw, Yves Racine, Bryan Marchment, Igor Ulanov. G - Daren Puppa, Corey Schwab, Derek Wilkinson, Zac Bierk.
injuries: Troy Mallette, lw (herniated disk, out for season); Brian Bradley, c (concussion/wrist injury, indefinite); Daren Puppa, g (back spasms, indefinite); Cory Schwab, g (sprained ankle, indefinite); Yves Racine, d (sprained right ankle, day-to-day).
transactions: Traded Roman Hamrlik, d, and Paul Comrie, lw, to the Edmonton Oilers for Bryan Marchment, d, Steve Kelly, c, and Jason Bonsgnore, c; assigned Brent Peterson, lw, to Milwaukee (IHL); recalled Derek Wilkinson, g, from Cleveland (IHL); recalled Zac Bierk, g, from Adirondack (AHL).
Eastern Conference - Atlantic Division Team GP W L T PTS GF GA New Jersey 44 28 14 2 58 132 92 Philadelphia 44 25 11 8 58 134 97 Washington 46 21 17 8 50 128 122 Florida 46 15 21 10 40 117 131 NY Rangers 45 14 19 12 40 114 123 NY Islanders 45 15 25 5 35 112 132 Tampa Bay 44 9 27 8 26 78 135
12/14 at Philadelphia L 3-0 12/16 at Pittsburgh T 1-1 12/17 Boston W 2-0 12/20 Rangers T 2-2 12/22 St. Louis T 2-2 12/23 at Rangers L 4-1 12/27 Boston L 3-1 12/29 San Jose W 2-1 12/31 Rangers W 2-0 01/02 Florida T 2-2 01/03 Anaheim L 4-1 01/07 Toronto L 5-2 01/09 at New Jersey L 4-1 01/11 Philadelphia L 5-2
by Seth Lerman, Tampa Bay Correspondent
The Tampa Bay Lightning would probably be better off appearing on an episode of ER rather than in a National Hockey League building. Since October, the NHL's worst hockey team has lost star players Brian Bradley, Daren Puppa, Mikael Renberg, Dino Ciccarelli, Corey Schwab, and John Cullen to long term injuries.
Add this to the Lightning's dismal on-ice performance and you can say, "With the first pick in the 1998 NHL entry draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning select Vincent Lecavalier from Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Hockey League" faster than Roman Hamrlik left town.
With more than half the season gone, the Lightning rank last in goals scored (75), goals per game (1.7), shooting percentage (6.8), power-play goals (17), and points (26)
Most professional hockey franchises will not let injuries be an excuse for poor play, and the Lightning are no exception.
In fact, coach Jacques Demers believes the worst is now behind them. With 39 games remaining, he feels the Lightning will be in a good position to fight for a playoff spot - as long as the club stays healthy, which, thus far, has not been the case.
Management will agree with him. Although, a trade with the Edmonton Oilers which brought Jason Bonsignore, Steve Kelly, and Bryan Marchment in return for Roman Hamrlik and Paul Comrie indicates that the Lightning are looking towards the future rather than the present.
Of the three, Marchment has the most experience. The former first-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets is in his tenth NHL season while Kelly and Bonsignore have a combined 29 games of NHL experience.
It was apparent that Roman Hamrlik's days with the Tampa Bay Lightning were few when coach Jacques Demers referred to the underachieving defenseman as a ship lost at sea.
For Hamrlik, the change of scenery might rejuvenate his career. As a member of the Lightning, Hamrlik has fallen on some difficult times. Since being tagged with the "franchise player" label, Hamrlik turned in five-and-a-half seasons of inconsistent play. His best year was in 1995-96 when he scored 16 goals and added 49 assists in leading the Lightning to their first and only playoff birth.
Since then he has battled with former coach Terry Crisp. It was hoped by management that Hamrlik would flourish under Demers but that has simply not happened.
In return, the Lightning receive two young prospects and a veteran defenseman known for delivering devastating bodychecks. Just ask Mike Modano and Greg Adams of the Dallas Stars, who were both injured after being hit by Marchment.
Although the trade was a move that many fans had been waiting for, it did not solve any problems on the ice. Since the trade, the Lightning have gone 1-4-1 and speculation arises that Esposito is not done pulling the trigger. It has been rumored that he will acquire Kevin Todd from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for either David Shaw or Yves Racine to plug a hole at center, but don't expect a mountain to crumble if that deal is made.
Owner Steve Oto has said that Phil Esposito's job is safe and that he has great confidence in his scouting staff. But with the sale of the club pending, and the team crumbling, expect a total overhaul in the near future.
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