Hi. My name is Cassie. And I have a problem.
I'm in denial. You see, the Tampa Bay Lightning are currently second in the Southeast Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference, and sixth overall in the NHL. Many people would be happy with that, especially considering what this team has been through in the past couple of years. But I just can't quite wrap my head around all of that.
The worst part about this is that I write for the SB Nation Lightning site, Raw Charge. So I'm watching all of their games, reading Lightning news, writing many of the game recaps, et cetera. It's not as if I'm just a casual fan of the team or a bandwagon jumper or anything like that.
Yes, Steven Stamkos is currently leading the NHL in both points (24) and goals (13). Yes, goaltender Dan Ellis ninth overall in the NHL with save percentage (.924), and seventh overall with goals against (2.11). Yes, Vincent Lecavalier is having a much better season than he has in a while, and Martin St. Louis has scored more goals at this point in the season than he had last season. I get all of this.
I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop is all.
There were times during the twisted reign of the previous ownership group, OK Hockey, where things weren't so bad. Where you could almost think that the front office antics were finally dying down and where the coaching was almost okay. There were stretches where the team actually did fairly well, and you started to believe that maybe all of the craziness was past them. And then it all collapsed on them in a hugely horrific way.
So I just can't quite believe that it's real. That the good fortune that has been showered upon them by Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman, and Guy Boucher is permanent. Every team has its ups and downs, certainly, but I'm talking more downs than ups here - as was the case for the past couple of seasons.
I want them to do well. I really do. And I'm happy that it'd not been ugly - so far. But until this becomes a sustained effort - the season is a marathon and not a sprint, after all - I'm just not quite going to believe it. I can't. I've had my hopes brought up too high by this team, only to have them viciously dashed on the rocks.
I keep telling people "talk to me in February" about how this team is doing. But I don't really mean it. Until the Tampa Bay Lightning are in playoffs again, and have played at least one playoff game, I will still be in denial about their doing well. I can't get excited - not yet.
This is how OK Hockey has traumatized me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. And not just Len Barrie and Oren Koules, but Brian Lawton, Barry Melrose, and Rick Tocchet as well. So let me know when to look, because right now, I'm just waiting for the train wreck to happen.
[By the way, for those in Canada (Remembrance Day) & the US (Veteran's Day), don't forget to honor your military veterans today. There are probably a lot more out there than you realize. And whether they've served in a time of peace, or a time of conflict or war, they all deserve a thank you.]