Alas, another season has come and gone and Canucks fans are left once again without their team ready to take them to the dance. So what are you to do? Fear not! As we are the helpful and caring types, we have begun our annual campaign to find homes for Canucks fans who don’t want hockey to be over. Remember, your loyalty is nothing trivial, so make them tell you why you should pledge your allegiance in the quest for hockey’s ultimate prize.
Tampa is the team I want the Canucks to be. Fast forwards and big defensemen that will shoot. Tampa is the team I wouldn’t mind seeing in the SCF. Matthew Esteves would like it if you cheered for the Lightning, but if I do they will probably lose. Tampa Bay won the President’s Trophy this year and that might the biggest curse of them all when trying to get Lord Stanley’s beer holder.
Question #1: You have Kuch, Stamkos, Point, Hedman, the best PP and PK in the league, sweet lord….you guys have it all. Is there a weakness to be found on this team?
The weakness with Tampa Bay is found in their defense. Not that they’re bad defensively, just if you’re going to nitpick that is the area to do it at. Structurally, the Lightning are sound, but they do have a propensity to allow more high danger chances than average. This is mitigated thanks to Andrei Vasilevskiy being Andrei Vasilevskiy, but it is still something to keep an eye on. If a team with great shooting talent is able to force more high danger chances against Tampa Bay and Vasilevskiy isn’t on his game then things can get ugly.
Question #2: Does a team like Columbus, who hasn’t beaten you in two years, have any chance? What would have to go wrong for the Lightning to start golfing early?
Every team has a chance to win a 7-game series in the postseason. I’ve seen a lot of “TB in 4 or 5” come up, and my most recent podcast episode (which releases today) has me saying TB in 6. Columbus has the pieces to be a big threat, it’s just a matter of if they’re able to be consistent. Sergei Bobrovsky is an elite goaltender, but his struggles in the postseason are well known. At some point, he has to turn the page on that. Is that this year? Well, in TB we hope not, but regardless, if the Lightning offense goes cold for some reason and Columbus capitalizes on their chances then this series could get interesting.
Question #3: Boston or Toronto? Which team do you hate more and why? (Canucks fans hate them both)
I don’t care who wins, to be honest. I’ve never liked Boston in any sport. Toronto annoys me more than anything. My prediction was Toronto in 7, but Boston winning wouldn’t surprise me (at some point Toronto needs to stop crying about the playoff format and actually work for something to be seen as a legitimate threat in the east). Hate? I don’t really hate any team. I just either like or dislike. I dislike both, but I dislike Boston more.
Bonus: How much money do you throw at Brayden Point’s next contract and who has to be shipped out to make room?
Oh man...that’s a multi-faceted answer that I can’t fully answer (mainly because I’d go on a multi paragraph/several hundred word diatribe on the situation). But, to spitball, Point gets at least 8M and one of Miller, Killorn, Johnson, or Palat are moved (yes, I know some of them have NTC, but those can be waived if the player wills it, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility, just not entirely probable). It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out because his contract is going to affect a lot of other RFAs.
So you see, the one reason to cheer for Tampa Bay is the fact Matthew hates both Boston and Toronto. Educated fans like Matthew are easy to agree with. Thanks again to Matthew for answering my questions. You can follow him on Twitter @mattestevesSBN