Dominic Moore looks to step up in Stepan’s absence (Bygone Bolts)

Your latest round-up of former Lightning players in new places:

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All this time it was Pursul? Teddy Purcell clears a few things up (Bygone Bolts)

There are so many former Bolts around the league, this entire link dump is devoted to them as camp opened this week. The first one floors me.

Nothing to report from Jussi Jokinen, Dan Ellis, BJ Crombeen, Steve Downie, Adam Hall, Stephane Veilleux

Another former Bolt heading to court for bad behavior (Bygone Bolts)

Just remember that sports stars never were and never will be all upright citizens. They are human and are fallible.

Rudy Poeschek played for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1993-1997 as an enforcer racking up about 400 penalty minutes, six goals and 21 points over the course of 213 games. He found trouble off the ice through the years, and his latest charge is for assault, dangerous driving and driving while prohibited in his hometown of Kamloops, B.C., according to Kamloops This Week. The paper went on to note that the 47-year-old hasn’t appeared in court yet and has had a history of run-ins with the law.

Probably the most bizarre was in 2005 when he took his 1998 Lexus sports utility vehicle through his neighbors’ lawns while his 5-year-old daughter was in the car. The day ended with him getting shot by a Taser gun and a trip to the hospital for head injuries from the car crash, according to a story in the St. Petersburg Times.

Here’s the odd joyride from the St. Pete Times in 2005:

He and his daughter got out of the vehicle and a neighbor took the girl home to her mother, Poeschek’s wife, Heather.

When police came a while later looking for Poeschek, he wasn’t home and couldn’t be found, officials said.

He turned up 90 minutes later. A neighbor called deputies and said Poeschek was hiding in the neighbor’s garage.

When officers went there to arrest Poeschek, he bolted.

He dashed twice around a pond, with deputies in pursuit, before they shot him with a Taser, which stuns people with a powerful electrical charge.

Poeschek was arrested about 11 a.m. and charged with being a habitual traffic offender, driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest without violence, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage and driving with a child not wearing a seat belt, sheriff’s officials said.

He was taken to University Community Hospital in Carrollwood for treatment of head injuries related to the car accident. He was later booked into jail and held in lieu of $2,750 bail.

Authorities said he did not appear intoxicated.

The story went on to document past charges in Tampa for child abuse, false imprisonment (for holding someone against their will), giving false information to get prescription drugs and several charges for driving on a suspended license.

Obviously the enforcer needs help, counseling and you wonder giving his fighting history and apparent need for prescription drugs in one case, how much the retired and current NHL community has reached out to help the guy. You’ve read the stories on the concerns about enforcers mixing prescription drugs with their livelihood, some battling depression from concussions and some dying.

It almost seems like, at least for now, Ryan Malone, has a good support system around him, with enough people around him and enough self-awareness to enter the substance abuse program in the NHL for his drunken driving and cocaine possession charge. Pleading no contest to the charges, he’s allowed to continue his life with a few restrictions. Now that Ryan Malone is on his way to . He’s apparently in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area skating where reports surfaced he was talking with the New York Rangers for a potential try-out deal.

I don’t know how Rudy can or ever pull it together and move on, but he has demons he needs to face if he will. If you want to read an honest take on hockey players dealing with substance abuse and what led to it, read Theo Fluery’s “Playing With Fire” and Nashville Predator Rich Clune’s radio show or Google for one of several interviews he’s given on the topic.  And if you need help, talk to a friend, talk to your parents, talk to a professional. Someone is there to help.

BYGONE BOLTS

  • “The first thing in my mind was, ‘I’m not going to die here right now, so let’s get this thing moving.'” Wishing Cory Sarich a full recovery as the former Bolt and free agent opens up about his slow recovery from a bad bike accident, finger tips bleeding and all. Kristen Odland | Calgary Herald
  • How valuable is former Bolt B.J. Crombeen to the bottom six of the Coyotes and can also-former Bolt Mike Smith recapture his magic? And what of Sam Gagner, he of the Lightning (on paper) for a hot minute? NHL.com’s season preview ponders those questions among others for the ‘Yotes. Davis Harper | NHL
  • “He’s an excellent skater who closes gaps and is able to get quickly to forechecks, and it’s something that was sorely lacking in our game throughout our lineup.” Oilers GM Craig MacTavish on adding former Bolt Benoit Pouliot to the roster. Derek Van Diest | NHL
  • Flyers coach Craig Berube says Vincent Lecavalier needs to change his game a little and needs to “get over” the trade rumors. Sounds like coach talk for “you are so close to being traded but I need to put up with you until you do.”  Randy Miller | The Star-Ledger
  • Jussi Jokinen, he of 2007-2009 seasons, is excited to play with fellow Fin Aleksander Barkov on the Panthers. Steve Werier | Florida Panthers

 

Chris Gratton and Steve Yzerman: The Fine Whiners

If the “24/7” series taught us anything, it’s that trash talking in the NHL is also pro quality.

Retired NHL referee Paul Stewart dished some dirty ice shavings in his relatively new Huffington Post blog (he’s doing double duty with the awful HockeyBuzz) sharing how one former Tampa Bay Lighting player and the current general manager where the whiniest of them all.

Yzerman ranked fourth on his Top 5 list, and I wish he’ll share a story one day. It’s been too long since he played for me to remember how much he talked to the refs. I will say that after seeing footage of him get defensive with reporters in a press conference about the Marty St. Louis trade, he did come off a bit whiny when he was throwing the dictionary definition of “snub” out there.

Hey, the fighting spirit to get an upper edge never rests with these guys.

Gratton, however, was the worst, according to Stewart:

If you ever looked at Chris Gratton’s career, he was the type of player that in the era in which I played would have been branded as a pseudo tough guy. He was bold and brave when either playing at home and/or going up against someone much smaller or at the end of a long shift when Gratton had just hopped on the ice. On the road, he could often carry a carton of eggs in his sweater without breaking any.

Gratton also complained about pretty much every call that did not go his way. He’d give my linesmen grief if he sent in a play two feet offside and the play got whistled down. According to him, he was never guilty of a penalty; to the point that, even when he did have a legitimate beef, he’d already cried wolf too many times before.

In December of 1998, I was working a game in Buffalo between Gratton’s Tampa Bay club and the Sabres. In the third period, there was a fight between Tampa Bay’s Darcy Tucker and Buffalo’s Vaclav Varada. In an effort to get Gratton to stop hovering nearby and move off to the periphery to let the fight run its course, I nudged him aside.

Gratton yelled at me, claiming I shoved him forcefully. As we argued, he spit on me. As a result, Mr. Gratton earned himself a three-game unpaid vacation from the NHL, losing a nice hunk of money (or as Casey Stengel allegedly once said after getting suspended for spitting on an umpire, “I got more than I expectorated.“)

At least he’s not a biter, I guess.

Another good chunk of the blog discusses another reason why Eric Lindros was a total dick in his early stages of his career. You can read a take on that on Deadspin and Puck Daddy in addition to Stewart’s blog.

Bygone Bolts: Where former Lightning players signed in free agency

Anders Lindback

Anders Lindback taking a break during 2013-14 training camp

Former Lightning players did pretty well for themselves today, too, in addition to the ones who became new Bolts.

Here’s a rundown of how former Tampa Bay Lightning players fared. (Updated July 4)

Anders Lindback wasted no time in finding himself a home, taking over Tim Thomas’s back-up role away to backstop Finland’s Kari Lehtonen. The Stars pulled off a big trade getting Jason Spezza on the team and then signed Ales Hemsky, who played with the Senators. Patrick Eaves signed with the team from Nashville, who  had played with Spezza. Sergei Gonchar, a former Senator, also completes the Ottawa friendship. Hemsky also knows former Oiler Shawn Horcoff, who joined the team with Tyler Seguin last year.

His first interview as a Star wasn’t all that exciting, telling the Dallas Morning News he’s happy his goalie coach knows him and can speak Swedish. Seriously. That was it.

Jussi Jokinen turned in his stellar postseason with the Penguins into a return to the Sunshine State with a four year, $16 million deal with the Florida Panthers

Radim Vrbata, who spent 18 games with the Bolts in 2008-09, heads to the Vancouver Canucks, according to Fox Sports Arizona reporter Craig Morgan.

Benoit Pouliot was also quick to cash in from his amazing playoff run with the New York Rangers, opting to go with the Edmonton Oilers, who also are making aggressive moves to turn things around.  He’s in Edmonton for five years at $20 million.

Keith Aulie also heads to Edmonton for another crack at being a regular in the NHL for one year at $800,000. About last year, Aulie said to the Oilers:

“I’ve had some opportunity in the last couple of years but just this last year it was a little bit tough. I ran into a couple of injuries last year and tried to work through that but to get an opportunity in Edmonton will be great. I’m just focusing on coming in and doing what I can do.”

Corey Conacher, once a promising prospect, has bounced around of late. After spending time with Ottawa and Buffalo, he signed a small one-year deal with the New York Islanders, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday:

Brad Richards, who was bought out by the Rangers, goes to Chicago for a one-year, $2 million deal for a run for the Stanley Cup with Patrick Kane and company. Yes, Tampa could have signed him for that if not more, but Tampa is not a two-time recent Stanley Cup champion who consistently go deep in the playoffs.

P.C. “Nacho” Labrie adds some toughness to the Chicago Blackhawks for a one-year deal that will likely have him with the Rockford IceHogs most of the year. The Blackhawks didn’t even have him on the homepage. The IceHogs had him buried in a story about three players being signed.

Dan Boyle reunited with Marty St. Louis on Broadway so Marty won’t be as lonely with Richie gone. Boyle, as I wrote earlier, conveniently switches 22 with Brian Boyle, who is now in Tampa wearing Dan Boyle’s old 22.

Dominic Moore stays put in New York for two more years to keep this Lightning thing going in Manhattan.

Crunch’s Cedrick Desjardins also heads to the New York Rangers farm team to help with the Hartford WolfPack.

Mike Kostka does the same heading to New York/Hartford.

Bruno Gervais, who played 50 games for the Bolts in 2011-12, joined the Colorado Avalanche from Philadelphia. He found himself in a good spot if he can get ice time with all the moves the Avs made. But he’s likely destined for the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland.

Blair Jones, a 2005 Lightning draft pick, signed with the Flyers after playing with the Flames, according to CSN Philly. He’s getting a two-way deal.

Nick Tarnasky, he of the 2005-2008 seasons, signs with the Rangers, likely destined for Hartford.

Steve Downie, heads to Pittsburgh to protect Sidney Crosby and subsequently get suspended and demoted in a one-year, $1 million deal.

Short-lived Bolt Andrej Meszaros left Boston for the Buffalo Sabres for a one-year, $4.1 million deal. GM Tim Murray must be saying “fuck it” to trying to land the 2015 top overall pick after the GMs want to change the formula. The Sabres loaded up keeping Matt Moulson, attracting Brian Gionta and bringing back Cody McCormick plus traded for Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges.

Michal Neuvirth, who joined the Sabres in a trade last year, will provide superb goaltending for the Sabres as long as he can stay healthy. This doesn’t feel like the Sabres who loaded up on the overpriced and underperforming wagon that included Ville Leino.

Mike McKenna, journeyman goaltender who played 15 games for the Bolts in 2008-09, is now with the Arizona Coyotes battling out with what seems 10,000 other goalies signed by the Coyotes for the back-up role behind Mike Smith. McKenna also wants you to design his new Bauer pads, so there’s that.

Finally, not a signing, but a pending trade: The Florida Panthers could still pull for a trade with the Flyers to land Vincent Lecavalier, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald from a post Monday, saying that if that trade would happen, it’s likely to be Wednesday. However, Flyers GM Ron Hextall is open to anything, reported Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Sam Carchidi:

Lightning Free Agency: Taming of the shrewd


General managers will tell you at times the best deal you can make is the one you didn’t make.

So far, Steve Yzerman resisted temptation of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, who both signed massive deals in Washington to be reunited with Penguins defensive coach Todd Reirden. Who knows if they were truly in the race for Jarome Iginla, too.

What the day turned out to be was filled with key signings that didn’t hit the wallet too bad:

  • Islander goalie Evgeni Nabokov fills back-up role in one-year deal for $1.55 million, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times
  • Ranger defenseman Anton Stralman completes top-four D pairing for five years, $22.5 million, averaging $4.5 million a year
  • Ranger forward Brian Boyle signs for three years, $6 million
  • Minor leaguer Mike Blunden from Montreal getting a $600,000 deal  to float between Syracuse and Tampa

The Lightning still have about $5.7 million in cap space, but Yzerman will probably want to save some knowing that he has an extension to sign Bishop as he heads into his final contract year plus Stamkos the year after that.

What’s funny is that both Rangers and Lightning fans should be happy with their Boyle signings. Brian Boyle and Dan Boyle both wore 22. Tampa fans can dust off their Dan Boyle sweaters from 2008 for Brian Boyle, while Rangers fans can keep their blue 22 for Dan.

One of the moves Yzerman didn’t make was signing Martin Brodeur. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that Tampa was one of the teams that Brodeur spoke to:

I’d imagine that Brodeur probably demand much more money than Nabokov and wanted more playing time or some sort of a more solid guarantee.

This partially makes up for Thompson, Crombeen and Purcell jerseys being made obsolete in a few hours span Sunday night, in addition to Malone’s being unwanted.

Fantasy Slotting

Right now, the Lightning forwards looks like this at first glance:

Ondrej Palat-Steven Stamkos-Tyler Johnson

Nikita Kucherov-Valterri Filppula-Ryan Callahan

Richard Panik-Jonathan Drouin-Alex Killorn

J.T. Brown-Brian Boyle-Tom Pyatt

Extra: Cedric Paquette

Brian Boyle will earn most of his money and ice time on the penalty kill and will be elevated to the third line at times, and Ryan Callahan might drop at times to pair with Boyle. After that, I don’t know if this year’s lines will look anything like last year other than Stamkos on the top line.

We’ve seen him play wing for Tyler Johnson and vice versa after his return from injury.

Drouin’s placement will be the cog that can really change everything on this roster in terms of where players slot. If they’re going to put Drouin on wing, he’s probably not going to be with the pass-first Filppula and might have to be elevated to dish to Steven Stamkos. And you don’t want to drop Filppula to the third line where he was in Detroit, being underplayed in a deep roster.

On defense:

Brewer-Hedman

Garrison-Strahlman

Gudas-Carle

Eric Brewer is an UFA next summer, making him a trade candidate early, but his playing has improved under Cooper with his minutes being better managed. A veteran defenseman like Brewer, despite his shortcomings, is still hard to get. Matt Carle is signed here on a long-term deal at $5.5 million deal for another four seasons. That’s not good at all for a third pairing defenseman. As we’ve seen before, if Yzerman is going to move this contract, he will even if it means getting a late-round draft pick.

In goal:

Bishop

Nabokov

Again, after this season, the Lightning will not have an NHL goalie under contract. Time for Bishop to play big for the money because the Syracuse goalies are hankering for a chance.

What will happen like each season though, is that the paper victories from today rarely translate onto the ice. Let’s see how many of these deals fall apart by Thanksgiving.

Lightning alumnus Gallant now Panthers coach (Bygone Bolts)

Tampa Bay Lightning alumnus Gerard Gallant is now the head coach of the Florida Panthers.

The kitties made the announcement, perhaps with a meow instead of a roar, on Saturday afternoon, as they passed over Dan Bylsma. Bylsma, according to some in the Canadian hockey media, might have priced himself out of a deal.

Here’s the Panthers clawing their way through a press release:

“We are pleased to welcome Gerard as the new head coach of the Florida Panthers,” said Tallon. “He is an individual with tremendous character, integrity and a strong passion for the game and has experience as an NHL head coach. Gerard is an excellent teacher and motivator who possesses the leadership qualities and hockey knowledge that are necessary to lead our team.”

Gallant, 50, who at one time was the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, spent the last two years (2012-2014) serving as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens, helping the team advance to the postseason each year, including the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals.  During his two years as an assistant coach, Montreal posted a 75-42-13 mark, including their first 100-point season since 2007-2008.

As for Gallant’s time in Tampa Bay, he played his final 52 games in the NHL with the Bolts, all but one in the 1993-94 season. He got through one game the next season and that was it. He spent most of his playing career with the Detroit Red Wings, posting four 30-goal seasons, with one 39 goal season.

With Terry Crisp at the helm in 93-94, the team went 30-43-11. Gallant, a left wing who sported No. 17, played with guys like Brent Gretzky, Brian Bradley, John Tucker, Roman Hamrlik and Daren Puppa. He put up 13 points and 74 PIM in those games.

It’s a shame him and Lightning alumnus Marc Bergevin helped the Canadiens sweep the Bolts this year.

Gallant will see his old buddies the Lightning during Tampa’s home opener on Thursday, Oct. 9, which was also announced Sunday by the NHL. The Panthers home opener is Oct. 11 against New Jersey.

Although Bylsma was the popular choice, this is probably best for the Panthers franchise because Gallant has paid his dues when given a mediocre roster in Columbus that at least allowed Rick Nash to put up big numbers. The Panthers hope to avoid another season of a star player lead the league in goals and tank in the standings. After Columbus, Gallant spent time with another franchise with a weird ownership and management situation, the New York Islanders, as an assistant before working on his craft in the QMJHL where he won two championships with Jonathan Huberdeau before Michel Therrien came calling in Montreal.

Bylsma’s only train wreck he had to experience was the 2005-06 New York Islanders as an assistant. After developing young players with the Baby Pens, he had a pretty good situation taking over a roster of riches with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and company from Michel Therrien.

Still, he showed promise and maybe Panthers GM Dale Tallon did always want him but money might have got in the way. It would be somewhat unfair and a shame with it. Somehow players who were bought out of massive contracts seem to load up with a nice contract with another team and rarely get signed for a bargain contract.

Coaches who are being paid from a prior contract and hired elsewhere? This is the first time I’ve heard of a situation like this reported where allegedly a coaching candidate wanted what probably would be fair NHL market value, but ownership balked because you’re already dipping from another nice salary. It would be fascinating to hear if any of these situations in hockey came up before or even recently.

As CBC/Rogers reporter Elliotte Friedman said on NHL Live this week, it’s been a bizarre coaching search this summer. For one, having so many names available and others let go plus Ron Wilson coming out of hiding. (As an aside, I’m surprised anyone considered talking to Marc Crawford with him expected to be involved in the Todd Bertuzzi trial this September.  Champions Hockey League in Europe tweeted Crawford will stay in Switzerland this season.)

Again, if true, it also shows that owner Vinnie Viola might not be as willing to 100 percent commit financially to have a winning team if he wants coaching on the cheap. Hopefully he’s funding the scouting department properly. But while the owner said he wants a winner in South Florida and is giving the green light for Tallon to spend, Viola is asking for $80 million in tax dollars to help him out. This franchise might have a revolving door of owners until its lease is up in 2028 and can find a smaller home elsewhere in South Florida…or in North America.

What if turns to what now for Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards

Despite my lobbying for a Hollywood ending for Marty St. Louis’s season with the Rangers, the script flipped and well, the movie itself ended in Hollywood when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup.

The Rangers didn’t look like themselves against the Kings as they did in other series. The Kings just had that special gear.

So now the Bygone Bolts in St. Louis, Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore have to sit and wonder about what if. But let’s look at what now for two of Tampa’s favorite sons.

What now for Brad Richards. The St. Louis-Richards reunion could be short lived. After seeing a resurgence in the playoffs when him and Marty started to click again, everything seemed to going back to the days of old. But when he started showing that he was getting old his name quickly resurfaced as a compliance buyout candidate again.

On Media Day before the finals, Richards’ future and past became a theme. Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports detailed how refreshed Richards felt when Sather came to him last summer and said he wouldn’t be bought out that year:

Richards recommitted himself in the off-season. He went on a 12-week program of diet and exercise under trainer Ben Prentiss, who worked with his old Tampa Bay teammate and friend, Martin St-Louis. When he arrived at training camp, he had a clean slate. Teammates saw a difference in his legs and his attitude – a little quicker, more confident, more positive.

Still, his slow foot speed resurfaced in the playoffs at times and was glarring against the Kings. As fast as his runningmate Marty could pump those giant, short legs, it’s not enough.

Luc Robitaille was never the fastest player. In fact, he was famous for being a slow skater that somehow racked up points. Maybe Richards needs to see how he can be more effective at a slower speed instead of thinking that he has the speed that he used to. To that end, where ever he ends up, I wouldn’t put him on the point or the high sidewall on the power play. He couldn’t get to errant passes directed to him fast enough and the puck would quickly go the other way for a chance. Position Richards lower in the circle for both one-timers and to feed cross-crease passes. Give him room so he can set up behind the net.

I’d like to see him work with Dave Tippet and Mike Ribeiro again in Arizona and get to work with Mike Smith again in goal. He also has Shane Doan to lead the way and a great group of young players. His Tampa in New York reunion didn’t go as well as it should, but he might see a better result with a Dallas in Glendale reunion.

What now for Martin St. Louis. I’ve had to read over Tom Jones’ column a few times to let everything sink in with the comments by St. Louis. “Was anymore more loyal?” Probably not. Note how Jones said in his interview St. Louis asked that plenty of what he said would be off the record. Some of the background, not-for-attribution stuff made it in, confirming that his being left off Team Canada for a second time was the impetus of demand a trade when he did.

I understand what it’s like when you’re thinking about leaving a job, quitting your employer and looking to move, but you’re not quite sure. Then that one thing happens and you’re like, Oh yeah, it’s time to go. That’s what this is.

But let’s fast forward to next season because this is going to be rehashed in 2014-2015 about four more times. St. Louis will have to play against Tampa in the regular season, with two of those dates at home. I hope the schedule maker has a twisted sense of humor and makes the Tampa home opener against the Rangers. Fresh off the Cup loss, first game back in Tampa, first game of the year–DO IT.

Honestly, I’d be looking at his teammate and former Bolt Benoit Pouliot thinking what did this team do to not get that type of performance out of Pouliot? To be fair, Pouliot didn’t do much in four past seasons of playoff experience in his career. Just was a break-out year.

With Richards likely headed for a buyout, it’s time for Marty and Rick Nash to work together in the off season to see if they can click and if Marty can adjust to a different power play formation. Marty had looked lost for awhile not being in the low circle ready for a one-timer. Footage kept showing how he would feed players from there on the Rangers and lesser players couldn’t handle a pass or one-time. Rick Nash has that ability, and his sniper status desperately needs to be restored. The Rangers PP might as well use Coach Cooper’s formation for Marty to get the most points out of him and Nash to call it a day.

 

It’s time to give Martin St. Louis the movie ending he deserves

I’ve realized that Martin St. Louis is either clairvoyant or is incredible in writing his own script that nobody wanted to read.

When the grumblings that the Tampa Bay Lightning captain wanted out became true, you could feel Tampa Bay shake with heartbreak and anger on both sides of the Sunshine Skyway.

Why now, fans thought? Why can’t you win with the Lightning–the team was rolling, fans also pondered.

St. Louis told reporters he wanted another kick at the Stanley Cup and specifically wanted to go to the New York Rangers. Brad Richards is there–the Conn Smythe winner from 2004 he carried the Cup with. So are familiar faces and former Bolts Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore.

Lightning fans, including myself crowed over Ryan Callahan potting points after the trade while Mighty Marty looked lost in the Big Apple.

Instead, crow is being served during the second course. The Lightning were bounced in four straight by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round with Ryan Callahan struggling to find the net while Marty found his groove in the playoffs. He’s been able to find the empty space at the far face-off circles again and even more important, his teammates now know where to look for him.

During the second round, his other France St. Louis had a heart attack and died. Somehow, the guy was able to focus and on pure heart and emotion he stepped up his game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then just like 10 years ago, he met Montreal in the playoffs and devoured them with the help of buddy Brad Richards. He’s tied for eighth for playoff goals this year with six, has 15 points and has an OT winner.

Marty also said during his Tampa farewells he wanted his family to be closer to their offseason home in Greenwich, Conn., and allow his sons to play better hockey plus watch them play. Nobody would have thought he would have to put all his family planning into place this quickly–especially for unexpected tragedy–but he was in the right place at the right time.

Sure, Marty could instead be sitting in Tampa instead if he were still with the Bolts when his mother died. The attention from media wouldn’t have been as strong because it’s the offseason he would have probably been at his home in Greenwich anyway, and in a lot of ways it would contributed to a different story–a sad one of playoff heartbreak, a grumpy captain who wanted out and death.

That’s not the script Marty is writing. He’s becoming increasingly inspiring, and I wish some fans here in Tampa Bay would look at the bigger picture.

You are potentially watching a generational story of hockey lure unfold. The guy everybody counted out, even the Calgary Flames, rises to be a dominant player and champion, ages and becomes the villain when he finally his captain and says he’s checked out and will only go to one team. He picks his team, deals with the death of his mother and now is four wins away from a Stanley Cup.

This is what sports documentaries are made of. This is the story you won’t mind watching for the 500th time during the summer NHL Network hiatus.

This movie will end at a maximum of seven games, and Marty has certainly proven he’s the director. Nobody wants to see the alternate ending, either.

Marty: Give us the ending we’ve been waiting for.