HC Slovan players lose, get bonus anyway
I have to say I really liked HC Slovan owner Eric Assimakopoulos. Maybe it's that we're fellow New Yorkers. Maybe because he seems like a generous individual, and on Tuesday said he was giving his players their 10,000 Euro bonus anyway, even though they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Lightning.
You recall from earlier today, Assimakopoulos said he would give the bonuses to each player ($14,323.19 on the exchange rate) if they won. But after a terrific effort in which the team, for some stretches, outplayed Tampa Bay, Assimakopoulos, pounded his fist over his heart and said the bonuses would be paid.
Very quickly now because it's 3 a.m. and I just flew in to Prague from Slovakia, let's look at the good and bad of the game:
- Vinny Lecavalier scored a goal and a shootout goal. Should provide him confidence going into the regular season.
- His linemates Marty St. Louis and Vinny Prospal skated well.
- Evgeny Artyukhin is looking more and more confident.
- Rookie defenseman Vladimir Mihalik is looking more and more confident.
- Power play is at least moving the puck better.
- Defenseman Andrej Meszaros becoming more and more of a force and inserting his personality into the game.
- Mike Smith is a good goaltender.
- Lightning finished preseason 5-1, and we can start thinking about the regular season. "Now," Lecavalier said, "it's the real thing."
- Ridiculous frustration penalties took all the wind out of the second period.
- Power play was 3-for-33 in preseason.
- Team has trouble finishing. Hit three crossbars and a post against HC Slovan.
- Defense still can run around. Sorry, just don't think Andrew Hutchinson will be a top 6.
- Coach Barry Melrose said team will work with Mike Smith to make better decisions sometimes on when to handle the puck.