Remember these guys?
What, the Lightning is still playing? With the Final Four, baseball's opening day and Tiger Woods at the Masters, I forgot the Lightning still hasn't been put out of our misery yet. The Bolts have four games left and there only two storylines that remain interesting at this point. One, will this be the last four games for GM Brian Lawton and coach Rick Tocchet? And, two, can Steven Stamkos reach 50 goals? In case you missed it, Lightning beat writer Damian Cristodero wrote about Stamkos trying to become the third youngest player in league history, behind Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Carson, to score 50 goals in a season.
Stamkos, 20, has been a bright spot in yet another dismal Lightning season. And, to think, he almost wasn't here. On Sunday, the New York Post's Larry Brooks talked to Rangers GM Glen Sather, who swears he had a handshake deal with former Lightning co-owner Len Barrie for a trade that would have sent Stamkos to the Rangers. Barrie told Damian Cristodero that it wasn't true. So who is lying, one of the most respected men in the history of hockey (Sather)? Or a guy whose involved in a financial mess back in Canada (Barrie)? And here are two other reasons to believe the New York Post story. For starters, this wasn't some story filled with anonymous quotes from someone "close to the situation.'' The quotes were on the record. From Sather! Then consider that Sather actually named the players he was willing to trade to Tampa Bay -- players who still play for the Rangers. If you know how this stuff works, there's no way a general manager would name names unless the story was true.
You can also bet on this: there's no way Sather would have gone on the record with the Post if Barrie was still co-owner of the Lightning. That's a hockey taboo and Sather is too classy to talk about a deal that fell through with a current general manager or owner.