How bad, you ask?
Well, just for instance, Tuesday night rookie center Steven Stamkos had a hat trick against the Blackhawks at home. And the Bolts still managed to lose 5-3 after leading 3-1 in the second period. Such is life for a crappy hockey team.
But Stamkos’ little hat trick is worth noting. He is the first rookie in franchise history to record such a feat.
That’s nice, and it comes months after some wondered whether the 19-year old would get sent back to juniors because then-coach Barry Melrose didn’t think he was capable of playing in the NHL yet and, well, Stamkos wasn’t producing.
The Lightning solved that problem by firing Melrose after just 16 games (in which he went 5-7-4).
Stamkos, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, still struggled after Melrose got the axe, but lately he’s come around. After scoring just six goals in his first 53 games, he blew up with that hat trick.
Perhaps if Stamkos would’ve done this a little earlier Melrose is still behind the bench and all that talk about getting shipped back to the Ontario Hockey League never cropped up.
Nevertheless, one wonders what Melrose thought when he saw Stamkos score three goals. One also wonders what he thought when the Lightning folded up and lost the game.
I vote anger/surprise and a little dabble of vindication while he sits in cushy Bristol, Conn.