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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.
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DROUIN LOSES HIS GAMBLE
Funny how the perception of Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman turned on a dime.
When top Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin requested a trade in November, some initially began to question how Yzerman ran his organization. With his past mishandling of the Martin St. Louis situation and the ongoing questions surrounding Steven Stamkos' contract, it was probably fair to wonder if Yzerman's approach was alienating his best players. His commitment to coach Jon Cooper despite his clashes with Drouin and the team's poor first-half performance also combined to bring out the Yzerman skeptics.
I don't think Yzerman cares what the public thinks about him, but if you needed any proof of that (and of his merits as a GM) you got it by observing his inaction. He knew he didn't need to move on from Cooper. He knew that despite all of Drouin's posturing, the team ultimately held all of the cards in the situation. So he didn't react; he waited.
And it paid off. A week after the trade deadline passed without any trade, Drouin waved the white flag and reported back to the Lightning organization on Monday. In the meantime, the Lightning have been one of the best teams in the NHL and their playoff hopes are no longer in question. Yzerman understood his team and his position with Drouin and acted accordingly. The Lightning are better off for it.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT
- That said, the Lightning were still no match for a man named Ghost Bear last night.
- It's been a few years since the "IT WAS 3-1" playoff debacle, but the Maple Leafs still can't handle two-goal leads.
- It doesn't help when the Sabres' super rookies are on their games.
- Lee Stempniak played the hero for Boston in an overtime thriller against the Panthers.
- The Nathan MacKinnon line hounded the Coyotes all night in a big win.
- The only good news for Arizona is that Mikkel Boedker didn't haunt his old team.
- Calgary put up a fight at home against the Sharks but had no answer for Martin Jones.
- In a battle of two of the league's best teams, the Capitals came out on top.