Tampa Bay Sports Monday Musings

BY KEN FILLER

MAR. 26, 2018

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a 12-2-2 record over the last 16 games. Yet if you monitor the fan groups on social media outlets you would think that this Lightning team will have problems getting out of the first round of the playoffs.

Seven Stamkos said as much last week when he said there is a lot of negativity surrounding the team. Keep in mind last year the Lightning did not even qualify for the playoffs,and with 2 weeks left in the regular season the Lightning have the most points in the NHL with 106, which is tied for first with Nashville. Here are some other milestones this Lightning team can and will reach in the next two weeks:

—With a win against Arizona on Monday night, The Lightning will tie the all-time franchise record with 108 points

-Jon Cooper will pass Stanley Cup winning coach John Tortorella as the all time winningest coach in Lightning history with a win against the Coyotes on Monday night.

-This Lightning team has scored more goals in franchise history than any other team in history.

-Yanni Gourde has a chance to break the franchise record for points by a rookie. Brad Richards has the record with 62, and Gourde has 58 with 7 games remaining.

This has already been a special season for the Lightning, and could get even better with the hoisting of the Stanley Cup in June.

USA Today Sports

It has been a good off-season for Jason Licht and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I Give a Licht a solid A for his work in free agency. With the Acquisition of Jason Pierre-Paul the Bucs have one of the top ten D-Lines in the league.

The Bucs also improved the OL with the signing of Ryan Jensen last week which allows Ali Marpet to move back to guard his natural position.

The Bucs have about 10 million left in cap space after the free agency period and could still sign a DB to strengthen the defense.

With the draft just about a month the Bucs have alot of options, from a trade down to acquire an extra pick or two, to staying at number seven and taking the player they think will best help this team in 2018.

-Kevin Pamphile has signed with the Titans.

-Evan Smith has signed a 2 year contract to add depth to the OL.

-Robert Ayers will show up at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando this week as he tries to get a new deal.

USA Today Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays will begin their 20th season on Thursday, as they host the Boston Red Sox at the Trop.

The Rays wrapped up their spring training home schedule today with a record crownd of 7985 at Charlotte Sports Park as the Rays clobbered the Yankees 11-1. That was the largest ever to see a spring training game in Port Charlotte since the Rays have been there.

-The Rays also made a couple of roster moves after the game. Jonny Venters, Daniel Hudson, and Dan Jennings were informed they will not make the team.

-Yonny Chirinos, and Ryan Yarborough made the big league roster for the first time. Andrew Kitteredge made the team over Austin Pruitt. Nice to see these two kids get a chance. Pruitt was not impressive at all this spring and had some issues last season when he was in Tampa. I’m sure we will see Pruitt at some point this season as the pitching depth has been tested with the injuries to Brent Honeywell and Jose DeLeon.

Hated to see Jonny Venters not make the team as he had an outstanding spring, Venetrs did not give up a run in seven innings of work. Venters is trying to come back from a laundry list of injuries and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2012.

-We will take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays 2018 season on Wednesday as we will have our season preview ready to go.