New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Conversation with Rawcharge

Leading into the New York Islanders matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night in Brooklyn, we got together with Waffleboardsave from Rawcharge for a little tête-à-tête.

It’s the first time the New York Islanders get to exert some pent up frustration after losing in the conference semi-finals last year.

Since then the Lightning have remarkably been able to keep Jonathan Drouin, resign Steven Stamkos for $0.75 to the dollar, re-sign Victor Hedman effective next season, and reward Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov.

Which has to go down as one of the greatest offseason in NHL history.

So then on the Bolts, what does SB Nations Raw Charge have to say on their defense, their coach, and a little thought on tonights action

There’s no doubt Victor Hedman is a world class defenseman and the anchor of the Lightning’s blueline. Where does defensive depth come from after that first pair?

Our staff at Raw Charge have actually been pondering that. And I wonder if the coaching staff has been too. Hedman and his usual defense partner, Anton Stralman, actually were split up in the last game. On one hand, it kinda makes sense. Spread the talent around. The team has the same issue on offense as they do on defense to me: They’re too top-heavy. The pairing of Jason Garrison and Andrej Sustr has not looked good by any means. Sustr was paired with Hedman and Garrison and also Nikita Nesterov saw time with Stralman. But in terms of depth, the one guy who needs to be playing, but hasn’t, is Slater Koekkoek because ask Jon Cooper why.

So if that’s one question for Jon Cooper, what others would you ask him?

Hmmm, why do you hate on Steven Stamkos… wait, what? Just kidding. Am I though? You’ll never know. But in all seriousness, I’d ask him where he’s picked up his endless amount of analogies from, what the craziest trial he’d ever been a part of while being a lawyer was, and what he thinks his weak spots are as a coach.

So speaking of weak spots as coach, can you talk about the Lightning power play?

Do I have to? The atrociousness speaks for itself I think. Maybe that’s too strong of a word. But when you have a first unit like they do, I don’t know how they’re not scoring every time. But it doesn’t feel like it’s ever been good during Cooper’s reign. That’s one of the reasons why they brought in Todd Richards though.

You get to walk in Steve Yzerman‘s shoes for a day, what is the one thing you’d do?

I would call up all the Red Wings greats and get them all together. It’s Yzerman so I expect all of them to pick up if he calls!

Very diplomatic answer! Okay, last one. How do the Lightning come out against the New York Islanders Tuesday night after that beating against the Rangers?

They should come out ready to freaking win. The last three games have just been unacceptable. They have the opportunity to end this long road trip on a positive note, though this win isn’t going to change what happened during the last three losses. And if they come out sluggish, well. It’s going to be a long game for Lightning fans.

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