We can only rejoice for Julien BriseBois. He constantly woos excellence in complex conditions due to the salary cap.
And, since he took on the role of general manager and big boss of the hockey industry at Tampa Bay Lightning, the results confirm the speed with which he reacted in the face of adversity to build an organization that now wants to be an example for others. league teams.
BriseBois is methodical in the daily operations of the team.
As well as Jon Cooper behind the bench in his training.
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BriseBois knows how to deal with the salary cap, and every year, at the end of the transactions, he manages to modify the workforce to give even more depth to his company.
Like Jon Cooper who manages to integrate the newcomers and entrust them with strategic roles, as he did with Nick Paul and Brandon Hagel.
BriseBois has never hesitated to strip off his choices in the first round to get players who are able to give his line-up what it needs to go through with it. After all, the Lightning, over the years, have developed players chosen far and wide in the draft. He hired unclaimed players and gave them the opportunity to thrive in the American League before taking the plunge.
Cooper benefited from decisions made by a careful and well-informed administration.
The close guard
Usually, flirting with excellence requires making controversial decisions, taking risks, but calculated risks. Flirting with excellence also requires commitment from everyone within the company.
Julien BriseBois and his close circle have given business goals that sometimes seem unrealistic, but when you have this winner culture, this commitment to push the effort required for excellence to the max, then the results confirm that the concept is respected to the letter.
Steven Stamkos stressed after his team’s victory on Saturday that he feels great pride in belonging to a group so respectful of the plan presented by the coach.
The Lightning were at a disadvantage against Toronto, they won.
He was back against the Rangers, he won.
Since the third game, no one in Rangers has managed to surprise Andrei Vasilevskiy with numerical equality, except defender Ryan Lindgren. Nika Zibanejad, no goal. Chris Kreider, no goals. Artemi Panarin did not worry the defensive brigade of the Lightning.
And Gerard Gallant took the liberty of excluding Kaapo Kakko in favor of Brayden Hunt.
But regardless of the changes to Rangers, Lightning players enjoyed dragging their opponent into traps set across the playing surface – Rangers had no space in neutral territory. They had few opportunities and sneaking into the favored area was next to impossible.
Also, how many times have Lightning players stolen the puck from Rangers’ skaters? Dozens of times. It was a great performance from the reigning champions.
Opponent soon in sight
Can they have the same success against Avalanche?
He will be the toughest opponent of their long run.
The leaves are not as deep as Colorado. Not even the Panthers and Rangers had visibly insufficient resources.
Avalanche is the diamond of the Western Association. This team has almost no flaws. An exceptional defender in Cale Makar. An explosive attack led by Nathan MacKinnon. Top notch support staff.
It is a spectacular formation. He faces adversity well, he knows how to face challenges. This is the third time in three years that we think we have the elements to achieve the much desired goal.
If the Avalanche are the most formidable opponent to invite on the Lightning course, in this respect, Tampa Bay are the most troubling team to squeeze between the Denver lineup and the Stanley Cup. The Avalanche run was easy enough: Nashville in four, the Blues in six and the Oilers in four.
However, lightning strikes are the reigning champions, and dethroning the grandmaster requires us to use all our resources to avoid the slightest slack.
Avalanches have balance in both offense and defense.
This formation presents an interrogation: in front of the net.
The Lightning also rely on a high-level defensive team. Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh are warriors. And there is Vasilevskiy.
In attack the response will be severe with Nkita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
And, if sometimes coaches can make a difference in the playoffs, then you shouldn’t bet against Jon Cooper.
A dream series finale for the NHL.
Colorado or Tampa? I don’t know yet. The return of Brayden Point, however, could make a huge difference.
If the Lightning fail to defeat Avalanche, it will still be another extraordinary season for BriseBois and his crew. And to think that 10 years ago the Canadian had the choice between BriseBois and Marc Bergevin.
From concert for sake
Joe Sakic took drastic measures to achieve the ultimate goal.
He has mastered the salary cap well, but after the final series he will have to contend with a very long list of players who can claim free agent status.
Artturi Lehkonen is a player who is changing Avalanche’s business model.
Furthermore, we will have to prepare Nathan MacKinnon’s next contract and we can already foresee that after next season the midfielder will enter the circle of Connor McDavid and his teammates, that is, he will ask for 12 M $ per season.
Colorado will enter the final series against the Lightning with 12 players whose contracts expire on July 1.
Can we keep Nazem Kadri in the team’s entourage? It is legitimate to doubt it.
But if, for years, Julien BriseBois has challenged the improbable every season, Sakic can always draw inspiration from his rival in the final series.