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Tampa Bay Lightning | A dynasty to be saved

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(Denver) Julien BriseBois said on media day last week that he spent part of his summer 2021 looking for answers.

Posted at 20:09 yesterday

Guillaume Lefrancois

Guillaume Lefrancois
The print

Answers to what? To the mystery of the three championships in a row. Why has it become so difficult to achieve this? Why were dynasties once so common in hockey and basketball, and now only Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros and Joey Chestnut at Nathan’s field championships (our examples, not his)?

“I’ve talked to people from different organizations that have won two titles, explained BriseBois, nine days ago. What kept coming back was that players weren’t that hungry by the third year. But I’ve never heard it with us. In our meetings, our players always said we stayed on a mission. ”


PHOTO ANDRÉ PICHETTE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Jacques Martin

Jacques Martin is one of the resources consulted by BriseBois. The French-ontario was assistant to the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2017 to 2018, who were aiming for a third consecutive title. Their course had stopped in the second round.

According to Martin, it was not a problem of will. “The key was depth,” recalls the former Canadiens coach in an interview with The print. We lost Nick Bonino after the 2017 Cup and were unable to replace him.

“It was above all the depth that hurt us. It’s interesting, because Julien missed his third bar last summer. But he replaced it. ”

Martin refers here to Yanni Gourde, lost in the expansion draft, as well as Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman, who took advantage of their autonomy.

The Constantinev effect

Dave Lewis was an assistant to the Red Wings when they triumphed in 1997 and 1998, before losing in the second round to the Avalanche in 1999.

These Cups were won under special circumstances. A few days after the 1997 conquest, Vladimir Konstantinov was involved in a car accident that left him in a coma and ended his career.

“Our second, I knew from the start that we were going to win it,” Lewis says, over the phone. We didn’t even have seven days to celebrate, and he hit us right in the face. It was great, we lost a champion who played 30 minutes. But the second cup had become like a mission. ”

Under these circumstances, Lewis adheres to Julien’s thesis on the psychological challenge. “It was draining, physically and mentally. The boys had invested so many emotions to win that Konstantinov raised her in the middle of the ice… There was a kind of relaxation in the third year. ”

Shots blocked

A dynasty takes a long time to build. Think of lightning. If the team loses this week, the next opportunity to become a true dynasty won’t come until 2025.

Martin remembers a “big disappointment” when Sidney Crosby’s team lost in 2018. “You’re so busy establishing a dynasty, remember. You see it with Tampa, the players block shots. You play, you have a day to bounce back and we start over. It’s an exceptional commitment. ”

The Lightning’s commitment seems truly irreproachable. Take blocked shots. The three forwards who blocked the most discs on Wednesday were Ondrej Palat (5), Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli (4 each). All members of the first two lines that, during the season, do not block as much.

It is therefore entirely possible that depth becomes problematic in Lightning. While Avalanche welcomed Nazem Kadri’s return on Wednesday, Tampa ran out of Brayden Point and lost Erik Cernak. Not to mention Nikita Kucherov, who seemed far from 100%.

Patience rewarded

Jacques Martin also wanted to underline the “patience” of the Lightning and the Avalanche. Jon Cooper and Jared Bednar are two of the NHL’s longest-serving coaches.

“The coaches have been there for a long time. Tampa lost in the final in 2015, then in the semifinals against us. They skipped the playoffs once, got blown away in the first round by Columbus. Despite this, they kept the same coach. I give these organizations a lot of credit, because they have never panicked. ”

The hockey school is back

It is with some enthusiasm that Jacques Martin is finally relaunching his hockey school in Rigaud. He had been interrupting it for the past two years for reasons you might expect. The two-week event will start on July 31st. At the time of writing, there were still a few places left.

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