TERRE HAUTE —
• Just in time — The vast legion of Terre Haute hockey fans has been waiting all season for something from me, and this snippet will have to do as two of my favorite weeks in sports (first round of playoffs, three or four games on TV every night) begins in a few hours.
I’m still trying to digest why my Predators — the constantly overachieving Predators — would fire Barry Trotz, the only coach they’ve ever had, after finishing the season hot and finally healthy. And I can’t say I have the two Cup finalists picked out yet, as I had with the Blackhawks and Bruins last year.
I do, however, have a longshot to bet on.
Just before the trading deadline there was what was perhaps an unprecedented deal in which two teams traded their captains for each other, and the experts with a decidedly eastern bias said at the time that the addition of Martin St. Louis might bring the New York Rangers a championship.
I’m saying their reasoning was good, but backward.
I’ve always liked Marty, one of the flashier players in the NHL, but I don’t think he’s what New York needed (and he hasn’t had much impact so far). Ryan Callahan going to Tampa Bay as the other half of the trade, however, gives the Lightning something they needed badly, a gritty, no-nonsense competitor up front to go with the scoring punch they had even without Marty (Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson the new Marty, etc.) and a rather belligerent back line to help premier goalie Ben Bishop.
So that longshot pick is the Lightning. JoJo already has a hat from our trip to Florida last spring.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. at 812-231-4277 or 1-800-783-8742; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at 812-231-4321. Follow TribStarAndy on Twitter.