(Ed. Note: There’s entirely too much sunshine in the summer. So your friends at Puck Daddy are offering a month of thrown shade and perpetual gloom. Behold, our Summer of Disappointment series, in which we ask fans of all 30 teams to recall the biggest bummer moments, teams and players in franchise history! Please wade into their misery like a freezing resort pool, and add your own choices in the comments!)
Written by WB Philp and Alexis Boucher of Lightning Shout
Most Disappointing Team: 2011-2012 Tampa Bay Lightning
Nothing creates disappointment like high expectations.
In 2011-12 the Lightning fell victim to their own success in 2010-11. The Bolts took a huge step back in 2011-12 after finishing the regular season with 103 points and taking the Boston Bruins to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals in the previous season.
A porous defense and terrible goaltending saw Tampa Bay scratch out only 84 points in 2011-12. The 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson played like a superstar in net during the 2010-11 playoffs, earning a 2.51 GAA and a .924 SV%. In 2011-12, after signing a new one year contract, Roloson stumbled to a 3.66 GAA and a .866 SV%, the worst of his career. He won just 13 of 40 games while losing the starting job to journeyman netminder Mathieu Garon. Big minute defensemen Eric Brewer, Victor Hedman and Brett Clark limped to a combined rating of minus-40.
With that, the Lightning finished last in the league in goals against and missed the playoffs.
Most Disappointing Lightning: Alexander Svitov
After the Thrashers selected Ilya Kovalchuk and the the Senators took Jason Spezza, the Lightning used the third overall pick in the 2001 draft to select the mammoth Russian bender, Alexander Svitov.
Not Mikko Koivu. Not Ales Hemsky. Not Mike Komisarek, but frickin' Svitov.
The 6-3, 226-lbs. center failed to do much of anything in the NHL. He played only four seasons in the league, including just one full season with the Bolts. His rookie campaign with the Lightning came in 2002-03, when he played 63 games, accumulating just eight points (four goals and four assists).
The following year, Svitov skated in only 11 games for the Lightning before being dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets, with whom he played 29 games in 2002-03.
Most Disappointing Moment in Lightning History: Modin's disallowed goal in Game 5 versus the Devils in 2003
Hey Ref! Bend over and use your good eye!
After making the playoffs for the first time since 1996 the Lightning were eliminated from the 2003 playoffs in brutal fashion. The Bolts lost a grueling 111 minute, triple overtime game to the New Jersey Devils in which the referees sought fit to call even one penalty on the Devils.
Worse than that, forward Fredrick Modin had a goal disallowed in regulation when the “referees” ruled that he kicked the puck in. Reviews of the play clearly showed that a Devils player had kicked Modin’s skate.
Most Disappointing Lightning Transaction: Trading Dan Boyle To San Jose
February 25, 2008: New Lightning ownership group OK Hockey signs defenseman Dan Boyle to a six year, $40 million contract extension. (Remember OK Hockey, you're going to read more about them later.)
Boyle's 2007-08 season was shortened due to a freak skate accident in the locker room, but he returned and recorded 25 points in 37 games. A long time favorite, Lightning fans are thrilled that a key part of their blue line corps has been secured for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately that happiness only lasted until July 4, 2008.
Despite just signing him to a lengthy extension, ownership began putting pressure on Boyle to waive his no-trade clause. If he didn't, he would be placed on waivers and be claimed by Atlanta.
Faced with the prospect of becoming a Thrasher, Boyle waived his NTC and became a member of the San Jose Sharks. The Lightning ended up with Matt Carle, a prospect and two draft picks.They lost a stalwart member of their defense and their power play QB. Fans immediately grew to distrust the new execs and a dark time in Tampa hockey dawned.
It was bad. Like the end of "The Empire Strikes Back" bad.
Most Disappointing Lightning Coach/Executive: OK Hockey and the three stooges - Koules, Barrie and Lawton
Despite a carousel of weird and wacky characters throughout a large part of Lightning history, the group headed up by Oren Koules and Len Barrie takes the cake. Less than a year after purchasing the Lightning in 2008 the league had to intervene to decide who would take over the reins of the club.The turbulence in the front office transitioned to the ice and the Lightning plunged to the basement of the league. Barry Melrose was brought in as head coach and lasted just 16 games.
The most memorable part of his tenure was him stating he didn't think Steven Stamkos was ready for the NHL. Brian Lawton was brought in as GM after that and one of the only memorable moments of his tenure was that it inspired this sign:
After his trade, Dan Boyle implied the execs were liars. After his dismissal, John Tortorella referred to them as cowboys. They only good things about OK Hockey were the high draft picks the Bolts garnered during their era and when they sold the team.
Most Disappointing Lightning Fashion Choice: Tampa Bay Lightning Third Jersey 1996-1999
Just kidding. It's this monstrosity.
Surely a Puck Daddy All-Time Jerseys Foul finalist!
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Other disappointments (in order of appearance): New York Rangers • Calgary Flames • St. Louis Blues • New York Islanders • Dallas Stars • Boston Bruins • Colorado Avalanche • Washington Capitals • Ottawa Senators • Arizona Coyotes • Minnesota Wild • Edmonton Oilers • San Jose Sharks • Winnipeg Jets • New Jersey Devils • Los Angeles Kings • Florida Panthers • Carolina Hurricanes • Buffalo Sabres • Montreal Canadiens • Chicago Blackhawks • Columbus Blue Jackets • Nashville Predators • Detroit Red Wings • Anaheim Ducks • Philadelphia Flyers • Pittsburgh Penguins • Vancouver Canucks • Toronto Maple Leafs