Courting Excellence | The Journal of Montreal

We can only be happy for Julien BriseBois. Due to the salary cap, he constantly courts excellence in complex conditions.

And since he took on the role of general manager and big boss of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey sector, the results confirm how quickly he reacted in the face of adversity to build an organization that now aspires to be a role model for other teams in the league .

BriseBois takes a methodical approach to the day-to-day operations of the team.

Just as Jon Cooper stands behind the bench of his workout.

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BriseBois knows how to handle the salary cap and every year, on the transaction deadline, he manages to transform the workforce to add even more depth to his company.

Like Jon Cooper, who manages to integrate newcomers and entrust them with strategic roles like he did with Nick Paul and Brandon Hagel.

BriseBois has never been shy about giving up his first-round picks to push players to give his roster what it takes to go all the way. After all, over the years, the Lightning have developed players that have been draft picked far and wide. He hired unclaimed players and gave them a chance to find success in the American League before taking the plunge.

Cooper benefited from decisions made by attentive, well-informed management.

The Close Guard

Usually, flirting with excellence requires making controversial decisions, taking risks, but calculated risks. The flirtation with excellence also requires the commitment of everyone in the company.

Julien BriseBois and his inner circle have given the company goals that sometimes seem unrealistic, but when you have that winning culture, that commitment to push the effort required for excellence to the maximum, then the results confirm that the concept is being followed to the letter.

Steven Stamkos stressed after his side’s victory on Saturday that he was very proud to be part of a group that respected the plan put forward by the coach.

The Lightning lagged behind against Toronto, they won.

He was behind against Rangers, he won.

From game three, no one at Rangers managed to surprise Andrei Vasilevskiy at eye level except for defender Ryan Lindgren. Nika Zibanejad, no goals. Chris Kreider, no goals. Artemi Panarin did not worry the Flash’s defensive brigade.

And Gerard Gallant allowed himself to omit Kaapo Kakko in favor of Brayden Hunt.

But despite the changes in Rangers, Lightning players enjoyed dragging the opponent into traps set up all over the play area. Rangers had no place in neutral territory. They had few options and it was almost impossible to sneak into the favored area.

And how many times have the Lightning players stolen the puck from the Rangers skaters? dozens of times. It was a great performance by the defending champion.

Tough opponent in sight

Can they be just as successful against the Avalanche?

It will be the toughest opponent of their long run.

The Leafs don’t have as much depth as Colorado. Neither did the Panthers, and the Rangers were clearly shorthanded.

The Avalanche is the Diamond of the Western Association. This team has almost no weaknesses. An exceptional defender in Cale Makar. An explosive attack led by Nathan MacKinnon. Top notch support staff.

It’s a spectacular formation. She copes well with adversity, she knows how to take on challenges. This is the third time in three years that we feel we have the elements to achieve the long awaited goal.

If the Avalanche is the most dangerous opponent to invite onto the Lightning’s course, Tampa Bay is the most worrisome team to come between the Denver lineup and the Stanley Cup in that regard. The Avalanche’s run was pretty simple: Nashville in four, the Blues in six, and the Oilers in four.

However, the Lightning are the defending champions, and to dethrone the Grandmaster we must use all our resources and avoid the slightest weakness.

The Avalanche are balanced on both offense and defense.

This formation presents an interrogation: in front of the net.

The Lightning also rely on a top-notch defensive roster. Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh are warriors. And there is Vasilevskiy.

In attack, the response will be tough with Nkita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

And if the coaches can make the difference in the playoffs, you shouldn’t bet against Jon Cooper.

A dream final series for the NHL.

Colorado or Tampa? I do not know yet. However, the return of Brayden Point could make a big difference.

If the Lightning can’t defeat the Avalanche, it will still be another notable season for BriseBois and his party. And if you consider that 10 years ago the Canadian had the choice between BriseBois and Marc Bergevin.

Out of solo performance to the sake

Joe Sakic took drastic measures to achieve the ultimate goal.

He’s handled the salary cap well, but after the finals series he’ll be dealing with a very long list of players who can claim free agent status.

Artturi Lehkonen is a player changing Avalanche’s business model.

Also, we have to prepare Nathan MacKinnon’s next contract and we can already predict that after the next season the center player will join the circle of Connor McDavid and Co., that is, he will charge 12M$ per season.

Colorado will enter the Finals 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 permissible to doubt it.

But while Julien BriseBois has challenged the unlikely every season for years, Sakic will always draw inspiration from his rival in the latest series.

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