January 27th was the anniversary of an important day in Tampa Bay Lightning history. It might not be a day discussed in depth over the team’s 20th season celebration, but the impact of this moment can’t be understated. What happened? The Lightning acquired veteran defenseman Darryl Sydor from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Former GM Jay Feaster has said that that trade was the key to Tampa’s championship season. Fast forward to 2013 and blueliners are making an impression again. This time it’s Sami Salo and Matt Carle.
Defensive woes are noting new for the Bolts. Heck, the 2008-09 season saw 22 blueliners wear a Lightning sweater. Luckily the signings of Salo and Carle combined with the maturation of young players have added some much needed nuance to the D corps. Next time you’re at a game, watch Salo & Carle. They isn’t flashy but the little details are what is so important. A poke check here, skillfully driving an opponent off the puck. He provides a measured, patient approach to the game.