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Trio Eyes Storytale Ending Written by Laci Bloomers - April 4th, 2009

The Tampa Bay Lightning are hotter than a teenage boy ogling over a Farrah Fawcett poster back in the '70s these days, and a trio of players likely playing out their swan song couldn't be happier.

In fact, much of the team's success can be credited directly to veterans Dan McGillis, Mike Rathje and Jeff Friesen, each likely in their final pro hockey season.


Rathje, who toiled with the club last season before being moved to Columbus fo a shot at the Cup, decided to play one more year, and had no issues coming back to Tampa.  The veteran blueliner has had a terrific season, pitching in with 6 goals and 19 points in 63 games.  Remarkably, he sits 2nd on the club at a +18.

McGillis was acquired early in the season from the Atlanta Thrashers, who are ironically fighting for a playoff berth.  McGillis was a throw in on the deal that saw Richard Zednik and Radek Bonk leave, bringing back, among others, Karl Alzner and Fernando Pisani. 

Since being acquired, McGillis has quietly paired up on the top line defense pairing, compiling 36 points and a +15 on the season.

Friesen has been with the club for far less time, but has made his presence felt.  The winger came over just before the Trade Deadline from the Ducks, and has quietly played on the top line.  He has 18 goals on the season, but 7 have come since he was acquired.

With the Bolts putting some distance between them and the Boys of Summer, and red hot with just one loss in their past 14 games (12-1-1), these veterans believe that the club has peaked at the right time.

"Some of the guys who have been brought in since the New Year" stated Rathje, "have brought this team to a level that can compete.  We are extremely confident right now, and we are finding ways to get the job done.  We have added some quality players to the mix, and they are contributing."

"Look at what Brodeur, Friese, Tangs, Jovo, Larsen - have brought to this roster" added McGillis.  "It is easy to forget that we went something like 25 games without winning back to back this season.  We look to have saved that for the right time."

"This team has the ingredients to win" added Friesen.  "If we do what we are showing we can, we could scare a lot of teams come the post-season.  This is just plain fun!"

Sure looks like a bunch of men playing a kids game to me.  All of them looking as excited as those boys back in the '70's must have!


- Laci Bloomers reporting -

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