Steven Stamkos

USA Today

Columbus 7, Tampa Bay 3

Columbus: 4 wins, Tampa Bay: 0 wins

April 17, 2019 - 9:32 am

Columbus 7
Tampa Bay 3

Columbus: 4 wins
Tampa Bay: 0 wins

And just like that,.. The Presidents Trophy winners are done. Eliminated. Swept. Four games after the playoffs started, they ended. One of the biggest tank jobs ever. Thanks for coming.

So what happened? What went wrong? Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos had the best answer: “Everything.”

Uh, yep. That sounds about right. When you go from winning 62 games in the regular season to winning zero in the postseason, just about everything has to go wrong.

Honestly, I’m kind of impressed. It’s one thing for a record-setting team to lose in the first round, it’s another to get completely blown out and swept in the first round. To completely no-show and embarrass themselves. To puke all over everything they’d done in the regular season by choking in the playoffs.

That is historic. The first Presidents Trophy winners to get swept in the first round. You have to be really good to be that bad.

And they didn’t just lose to any old team, they lost to a team that had never won a playoff series. Ever.

So congrats on making that piece of history as well.

But seriously…, how the hell DOES that happen??!?! How does a team that good suddenly get that horrible? I’d say they got hammered, but if you go back to Game 1, they were the ones doing the hammering.

They were up 3-0 after the first period of Game 1. They were on the way to a sweep, not to getting swept. And then instead of continuing to smash Columbus, they just handed the hammer over and said, go ahead, bludgeon me.   

Led 3-0 after one period in Game 1 and then were outscored 19-5 the rest of the series. Nice work, y’all. Believe me, everyone has already forgotten that you had arguably the greatest regular season in the history of the sport, but this choke job will stick to you forever. 

And yes, I know, Tampa was a little banged up. That doesn’t help, but everyone is banged up at this point. And when you’re the #1 seed and you’re facing an 8, that’s no excuse. Not when you’re not just a good team, but a historically good team.

As Stamkos said, they got worked: "We obviously didn't have the answers. They executed obviously a pretty detailed game plan to slow us down, and we didn't really have a response to it."

Power play? Dominant in the regular season, sucked in this series.

Penalty kill? Dominant in the regular season, sucked in this series.

Columbus scored game-winning power play goals in Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, and then on a delayed penalty in Game 4.  

If you’re new to hockey and want a recap, here’s a recap, courtesy of Jim Mora when he was the Saints head coach. 

The Lightning couldn’t complete a pass. They didn’t try to make a pass. They couldn’t move the puck. They couldn’t get a shot. The offense sucked. The defense sucked. They got their asses kicked. They’re totally embarrassed and totally ashamed.

Don’t get me wrong. Jon Cooper is a hell of a coach. And that is a hell of a roster. But that was one hell of a series.

I’d say they picked the worst time to play their worst hockey, but I’m not even sure they played hockey at all.  I mean, none of them looked like they had ever played the game before. Stamkos didn’t have a point in the series until Game 4. They were just skating around and letting Columbus do whatever Columbus wanted to do. The Blue Jackets dominated that series and made the best team in the regular season play their style.

How bad was it? The team’s official twitter account went full-blown emo after it was over.

I’m not sure what was worse, how the Lightning showed up in the series or how the team’s twitter account handled the end of it. Check this: “We don’t have any words and we know you don’t want to hear them. We understand your anger, your frustration, your sadness. Everything you’re feeling – we get it. This isn’t the ending we imagined, and certainly not the one we wanted. Thank you for being there the entire way.

You alright, @tblightning?

Was that the tweet from a professional sports team or an eighth grader breaking up with someone before the school dance? Did Tampa just get knocked the hell out of the playoffs or did @tblightning just get busted for making out with someone new under the bleachers?

I mean, have you ever heard an official team tweet start with: ‘We don’t have any words and we know you don’t want to hear them. We understand your anger, your frustration, your sadness. Everything you’re feeling – we get it.’

I know you had won the President’s Trophy and this is truly one of the great choke jobs not just in hockey but in any sport, but damn, man, get a freaking grip. Shake yourself.

Besides, Twitter account. You didn’t do anything wrong. The team did. They were the ones who jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 1 and then got their doors blown off the rest of the series. They were the ones who choked in an epic fashion. Not you. Don’t make it worse.

“We don’t have any words and we know you don’t want to hear them? Seriously, what was that? That tweet was worse than the team and the team was horrible. The only other thing I can say is, and I hate to make it about me, but at least I saw it coming and told all of you as much before it happened. But since this about them and not me, I’ll get to that a little bit later on.