Breaking News: Tocchet and Lawton fired

According to TSN and Derren Dreger on twitter, the higher ups in Tampa Bay have fired coach Rick Tocchet as well as General Manager Brian Lawton, after missing the playoffs for a third straight year.

While winning their final three games of the season and going 6-4-0 in their last 10, it was too little too late, as the Bolts finishes the season with 80 points, or a 34-36-12 record. Overall under two years of Tocchet, the Lightning are 53-69-12 in 134 games, who took over for Barry Melrose mid season in the 2008-09 season.

Despite an incredible 51 goal season from sophomore Steven Stamkos, which ties Sidney Crosby for the Maurice Richard Trophy, the Lightning as a whole could only muster 213 goals, good for 23rd in the league, while getting scored on 253 times, good for 27th in the league, with only the Islanders, Leafs and Oilers behind them. Their powerplay finished 8th in the league at 19.3%, while their penalty kill was 22nd at 80.1%

Brian Lawton, who's contract was up at the end of June, did not attend the Bolts' final game of the year. He and Tocchet were said to have a strained relationship, which included the dismissal of Tocchet's assistant Wes Walz without Tocchet's approval mid-season.

No replacements have been announced, but it is believed that Assistant General Manager Tom Kurvers will take over the GM position on an interim basis until a replacement can be found.

It's anyone's guess what could happen in Tampa Bay from hereon in. Their financial troubles have been well documented over the last couple of years, and this could very well lead to some major changes in Tampa Bay over the next few months. Could Vincent Lecavalier finally be on his way out of Florida, after literally years of speculation?

Prax
www.thecheckingline.com
www.twitter.com/thecheckingline