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Jay Feaster’s Blog: Ready for action

Jay Feaster celebrates with the Stanley Cup in 2004. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

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Jay Feaster celebrates with the Stanley Cup in 2004. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Greetings from sunny Florida.

Despite rumors on local sports talk radio of my demise, I am still based here in Hockey Bay, USA. However, I am no longer managing the Lightning. Having resigned on July 11, I am doing everything possible to keep myself prepared, up-to-date, and ready to manage another NHL team when the opportunity arises.

While finishing 30th last season was not what any of us in Tampa intended, I nonetheless look back with great pride on what we accomplished during my tenure as GM. Four consecutive post-season appearances, two Southeast Division titles, one first-overall finish in the East and a Stanley Cup title in six full seasons at the helm (including the lockout year) in a non-traditional market. A pretty solid performance, I’d say.

In addition to some freelance scouting and some work with NHL Radio on XM, I will also be writing a blog for The Hockey News. My goal with the blog is to give you some behind-the-scenes information based on my experiences as a GM and also to share with you my take on the news of the day in our great game. 

Had you asked me when training camp opened last season if I thought the Lightning were going to be playing for the Stanley Cup in June, I would have told you we had quite a few holes to fill first. At the same time, had you told me we were going to finish dead last in the NHL, I would have said not only were you smoking something illegal, but you were inhaling as well.

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How incredibly quickly things can and do change! It started before the season began in August with the announcement of the team’s sale to a group led by former Columbus president and GM Doug MacLean. It continued post-game on the night of our first pre-season contest in September when Dan Boyle’s skate fell from his locker and severed three tendons in his wrist. Other injuries mounted in a way we had never before experienced, including Boyle requiring a second surgery on his wrist. The sale of the team fell through, only to be resurrected a short time later by one of the original members of the first group of buyers.

In short, it was a roller-coaster ride all season.

I will share some of those ups and downs with you this season. For the rest,  you’ll have to wait until I write my book. In any event, I hope we can have some fun along the way as I blog for THN.com every other week. Camps are now open, some pre-season games have been played and so it’s with great enthusiasm that I say, “Drop the puck!”

Jay Feaster is a former GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he took over in 2002 and helped build the team into a Stanley Cup champion in 2004. As he did last season, he will blog on THN.com throughout the 2008-09 campaign. Read his other entries HERE.

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