Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Man Brute Squad

Go Blolts and Go Malone!
Dedicated, huge, dependable, intense, courageous, warrior, horse, physical, one of our best players, power forward, and my personal favorite: One man brute squad.

What do all these terms have in common? They have all been used recently to describe the play of former St. Cloud State Husky Ryan Malone.

Ryan Malone and the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the Eastern Conference Playoffs hoping to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The play of Ryan Malone is one of the major contributing factors to the Lightnings on going success. Malone has had limited playing time this year due to injury, allowing him only to play in 54 regular season games. Head coach Guy Boucher, "suggested it was no coincidence that Tampa Bay was 32-22 in games Malone played and 14-14 when he was out of the lineup in the regular season." With all of this success, there have been some great articles written about Ryan Malone over the last month or so.

The article, "Lightning Sparked from the Cloud", published by the NHLPA, discusses Malone's development from St. Cloud State to the Tampa Bay Lightning both as a player and as a person. The article goes on to discuss how Malone would be able to come up big in clutch moments, his intensity on the ice, and someone who worked his tail off while playing for the St. Cloud State Huskies. Even more importantly, the article talks about Malone's character off the ice as someone who donates to charitable causes and a friend to everyone he meets. The article also has some great quotes from St. Cloud State long-time Hockey Equipment Manager Jeremiah Minkel. 
P.S. Love the title of the article...incorporating both the Tampa Bay Lighting and St. Cloud State Huskies.

Published in the St. Petersburg Times, the article, "Ryan Malone shakes off bumps, bruises as Tampa Bay Lightning prepares to battle Boston Bruins in East final" also has some flattering things to say about Ryan Malone. This article discusses the tough style of play Malone brings to Tampa Bay. Some great quotes include:
"Malone is the one-man brute squad: the guy who stands his ground near the crease and waits for pucks and punches."
"'I don't know if the guy knows what pain is, to be honest with you,' said coach Guy Boucher. 'He's very courageous going to the net and blocking shots, being first on the puck and getting hit hard to make the play happen. That's his trademark. That's who he is. And certainly a lot of our players take a lot from that.'" 
"Before the year started, I heard all kinds of things about how this guy is a warrior. And through the big games this year, I saw it. And in the playoffs he's just been incredible." 
"'He's been a horse his whole career,' Stamkos said. 'And that's the kind of guy you need.'" 
Finally, from NHL.com, the article, "Malone paying the price for Lightning",  goes into detail about Malone's role and willingness to get physical with the imposing Boston captain Zdeno Chara. The Bruins lost their physical edge in Game 4 of the series allowing the Lightning to score five unanswered goals. Malone played a big part on the game-winning goal as he intercepted a pass through the middle of the ice by Lucic and then carried it toward the Boston net along the right wing. He then sent the puck toward the cage and it ended up on Gagne’s stick to put Tampa Bay up 4-3.

All this attention and accolades are well deserved and I hope to see more of them when the Lightning beat Boston and head to the Stanley Cup Finals. Wouldn't it be great to get another St. Cloud State Husky alumni on the Cup?

Go Bolts and Go Ryan Malone!