He says he’s not paying lip service when he says he’s looking at making a trade or two to put a jolt in his 14-16-2 club. “We’re serious about it,” Feaster told The Canadian Press on Friday. “Let’s face it, I can’t have a $44-million payroll and be a sub-.500 team.
“The math doesn’t work. Having said that, I’m not displeased with the play of (Vincent) Lecavalier, (Martin) St. Louis and (Brad) Richards. They’ve been very good.”
In other words, aside from The Big Three, he’s open for business. The holiday roster freeze goes into effect next Tuesday at midnight so he may or may not have time to do something before then.
The Lightning dropped a 4-2 decision at Montreal on Thursday night despite outshooting the Habs 43-20. Tampa has only one win in its last eight games (1-6-1), strangely enough an 8-0 waxing of Southeast Division-leading Atlanta.
The Lightning coughed up a 3-1 lead in Toronto before losing 5-4 to the Maple Leafs last Tuesday.
“You know what, it is frustrating,” said Feaster. “We’ve had an awful lot of games where we’ve played really well as a team and we don’t get big saves or we get outgoaltended.
“Last night, we outchanced that team (Montreal) 23-9 I think, and we don’t get a win. Then at other times we have the situation where we melt down for two or three minutes at a time and all of a sudden we take ourselves right out of a game.
“The other night in Toronto, we should be able to finish that out. Instead, we went into the third period tied and they beat us. We’re a frustrated bunch right now.”
The goaltending was the problem last season, too, and it cost the jobs of John Grahame and Sean Burke. In came Marc Denis and Johan Holmqvist but that hasn’t been the answer, either.
“It is disheartening from the standpoint that, at the start of the season, I thought Marc was really solid,” said Feaster. “Marc gave us a chance every night to win and we weren’t scoring many goals.
“I go back to a game against Atlanta where they beat us 1-0. But now that we are scoring goals and we have two of the top scoring forwards in the NHL, now Marc’s game isn’t where it had been. So we need him to get back in form, there’s no question.”
Feaster has no interest in doing what four other NHL teams have done this season, fire the head coach. John Tortorella appears safe.
“I think the coaches are doing a very good job,” said Feaster. “I’m not dissatisfied with the way we prepare and how we approach things.
“We’re finding ways where we just melt down. I call it mental toughness, and I really do believe that’s what cost us in Toronto. We weren’t mentally tough. Last night, I thought we did a great job. That was a great bounceback performance by the team. The goalie at the other end was better.”