This shortened NHL season might just go down as the year of mediocrity. So many teams to this point of the season, as we are just about to the one-third mark of the 48-game schedule, have been on a elevator ride up and down. With a few exceptions at the top of the standings – Chicago, Anaheim, Boston, New Jersey – and at the bottom – Washington, Florida, Buffalo, Columbus – most teams have been up and down. San Jose couldn't lose in January, then couldn't win in February. The New York Islanders were the surprise in the first two weeks of the season, then went on a two week slide. St. Louis clobbered teams in the early going, then were getting the same done to them. Tampa Bay looked dominant to start the season while Carolina looked in disarray. Those two teams switched roles in the past two weeks and were tied for the Southeast Division lead heading into Saturday's meeting in Raleigh. It's probably going to be that way all season, and Lightning head coach offers up the Allen Iverson theory – it's all about practice. "It's a very difficult season for everybody because you are up and down in games, up and down from game to game and you can't get your habits and you can't get your consistency because you can't practice,'' Boucher said. "That's the only way you are going to get it, you don't get it from game to game, it's practice, it's practice, practice because you don't get the repetition. It's very difficult and that's why you get times when you play great and go 'Wow' and then right after, you are 'What's going on?'