When Louis Domingue was claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, I was taken aback because I recalled seeing the goaltender draw attention to himself by way of performances for the Arizona Coyotes. At the time, I thought he was due to become the eventual replacement for ‘Yotesgoaltender (and former Bolt) Mike Smith while also stepping into a slot of elitism that former Coyote (and Lightning alumnus) Nikolai Khabibulin once held.
What the hell put Domingue on waivers to begin with is a story I didn’t know. It’s a story I’m not getting into here. I’m getting into the now .…
With the injury to Andrei Vasilevskiy, Dommer has become the Bolts starting netminder. I can’t say everything has been perfect for him in net… in fact, I’ve seen a lot of fan criticism toward him. Comparisons to Marc Denis(who served in net during Lightning 2006-07 and 2007-2008; 54 games total, a tenure-average GAA of 3.62 and a .871 save percentage). That criticism was born in October, well before Vasy’sinjury, with Domingue’s return start and flop against the Coyotes.
Late this summer, before the NFL season was underway, the Tampa Bay Times did the Tampa Bay-media thing and played up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season ahead. “Most talented offense ever?” discussion before a regular season game had been played seemed like… well, an attempt to raise expectations.
I’m not here to judge the Buccaneer season as it nears a conclusion, I’m here to ask about the Tampa Bay Lightning.
See, with that hype about the Bucs, there hasn’t been the same headline-priority work for the Bolts in the Tampa Bay media, at least not from what I’ve seen. All while the Bolts are doing what counters Tampa Bay college and pro sports teams most of the time: Winning and winning. And winning.
A season in professional sports is played with the intention of winning a championship. That’s basic sport, ain’t it? You play a regular season with the hope of making it to the proverbial second-season: The playoffs. To make it to the post-season, to contend during the marathon of the regular season, is an accomplishment unto itself, and to go further is the dream.
In the NFL with its short 16 game season, only 12 of the league’s 32 teams make it to the playoffs. In Major League Baseball, after the grueling 162 game season, only eight of the league’s 30 teams make it to the second-season. The NBA and NHL are both 82-game regular season leagues, they’re also passing 16 teams to the playoffs each season. The key difference is the NHL has 31 teams (and soon to be 32) while the NBA has 30.
The NFL and MLB formats make the playoffs a divine achievement by itself. The NBA and NHL have an open format to contention… And there’s talk in the NHL about expanding the contender option.
When I started blogging about hockey, the posts were published on Boltsmag.com. Upon me founding Raw Charge, I pointed the domain name at the new SB Nation site. All my archives are posted over there, after all. It’s been set up like that since 2009.
With the two-year anniversary of my resignation from the network and with me posting re-direct links to Raw Charge archived articles I wrote there, I’ve decided to redirect the Boltsmag domain name toward my hockey post category here on JohnnyFonts.com.
I don’t know if anyone even knows of the domain name, let alone uses it. If you do use that domain, this post should explain why you’ve landed on this blog site and not on Raw Charge.
One day after my little piece on that shitty thing called Gritty, I got a PR email regarding the mascot that seems to have a different take on how the public reacted toward Gritty than what really went on. Continue reading →
Mascots and pro sports are a way to rile up the fans in a good way, a caricature personality that associates with a sports team. Some of those mascots are fitting-yet-playful parody characters who embody the franchise, like Roary the Lion with the Detroit Lions of the NFL, Osceola (and his steed, Renegade) with the Florida State University Seminoles. Others are a more playful association, like Mr. Met for the New York Mets or ThunderBug with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
And then there’s what the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled today:
Now, I’m not a Philadelphia sports fan and never have been, I still take the Flyers franchise as a rival to the Tampa Bay Lightning (the Flyes were the Bolts first ever playoff opponent). I’ve never taken much to the 76’ers, or the Eagles, though the Phillies have earned a token appreciation simply by way of where they play spring training. All that said, nothing I’m about to say is intended to slight or put down Philly as a city or a sports town.
It’s a foreign word in the history of sports in Tampa Bay, really. Oh, there are numerous athletes that the Bay area has produced who met and had relations with the word. There are plenty of high school athletic organizations who have known the word but single teams don’t represent the region. Heck, this applies to college sports too. Many residents may claim loyalty and devotion to Florida State, the University of Florida or the University of Miami while the University of South Florida is here in the region and…. Well, the word is foreign in the most prominent sports followed by area sports enthusiasts.
While the word has been largely foreign in the Tampa Bay metro area, it has taken up residency here in the past and it’s seriously hanging out along the banks of the Garrison Channel at current. It blazes so bright that some of the fans are blinded by it and they cannot take satisfaction from it.