Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Lightning

What is time’s tale of Tampacuse with Lightning and Crunch fans?

 

The intention here was to write a blog post leading in to this poll regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning / Syracuse Crunch affiliation. The lead-in got sidetracked on major league/minor league (IHL and NHL) affiliations for the Bolts and gets too far away from the simple poll question I have for the faithful from both clubs:

After 5 years of affiliation, what is your opinion of the Tampacuse partnership?

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It’s been five years now since Tampa Bay and Syracuse teamed up. Some may see nothing from the pairing as only one team matters — the one you’re exposed to. Others know there’s importance to the development pipeline but won’t necessarily agree that the affiliates matter as-so-much as how the organization overall handles operations at the player-personnel level.

Whatever the case, what say you? Are you happy or discontent with the Tampa Bay / Syracuse affiliation? Vote!

By the way, the title of this post seems a little awkward but “time’s tale” basically summarizes the length of the affiliation and the events (ya know, games, player movement, what not) with the clubs.

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Filed under Tampa Bay Lightning

Best of the Bay and the Bolts for 2017

I may have touched on this Best of the Bay thingie while talking about music (sweet music…music everywhere) but the topic of note is the one that my name is usually linked to: The Tampa Bay Lightning. Creative Loafing’s 2017 reader poll doesn’t lack nor neglect notable aspects of the Bolts – directly or indirectly – which sets the table for Lightning fans to show support for cogs they know regarding the club.

Mind you, there may be more nominated aspects and assets with ties to the franchise (Amalie Arena, or perhaps a locale within the arena). What’s being cited here is from the section called People, Places, Politics which features categories pertaining to public figures, locations and sports. Continue reading

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Filed under Raw Charge, Sports, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Lightning

Social Media Reach and the Tampa Bay Lightning

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Filed under hockey, Raw Charge, The Life

Isolation and the Tampa Bay Rays quest for a new stadium [UPDATED]

Insecure, narcissist and self indulgent. These words are commonly thrown toward current United States President Donald J. Trump (as they should be). Yet what’s inspiring these words at the moment is reflecting on a city; one town in a grander regional area that wants to be on top. It’s a town that wants prominence in the region through a national spotlight, even if that spotlight is dimmed by way of the city itself.

St. Petersburg, Florida’s population is almost 250,000, 16,000 more than Reno, Nevada (“America’s Biggest Little City”). It’s part of the grander Tampa Bay metroplex. Its quest to one-up Tampa (the larger city in the Bay area) was part of why the town constructed the venue known now as Tropicana Field. Never mind the fact there was no slated pro sports team to play within the building when construction was approved in the mid-1980s; St. Petersburg had to force the location if and when (if ever) Major League Baseball expanded or relocated to Tampa Bay.

Being a Tampa Bay resident for so long, having seen and experienced life with the Dome and St. Pete in general, I cringe and shake my head now. Topping another city to lock in control of a potential jewel only shows a lack of self awareness. St. Pete has one, basic fault that keeps it understated in a the wider region; a very simple fault that’s on display at Tampa Bay Rays games and which is why a new stadium is a hot point with the club and why relocation outside of the region is a possibility….

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Filed under baseball, Tampa Bay

And down the stretch they come….! Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Lightning as the NHL season wanes

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Filed under hockey, Raw Charge

On Tampa Bay sports disappointment and media coverage

A disappointing season in sports – both professional and amateur — is just that, a disappointment, a downer. Things don’t go as planned and the results are lesser than you (as a fan) wish. It’s something that you can’t hold against a high school or college team while the pro sports competitive disappointments can be outright atrocities of a competitive kind, run asunder by a multitude of choices by management as well of incidents of both a competitive variety and by bad luck.

The 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season is a disappointment of a competitive nature where bad luck (injuries) and a horrible schedule played part in the Bolts not roaring into a competitive, playoff-bound position that has become a constant the last three seasons. There was a noted attitude problem in the Lightning locker room, and once that was brought into check the team turned up its competitive vibe and is where it is now: Just outside the playoff bubble with a scant chance of making it and a growing chance of missing the playoffs.

It’s a disappointment, yeah. Yet the strength of the team hasn’t collapsed, things haven’t been put asunder with bad coaching or low quality management moves. For the casual fan that’s locked in on disappointment in the trades of Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula: They weren’t going to stick around long term by way o the salary cap and costs to do so. Bishop and Boyle will be unrestricted free agents come July 1st, Filppula was due to become one in the summer of 2018. With the club already working with a very tight salary cap, retaining them over retaining forthcoming restricted free agents Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and / or Center Tyler Johnson just couldn’t be done.

Disappointing to lose fan favorite players, especially Bishop who was such a steady hand in the crease. But when looking at the broad picture, at the “Yzerplan” that accentuates player development, it’s understandable as something that had to be done.

To cut that short: shit happens. Ho hum. Next season is going to be something worth checking out, just as this season was, and the season before…

In comparison to professional sports in the history of the greater Tampa Bay Metropolitan area which has existed 40+ years, this season of Lightning hockey ranks a hell of a lot higher on the disappointment list than oh-so-many others coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning. All that history, all the back-story of each club doesn’t gain web-clicks or sell newspapers at the immediate moment though.

See, Tampa Bay Times (and former Tampa Tribune) sports columnist Martin Fennelly made a bold decree that this Tampa Bay Lightning’s season is the biggest disappointment in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He does quick-quick takes of other top-tier disappointing seasons for local clubs, but highlights the current state of the Lightning as “desperation hockey” and the reason why this season is the top disappointment – ever.

That’s where I’ve been revitalized as a sports blogger, because something so limited in view, perspective and opinion got the green light from the only newspaper in the region. Something so inane, random and weak didn’t just get published – it’s going to get someone his paycheck because he put words down and it fit a column length requirement. Continue reading

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by | March 22, 2017 · 8:17 AM

The Tall Order: Saying Farewell to Ben BIshop

I posted over on Raw Charge last night in the wake of goalie Ben BIshop’s trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Los Angeles Kings. Click over to read.

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Filed under hockey

Read my full column/blog post HERE.

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by | February 4, 2017 · 2:43 PM

Contention, mediocrity, and the future of Tampa Bay sports

The storied franchise of each city in the United States is different.  There’s a chance they are all on par, but that’s basically a decree toward the mega-markets – the New York Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Mets, Knicks, Jets; The Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox and Cubs (congratulations, Cubbies, on your World Series championship); the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, they-have-an-NFL-team-again-in-the Rams and Chargers. That’s talking market size and not what I’m touching on here.

The storied franchise of Tampa Bay is the Buccaneers of the NFL, that one ruling force of the region for its longevity and its beholden nature to the sport worshiped by the region.

Yeah, yeah, Florida loves itself some football.  If it’s not the Bucs then the sport is dominated by college antics, high school efforts, or even the twisted spring and summer interests of Arena Football (that’s not trying to put it down or undermine it as so much admit the fact the league was adopted because of the fallacies of the Bucs in the 1990s).

The thing is there’s a very big breaking point in Tampa Bay sports history on the cusp of coming into existence. It’s already happened, really, but this enigma becomes a fact within the next 5 months. How many NFL fans would expect their NHL teams to be more apt than their NFL clubs are? How many NHL towns can boast that their hockey team is just as often a playoff contender than their NFL team?

Indeed, the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey club is close to matching the number of playoff berths the Buccaneers have accomplished in their 40 years of existence. The Lightning can already crow about going to the cusp/brink of a championship more often than the Bucs – the Bucs made the NFC title game three times and advanced to the Super Bowl all of once; the Bolts have been in the Eastern Conference finals four times, playing for the Stanley Cup twice, winning once.

The Bucs made the playoffs all of 10 times in their 40 year history, accomplishing it for the first time ever in 1979, and then crossing into the playoffs twice in the early 1980s (1981, 1982) before failing for 15 years.  Tony Dungy resurrected the Bucs competitiveness in the mid-1990s and got them back into the playoffs in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001… He was then replaced by Jon Gruden as head coach who grabbed a Super Bowl title in 2003 (his winning season as coach was 2002) before things started growing awkward. The Bucs made it to the playoffs all of two times after the championship (2005, 2007).

For the Lightning, the franchise has existed for 24 full years (but, with thanks to work stoppages, seasons have been abbreviated twice and stopped all together once in that span). They cracked the playoffs for the first time ever in 1996 and didn’t make it again until the 21st century (2003). They won Lord Stanley’s Cup the very next year (2004) and have made the playoffs most of the years following (2006, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016).

I could elaborate on stats a bit, or about schedule shenanigans brought on by Players Association / league conflicts in both the NFL and NHL, but the technical stuff doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the Lightning has made the playoffs nine times in their history while the Buccaneers have made it 10 times.  The NFL season is more brief compared to the NHL, the NFL makeup has been thicker over the years (number of franchises) than the NHL (though the NHL has grown in size; they’ll be at 31 teams next season, just shy of the NFLs 32 teams).

The Bolts are likely to compete in their 10th NHL playoff appearance in team history (subject to change under certain circumstances) while the Buccaneers…? The Bucs are at this position internally and competitively where things don’t matter besides what the market and the league provides for them. That’s not a knock on the market as-so-much a knock on the Glazer brothers who have kept a status-quo of the franchise that mimics Hugh Culverhouse; business first and competitive futility second.  The major difference between Culverhouse and the Glazers is that Culverhouse was not a silent individual whereas the Glazers are mutes in control of the sport the market is in love with. If they want more at a cost to the market, they’ll get more upon demand. If the market expects from them, keep dreaming. That’s all we’re allowed to do.

It’s part of why Jeffrey Vinik, who took over the Lightning in late winter 2010, is such a champion of an owner. Vinik has his hockey team competing at the pro sports level but he is also accomplishing in-market with what he seeks and accomplishes downtown… That’s a far, far cry from the Glazers (who have owned the Bucs a much longer time than Vinik with the Lightning).

The Lightning tying and potentially topping the Bucs in playoff achievements is long overdue. Some football fans might see that as a moot decree – the NFL is much more competitive and influential than the NHL – but to strive to achieve is a grander accomplishment than accepting mediocrity.

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Filed under Sports

The South should celebrate its hockey heritage at Tropicana Field

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Filed under hockey, Raw Charge

Seeking blog contributors for Raw Charge

Raw Charge is looking for writers to add to the staff of their SB Nation blog covering the Tampa Bay Lightning.  How would I know? I run the damn place, that is how I would know.

I bring this up on my personal blog site that gets next-to-no web traffic (but a gargantuan number of bot driven spam comments) because it’s a chance to talk about the aspiration to add staff.  Well, it’s not just adding staff, per se. It’s about trying to find writing teammates to work with. This is a quest to find guys and girls who love the sport, and the team but also want to be part of something bigger.

Things have changed in the past calendar year (or a bit longer) on Raw Charge with people leaving the site, self-driven writers who didn’t want to fit a format (be it site use or grammar), and college influence / professional aspirations stopping others from writing in a casual format.

While the site has taken on some very capable writers the past few months, there is still missing elements and consistency in contributions.

I’m looking for a Tampa Bay based element for new contributors. I don’t mean relocated-for-college-but-originally-from-TB people… I mean folks who are here.

You can access the official post about looking-for-writers at this link.

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Filed under Raw Charge, Sports

Come what may; thoughts and rambling on the eve of the 2016 NHL playoffs

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Filed under hockey, Raw Charge

A playoff-berth bar to be met or raised in Tampa Bay sports

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Filed under football, hockey, Sports, Tampa Bay

Re-enGauged

My writing habits have been stuck on Lightning hockey for something like 7 years now. Sometimes I vent on Reddit.com or in private conversations. Other times I’ve articulated in fiction writing that’s sitting in a “Saved” folder on my PC.

I dunno,perhaps it is time to un-mothball this thing and use it to express myself instead of hiding it? Then again, reviewing some of my riting here I call people out by name. That’s not good.  At the same time, knowing this site hasn’t been public for years (and not easily accessible even to me) the site has not been indexed in search engines or shared through social mediums in a long, long time. Looking over web traffic data proves it.

This article draft was put together months ago, but it’s publication is only being done now.  Hmmm, maybe i should actually post some worthwhile content instead of venting writing-wise?

One thing I have to do that absolutely has to be done is clear up the blogroll. Some of those sites are spam sites now, others are just dead-in-the-water.  Sorta like Stonegauge, which is only getting reads (from me) for the first time in forever.

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Filed under The Life, The Stonegauge