An image from Tampa BayLightning history and the 1996 NHL Playoffs
Preceding this image with a history lesson of Tampa Bay sports would seem fitting, as the Buccaneers were a joke or oh-so-long and the fledgling Tampa Bay Lightning did not see their first competitions until 1995-96. It’s that latter point that this whole post and this image are based on.
This is an image, taken in 2010, of the St. Petersburg Times 1996 playoff preview for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who would face the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. The preview quotes then-radio play-by-play man Larry Hirsch who commonly crowed “Yessir! Yessir!” after a Lightning goal.
In this case, Hirsch’s decree was toward Tampa Bay being competitive in pro sports again. It was the first top-level playoff appearence by a Tampa Bay team since 1983 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last made the playoffs.
I’ve owned the print copy since it was put out. It’s not in the best of shape; it’s simply one of several print-editions of the then-St. Pete Times newspaper. You may even notice the coffee ring that appeares on the copy. Hey, can I really fault family for doing that to something that they didn’t know would turn into an heirloom?
While I post the image, I won’t go in depth on the Bolts of ’96 besides saying Darren Puppa was the netminder of the day, Brian Bradley, John Cullen, Rob Zamnuer, and Roman Hamrlik were just some of the integral cogs on that Lightning team. Bolts fans of today should know Bradley from his face-time on Fox Sports Sun broadcasts.
I post this image just to get it out there. It would have been more fitting if I had posted this in April of this year… Which makes it worth noting that even the 1996 Tampa Bay Lightning weren’t swept outright from the playoffs.