Category Archives: hockey

A feat in failure, the Bolts beat the Blues

A factoid from a season now gone bye-bye. It’s an amazing feat for St. Louis Blues fans and those looking from the outside. It also happens to be a frustrating reminder for Tampa Bay Lightning fans — achievement, yet a flat ending.

Via Reddit’s /r/hockey community:

Now that the Stanley Cup has been won, I would like to point out that the Tampa Bay Lightning had more wins in the regular season (62) than the St. Louis Blues had in the regular season and playoffs combined (45+16=61). Not sure if this has ever happened before.

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by | June 15, 2019 · 9:48 AM

Three months away; Lightning announce 2019 preseason schedule

On the day of the grand finale of the 2018-19 NHL season, the Tampa Bay Lightning laid down kindling for the 2019-20 season to come.

Oh, it’s not a huge bit of news – not a personnel hiring, not a staff change, not a transaction — but it does set sights on the Bolts season ahead.

They released the 2019 preseason schedule.

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My love for hockey and the glory of the Stanley Cup

With the start of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals tonight, I got a wee bit nostalgic.

In 2014 the Raw Charge staff of Tampa Bay Lightning writers participated in a series of posts chronicling things that endeared each of us to the sport of Ice hockey.

My Five Things post was published on February 18th, 2014. The final topic that makes me love this sport is what I quote in full here.

One reason I love ice hockey and am tied to the game is my reverence of the Chalice of Lord Stanley and it’s history:

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What to do with HockeyDaily.net?

I bought a domain name last week, one that I’ve thought about for some time: HockeyDaily.net. Yet with the site in my possession now, I’m not sure how I should go forward with it.

My original intention was blog syndication. I’m someone who used to rely on HockeyBlogs.org to show me content (headlines, not full stories) from around the blogosphere. Yet, is that the best idea? Is the blogosphere for the sport of ice hockey still active enough – with readers interested in the content – as it was in the past?

Is there already a blog aggregator site out there — one that shares blog headlines and not siping full articles? Is the majority of the fanbase out there now just tied to what they cross on social media from the bloggers themselves?

Another option would e to start a hockey blogger network of my own but… well,, that would require recruitment and crap that I’m not so good at.

Input from others on this topic would be appreciated. Perhaps there is something lacking for the sport that people could use online with regularity?

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Filed under hockey, interweb, Web Sites of Mine

2019 NHL Playoffs: Oh, how the mighty have fallen

Ring around the Rosie
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, Ashes
We all fall down!

  • Ring Around the Rosie

I told you I ain’t a betting man and while I stood and fell with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2019 NHL playoffs, while ridicule was poured heavily on the franchise (by fans and general sports followers) for their exquisite failings… Well? The best of the best have failed.

All of them.

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Will the start of Steve Yzerman’s tenure in Detroit bring transactions with Tampa Bay?

I could be dead wrong on this but I’ve also got a certainty tied to it, so here goes: I have an inkling, this feeling, that Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn is Detroit-bound.

If it ain’t Killorn, it’s going to be somebody wrought through the Tampacuse system. All with thanks to the fact what Stevie Y wants, Stevie Y gets.

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Without a job and without a path forward

I’ve got a conundrum.

In the business world, it’s not a problem really: Long-time veteran of a field of business leaves said-field for two full years and then gets an inkling to re-enter as issues faced personally or an attempt to find a career in a new field hadn’t pass muster. This ambiguous jargon makes it seem plain and simple, don’t it?

It’s not that simple. Not for me.

You can see in a couple of recent blog posts I’ve done that I’ve been touching on my old forte in hockey blogging. I am one of the original hockey bloggers, having founded Boltsmag.com in February 2004, running it independently for five years before being recruited by my long-time colleague James Mirtle (who started his own writing career independently at Blogspot) to SB Nation where I founded Raw Charge. I blogged about the Tampa Bay Lightning and NHL for 12 and a half years before resigning due to burnout (a burnout which also seen as symptoms of a surprising health issue that almost killed me).

Blah, blah, blah… Maybe I should ge back in? I’ve got nothing else going for me.

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The simple truth; 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning playoffs post-mortem summary

They don’t call the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs the Second Season for nothing. Accomplishments during the NHL’s regular season be damned; everything starts at zero, every team starts on an even keel. Every team has a chance.

Game One and the first period of play, the Lightning did what was expected of them. The high flying ability of the 2018-19 President Trophy winning club was on display.

After the first intermission of Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, things changed. The next eight periods of play were rife with… what? I don’t know. It just didn’t come off like the gameplay that so many bore witness to from the club during the regular season. Chippiness, penalties, scrums, and fights. One might put the spotlight on the Columbus Blue Jackets for that as if they were the antagonists… No, no… It was an NHL game and the team that was antagonizing most heavily was the Lightning. Penalizations ensued. Opportunities rained down on the Jackets by way of it.

Eight periods of play – the bulk of Game One, Game Two and THree in full… the damage was done and Columbus capitalized on it with sound play, leading to their own imposing play and victories. Excuses could be made — primarily that chief defenseman Victor Hedman was playing while injured and was sidelined with Anton Stralman for Game Four — but that’s just it, an excuse. That’s not to say Hedman being hurt didn’t cause issues, it’s that what was going on in Lightning team play wasn’t defensive lapses. It was overall team play and perhaps game-plan lapses

The titans of contention during the 2018-19 regular season turned into the also-ran roster of the 2019 Second Season. That’s it. That’s the way to look at it.

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Disappointed by Lightning play and fan reaction

I’m going to go with a simple take going into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:

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Another Lightning record: Drawing viewers to their historic regular-season performance

Another Tampa Bay Lightning broken record for the 2018-19 NHL season. The only difference with this one, it was a feat fans helped them achive: It was the most popular season of Lightning hockey in Fox Sports Sun broadcast history. (Damn shame local news coverage by Tampa Bay media didn’t reflect the popularity during the regular season… just sayin’…)

I’ll let the official press release from Fox Sports do the talking. Read below:

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The Great Outdoors and the first Eastern Conference Quarterfinals watch party for Lightning fans

It’s the time of the season for fans to congregate together and watch Tampa Bay Lightning hockey during the 2019 NHL Playoffs. Seeing everyone can’t make it to the Amalie for games (or venues of opposing teams — in this instance, Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio), watch parties by the Lightning are a nice way to do it.

It was announced Monday that hockey fans in Tampa Bay can hit up an official watch party at Curtis Hixon Park for Wednesday’s Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. It won’t just be hockey watching in Curtis Hixon on Wednesday as the rock group Cage the Elephant is also supposed to perform.

Details from the Bolts press release are as follows:

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Another benchmark change is looming for the Lightning in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs

As it stands, with the 2018-19 regular season still in play, Tampa Bay Lightning history has a total of five players who have played with the club in five Stanley Cup Playoffs: Pavel Kubina, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman. All five players were around for the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

History is about to change, obviously…

The forthcoming 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be Stamkos and Hedman’s sixth time, setting the new franchise paramount in their tenth and ninth NHL seasons respectively. It just seems fitting that this new “record” is being set in a season with so much record-breaking by the Bolts.

Kubby, Vinny, and Marty won’t e alone in the five-season playoff appearance category; they just didn’t play with the guys who will be joining them in the ranks. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, and Nikita Kucherov have been in all of the playoff seasons helmed by current head coach Jon Cooper (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018). It’s also worth mentioning that Johnson, Palat and Killorn were also part of  Cooper’s 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals team that won the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup. Also worth noting is Kucherov’s struggles of 2013-14 (communications) limited his ice time during the Bolts Eastern Conference Quarterfinal failure; he only played in two of the five games of The series.

Of all the aforementioned Lightning players, it’s just Kubina, Lecavalier, and St. Louis who have their names etched on the Stanley Cup. We’ll see if the results from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff’s changes that.

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Lightning’s success generates all too much silence in the Tampa Bay sports media

There’s a outspoken and upset Florida Panthers fan who voiced their discontent with the Panthers organization in a post on Reddit’s hockey community. A mix of words invoked nostalgia and made me upset in my own fashion.

[…] At the start, things looked great. The team had great players in Scott Mellanby and John Vanbiesbrouck, took a Cinderella trip to the Finals which got all of Miami absolutely BUZZING in 1996, started a notable fan tradition of throwing rats, acquired a superstar in Pavel Bure, acquired future superstars Olli Jokinen and Roberto Luongo, had very great and notable players pass through here… […]

Ah, 1996! Yes, the Florida Panthers looked upright and had a future optimism shown in only their third season of play in the National Hockey Lague. But ’96 didn’t show a dim picture on the other coast of Florida. No, no, the 1995-96 Tampa Bay Lightning did something foreign in the Tampa Bay metroplex in the sporting sense of the term: They were a pro team that made the playoffs. It was the first time in 13 years that a top-level professional franchise in the Bay area had done that [author note: this isn’t an attempt to truly look pat the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team; soccer is not traditionally pitched as a top-four major sports league in the United States.] It was also the Lightning’s first-ever playoff appearance.

There was a sense of optimism and hope invoked in the local press coverage from WTVT, WFLA, WTSP, and WFTS. The St. Peterburg Times and Tampa Tribune did it too: The Tampa Bay Lightning was the sports team in Tampa Bay, and they were the entity to rally around. Brian Bradley, Mikael Andersson, Petr Klima, Paul Ysebaert;  with the future (or so it seemed at the time) franchise ties to Roman Hamrlik, Chris Gratton, Jason Weimer, and Rob Zamuer. All these (and so many more names that I’ve forgotten off the top of my head) and the last line of defense, the stalwart in goal #93 Darren Puppa.

The playoffs! Such a rare feat in this burg was being embraced by a local team and that generated a degree of local pride for sports fans. It was something accomplished by Tampa Bay and invoked such a good vibe, even if the Bolts were a one-and-done team in the 1996 NHL Playoffs  (the Philadelphia Flyers bounced the Bolts in the first round). Contention was such a foreign term and it was finally translated! Yessir! Yessir!

It seems foreign now, doesn’t it? No, I don’t mean contention. I’ve already written about that for the Bolts before this season. The Lightning themselves have proven it, night in and night out, through 76 games and the feats achieved.

I’m talking about coverage and the lack thereof from the traditional media people in town. There is no buzz. It’s not a priority. It’s filler.

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The NHL on NBC and NBC Sports Net needs broader appeal

The following tweet sets the standard for this blog post. It was posted during a telecast by NBC Sports Net and with thanks to me hearing the all-too-common complaints aimed at the network for their coverage of a National Hockey League game.


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Record-breaking vies against playoff contention in the Lightning’s remaining schedule

Author’s Note: I go the wins-in-an-NHL-season record wrong in this piece. The record is 62 wins by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wins. Research quick results were not clear on the record. The Lightning could tie that mark. To break it would be on grand sports record fe.

16 games remain in the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning regular season and hoo-boy, have those first 66 delivered. 50 wins in 66 games tie the NHL record for the feat.

While a contingent of fans might lock this performance into what the club will do in the playoffs, I warn you not to. That’s the Second Season. Everything starts over for every club involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and there have been incidents in the history of the NHL and professional sports in general where a paramount club is taken down with shocking ease by a lower ranking challenger.

Getting ahead of ourselves is not the point of this write-up, the point is actually the Bolts potentially threatening, reaching, and breaking said league record.

60 wins isn’t impossible, but it’s tough… or should be.

To take 50 wins from 66 games played gives the Bolts a mite over a .750 winning percentage. If you apply that simply to the number of games ahead, that’s 12 potential wins. A 62 win season shatters the NHL record and is… just math done by me.  You have to play the games and that’s what causes a win or a loss. Not ratio logic and blah-blah-blah by analysts, columnists or bloggers.

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