There are many in-depth details to go through with the Tampa Bay Lightning season so far in the 2018-2019 NHL season; they haven’t even reached the midway point of the regular season but the club in setting records and living at the top… Y’know, they’re a dominant storm.
How dominant? It’s one number that has led to this posting, one number that people would sooner forget or brush off. It’s a number that deep sports fans should be taken aback by, though: A .756 win percentage.
After their 6-3 victory in Edmonton on Saturday, Tampa Bay’s season record is 28-7-2. 28 wins in 37 games played. Now do the math with that win percentage and you see the Lightning are on a pace for 62 wins in 82 games played. That’s one hell of a first half.
Now, the cold-water factor: You can’t and shouldn’t expect things to keep riding this high. Injuries were already overcome early this season but hey could easily thwart things in the months to come. The NHL’s silly-season is forthcoming, where physical play nadc altercations become more regular. That could easily factor in and spoil the party at Amalie Arena.
It also obliterates the franchise record for wins in a season; it’s 12 games better than the 50-win season of 2014-15.
And, of course, this doesn’t mean shit when the playoffs arrive. The proverbial second-season is just that, a second chance to shine for all remaining and contending clubs.
The Bolts last three games of 2018 and the first half of the NHL season are split between Eastern and Western Conference clubs. The Lightning host the Flyers and Les Habitants De Montréal before heading west to California . They’ll face the Anaheim Ducks on New Year’s Eve; something to take in if you’re not in the mood to watch the ball drop or partying with friends.
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.
The word, ladies and gentlemen, is contention. Continue reading
I’ll invoke a name and that will inspire both groans of displeasure and distaste as well as defensive reactions from those who support their team’s player: Brad Marchand.
Can I say it a third time? No, I’m not trying to apply a licking on your emotions (how gross a joke?)… It’s something else. It’s something larger. It’s not to incite Bruins fans specifically or re-invoke the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals. It’s just an opening line of evidence that needs to be cited.
“Evidence to what?” you might ask? Oh, it’s stuff that’s been doing more than just milling around the National Hockey League during the 2017-18 NHL season. No, it’s not multiple players licking or biting opponents, it’s grander than that. Not a grander action on the player front. No, no, it’s a grander failure by the NHL, be it on-ice officials or those in the executive offices, regarding rule enforcement.
This poll (via Twitter) will be running until Saturday, May 12th.
Russia. Collusion. Obstruction of justice. “Act of War”. You can’t dismiss this stuff and it’s still coming to fruition through Special Counsel Robert Mueller as well as House Intelligence committee hearings and such. Perhaps you look past this or perhaps you turn away from politics in general; there are other things in this world worth attention that aren’t the complication of politics and the riff-raff of the them-vs.-us partisan fray.
Sports are a relief. In one case, though, a sport is in unstated “what-if?” territory. Continue reading
I’ve been put off since last week while scanning headlines and online coverage of news in the Tampa Bay area and seeing a greater-than-usual focus put on the Gasparilla Pirate Festival than usual, while the marquee mid-season event of the NHL All-Star Weekend was an afterthought (or a complication to Gasparilla festivities). It felt almost like the NHL and Tampa Bay Lightning are afterthoughts.
In fact, disappointment and issues with the Bucs holding the headlines in the fall of 2017 and through the early weeks of 2018 have taken away notice to casual readers of local headlines online than the Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t just been playing games, but have been (and this will floor you) winning. Continue reading
“Grand Marshal“, why does that seem such a fitting title for Vincent Lecavalier who was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning 1st overall in the 1998 NHL Draft, ventured through the hell of a lost franchise, the warfare of conflict with John Tortorella (and calm bestowed upon the pair by Jay Feaster), and has his name immortalized on the Chalice of Lord Stanley with his colleagues and companions from the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning roster?
Vinny rules. He was…no, no, wait, wait; he is. He is Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. While Roman Hamrlik was draft pick Numero Uno for the hockey franchise bestowed upon Phil Esposito and the Tampa/St. Petersburg Metroplex, while Chris Gratton and Jason Weimer were early standard-bearers along with Hammer. They didn’t last in Tampa. They didn’t develop fully and top out with the Bolts (or, arguably at all). Everyone that came to the Lightning between 1992 and 1997 just came and went. They served, they left a mark.
The ones who went deepest in the psyche of the fledgling market did not come by way of the draft or having developed with or through Tampa Bay. That is not trying to write off long-time alumni and early stars of this club like Brian Bradley or Darren Puppa, Rob Zamuner or Alex Selivanov. They gave us a taste of what was to come. They let us feel it and revel in it – Tampa Bay Lightning hockey and being a competitive force in the NHL and drawing us to the game. The 1996 NHL playoffs was a glimpse of what was to come.
Lecavalier helped show us what is an what can be. Continue reading
I got Kent Wilson from FlamesNation to participate in the hockey blogger Q and A that I’ve been casually conducting this month. Kent’s one of the strengths of The Nation Network and blogging in general, having his hand in the 2014 “summer of stats”.
What follows is a little insight in how Kent found his way into blogging and his views on the season ahead for the NHL.
Let me start with a link to an old article on Raw Charge by one Mister John J. Fonts Esq. (me, it’s a pseudonym ): Suffering Mike Milnury and the NHL on NBC. It’s an issue that doesn’t get highlighted enough during hte regular season. That, or a base group of fans complain on and off about Milbury, but things stay the same; there are issues with the style of Mike Milbury (whom had his own issues during his NHL career) and yet he continues on with television coverage on US Network TV (ESPN and then Outdoor Life Network / Versus / NBC Sports Net
The last few days have put a special spotlight on NBC Sports broadcasts as the NHL was at its climax – the Stanley Cup Finals of 2017. Leave it to Mike Milbury to line-cross and give his personal dislike of a player just enough attention in coverage to sully things and make the way for the spotlight to be his in the worst way possible. Continue reading