Tag: Tampa Bay sports
The Flukish Sgreak or Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Since the 2019 Holiday Season
The Tampa Bay Lightning are having one hell of a “fluke”, eh? That ph4ase is from 2011-12 and the Lightning’s AHL team (Coached by Jon cooper_. Thee remark, tweeted by goaltender Dustin Tokarski, was coined to push the fact the Admirals hockey club had to ignore accolades and keep performing top-level hockey.
Iy worked in the end, the Ads won the AHL championship.
You should be left in awe by what the Bolts are doing — and by the way, that was the 100th win in 140 NHL regular-season games (since the start of the 2018-19 season).. That soort of defies the cat-calling of disappointed fans who wanted Jon Cooper fired because of playoff failings in 2018 (…and 2019). Yes, winning in the regular-season isn’t the same as hoisting Lord Stanley’s cup, but neither is having a pro sports team that competes at the top-level of their sports league repeatedly.
Fans don’t want to settle with success, but it’s also important to keep a level head during success or failings. Show depth. The Bolts are doing that, and thus still succeeding.
WalletHub’s unfair judgment of Tampa Bay as a basketball market
“Tampa is one of the worst hockey markets in North America because of attendance to it’s super junior and college hockey teams stinks.”
Anyone who sees that remark should either laugh or wonder who the hell would draw that kind of conclusion? Tampa Bay doesn’t host super junior league hockey, nor is it known for even competing in collegiate hockey, let alone drawing attendance. Why would they? Unless a college hockey team was playing at Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa, attendance is negligible at the other ice sports venues in the Tampa Bay area.
So, is the above statement fair market judgement?
What brings me to this isn’t hockey. Not at all. It is market critiques with sports and limited data that brings forth this judgment. WalletHub sent me an email showing Tampa ranking horribly as a basketball market.
Basketball market?Read More
Lightning strikes blaze the NHL standings and Tampa Bay sports
Ninety-two points in February.
Ninety-two points in February?! My God!
Where the Tampa Bay Lightning sits right now is on the cusp of securing a 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff berth, and it’s only February 17th. They’re 15 points ahead of the #2 club(s) in the National Hockey League right now. For sports fans who don’t know the NHL point system (and any fan actually does know) 15 points amounts to 7 wins and 1 overtime/shootout loss.
In 59 games played this season, the Bolts have won 44 of them. That’s thousands of a point under a .750 win percentage. The Lightning is better than that in the NHL’s point percentage department — they’re .780, that’s 78% of the possible 118 points from those 59 games played. That’s better than three-quarters of the potential points.Read More
The Tampa Bay Lightning thrives while the Tampa Bay media look elsewhere in sports
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.
Regionalism versus myopia: The resumption of Hatfields versus McCoy in Tampa Bay sports
More than a year ago, I wrote about the issue with St. Petersburg and the Rays. The city’s logistical location at the southern tip of Pinellas County is a rather isolated locale for the greater Tampa Bay metro region. Of course, for residents of St. Petersburg, the issue is simply because Tampa gets the unfair advantage, it’s the difficult place of the region to travel to and … and… and…
And I’m hearing too much of this Hatfields vs. McCoy’s bullshit once again. A myopic mentality has come to light once again after the Rays unveiled their new stadium proposal in the Ybor City area of Tampa.
Remarking about the proposal before getting back to the topic of this blog post: An $892 million stadium, only seating between 28,000 and 30,000 was proposed with a translucent roof structure so natural grass can be used in an indoor ballpark. A very-much excessively priced structure with an experimental asset? If you’re a resident of Tampa, St. Petersburg, elsewhere in the region, or even in Montréal for that matter, you should take issue with this. This is Jeffrey Loria-like tactics being employed by Stuart Sternberg. Oh, there is something fitting here, that a small park in Ybor City would mix with the neighborhood a-la Wrigley Field in Chicago.
This isn’t a neighborhood baseball club though. This franchise is supposed to represent the Tampa Bay Metropolitan region. That stadium plan fails unless you’re going to utilize the We must or else! strategy that St. Pete utilized in the 1980s and resulted in the construction of the domed venue now known as Tropicana Field. Read More
Best of the Bay and the Bolts for 2017
I may have touched on 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. Read More
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. Read More
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.
The history of Tropicana Field and Tampa Bay’s quest for MLB is one hell of a book
One of the hot topics around the Tampa Bay metro region right now is the Tampa Bay Rays proposed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’m not going to bother getting into the arguments but after reading a few knee-jerk reactions and misinformation about the plans… Well, I felt it was important that people actually familiarize themselves with why the Dome was built in St. Petersburg in the first place.
I read Stadium for Rent by local author Bob Andelman during high school and it showed the battle — political and logistical – to get Major League Baseball in town.
It’s out of print but there are copies for sale out there, also the entire thing is available at the above link. It’s very much worth a read for both pro and anti-stadium people. I oppose the stadium for economic issues (the timing sucks, Stu) as well as logistical reasons, but it’s important to be armed with the facts instead of making up hearsay or misconstruing what is really going on.
I plan on buying a used copy of Stadium For Rent for quick reference in the future. I’ve held it in high regard long enough….
Why is that stadium in St. Pete anyway? "Stadium fot Tent" shows why
One of the hot topics around the Tampa Bay metro region right now is the Tampa Bay Rays proposed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida. I'm not going to bother getting into the arguments but after reading a few knee-jerk reactions and misinformation about the plans... Well, I felt it was important that people actually familiarize themselves with why the Dome was built in St. Petersburg in the first place.
The worst franchise in professional sports
For a long while, the worst team in pro sports was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where heartless and ambitionless owner Hugh Culverhouse reeped the financial benefits of a team in the NFL and cared not for the team’s performance.
For a few years, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Don’t give me that crap about the Lightning not having fans — they were there but the product was nothing that would draw fans in any market in the North America (four 50 loss seasons in a row will do that to you). The mystery Japanese owners and “Uncle” Art Williams — football fan come hockey owner — were some of what made the Lightning so laughable.
But today, Tampa Bay hosts another of the most incompetant, misrun franchises in professional sports history and there has never been a day of delight for fans of the team (unlike the Bucs who had reached the playoffs several times before they imploded in the early 1980’s, or the Lightning who went into the playoffs and electrified the region in 1996 before they fell apart). There has been no reason for fans to do anything besides grow apathetic towards the franchise.
I’m talking about the Devil Rays.
Of course someone can point out the Los Angeles Clippers and their futility and I will not argue that. Someone can point to the Arizona Cardinals and I can’t argue with that (as the Cards are owned by Culverhouse-clone Bill Bidwell). Someone can point to the Chicago Blackhawks, and I can argue that the ‘Hawks are facing ill right now but they have a history and loyal fans stick with the team regardless of the ineptitude of the last few decades.
The Rays have had nothing since their inception and — this is hilarious — they have raised ticket prices this season while giving fans absolutely no justification for doing so. No off season moves, no big changes, no signs of progress and no signs of hope.
Please read John Romano’s take on this and basically understand how bad, how sad, how terribly ridiculous this team is run. If there is a franchise that is the poster child for contraction – it’s the Rays. Not because they perform so poorly or they can’t draw fans… but because ownership doesn’t understand what it takes to draw fans in the first place. This is the weak link of a corporation (MLB). Relocate them or close the store and reep the benefits from other locations. It’s a joke what this region has to accept this franchise as “Major League Baseball” and an utter monstrosity that we’re looked at as bad fans for not supporting a team that has given us no reason to care.