Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the tenth edition of the Lightning’s Hockey ‘N Heels. An annual event geared towards the female members of the fan base, it’s a great opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the game we love. This year’s event was a little bit different given the shortened season, but it may have been my favorite of the three I’ve attended. Instead of trekking around the building, the event took place entirely in the locker room with four different stations.
The Tampa Bay Lightning announced their opening night roster well ahead of Friday’s deadline. Here’s how the team is going to look:
Forwards: Vinny Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt, Dana Tyrell, Adam Hall, Nate Thompson, B.J. Crombeen, Cory Conacher and Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
Defensemen: Victor Hedman, Sam Salo, Eric Brewer, Matt Carle, Brian Lee, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Keith Aulie and Brendan Mikkelson.
Goaltenders: Anders Lindback & Mathieu Garon.
So there you have it.That’s how the 2013 Bolts ( Not 2012-13. There was no 2012 involved in this season) will get started. The coaches seemed extremely positive about Conacher, so his addition isn’t exactly a surprise. Labrie on the other hand? Wow. For a while it seemed like Tyler Johnson could make the jump to the main club. Both he and Conacher have been insanely prolific when it comes to scoring. Johnson’s time is definitely coming, but not this Saturday.
The addition of Labrie and Crombeen have the potential to change the landscape of the on ice product if you will. With the exception of Steve Downie, the Lightning have been more about skill and finesse since Yzerman & Boucher came to town. The mantra was reacting to the opponent. Labrie and Crombeen play their game with a healthy amount of grit and physicality. They’ll be expected to play with discipline, but it could make other teams think twice before they take physical advantage of the Bolts.
Yup. Officially getting excited.
Tampa beat writers Damian Cristodero and Erik Erlendson are both reporting that the Lightning will be opening the season at home on January 19th. After many rumors flying that the Florida Panthers would be their first foe, it looks like it’s going to be another division rival in the Washington Capitals. Until opening night, there is still a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.
Training camp will open on January 13th at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Sessions will take place at the arena on Sunday and Monday. Both days will be open to the public according to Cristodero. The Lightning’s Twitter account stated a fan event will take place at the Forum on Sunday as well. No real details have emerged on exactly what that will be yet.
After those two sessions training camp will head south to Estero, Florida. The Germain Arena will host the Bolts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If the arena’s name sounds familiar, it’s probably because some of you have been to see the Florida Everblades there.
Buckle up, sports fans. We’re in for a frantic and furious start to the season.
As a fan of the NHL, it’s difficult to know what to say today. If you happened to miss it, the NHLPA submitted a proposal yesterday which was quickly rejected by the league. What followed was a series of bizarre press conferences from Don Fehr & Gary Bettman. Fehr stated the sides were close to an agreement. Bettman said this wasn’t true. A number of the items on the negotiating table, like the “make whole” provision had been pulled back by the league. No future meetings have been scheduled. The drop dead date for this season is looming out there in January. Where exactly do we go from here?
This might be the lockout talking, but Saturday’s game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum was an insanely good time. It helps that the proceeds went benefited the Gold Shield Foundation and the majority of the players are active members of the Bay area police and fire departments.
The event started at 3 pm with a gear sale and the Lightning alumni/personalities signing autographs for the fans. We’ve seen Stan Neckar, Chris Dingman, and Dave Andreychuk involved with the team for quite some time. It was a pleasant surprise to see the return of defenseman Jassen Cullimore. The charm of the Tampa Bay area is definitely apparent in how many Bolts return here when their playing days are done.
It’s official. Hockey will be played at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. By the Lightning… sort of. The Bolts will be hosting “Battle of the Badges”, a charity game to benefit the Gold Shield Foundation on Saturday November 17th. The main event will see the Tampa police and fire departments face off with some special guests on each squad.
Several Lightning alumni and personalities will be skating with each side. Team Police will feature team founder and hockey legend Phil Esposito, Dave Andreychuk, Chris Dingman, assistant coach Martin Raymond, video coach Nigel Kirwan and assistant equipment manager Clay Roffer.
Team Fire is bolstered by Stanley Cup team alumni Jassen Cullimore and Stan Neckar. Joining them will be assistant coach Dan Lacroix, head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan and assistant equipment manager Rob Kennedy.
“It is an unbelievable honor to share the ice again with these heroes from our local police and fire departments,” Dave Andreychuk said.“We have done a number of charity games with them in the past and I can speak for myself, as well as the rest of the alumni, when I say we’re all looking forward to doing it again for another great cause.” (Quote Source Tampa Bay Lightning)
The Official Lightning site has more info on the schedule and it looks to be a great time for a great cause. See you there!
Lockout irony: buying a Living Social deal to tour your team’s arena. That’s just what I did on Tuesday evening. It might seem a big silly. It’s not like I’ve never seen the place. I even got to go on 2 tours in the summer of 2011. I opted to take part in this deal for a few reasons:
1) I miss the place. It’s been a home away from home for a long time. Counting the Season Ticket Holder skate a few weeks back, this was only the second time I’d been inside the building since the last Lightning home game in April. 2) The last time I went on a tour was when the renovations were still in full swing. Serious hard hat zones meant you couldn’t go a lot of places. 3) A friend had never been in the lockerroom & other parts of the building. 4) It was something to write about. There hasn’t been a lot of good things to cover the last few months.
Ever have one of those moments where you accomplish something on your bucket list but it’s not at all what you thought it would be? I experienced just that this Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. As the lockout stretches on, season ticket holders were invited to take to the home ice and take a spin around the rink.
Skating out onto NHL ice (no matter how tentatively you go) is pretty thrilling. Knowing you’re out there and your team may not be is pretty damn depressing.
It also gives you a lot of insight into how easy the players make it look out there. I’m more than a little out of practice when it comes to ice skating so it was a bit terrifying at first. These guys do insane things at extremely high speeds with giant guys trying to crush them into the boards. All of the armchair coaches or GMs need to step out there and give it a try. You may be less likely to rake your team over the coals when you realize what a feat it is just to stay upright.
*Pending a lockout!
It really sucks having to say that, but we are a mere 16 days from the expiration of the current CBA. Should the season begin on time, Damian Cristodero has the scoop on the Lightning’s national TV appearances:
NBC Sports Network
Nov. 21 at Hurricanes
Jan. 8 at Penguins
Feb. 14 vs. Sharks
Feb. 24 at Penguins
Feb. 26 vs. Sharks
March 3 at Devils
March 26 vs. Sabres
Jan. 11 vs. Capitals
Feb. 21 vs. Bruins
Feb. 28 vs. Penguins
It figures that, as a former out-of-state fan, the Lightning are only on the NHL Network three times this season. I grew up in Michigan and last season, for example, there were upwards of five Lightning games on the NHLN — as a college student whose major investment each year was Game Center, these were games that I was simply screwed out of watching.
The Bolts are not currently scheduled to be on NBC during the regular season. You know what that means – time for a deep playoff run!
In the face of a large issue like an impending lockout, you wouldn’t think there was anything that could tick off hockey fans more than that. Apparently this isn’t true for some Lightning fans. Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times wrote a piece that sent some into a tizzy. All over a number.
For the first time since former captain Dave Andreychuk retired after the 2005-2006 season, a Bolts player will have the #25 on their sweater. As the news spread, so did the Twitter outrage. It’s easy to understand why some people are so upset.
That may be why this next statement may be surprising. There is NOTHING wrong with Matt Carle wearing #25 when he takes the ice for Tampa Bay.