Sights and sounds from Red Wings-Lightning Stanley Cup Playoffs Game One

I’m no newbie to the NHL Playoffs.  Although I’m much more of a baseball, basketball and football fan, the Stanley Cup has spent some time in the Tampa Bay area.  And what kind of sports fan would I be if I missed that?

Marty and the CupThat was over a decade ago.

It was an exciting time for Lightning fans back then.  I remember hitting the local bar scene after the Game Seven victory.  People were ecstatic… but let’s just say it wasn’t Detroit Pistons-let’s-run-wild-through-the-streets-looting-every-store-we-see ecstatic.  Either Tampa is far more civilized than our compatriots to the north or far less involved.

Nor was our celebration like that of Columbus, Ohio after the Buckeyes stumbled on to this year’s national championship.  On the sports-crazed town spectrum, Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup celebration was a little more reserved, at least from what I encountered.

That may not be the case this year as the 2015 Tampa Bay Lightning is pretty damn good and this town is desperate for another champion.  Maybe it’s because our football and baseball teams are so damn bad.  Or maybe it’s that this time around, we realize this franchise might be on the verge of something special.

But they don’t just give out Stanley Cups.  They must be earned.  On opening night, the Lightning did far from that.

I hit Game One with Dr. Milhouse, his lovely wife and Ecuador’s biggest Lightning fan who, as you may have read, once threw up on a family of Bruins.  Fortunately, this trip did not require a hazmat suit.

The Lightning lost 3-2 but not because of an uninvolved crowd.  Tampa fans were raring to go, face painters, horn blowers and flag wavers alike.  Prior to the playoffs, the Lightning made it difficult for fans of any opposing team to purchase tickets by requiring a Florida residence for billing.  What they should have done is block the Red Wings from coming down also, or at least Petr Mrazek, who saved 44 shots to stymy the Lightning offense.

For those of you who have the misfortune of living outside Tampa Bay or can’t experience the NHL Playoffs for yourselves, I’ve decided to post a few photos and videos of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s quest for yet another Stanley Cup.

Moving forward, here’s hoping the players are as motivated as their fans.

Go BlueStammer JerseyAmalie ArenaAndreychuk and the CupMilhouse and the ChumpCheerleadersFacepainterflagbearer

Sticks behind set 2

Sykes buildingIce hockeyIMG_2038

15 thoughts on “Sights and sounds from Red Wings-Lightning Stanley Cup Playoffs Game One

  1. I can attest there are some avid Lightning fans in the Tampa Bay region. I know a couple from Clearwater who have a room in their house strictly devoted to the Lightning. They have all sorts of memorabilia displayed in there. It’s like a prayer room! My sister’s son-in-law is a high flying attorney in Clearwater and besides having party suites at Tropicana Field, Raymond James Stadium and Amalie Arena he went the extra yard and also annually gets season tickets for two seats along the glass so his guests can take turns sitting right next to the action! Being a farm boy from California my knowledge of hockey is next to nothing but it was always fun going to see the Bolts play in under the Thunder Dome!

  2. Who are you kidding? You’re an exceptional play-off newbie. The hockey tradition of Tampa is like the basketball tradition of Orlando.

  3. It’s getting to where I want to stick a knife in everyone who is worried about the Rays instead of the Lightning right now. When the Lightning win, there is a high level of excitement that the downtown area and the USF area are sorely lacking.

  4. They certainly got their revenge against Detroit in Game Two, Dwin.

    I didn’t go but I imagine that place was rocking. That team can put up some points when it wants to.

  5. Finally something we can disagree on, Dub.

    They’re similar to the extent that they’re expansion teams, like no one in damn Florida was in any way interested in professional sports before 1990. That’s why there are still so many Dolphins fans littered throughout the state. They were the only game in town.

    Here’s the key difference and we’ve discussed this before. The Lightning, particularly these Lightning, have done things right. They know how to build a franchise.

    The owner of the Orlando Magic either doesn’t give a shit or is too senile to notice. They’ve had two batches of teams that made the Finals but couldn’t get over the hump. All those players left shortly thereafter.

    One gets the feeling the Lightning will be a contender for some time to come.

    A Cup is in the cards again, Dub. You’ll see. Might not be this year but it’s a-comin’.

  6. Greg…

    It’s gonna take a while to build that downtown district.

    It just amazes me that you can walk for blocks without running into a watering hole.

    Heck, even the Taco Bus downtown closes at 10 pm.

  7. Perhaps this will be the only time in 2015 where the fans in the area will actually have something to smile about with regard to professional sports in the Tampa Bay area?

  8. The Bolts don’t seem to be getting the job done against the Red Wings . What’s up with that ?

    Your thoughts on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s firing of head coach Scott Brooks ? GM Sam Presti must have been pressed into this by the senior partners , led by Clay Bennett. It’s not Brooks’ fault the team suffered with the loss of Kevin Durant , prior to the end of the regular season.

  9. With the Kings eliminated, I’m finding it hard to stay interested.

    There is no better sport to watch live though…I was introduced as a kid in the Forum….From Tiger Williams & Rogie Vachon to Gretzky & Robatille…Even though we stunk for the most part, it was a beautiful thing to witness live….I went to tons of games, especially in the Gretzky era….Never thought I’d witness two titles in three years…Hopefully we’ll be back next year, but with the Stoll Vegas coke run and Voynov Ray Rice crap, the future is a bit in doubt at the moment.

  10. Bleed…

    I didn’t watch much Gretzky but when I look at the record books, I’m like damn.

    That guy is far and away the best player ever and there is no close second. At least according to the numbers, yea?

    Are we prepared to say that’s the largest gap between one and two in any professional sport?

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