Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On this day in history... the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup

It was March of 2004, and a good friend of mine was off to see his beloved Maple Leafs tangle with the suddenly-successful Tampa Bay Lightning.

I was a tad jealous, telling my friend that he'd have a chance to see one of the best teams in the NHL, the league's next great contender. My friend scoffed. "They're not that good," he said. "It's Tampa Bay. They play in that weak division."

I'd be lying to say I was surprised, let alone disappointed, when the Lightning rolled into the Air Canada Centre that night and won 7-2.

Still, however, the Leaf fan's allegiances die hard. "We'll see how they do in the playoffs!" Two months later, and exactly a year ago from today, Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup.

John over at Boltsmag is remembering a year ago over on his site, and he still seems a tad speechless. I was firmly on the Flames' bandwagon a year ago, that is, once they had eliminated the Canucks, so it's not with glee that I recall the Lightning's triumph. Calgary was the first Canadian club in the playoffs since Vancouver made the trip 10 years earlier, and a win for former Blazer great Jarome Iginla and the underdog Flames would have provided some solace for the long months ahead without hockey.

Here's hoping John realizes how lucky he is to have his fledgling club win a Cup so early into their existence. Because, up in these parts, all we seemingly have to cling to is our stubborn misconceptions.


At 11:27 p.m., June 07, 2005, Blogger John F. said...

James, I realize how lucky I am... And in a sick sense of the word, the Lockout is a gift because we've been fortunate to be able to re-live this moment without having to focus on what the current team is doing, has done, needs to do, etc... How many Stanley Cup championship teams get to enjoy the anniversary of their cup win without having to see another team raising that silver chalise?

I called last years playoffs the "Pass the Friggin' Torch Tour" because I believed it was the start of an era -- not the end as it seems to be.... The start because we were the first of the 9 expansion franchises of the last 15+ years (San Jose, Ottawa, TB, Miami, Anaheim, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Columbus) to win the Cup...

I'm greatful for the memories I have James, and I'm likely never to have something like this again with a pro sports team. I grew with the Lightning - from their birth and threw their growing pains, from their fleeting instance of success to their years as the doormat of the NHL.

The memory that makes me appreciate everything the most is one I have from the ESPN message boards around 1999. Someone told me that they may live another 70 years and the Lightning would never be in contention for the Stanley Cup... At the time, this person spoke the truth - but times change. Five years later, that decree was just crow to eat.

One last thing - if it's any consolation to your Leafs fan friend, Phil Esposito and others dreaded the possibility of going through Toronto to get to the Cup...

At 10:31 a.m., June 10, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

Why does everyone have to keep bringing up the anniversary of the loss of my team? The loss that should have been a win in game six. It still hurts.

At 5:52 p.m., June 10, 2005, Anonymous pete said...

Stubborn misconceptions?


On a completely unrelated tangent, I told you Kelowna isn't that good, too...



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