We started this last season, as somewhat of a more fun thing to do in order to break up the long grind of an NHL regular season, although this year’s edition, as we know, is abbreviated as it is. Plus, there’s a lot of great stuff on the Internet, a majority of them Twitter musings, which often goes overlooked, unnoticed, or even ceases to exist unbeknownst to our fans.
The premise of Best Of The Web is to reveal the lighter side of the game of hockey, the NHL, and of course, the Lightning players. Amusing content is always welcome, so fans are encouraged to send in their findings to the official team Twitter account at @TBLightning.
Much like the team’s slogan seen throughout our marketing pieces, we’re glad to be back!
PAST AND PRESENT
It’s the 20th season of Lightning hockey, and throughout each home game this season, the team has honored specific players and moments that have been deemed by fans to be the best in the franchise’s history over the past two decades.
Remember how great Dave Andreychuk was a player?
What about when the Bolts raised the Stanley Cup on home ice at the Forum?
Well, I saw something on Twitter the other day that resonated the same sort of sentiment.
It’s a photo of an Ontario newspaper clipping from more than 10 years ago that lists the team roster of the AAA Toronto Blues hockey team, which at that specific time, had just competed in the 2002 Winnipeg Champions Cup, being held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Of course back then, the names that appeared on the roster meant little, as the team was comprised of a group of 11 to 13-year-old kids with names like Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Michael Del Zotto, Cody Hodgson and Alex Pietrangelo.
I would guess the five NHL stars mentioned above reminisce from time to time about how good of a team that was, much in the same fashion as Lightning fans do when thinking back on 20 years of hockey in Tampa Bay.
The accompanying Tweet from the individual who posted it reads:
“#TBT with these beauties. They had an okay team I guess.”
Yep, not bad.
Not bad at all.
THE ROCK SHOW
Back in November, Lightning forwards Ryan Malone and Teddy Purcell received what lovers of music might call the opportunity of a lifetime.
In fact, I’m pretty sure Purcell called it that himself.
When Eddie Vedder, the front man of the 1990s popular alternative group Pearl Jam, was in town appearing at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Malone and Purcell scored not only a pair of tickets, but the chance to go hang out with Vedder himself, and former NHL defenseman Chris Chelios, backstage after the show.
“He has always been one of my favorite artists, so I thought it was pretty cool,” Malone said.
Vedder as it turns out, is a huge sports fan, especially of the Chicago-area teams such as the Blackhawks and the Cubs of Major League Baseball.
He once even belted out “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” at Wrigley once.
Personally, I’m not so sure it gets much better than when Pearl Jam does “Yellow Ledbetter” but from what I’ve read, it wasn’t a bad performance.
Anyways, as Malone tells it, Vedder was more than pleased just to “hang out and share some stories” from behind the stage curtain, and even agreed to pose for a picture with the Bolts players before the evening was over.
THE PELICAN BRIEF
There was a funny moment following one of the team’s practice last week, when during a media availability session with head coach Guy Boucher, a reporter asked if he knew the details of a fishing excursion spearheaded by Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie, that also featured First Mate Pierre-Cedric Labrie with what appeared to be the catch of the day.
Boucher did not know of it, actually, but quickly burst into laughter once the picture of Labrie surfaced, which shows not his prized fish, but rather, a pelican.
“I’m not at all surprised,” Boucher said laughing. “They didn’t eat the pelican, did they?”
It turns out that the pelican took a nose dive into the water in an attempt to score a bite of Labrie’s bait as a snack, but instead emerged out of the bay with a hook caught in his beak.
When Boucher was told the captain safely removed the hook, the Lightning head coach responded, in all seriousness mind you, “Who? Vinny?”
The media member quick to clarify the point once the raucous laughter subsided, was referring to the boat captain, of course, who successfully released the bird, as it flew off safely back into the wild.