Former Lightning forward Dominic Moore, in conjunction with the NHLPA, took a popular activity frequented within the Lightning locker room to a whole new level this past week, as he and several NHLers including Lightning personalities Steven “The Assassin” Stamkos, Vincent “Spincent” Lecavalier, Teddy “Grizzly Bear” Purcell and Brett “Freight Train” Connolly spearheaded the effort to raise money for concussion research.
Smashfest, Moore’s charitable ping-pong tournament, attempts to further educate the public about the perils of concussions, while featuring a one-of-a kind silent auction that “showcases everything from autographed and game-used jerseys to priceless life experiences,” according to the event’s official web site.
The action kicked off last night at the Steam Whistle Brewing Company in Toronto, not far from Moore’s hometown of Thornhill, where Ryan Shannon took home the tournament championship, while the team featuring San Jose Sharks forward Daniel Winnik and company brought home the Doubles Championship. And, in case you were wondering, word is that the reigning Rocket Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos was eliminated by none other than former teammate tough guy Zenon Konopka.
From rumblings on Twitter, it sounded like a good time was had by all, especially the gracious host himself, who didn’t hesitate to engage in some friendly pre-match trash talk with competitors:
From Dominic Moore (@mooredom): “Hey @teddypurcell16, did you see that pic of @VLecavalier4 training for #Smashfest? Check him out: http://t.co/KyB5OTPx!”
Ok, so that looks more like, well, no one really, but it is a far stretch from the Lightning captain, and just one of many amusing interactions between Moore and Purcell within the Twittersphere.
GREAT BROMANCES OF THE 20TH CENTURY...
Speaking of Purcell and his witty knack for musings on Twitter, the Lightning forward last week expressed his excitement via the popular social media outlet following the news that the team had signed free-agent defenseman Matt Carle.
From Teddy Purcell (@teddypurcell16): “Looking forward to the 1st few meals of the year on @mattcarle25! Congrats on the big deal. Not looking forward to you and @NateThompson44 bromance though.”
With that said, there is really no telling whether Purcell was more excited that Carle would be fronting the dinner bill upon his arrival or whether his puck-moving skills would be an asset to the Lightning blue line this season. Probably both, if I had to guess.
No matter, though, because the underlying point is that there is a greater epidemic rapidly spreading across the NHL, which this season, will appear to have found its way into the Lightning locker room.
It is of course, that of the NHL bromance, which in a nutshell, sums up the platonic bond between two heterosexual males who share a strong affinity for each other.
As mentioned in a story featured on TampaBayLightning.com earlier this week, Thompson and Carle have been close childhood friends since the age of six, growing up together in their hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.
Neither, both said in separate phone interviews earlier this week, “couldn’t be more excited” about the opportunity to play together on the same team in the NHL.
And they aren’t the only ones.
In fact, there is an actual Twitter account for this exact sort of thing, aptly named @nhlbromances, where fans submit the pair of NHLers who they think shares the ultimate bromance.
From what I can tell, some of the most frequently submitted names include the tandem of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Matt Moulson and John Tavares, who according to the official Islanders team Twitter account (@NYIslanders), have “matching backpacks,” and of course recent Stanley Cup Champs Mike Richards and Jeff Carter of the Los Angeles Kings.
Granted, no one knows how official these rankings really are, but don’t tell the guys themselves that. We’ve all seen how they stick up for their teammates on the ice, so I’d hate to see what happens when someone chirps their other half.
And, just as an off-the-cuff aside, here is a classic track from a few years back for your listening pleasure, which in all honesty served as the inspiration behind the “punny” title of this segment.
LOOK MA, ONE HAND!!...
We had a short post about this during Development Camp last week, but for those who missed it, 2012 Lightning draft pick Tanner Richard perhaps has some skills that weren’t noted in his official scouting report.
On July 4, the camp attendees ventured down to St. Petersburg top attend a Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees game, where Richard happened to be at the right place at the right time when he caught a foul ball that actually hit off the person in front of him before landing into his hands.
In something similar to Babe Ruth fashion, or perhaps even Owen Nolan circa 1997 NHL All-Star Game (YouTube that one, it’s pretty good), Richard called his shot prior to entering the stadium, quipping “Guys, I’m going to catch a foul ball today.”
Sure enough, he did, although he admitted he didn’t even know whose bat the ball was hit off of.
Little did it matter though, seeing it was just his second Major League game he had been to, and the souvenir certainly made for a memorable afternoon.
But here’s the kicker: It wasn’t just memorable for Richard, but for a fellow fan in attendance too.
Rather than keeping the baseball as a souvenir, Richard opted to hand it off to a youngster who was sitting nearby, a gesture that soon gained praise over Twitter from several of the other camp participants including Bolts forward JT Brown, who tweeted this picture.
THE FLAME MISTAKE...
Browsing the interwebs, I typed “Tampa Bay Lightning funny” into the Google search field just to see what popped up, and found this, far, far down the page.
Just as a side note, this picture was right next to an image of a cat wrestling a watermelon, so you get the idea of just how much of a dropoff there is between top search results and those that are, well, quite inferior.
Now, to be fair, it was a Game 7, and it is rumored that clothing manufacturers often make championship gear for both teams, thus explaining how the merchandise is so readily available immediately following the final horn.
But, seeing that the Lightning came out on top, just seeing 2004 Calgary Flames Stanley Cup Champions gear elicits a chuckle out of me.
So close. Ohhhh Martin Gelinas, so, so close.