The American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch excelled during their first season of affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lighting, showing the promise the Bolts have in their depth chart.
Success wasn’t just evident on the ice however, as the Crunch were highlighted as the sixth-best minor league market according to this article posted by Sports Business Journal.
With their attendance rising for a third straight season and averaging a club-best 5,399 fans since the 2007-08 campaign, it was great exposure for players such as Richard Panik, Ondrej Palat, Radko Gudas and other prospects who look to make it to the big club next year.
Clinching the Eastern Conference’s East Division title and competing in the Calder Cup Finals, also added an extra dose of confidence with a team that has big expectations in the near future.
Other teams that represented Syracuse on the list included: the International League’s Syracuse Chiefs and the Major Indoor Soccer League’s Syracuse Silver Knights.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN #LIGHTNINGSTRIKES
This month @TBLightning asked fans to share their photos of lightning bolts in everyday objects for a chance to win tickets to the 2013-14 home opener on October 10.
Who they didn’t expect to tweet at them was Lightning blueliner Victor Hedman (@heds77), who tweeted this lightning-inspired photo here.
Let’s just say, I'm pretty sure he'll already be at the game.
You can also see a gallery of fans’ #LightningStrikes photos here.
BREAKOUT SEASON AHEAD FOR BISHOP?
NHL.com posted an article Thursday, looking at seven candidates they think may be in line for a breakout season in 2013-14. One name from the Lightning’s roster to make the list was netminder Ben Bishop.
According to the article, with Bishop lost in the mix in St. Louis and stuck behind Craig Anderson in Ottawa, he hasn’t had a team to call his own.
That could be until now, after the Lightning acquired him in early April and signed him to a two-year contract extension soon after.
While Bishop’s 3-4-1 record and 2.99 goals-against average weren’t spectacular, his 9.17 save percentage and 33.6 shots-faced per game show he wasn’t getting a lot of support from the backend, the article continued.
The Denver, Colorado native will be competing with fellow goaltender Anders Lindback for playing time, but I’d consider putting a watchful eye on Bishop in the early months of the season.
STAMKOS, ST. LOUIS ON THE BUS
It started as an impromptu metaphor when the University of South Florida’s new football coach Willie Taggart said, “What we have to do is put everyone on the bus, put them in the right seat, and let coach T drive the bus.”
Now it’s gone viral with the help of USF’s marketing department.
This week BullsVision posted the video below of everyone from Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon on the bus driven by coach Taggart (@CoachTaggart).
Of course the Tampa Bay Lightning had to be included on this bus in some capacity.
At the :30 mark, the bus makes a quick pit stop to the Tampa Bay Times Forum and picks up who other than Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.
My only question after watching the video is, where on earth would USF put Stamkos and St. Louis on the football field?