January 6, 2022
  • January 6, 2022

Lord Stanley spends another summer in Tampa Bay

By on December 26, 2021 0

TAMPA – At the beginning, they were miracles. Young, precocious and exceptionally talented hockey players. They skated fast, won often and left an echo of applause in their wake.

Later, they were disappointments. Irredeemably identified with bitter, unexpected and spectacularly public disappointments.

Finally, they were champions.

This is the story of your Tampa Bay Lightning. Their long journey of promise and accomplishment led to a Stanley Cup in the bubble in Edmonton in 2020. And then, as if to come full circle, they won a second championship at the Amalie Arena with a 1-0 victory over Montreal. in Game 5 on July 7.

Don’t get me wrong, the second title was different from the first. The initial championship, which peaked against Dallas in the final, seemed like part of a career-long crusade. It was a justification, and it was a relief.

Related: Tampa Bay year-end review: a stray addition for Tampa Bay

And the second? It was pure energy and emotion. It was Steven Stamkos who competed after missing much of the championship run in 2020. It was Alex Killorn trying to end a match on a broken leg and having a rod surgically inserted in a mad attempt to come back before the end. of the final series. It was Nikita Kucherov who played the whole final with a cracked rib. It was Ryan McDonagh and Barclay Goodrow playing with broken hands. It was Victor Hedman who skated the final three months of the season on a knee that was in desperate need of surgery.

“That’s how you win the Stanley Cup,” said general manager Julien BriseBois, tears in his eyes, a day later, referring to Killorn and the other injured players.

The series against Montreal was disappointing, but it was okay. The Lightning had overcome enough roadblocks along the way that a near final sweep was a welcome coda.

The five-game showdown with the Canadiens – with three of the wins at the Amalie Arena – a jubilant and fitting celebration for a team that had waited so long to skate victory laps with the Stanley Cup in front of its own fans.

A Golden Summer in Tampa Bay

Bobby Finke poses after winning gold in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics. [ GREGORY BULL | Associated Press ]

It took a lifetime of preparation and an extra year of waiting due to the pandemic, but Clearwater’s Bobby Finke made his mark on the world stage at the Tokyo Olympics. Finke, a Countryside High graduate and senior at the University of Florida, won swimming gold in the 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle races. Finke passed three swimmers in the closing laps of the 800, slashing his personal best by six seconds.

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“I had no idea I was going to do this,” Finke said. “I noticed that 10 meters away (the last corner) I was catching up a bit of ground, and that was the only motivation I needed.”

Related: Gold medalist Bobby Finke looks back at the first ’emotional’ Olympics

A Golden Summer in Tampa Bay, Part II

Anastasija Zolotic holds her gold medal at a ceremony for the 57kg women's taekwondo at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Anastasija Zolotic holds her gold medal at a ceremony for the 57kg women’s taekwondo at the 2020 Summer Olympics. [ THEMBA HADEBE | Associated Press ]

Introduced into a taekwondo class at the age of 5 by her father, Anastasija Zolotic de Largo became the best in the world a little over a dozen years later. Zolotic won the first gold medal of the Olympic Games in Tokyo by an American athlete, beating Russia’s Tatiana Minina 25-17 to win the featherweight division.

“My 8-year-old me was running around the school yard saying I was going to be the Olympic champion, but she could never have imagined what that moment was like,” Zolotic said. “It’s amazing. It really hasn’t sunk yet.

Related: Anastasija Zolotic de Largo: a black horse turned brilliant gold medalist

Tampa Bay is the Delta home of trophy celebrations

It wasn’t as dramatic as Tom Brady tossing the Lombardi Trophy from boat to boat, but the Stanley Cup had its own misfortune during the Lightning parade and party. A photo of a visibly battered Stanley Cup appeared on social media, and Pat Maroon admitted it a day later in a radio interview.

“It was obviously raining and it was raining,” Maroon said. “I went and lifted it, and I went back with it. I slipped, and (Cup keeper) Phil (Pritchard) helped me up and the Cup came to an end. People say we disrespected the Cup. Such a BS… it was a complete accident.

Related: End of year review in Tampa Bay: The return of the Kuch!

Scarce air and long journeys make Alonso a star again

Pete Alonso of the National League of the New York Mets hits during the first round of the MLB All Star Baseball Home Run Derby.
Pete Alonso of the National League of the New York Mets hits during the first round of the MLB All Star Baseball Home Run Derby. [ GABRIEL CHRISTUS | Associated Press ]

Fans seem to enjoy baseball’s Home Run Derby even more than the All-Star Game, which makes Tampa’s Pete Alonso one of MLB’s top attractions. The Plant High graduate joined Ken Griffey Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes as the only players to win back-to-back derby titles. Alonso hit a total of 74 home runs and beat Trey Mancini 23-22 in the final round in Colorado on July 12.

Words to remember

“Mike Trout was selected for the All-Star Game, but he can’t come. So they wanted the next best player in the league: Joey Wendle. Department manager Kevin cash, humorously announcing Wendle’s place on the All-Star squad to his players.

Related: Tampa Bay end of year review: having fun in April

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“We went from new kids to this in 2015, when it’s ‘These guys are so fun to watch, they’re gonna be back’, all of a sudden it changes and now we’re the team that don’t. can’t do it now, you throw up the word dynasty. And so it’s a huge wave of emotions over a span of seven, six years, but that core went through it together. Lightning Trainer Jon cooper after the Lightning won a second Stanley Cup.

• • •

President Joe Biden listens to Bucs quarterback Tom Brady speak at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.
President Joe Biden listens to Bucs quarterback Tom Brady speak at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. [ MANUEL BALCE CENETA | Associated Press ]

“We had a game in Chicago where I forgot what it was about. I lost track of a sleeping bag in 21 years of playing, and they started calling me “Sleepy Tom”. Why would they do this to me? Tom brady, taking a light blow to President Joe Biden during the Bucs Super Bowl ceremony at the White House.

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“No. 1 bulls – t. Nikita Kucherov delicately explaining that Andrei Vasilevskiy should have won the Vézina Trophy.

On second thought

Nelson Cruz watches his solo home run in the third inning of a July 23 game in Cleveland.
Nelson Cruz watches his solo home run in the third inning of a July 23 game in Cleveland. [ TONY DEJAK | Associated Press ]

It was the right job, but the wrong result. The Rays always talk about the need to keep one eye on the present and one on the future, but on July 22 they went bankrupt by trading for designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

The price was high – hopes of launching Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman – but the Rays had a return trip to the World Series in mind. Tampa Bay would win 100 games, but Cruz’s contributions on the field were minimal. He’s hit .226 with eight home runs in 55 games. He reached 0.176 in the playoffs.

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the Tampa Bay weather commemorated the Lightning’s second straight Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover tabletop book, Knock twice. Order now.

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