National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman’s dream of a Tampa Bay-Nashville Stanley Cup Final is dead for another year.
The Lightning, who tied an NHL record by winning 62 games during the regular season, were swept in four straight in their opening round series by the Blue Jackets, who had never won a playoff series since entering the NHL in the 2000-01 season.
Prior to sweeping the President’s Cup winners, Columbus may have been best known as the place where 13-year old Brittanie Nicole Cecil was killed in 2002 when a puck off of the stick of the Blue Jackets’ Espen Knutsen hit Cecil in the head, causing what proved to be a fatal subdural hematoma. This incident prompted the NHL to extend netting high above the boards behind each net in an attempt to prevent another incident like this. Fortunately, there hasn’t been another incident like that in the NHL, but way too many people have been seriously injured and almost killed by flying bats and balls at Major League Baseball games.
MLB asked teams to extend netting to the far side of each dugouts, but most clubs, the Royals included, have refused. Fans are warned of the inherent risks of flying bats and balls when they purchase tickets, but they certainly don’t expect to leave the stadium on a stretcher, or heaven forbid, in a body bag when they enter the ballpark.
Back to the Lightning.
If you have read my boring blog, you know how much I hate the NHL having so many southern teams. I don’t think the game belongs in places where it is impossible to create an outdoor rink, with the exception of Los Angeles, where you need ONE (not two) teams in the United States’ second largest city.
The NHL keeps propping up the Coyotes because Gary Bettman LOVES Arizona for some weird reason and doesn’t believe for one second that a team would be better off in Quebec City or another Canadian city. The Hurricanes have struggled at the gate, and who in North Carolina watches the NHL when Duke and North Carolina are in the midst of the basketball season? The Panthers’ attendance is pathetic.
I followed the Nordqiues and Whalers growing up. I can understand Denver having an NHL team. I am angry because the Avalanche used to be the Nordqiues. Seattle should have a team, too, but not Quebec City? And now Houston will be getting a team.
Gary Bettman sucks. He sucks. I hate that man so much. What does this man have against Canada? If he really had his way, the only Canadian teams would be the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. He wanted to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta before they moved to Winnipeg, but the NHL owners finally overwhelmed him. His hatred of Canada is the reason why the Coyotes will not return the original Jets’ records to Winnipeg and the current franchise.
Also, I’ve never liked Tampa sports teams, so that’s another good reason why the Lightning are gone from the playoffs. The Buccaneers are a division rival of the Saints. The Rays are a low-rent organization which would be the laughingstock of MLB if not for the other MLB team in Florida. I don’t like the Orlando Magic, the de facto NBA team of Tampa, either.
I don’t know what the NFL sees in Tampa to keep awarding it Super Bowls. I have heard mostly bad things about that city. If there is one place in Florida to host, just keep it in Miami. I am no fan of Miami, but it is preferable to Tampa for sure.
To me, Tampa is a coastal city like Miami, but reminds me more of Tallahassee and Jacksonville–redneck.
Speaking of rednecks, I saw one in a Taco Bell in North Kansas City yesterday. The guy had pigtails in the back of his hair, a huge gut hanging over his jorts, a tattoo of a white supremacist symbol on his left, plus tattoos on his neck.
I guess some people don’t give a crap about how they look in public. I hope never to encounter that guy or his ilk again, but I’m sure I will.