When your favourite team loses the night before, you carry a certain chip on your shoulder the next day. When they lose to fucking Florida, and only score one goal, and have another game the next night on what has become an annual thorn in the franchise's side Florida trip, you tend to get a bit pissy. And take it out on the next opponent. So in lieu of a preview, you get ...
10 Things I Hate About the Tampa Bay Lightning
10. We've covered this before, but ... "Lightning! Avalanche! It's USSF Division 2 soccer, live on ESPN 6!!" It's a fucking stupid name. It's a fucking bush-league name.
9. Of course, we wouldn't expect any less of a city that can't even get its own name right. This is a pet peeve of New Republic editor and Slate/New York Times/Atlantic Monthly/ESPN contributor Gregg Easterbrook, who points out that the city the Lightning play in is actually called "Tampa", and sits at the mouth of a body of water called "Tampa Bay".
8. Lecavalier rumours. So. Many. Rumours. I read one more "The Bolts can't afford him, he's coming home to save the Canadiens" item, I'm killing Brian Lawton myself.
7. Hey, speaking of inept or useless Tampa GM's ... it's Phil Esposito! Big Phil's shameless huckstering and whoring out of the game to make a buck or two with the expansion Lightning was an embarrassment. Of course, most of that was necessary because Esposito's hand-picked financial backer, (Japanese company Kokusai Green) was essentially bankrupt and rumour has it a front for the Yakuza. The perilous state of the Lightning's finances lead to brainstorms like ...
6. Signing Manon Rheaume. Look, like any other red-blooded male, I loved the idea of a hot, hockey-playing babe. I kinda sorta didn't like that she got to play in the NHL (even if it was just an exhibition). Bottom line: Manon Rheaume wasn't good enough to make the roster of a National Hockey League team, even one as terrible as the Lightning. Esposito admitted it was all a publicity stunt after the fact. Well, duh. Still doesn't make it right. Panger gets no shot, but Rheaume does?
5. Wait, is that noted cheapshot artist and general fucktard Steve Downie on the roster? Why yes, yes it is. The Lightning employ a guy the FLYERS thought was a loose cannon. Sweet merciful crap.
4. This. This drives me fucking crazy, in a "screw these Southern-based, undeserving, Bettman-inspired crap franchises winning Cups" kinda way.
3. In a league full of bad jersey choices, the Lightning were the first to take it to a new level of stupid: The nickname jersey. Can you imagine the Leafs trotting out in a "Buds" shirt? Or Detroit or Chicago sporting only "Wings" or "Hawks"? Maybe the Flyers need to wear "Bullies" in script instead of the Flying P? Sounds ridiculous in theory. It's just as stupid in real life.
2. Frankly, the Lightning (and Lecavalier and St. Louis in particular) have a history of biting the Habs in the ass, just like their cousins in Miami. I've counted too many losses to these two johnny-come-lately Florida teams to count, and it pisses me off. Almost as much as ...
1. The fact that Tampa and Florida either a) whine and plead their way to get a visit from the Canadiens around Christmas to help their bottom line or b) are so financially unstable and unsuitable as pro hockey cities that the NHL desperately tries to get asses in the seats over Christmas by forcing marquee teams like the Habs into an annual Florida trip. Fuck that. If you are in such dire financial straits each year that your financial well-being depends on the Habs filling your coffers, MOVE THE FUCK TO A REAL HOCKEY TOWN or FOLD THE FUCKING TEAM. I haven't liked this rudderless, financial suckhole of a team since the day it was founded, and I wouldn't shed one tear to see it go down in flames. Especially if they win tonight.
Oh, right. Tonight. 7:00 pm, St. Pete's Times Forum, live on RDS and TSN. Some guys are hurt, some are healthy. Vinny and Stamkos are hot for Tampa, GMC and Cammalleri for Montreal. Jaro looking good despite last night's loss, but apparently Price gets the start. Mike Smith is hurting for Tampa so look for AnnTaylorNinnyChicomaki in goal.
Got a reason to hate the Lightning, the Panthers, the state of Florida in general? Let's hear it in the comments.