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Hats Off To The Tampa Bay Lightning And NHL

The longest and most complex season in NHL history is dunzo and the Gulf Coast celebrates the second Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay Lightning history (Spittin' Chiclets did its first season preview on 9/23/19 and the season ended on 9/28/20). Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman got their Cup after 11 years together. Andrei Vasilevskiy was lights-out while playing every minute in net. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov formed one of the most dangerous duos this side of the Wild Samoans. The Big Rig became just the third guy ever to go back-to-back with different teams. 

And a mild-mannered public defender-turned-hockey coach won yet another championship.

That guy to the left of Cooper? In 1995, he was a fresh outta college 23-year-old assistant hockey coach for a subpar Division 3 MASCAC program that would be toast in a few years. I was a 23-year-old old junior at the same school working on the school paper and doing work-study in the hockey team's office. So we crossed paths quite a bit and he was always a polite and genial guy. Though I haven't seen or talked to Derek Lalonde in over 20 years, I couldn't be happier for a fellow North Adams alum (he got his Master's there). While I was fucking off and going from shitty job to shitty job and pretending I was still in college, he was busting his ass and working his way up the coaching ladder. And now he has his name on the Stanley Cup. Congrats, brother.

Conversely, I felt terrible for the Dallas Stars. The 2020 Stanley Cup was the toughest one to win given the circumstances. So to get that far only to come up short has to sting even more than it typically does. Rick Bowness is a beloved figure in the game and was a sentimental favorite. And the first thing he did in his post-game presser was praise Tampa for several minutes.

Joe Pavelski has been sniping for 14 years and left San Jose for this chance. Though he may appreciate being the all-time American goal-scorer in NHL history someday, it probably won't be today.

And yes, the Worm. Unlike most of the crybabies on #HockeyTwitter, I fucking love Corey Perry and what he brings to the game. He's a hard-nosed warrior who laid it all on the line for what may have been a final Cup run and it was a blast to watch.

Me and pops might not have been able to cash out 17/1 Vegas futures on the Stars. But I've been visiting crazy Uncle Mitch in St. Pete since before the Lightning existed so I've always had a soft spot for the area and the team since my first game 20-something years ago. Lest we forget...

I'm the dickhead on the far right.

So congrats to the Tampa Bay Lightning and their loyal fans. It was well-earned and well-deserved.

There's a shitload of folks who must be praised for pulling off two pandemic playoff bubbles over a two-month span. The planning and logisitcs involved were unprecedented and things went off virtually without a hitch. Quite frankly, it was impressive as hell. But the NHL said it much better than I can in this thread...

Just a tremendous effort by a shitload of good people to make something special happen and they stuck the landing. Now they can all go have a drink or a smoke and bang the farts out of their SO/FWB. They sure as hell earned it.

And a special 'thank you' to the hockey media and everybody who made the machine run. They collectivley busted their asses, never complained (at least publicly), and produced tremendous work whether it was online, in print, or over the airwaves. Kudos to all of you because there was nothing easy about it. 

Buy your championship swag here...

And say farewell to the 2020 season with this fantastic video from Sportsnet (McDavid domintating feels like three years ago).

We'll wrap it all up on Thursday's Chiclets.