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Now you’ve Seen Stamkos; Boyle rumor squelched

Posted Jun 26, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson

Updated Jun 27, 2008 at 12:15 AM

Wow, what a day. Sorry nothing got posted up on this wonderfully viewed blog, especially in the past week. I know everybody has been hanging on edge waiting to see what news dropped out of the sky today. Well, there was no news, only copious amounts of rain.

But that doesn’t mean it was a slow day in Lightning land as first overall draft pick Steven Stamkos was in town for his first visit to the area that will no doubt become his second home in a short while.

Before I get to that, however, I had a chance to speak to Barry Melrose this afternoon after the Stamkos press conference and one of the things he said in regards to defenseman Dan Boyle, who of course was part of the rumor mill on TSN when it was suggested he is quietly being shopped around the league.

Melrose said “As far as I’m concerned, Dan Boyle is going to be quarterbacking the power play and play 25 minutes a night.’‘

We also have to remember that when Oren Koules spoke the other day at the press conference to formally introduce the ownership group that of the top five available free agents, there was only one they wouldn’t go after because he was a puck-moving defenseman (Brian Campbell) and they already have one of the best in the league on their team. So then it must make sense that they want to shop him around.

Sure, at the trade deadline there was plenty of talk that the ownership group wanted to trade both Brad Richards and Dan Boyle, but eventually signed Boyle to a contract instead. To me it would be a mistake to let Boyle go anyway. I know there are plenty of detractors out there when it comes to Boyle, but there is nobody else on the roster or in the system who can do what Boyle does in terms of being able to carry the puck up the ice and he’s one of the best on his first pass out of the zone. The only one who comes somewhat close is Paul Ranger, and his strength is passing the puck, not carrying it up ice.

Now, onto the big subject of the day.

I was able to tag along today with Steven Stamkos for about 90 minutes or so as he made his first trip to Tampa. The highlight was watching him walk into the Forum for the first time with his family. As they started to make their way to the locker room area, the entire building staff was lined up in their “Seen Stamkos’’ t-shirts cheering and applauding as he walked in. Stamkos walked down the line and shook everybody’s hand. “It seems like there must have been a hundred hands,’’ Stamkos later said.

He got to hang out in the players’ lounge and walked out to the arena where the ice normally would be as the “Seen Stamkos’’ in house ad was on the overhead scoreboard. Stamkos then did a press conference for the local media followed by a session with season ticket holders, along with Melrose, that included a question and answer sequence with Dave Mishkin serving as the moderator.

And I’ve got to tell you, if the Stamkos family (Lesley and Chris plus daughter Sarah) had any doubts about the fans in Tampa, they were alleviated today. You see, the Canadian media often slants some of their thoughts in the direction that we don’t deserve a hockey team down here and that the market is too non-traditional and should just stick to football.

Well, on short notice and dodging serious rain drops and lightning bolts, season ticket holders showed up in droves. The room set aside for the function inside Medallions was packed for the question and answer session. And after, Stamkos and Melrose sat down to sign autographs for fans. I wandered down to see how long the line was to get Stamkos’ autograph and I just kept on walking and walking and walking and walking. I’m not sure I ever got to the end of the line. I was flabbergasted, really. They had to start speeding things up so that Stamkos and his family could get to a 7:30 p.m. dinner reservation at Jackson’s on Harbor Island.

I can only assume they made it.

The line for Melrose, by the way, was quite long as well. I didn’t walk down to that end since I was so tired from walking down the Stamkos line. (Hey, remember I’ve been working on a bumb ankle for two months, it doesn’t take much to get me winded these days!!!!)

For anybody who was at the function to See Stamkos, what did you think?

Reader Comments

Por (Stacey) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Erik, just want to say, I think plenty of people READ your blog but they don’t post because it takes forever before it’s actually put up, I know I read it, I just don’t post. Keep doing your thing.

Saw the Stamkos news conf. yesterday (had to DVR it) and he seems like a great kid with a lot of confidence. Seems to have a nice personality too (nice Q&A!) Cannot WAIT to see him on the ice! Welcome home, Stammer!

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Por (Stacey) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

HA! Apparently, that has changed… Good to know! lol!

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Por (Karma) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

How did you not do the interview of Stamkos? Those were some of the most insulting questions I’ve seen asked of a professional athlete.  Did the reporter think he was talking to Delmon Young? Come on…this kids a hockey player and smart as they come.
Some one please, do a decent interview (“would you take the key from vinnie’s stomach?”) and not this putrid journalism

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Por (Mario Crociata) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I am more excited with the propects for the coming season than I have been since the cup year. Will give Barry a chance rather than passing empty judgement. First line is set, fourth line is set. Getting Craig back is important. Quellet turned it on after Richie was dealt, Jussi looks exciting. If only Halpern hadn’t got hurt. There will be some interesting defensive pairings and we will finally play the body instead of the puck. Smith looks like he will develope well and if we can secure a back up or “co-goalie”, Ramo will get time to mature. Any free agent pick-ups will be just a plus and will make everyone work harder. Things look good with ownership though I’m still judging the commitment. Lord Stanley needs a tan!!!

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Por (Justin) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I have to agree, I was reading some of the interview questions and they were a little on the stupid side. I could only imagine Stammer squirming around his seat fielding those questions thinking to himself “oh god, this is how the media is here”. Boy we take NHL seriously here in Tampa. Erik it should have been you doing that interview.

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Por (Cookie) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Erik, I was once again impressed with how poised Stamkos is when speaking to a crowd.  Melrose was very personable.  If he can put the winning spirit back into this team, then he has my support.

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Por (Erik Erlendsson) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Hi guys!!! In regards to the Q&A with Stamkos on Thursday, we wanted to do a little something different rather than another Steven Stamkos story as we have done a ton on him in the past week. And just for the background in case you are not aware, Steven is a big fan of horror films and the Saw movies are near the top of his list, so he completely understood the reasoning behind that line of questioning (but I have to say I’m feeling the love from you guys, thanks!!!!)

Look for another story on young Mr. Stamkos’ first impressions of Tampa in Saturday’s paper. There’s some good behind the scenes stuff that I was privy to I think you might get a kick out.

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Por (Stacey) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Actually, I thought it was a funny Q&A. He’s 18 and I’ve heard how much he loves the Saw films so I’m sure he got a kick out of it. Personally, I LIKE to see a bit of their personality come out. They are under so much pressure to be “perfect” and no one really pushes them to show the public who they really are. Hockey talk is great but it’s not hockey season yet so I don’t see a problem w/ making the kid laugh!

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Por (Justin) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

At the same time I do agree that after dealing with so much press before, during, and after the draft a few questions like that would make for a good break. Doesn’t change the fact that the wrong person did the interview. Keep it up Erik.

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Por (Seth C) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I thought it was a fun little Q&A. I mean, how many times can you ask the guy the same formulaic questions? I’ve always wanted to see more interviewers ask off-the-wall stuff rather than the same old “what does your team need to do to win?” Players get asked the same questions over and over and over like the answer is going to change from the last ten-thousand times, it’s nice to see something different and silly.

And Boyle rumors? Just plain absurd. TSN = Telecasters Speak Nonsense.

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Por (Justin) on June 27, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’d like to know what influenced Karri Ramo’s Jack Skellington mask and his brain mask.

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