Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Update on Lightning home opener
Posted Oct 7, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Oct 7, 2008 at 07:44 PM
Guys, I love the passion being displayed on the previous post on what I thought would be an innocent topic (with the exception of somebody suggesting I put down the crack pipe for my thinking, yikes!!!!!), and one that I feel strongly about. But just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting that the team move the game to a different day or anything like that. My thought was, why make the sports fan of Tampa Bay choose between the two teams? Why not leave the option to allow them to see both? I know that’s what I would want to do if I was put into that position.
And for the fans who are going to hockey game, I think it would be pretty cool to catch the new-look Lightning live and then catch the Rays game being projected out on the plaza to the wall on the parking garage. But that’s just me, given the choice, I of course would take hockey, but this is the American League Championship Series and quite honestly, I think it’s a great thing that we even have to discuss this topic. I never would have thought the need would arise to ask the Lightning if they were considering whether or not to move their home opener because the Rays were still playing in October. It’s such a great a compelling story and I just think fans should be offered the chance to catch both.
It’s a moot point, however, as the Carolina Hurricanes have turned down the Lightning’s request to move the start time, so Saturday’s game will start at 7:30 p.m. as scheduled. Because Carolina plays at home on Friday, and Saturday’s start time falls within the same 24-hour period, the Hurricanes have to agree to the time change. They haven’t, so it’s status quo.
As far as my feelings on that, well, at some point Carolina might be asking the Lightning for a similar favor and all I can say is, what comes around goes around. I know in the pasta Tampa Bay has been accommodating to changes to schedules having to turnaround and start a game with less than 24 hours before start times. Guess Carolina can count on not getting any help from Tampa Bay the next time.
On the flip side of that, I don’t think the team really pressed the issue. Maybe they asked out of courtesy because I kept asking about it, maybe they never had any interest in moving the start time to say, between 5-6 p.m. It was made clear that they understand Carolina’s position on this because of the travel issues involved and the wear and tear it may take on the players. But the thing is, Carolina’s season hasn’t even started yet, how can starting a game two hours earlier be that big of a deal? Skip the morning skate, for crying out loud. Believe me, I know that hockey players are creatures of habit, the skate on game day, they eat, take a nap and then go to the rink. I understand routines would be broken up. But there are plenty of routines that get disrupted througout the season. As a matter of fact, Tampa Bay plays a game in Carolina on Nov. 16 that starts at 3 p.m. (I’m not complaining since that means no deadline issues for me that will break up all kinds of routines.
But that’s just me on my soapbox. Time to get off and return to my normal life as a very stressed out father of four boys who are jumping around with their Wii controllers and talking in Surf’s Up lingo that I don’t fully understand. Think I need to take the remotes and tackle some NHL 2K9!!!!!