Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Hard to Believe It's Been 10 Years since Bolts Won the Stanley Cup

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Hard to Believe It's Been 10 Years since Bolts Won the Stanley Cup

Article excerpt

TAMPA

The names will always be on the toughest trophy to win.

Hard to believe it's been 10 years since the Tampa Bay Lightning got to hoist hockey's Holy Grail.

That happened on a Monday night, June 7, 2004. If you tried to hear yourself that night, good luck.

With more than 22,000 packed into the arena, how could you, especially after the home team claimed the big prize?

"It was not just the last game and winning it," said Lightning Cup-winning coach John Tortorella, whose current team, the Vancouver Canucks, were in town to face the Lightning.

"I had the honor of watching athletes go through 60-plus days of it -- every other day and all the swings of momentum. I was able to watch it."

If you lost your voice that night, you had good reason. It was the first time a major sports title was claimed in the Tampa Bay area.

Granted the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm won a title at the Forum in 2003 and at Tropicana Field in 1995. But the AFL is not quite the NFL.

Several players and coaches from the 2004 team were around the Times Forum over the weekend.

The celebration culminated with Monday night's game between the Lightning and Canucks and, save for the storms that rumbled through the area, it was nicely set up by the Lightning.

"It is a 10-year anniversary. You're locked in, and it's never going to change," Tortorella said. "It has changed a bit along the way, but no one expected that (title)."

And, yes, it changed the coach.

"Just knowing how difficult it is to do," the coach said. "It's given me more opportunity, but I didn't win. We (Bolts) won. I've tried to level it out."

It hasn't gone right for Vancouver in Torts' first year behind the Canucks' bench, with key injuries to Daniel and Henrik Sedin (Daniel is out for the season) and shaky goaltending, especially after the team shipped goalie Roberto Luongo to the Panthers (they beat him Sunday). …

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