Friday, June 24, 2005

How Will Tampa Bay Survive the Lockout?

When the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004, they were a good young team poised to dominate the NHL for years to come. Unfortunately, that will never come to pass. They lost the chance to repeat as champions in 2005, when the season was lost. When hockey does come back, it looks like they will likely have to deal with top goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis becoming unrestricted free agents (and leaving? It will be very hard to keep them under a salary cap). They may lose other depth guys who were important to their cup run to the salary cap as well. In a southern market that is not a traditional hockey town, this could be devastating. Will the fans come back if Tampa Bay is a much weaker team after the lockout? I don't know. I am upset that this market will have to deal with this unneccessary stress.

Here is a discussion on the Tampa Bay Lightning weblog Boltsmag on this topic.

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