EXTRA POINT SPORTS SHOW
Tom Chang and Lauren Burg discuss the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s current success, their key role players, a playoff run and further analysis with Gary Shelton.
The Lightning are atop the NHL’s Eastern Conference, tied with the Montreal Canadiens with 91 points. Burg examines the trends the Lightning have made during their games and what they need to fix for the playoffs.
We ask how players like Tyler Johnson and Ryan Callahan are fitting into the roles once fulfilled by Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. We also examine the evolution of Steven Stamkos and how he’s matured as the team’s captain.
Shelton, who’s covered Florida sports for over 30 years, discusses the fan culture and relations between the Lightning, the Rays and the Buccaneers. He also goes into the contrast between ownership between Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, and Bucs owners the Glazer family. What could Sternberg and the Glazers learn from Vinik about fan relations and weathering the storm from losing their franchise players?
How do you attribute the Lightning’s current success with Steve Yzerman and John Cooper running the show?
“I think you have to start a little higher. I think you have to start with Jeff Vinik, who have given this team, the ownership, the balance it’s always needed…There’s not finally a sense of something that’s done right. They hired a very good man in Yzerman. Yzerman hired a very good man in Cooper. It’s run like professional team now. It never was before. You have a farm system with young kids coming into the system and being ready made. It makes all the difference in the world.”
How do you compare the fan culture between the three area franchises?
“The Bucs and the Rays are a little lost. The Lightning have a better product right now. They also have the potential for a better product in five years.””The Rays, you still don’t know where they’re gonna be and they’re still arm wrestling. They still pinch pennies so badly and you never know if they’re gonna have enough hitters to get you to the playoffs.”
“The Bucs are a mess. They won two games last year. You look back and think, ‘My God! How did they win two?!’ They have no quarterback, no offensive line, no running game and not much of a defense. That’s not a very good recipe.”
You can follow Shelton’s work at garysheltonsports.com and chat with him on Twitter.
Listen to the full show below.