Tuesday, April 3, 2007

After attending a few Lightning games over the last couple of weeks I was starting to become disappointed in Tampa Fan. For the most part they have been rather well behaved. I was even impressed with their “M.V.P…M.V.P.” chant for Vincent Lecavalier on Saturday night’s game against the Washington Capitals. I was starting to think that I would have to retract some statements I’ve made about them.

Then I went to the game Tuesday. In one night my faith in the lack of knowledge that the typical fan from the TBA was renewed. As with most confirmations of faith it happened in the unlikeliest of places – the AFS Club in the Arena Formally Known as the Ice Palace.

There are few benefits to working at the No Limits Fun Factory. One of them is the occasional ticket to the club levels for some of the arenas in the TBA. The vendors we work with usually provide them as a “reward” for selling certain products. In my case one of my fellow sales reps had tickets she couldn’t use so she gave them to me.

So Big Mike and I were treated to all we could eat, drink and excellent leather seats in the AFS Club. Seeing how the tickets usually sell for about $225 for the average fan I figured I would be surrounded by fans who knew something about the game and paid attention to the game. Boy was I wrong.

First of all most of the people spent the first 15 minutes “networking” by the buffet and bar. Big Mike and I had our row to ourselves for most of the first half of the period. Unfortunately those seats would be filled. Following are a couple highlights. To the best of my recollection ( I did partake in a few free beers) these are direct quotes.


From a gentleman a couple of rows back shouted every time the Bolts had the puck in the offensive zone. I think it’s the rich crowd’s version of “Shoot the puck”. The Lightning don’t base their offensive around centering the puck. They focus more on cycling the puck down low until the defense makes a mistake and leave a shooter open. Centering the puck when there is no one in front of the net and you’re being checked into the boards probably isn’t a great idea.

“Chara… I break the puck.. I’m Chara… Look at him he’s huge!”
“Ummm I think Chara plays for Boston now”
“He does… that’s his brother down there.”

No it’s not. It’s Josef Vasicek and unless I missed something he’s not Zdeno Chara’s brother. He should have had to buy me a beer (a real beer not a free one!) for uttering such an inane comment.

“What a weak goal. We need Denis in net”

Uttered in disgust by the Chara guy after Johan Holmqvist surrendered a goal to Ray Whitney in the first period. Never mind the fact that Holmer (not Homer as some fans think) stopped a ‘Cain at point blank range seconds before and that it wasn’t his fault that three Carolina players were able to whack at the puck uncontested until it went in. It once again proves that in the fans eyes the best Lightning goalie is the one on the bench.

“What a goal by St Louis!”
“I think it was Perrin actually”
“Well they played together as kids in Montreal”

The hat trick and first star of the game for Chara guy. First he’s not paying attention when Eric Perrin bats the puck out of the air for a terrific goal and second he lumps Laval Quebec in with Montreal. That’s like saying Clearwater is the same as Tampa. It’s not. Interesting note – according to Wikipedia Laval is the 6th largest suburb in North America.

Sure the last point is nit picking, but the guy was seriously pissing me off. If you’re going to talk about the sport like you’re an authority at least get some facts right.

In the end the Lightning won a playoff type game and that makes me happy. I had free beer which also makes me happy. Liverpool destroyed PSV Eindhoven earlier in the day. That also made me happy. So I guess all those things off set a couple of idiot fans.

Now if only the Rays can find a way to win…..

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