Stamkos became the Lightning's all-time leading scorer./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Say what you will about the president.

Stamkos heads to the penalty box late in the game./JEFFREY S. KING

He's got kind of a cool trophy, though.

The Tampa Bay Lightning clinched the President's Trophy Monday night, beating Arizona 4-1 to make sure they will finish with the best record in the  NHL this season.

The assault is no longer simply on the National Hockey League. It's also on the history books.

The Lightning now has 116 points on the season, which ties them for the 23rd best season in NHL history. If the Bolts get three more points, it moves them into the top 10. If they get nine more points, they move into the top five. If they get 17 more (of 18), they pass Montreal for the most of all time.

Stamkos celebrates the record-setting goal./JEFFREY S. KING

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Monday, 4 a.m.

Some people pull for the dogs.

I pull for the fleas.

It's my favorite thing about the NCAA basketball tournament. It's all the no-name schools from no-name states that play in no-name conferences. It's Wofford. It's St. Mary's. It's Gardner-Webb, which sort of sounds like a law firm.

It's Liberty (I took them over death). It's North Carolina Central. It's Prairie View, although why someone would want a nice view of a prairie is beyond me.

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Hats fall around Alex Killorn after his third goal./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Seven seasons.

Five hundred and seven games.

Killorn scored three goals against the Caps./TIM WIRT

One hundred and three goals.

All of that, and Alex Killorn has never had a night such as this one.

Killorn, or "Killer" to his Tampa Bay Lightning teammates, had the first hat trick of his career Saturday night, leading the Bolts to a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. It was the first meeting of the Caps and the Lightning since last year's Eastern Conference Finals.

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Sunday, 3 a.m.

Once, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the most stable franchise in the NFL. They have great ownership, terrific coaching and a wonderful scouts. They were the team other teams wanted to be. Even if they didn't win the title, they maintained excellence.

Now? Not so much.

In recent months, the Steelers have been forced to give away Antonio Brown for very little and watched Le'Veon Bell leave for nothing. Now comes the accusation from a former teammate the Ben Roethlisberger, upset about a play call, intentionally fumbled a football.

Suddenly, Pittsburgh is like everyone else. And it's a shame. The world needs more Steelers and fewer Bills.

-- Just read a telling piece on Jets' running back Le'Veon Bell. If there were 20 paragraphs in the story, 18 of them were about money. Doesn't that show you where his head is?

-- It won't surprise anyone, but I hate the new rule that says -- as of 2020 -- pitchers will have to face a minimum of three batters. That seems to benefit the rich clubs who can snap up all of the pitchers and hurt the poor clubs who try to get by with playing matchup.

-- So did the Bucs think Dirk Koetter was standing in the way of an 11-win season? I realize the cap numbers are tough, but how does this team get from 5-11 to the playoffs by signing three guys named Ned?

-- Did you see that Aaron Hernandez is a murderer again? The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw out an antiquated law that would have let Hernandez off because he had an appeal pending when he committed suicide.  Hernandez, legally, is once again a villain.

-- Talk about lousy shoppers. Did you hear that the NCAA is investigating Kansas football. The Jayhawks are 18-97 since October of 2009. What? Are they paying tennis players to be offensive tackles?

-- Question: If you go forward five years, will the Bucs still be at the bottom of the NFC South? 10 years? 20 years?

-- The Cardinals signed J.R. Sweezy to a two-year contract? They evidently need a guard who can miss a block in a key situation.

-- Here's a question: Of Bradley Pinion, Deone Bucannon, Shaquil Barrett or Breshard Perriman, who is the best player?

-- And salute to the guy who can pick any of them out of a lineup.

-- The Rams are having Blake Bortles in for a visit, I suppose, for comic relief.

-- When Dan Marino talks to Bob Griese, do they talk about how the Dolphins have two quarterbacks who have played as much as, well, you. Jake Rudock has thrown five career passes and Luke Falk has zero. Yeah, that'll scare the Patriots.

-- The Raiders have parted ways with former Buc Donald Penn. The Patriots have parted ways with former Buc Adrian Clayborn. Just to be safe, the Bucs have parted ways with Josh Freeman again.

--Do you think that John Elway has become the Tim Tebow of NFL general managers?

-- I read the 2020 mock draft by Gee. The Bucs are down to pick fifth in that draft, too.

-- When did the Chiefs become the Raiders?

-- Did you catch the news from Bradley University, which has restricted a the access of a 29-year reporter because he didn't "promote the brand?" Never mind that a reporter's job isn't in promotions, but I'd offer that the moron who came up with this idea did more to demote the school's brand than anyone. Gee. How much restriction would I face if I suggest the guy is an imbecile?


Ask Gary: Are improved Browns contenders?

March 16, 2019 general

Each week, the readers take over and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning and we all talk about the world of sports. Think of it as a radio show where you don’t have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, […]

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This time, it’s Stamkos who catches Lecavalier

March 15, 2019 general

Friday, 4 a.m. Think of it like this: The Tampa Bay Lightning keep reminding its fans that Vinny Lecavalier was a pretty good player. At the same time, they keep pointing out that they have players who are better. Steven Stamkos tied Lecavalier’s record for 383 goals for the Lightning in Thursday night’s 5-4 comeback […]

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Thinking of the playoff opponents to come

March 14, 2019 general

Thursday, 4 a.m. So who do you fear? Well, no one. Who concerns you? Everyone. By now, we have established two things. One) The Lightning is closing in on the President’s Trophy. It would take a slump unlike anything we have seen this year to stop them. Two) President’s Trophy winners often fall on their […]

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Bucs’ roster will look different next season

March 13, 2019 general

Tuesday, 4 a.m. Rule No. 1: A bad football team should rarely fall in love with its players. If they were better, the team wouldn’t be so bad. Keep that in mind as you say goodbye to Kwon. And to Humph. And to Banger. And, thankfully, to DeSean. On the verge of the NFL’s free […]

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Paquette, scoring machine, leads the Bolts to victory

March 12, 2019 general

Tuesday, 4 a.m. Suddenly, he is the lighter of lamps. Suddenly, he is a sniper on ice. For much of his career, Cedric Paquette has specialized in being a stone in someone else’s skate. He is an irritant, one of those guard dogs of a player who gave opponents a headache. He has been feisty. […]

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Can the President stop the Tampa Bay Lightning?

March 11, 2019 general

Monday, 4 a.m. Lord Stanley walked under ladders, and along the way, he stepped on a black cat. There were broken mirrors on his route, which was lined by voodoo dolls.  The horseshoes were hanging upside down. The salt shaker was tipped over. As historians may recall, it all happened on Friday the 13th. The […]

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