Tampa Bay embraces Stanley Cup

by Gary Shelton on October 1, 2020

in general

Nikita Kucherov shows off a new trophy./CHUCK MULLER

Thursday, 3 a.m.

For two months, they lived far away from the cheers.

Oh, the members of the Tampa Bay Lightning were always careful to mention the fans back home, but the fact is that no Stanley Cup winner has ever had so many big moments so far away from home. They were in another country, away from the spotlight, away from the energy that a home crowd can give a team.

But now, they are willing to share their trophy -- and. their swagger -- with the fans who have cheered for them from a distance.

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Cooper guided his team to the Stanley Cup./CHUCK MULLER

It happens that way, you know. When a team wins a championship, its fans attempt to walk in the same gait.

From now on, it is permissible to think of yourself as sturdy as Victor Hedman, as resilient as Brayden Point, as creative as Nikita Kucherov. You can look in the mirror and tell yourself you are as fiery as Cedric Paquette, as rugged as Andrei Vasilevskiy, as steady as Ondrej Palat. You would like to think that you are as gritty as this team when the air grows think. That you are as in tune with life as Jon Cooper.

Oh, it is may not be true. But Michael Jordan spread his essence to the fans of Chicago, Joe Montana to those in San Francisco. Lawrence Taylor to those in New York.

As of now, this Cup belongs to you. These moments, as far away as they were, belong to you.

So, what are you going to do with your time with the trophy?

Stamkos celebrates with fans./CHUCK MULLER

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