Captain Dave finally gets his due

A couple weeks ago, once I figured out how to hook up the new VCR/DVD player to the digital-cable box and then to the television, I finally got around to watching the visual story of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s run to the 2003-04 Stanley Cup championship.

It was interesting watching the team jell with each playoff series, a different player carrying the Bolts upon his back, until that exciting deciding Game 7 victory over the Calgary Flames at the St. Pete Times Forum.

To a man, though, nearly every player, coach, member of management and those in the media mentioned how special it was for Dave Andreychuk, Tampa Bay’s captain, to finally win his first Stanley Cup in 22 years of playing in the National Hockey League.

In fact, while the cover shows the Bolts’ key components of that magical season -- Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Marty St. Louis and Nikolai Khabibulin -– the biggest picture belongs to Andreychuk. In it, he holds the Cup aloft, a look of deep satisfaction, caught for eternity, etched upon his face.

Tomorrow night, Lightning fans will resume their adulation for their captain, as the very same organization that unceremoniously waived him last season will finally honor his career and contributions with a Dave Andreychuk Night.

The Lightning’s opponent tomorrow will be the Buffalo Sabres, the team that drafted him 16th overall in 1982 and where he played for 12 of his 23 NHL seasons. So, in a sense, it’s fitting that the Lightning waited until now for a recognition that’s long overdue.

Though a bobblehead commemorating the night will be given to the first 5,000 fans (Yes, I hope to be one of those), I’m hoping the Tampa Bay organization takes it a step further, making Andreychuk’s No. 25 the first ever to be retired by the team. Simply, it would be a classy move for a classy individual.

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Anonymous thehockeychick said...

I totally agree. Dave was certainly all class and it would be only fitting for the Lightning to permanently honor him.

6:45 PM  

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