A show of appreciation

As we made our way through pregame festivities Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, we were pleasantly surprised to see former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk milling with fans near The Arts Center's Art on Ice program.

Captain Dave signed a ton of autographs, including Stanley Cups made of clay, for a couple hundred fans. He posed for numerous pictures. He made memories for the smiling faces. Basically, in his role as a team ambassador, he was accessible. Quite simply, for those fortunate enough to meet him, he added value to the Lightning's 3-2 victory over the Rangers.

Now, for someone who has no problem calling out Brad Richards for his continued dime-on-a-dollar return on the NHL's second-biggest contract, or declaring that the team's inconsistency at home fails to provide an adequate return on our ticket-package investments, I will give the organization credit for reaching out to its fans.

Later today, the Lightning is holding a free Playoff Push rally at the Forum. They'll make players, such as Dan Boyle, Johan Holmqvist and Richards, accessible to fans. And, if you buy a package, which includes free tickets to the first two playoff games (provided the Lightning make it), you get a meet-and-greet with Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.

Though it's nothing more than a marketing push to put fannies in the seats, it's another example of what the Lightning does right. They appreciate their fans. And, as a fan, I appreciate that.

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