BY: John Mamola
As the NHL officially ends with the Chicago Blackhawks winning their second Stanley Cup in the last four seasons, the eyes of the hockey world now turn to the NHL off season. For Tampa Bay Lightning fans, this upcoming off season could be one of the most important moments in shaping the future of the franchise.
The Bolts disappointing season saw no postseason, the firing head coach Guy Boucher to bring in Jon Cooper, and now the pressure built on the third overall selection in Sunday’s NHL Draft. Lightning television analyst Bobby “The Chief” Taylor joined WDAE’s The Sports page on Tuesday morning and discussed what he’d like to see the Lightning address in the coming months. Taylor said that youth getting experience could be the answer.
“You’ve got some really good young guys (in the minors). The thing is if you don’t start giving these guys the opportunity, you’ll lose them” said Taylor. “They’re probably in a very precarious position in a sense. They might be another year away, but you got to put that carrot in front of the donkey for them. Because they’ve done everything they can in the AHL.”
The future of Lightning Captain Vincent LeCavalier in Tampa is also going to be a tough decision for the franchise as the salary cap shrinks heading into the 2013-2014 season. Taylor saying on WDAE that LeCavalier may be old, but he can still contribute.
“I don’t know how you can do this. How would you do that because Vinny’s been here and he’s been so much for this community” said Taylor. “The thing of it is will be who are you going to have to come in to do that? I know it’s a lot of money for a second line center, but who you going to have to play second line center with those kind of numbers (stats) right off the bat.”
To hear “The Chief” take on the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup and his breakdown of the top five prospects in this year’s draft, check it out below.
Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroudâ€™s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2â€™s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPNâ€™s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Networkâ€™s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungyâ€™s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucsâ€™ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Timesâ€™ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.