TAMPA, FL - MAY 22: Defenseman Dan Boyle #22 of the Tampa Bay Lightning jostle for position with center Jeremy Roenick #97 of the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals on May 22, 2004. - Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
May 22nd, 2004's epic finale between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers will be rebroadcast tonight at 8 PM on Sun Sports.
You know, I could write a generic marketing post for tonight's rebroadcast of game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals from 2004 on Sun Sports TV at 8 PM (check your local cable or Satellite listings and blah, blah, blah), but instead of that, let me pull up a quote from May 22nd, 2004 from yours truly. An excerpt from the post The Final Hour:
For the Lightning, a win would push the team into a final confrontation -- the grand finale of the Pass the Friggin' Torch Tour -- for the right to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. It will deliver a 40-year-old dreamer to his dreams, and give a taste of legendary status to the rest of the players on the roster: The cocky 24-year-old from Ile Bizzard, the consistent and resilient young man from Prince Edward Island, the 5-nothing, 100-nothing pound forward who has taken nay-sayers opinions and shoved them up their collective asses. There's the balls-to-the-wall Swede, the "potential realized" Czech, etc, etc.... All rounded out by the man known to his enemies and allies alike as the Bulin Wall...
Potentially, sixty minutes of hockey is all that is left for one of these teams. A bitter resentment of how close they came will be all that lingers for the next three months (or more pending work stoppage) as they prepare themselves both mentally and physically to try, try again...
And the winner? The winner gets the chance at glory -- to realize boyhood dreams or to re-live them that they once experienced in a different town, among different people. Nothing is certain as any sports fan can tell you.
Throw out your clichés, for there truly is no tomorrow for the loser... The quest for Lord Stanley's Cup ends for all but one in the Eastern Conference tonight...
This was the biggest event in Tampa Bay sports history, up to that time... At least for a local team, playing at home. Tampa Bay had hosted Super Bowls, but those games were other teams. The Buccaneers had won their own Vince Lombardi trophy, but they had done it in San Diego.
Getting to the Stanley Cup Finals seemed like an impossible dream... But nothing's impossible in this sport. Getting to the Finals and knocking off Philadelphia in the process? There are no words for the sentiment taken from that.
Maybe you can't re-live the emotional sentiment of this game, but perhaps you can learn to appreciate (if you don't already) the heroes of that team - because they'll be rebroadcast again over the next two weeks with the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals games 6 and 7.