2 days before the NHL trade deadline with the local team leading the NHL, upon opening the paper and going to sports, what NHL coverage (general league stuff) can I find in addition to the usual mess that I find in the St. Petersburg Times?
There was no talk about the chief rivals the Lightning will face in a playoff run or speculation who in the Southeast will be selling off talent -- which has been a minor mainstay here at Boltsmag seeing I keep bringing up division rival Washington's firesale -- or which of the top teams are going to try to further themselves before the deadline... All of this news right now matters to the Lightning and Lightning fans because we may be on top of the league at the moment, but being on top only means everyone is trying to pull you back down.
In fact, the lack of coverage in the Times makes me think of the Tampa Tribune and it's good-ole-boy network -- where football, college sports and the New York Yankees take precedence to everything else. In the Times, there was plenty of NCAA coverage, there was a feature story on recruiting, Bucs free agency coverage... and yet the general NHL coverage in the Times was a page and a half, not counting Gary Shelton's awkward article about the Lightning being not great - yet.
This is a wakeup call to the local media. You know those occasional stories you run about how the Lightning were perceived as the league joke a few years ago? Your lack of coverage and lack of league coverage continues the joke, at least for hockey fans in the region. Traditionalists will continue to paint us and other southern cities as not deserving hockey while you focus on traditional southern sports of football and college basketball.