It's not often that I read pieces by John Romano at the St. Petersburg Times that leaves me conflicted - agreeing or at least seeing his point but also disagreeing on the gorunds that... well, it just doesn't feel right.
In this case, John stands up for Tampa Bay's championship and the right to defend Lord Stanley's Cup after a full season of games - not after a mini-season that may be played if a CBA deal can be reached.
In some ways, he's right. Whoever wins a season - if there IS a season - right now is not a true champion. They are Microleague champions and they temporarily sully the reputation and the heritage of the Cup.
But then again, the NHL is responsible for also sullying the Cup -- as are the players -- because their personal greed outweighed the most prestigious championship in pro sports. It's happened before where a team played a shorter season and won the Cup -- and there is no reason to take away from the accomplishments of the 1994-1995 New Jersey Devils. ANd in the long run, it won't really take away from the prestige of hoisting the challice...
I'm not sure about the other work stoppage, and as this guy says, unless you are a fantatic - you probably don't either.
Back to the point of this blog entry the article by Romano comes off... Possesive? Any Canadian might take offense to the title of the article to begin with... But the fact is this championship -- the 2003-04 Championship -- is ours. And to have a short season, a season where the time to defend it runs very short, does put a damper on having the awe last.
But then again, for this fan? The awe has lasted durign the lockout. The disappointment of not seeing the Lightning defending the Cup doesn't hurt so much as the fact people have forgotten we achieved what was thought to be impossible. Tampa Bay won the Cup when we were laughingstocks 5 years ago.