It was a year borne through animosity and division. The 2012 NHL lockout gave way to resolution and the resumption of the National Hockey League and with it the Tampa Bay Lightning. That and it gave us on Raw Charge something to do besides cover Gary Bettman, Jeremy Jacobs, Donald Fehr and the like of both sides of CBA negotiations. I mean, really what would you think we'd rather cover: Steven Stamkos chasing the Rocket Richard trophy or definitions of hockey related revenues and the "Make Whole" provision?
We've covered a lot of ground since January 1, 2013 on a multitude of topics, with over 600 articles since then. Posted here on Christmas Day 2013 is what we at Raw Charge have chosen as the best of our writing for the past year. Basically, this is a link dump and a gateway to the past year that was with the Lightning and the NHL.
It's a subjective list, and it leaves out some good works, admittedly.
If you're a Raw Charge regular, you probably already read these things but might want to go back through memories of the past year. If you're a new visitor, consider this a brief repository of what we have to offer.
Broken down by month of publication (except in cases of multiple articles such as in Story Streams or the Top 25 Under 25), our reading list begins below.
- 2012-13 NHL Lockout: Resolution - In retrospect, this almost seems silly... But this was the sentiment with the end of the lockout: don't forget, don't forgive. While John insinuated it'd take years for damage to be reversed, it seems as if damage was erased in months at longest.
- 2013 NHL Lockout: It's OK to be excited about the end of the lockout - It's healthy to forgive, to forget, to accept and move on. Clare Austin contradicted the anger and rage with her write up and basically showed the path that the masses would take post-lockout.
- 2013 NHL season opener: A splash of cold water on an otherwise festive day - Cassie McClellan just couldn't get into the start of the lockout-shortened NHL season.
- A perplexing situation: Thoughts on the Tokarski for Desjardins trade - Clare's thoughts on the AHL level move that saw the Bolts deal a prospect for an AHL veteran; a move that still confuses fans to this day.
- Syracuse Crunch fans fear the Beard and remember the Mohawk - Alex speaks of Crunch fans fondness for Radko Gudas while taking us back in Crunch history to a story of another fan favorite.
- Goal scoring alone won't solve things; Lightning at Rangers preview - Problems were evident with the club, but offensive production wasn't the source as certain columnists made it out to be.
- Tampa Bay Lightning troubles through an all-offense approach - After a humiliating loss in New York City, Cassie points out the issue that had been the strength and Achilles' heel for the Bolts.
- NBC Sports Network fills a void as a legitimate alternative to ESPN - Though it has its issues (see next post), NBCSN is a clear competitor to ESPN... And covers hockey too.
- Suffering Mike Milbury and the NHL on NBC Sports Network - Focusing on potential reaction to a Radko Gudas hit in a previous game, John discusses his discontent with the partial and polarizing personalities of the NHL's US cable broadcast partner.
- How the NHL would go about expansion if they were a successful business - With rumblings of a planned expansion of the NHL post-lockout, Cassie talks about process (and the lack there of) the NHL takes in planning these ventures.
- Former assistant head coach Wayne Fleming has passed - And he has not been forgotten.
- Lightning fire Guy Boucher / hire Jon Cooper to succeed him (Story Stream) - A collection of several articles - both news and features - regarding the dismissal of head coach Guy Boucher after a loss in Ottawa in late March.
- A day in the life of an NHL off-ice official - Patti McDonald's multimedia feature on the guys who keep track of the hits, shots, and many other things at NHL games.
- Boston Strong; Tampa Bay Lightning at Bruins preview - In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, John waxes poetic in his lead in about a late-month makeup game between the Bolts and B's.
- The case against Tampa Bay Lightning goalie coach Frantz Jean - One of the more popular stories of the year was Clare's lengthy analysis of the Bolts goalie coach.
- "Tomorrowseason" and the 2013 season finale; Bolts vs. Panthers preview - The process of becoming during the 2013 season was a failure; the promise of becoming defines tomorrowseason.
- How to resurrect a hockey franchise in 402 days - A look at the attendance rebound for Tampa Bay during Jeff Vinik's tenure as owner.
- A hockey writer's lament - Writing about hockey is a constructive hobby, but it's also something that can get you away from your love of the game.
- Why I didn't observe the June 7th Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup anniversary - Time passes and distance grows between the present and the Bolts 2004 Stanley Cup win.
- A conversation with Lightning TV analyst Bobby Taylor - Clark talks NBC Sports Net, the NHL draft and more with the long time Bolts TV color man.
- A personal reflection on Vincent Lecavalier's time with the Tampa Bay Lightning - As fans mourned the loss of Vinny Lecavalier via buyout, John speaks of personal connection to the deposed captain.
- Martin St. Louis and the question of decline - he had just turned 38, he had just (surprisingly enough) won the NHL's Art Ross Trophy... Clare reviewed Marty's performance to show if he had actually lost a step.
- How bare is the Tampa Bay Lightning defensive cupboard? - On the heels of the Bolts passing on Seth Jones and all defensemen in the 2013 NHL draft class, Clark talks Tampa Bay fans away from the ledge.
- What would it take for Tampa Bay to host the IIHF World Junior Championships? - The tournament is known for featuring the best amateurs in the world, but is normally played in border cities when it is played in the USA.
- The top 25 under 25 series - Launched by Kyle Alexander in August, the entire series (18 of 25 players have been named) features some fantastic writing on prospects such as Andrej Sustr, Vladislav Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin. We link to the category page here. Voting also took place around August, so that's a bit of an explanation certain rankings.
- Question of the week: Tampa Bay time machine - Who could be pulled from the Lightning's past to participate on the 2013-14 Lightning team? Nolan and his faithful Man Ape quizzed Bolts faithful or candidates.
- With policy language in place, Performance Enhancing Drug testing delayed by the NHL - While MLB conducts a witch-hunt for PEDs that have plagued the sport of baseball for years now, the NHL kicked the can down the road.
- Why Lightning fans should trust in The Beard - Alex encourages the Bolts faithful to believe in the abilities of Radko Gudas.
- Steve Yzerman is allowed to change his mind on fighting - Kyle responds to critics who took issue with Lightning GM Steve Yzerman speaking out against fighting in hockey.
- The Replay: Anders Lindback and the Pittsburgh Penguins power play - A thorough analysis of the Lightning penalty kill and troubles versus Pittsburgh.
- Steven Stamkos injury story stream - There are quite a few stories here relating to Steven Stamkos' broken tibia incident worth checking out, with features from every staff writer on the site.
- Being an AHL club is like being on Batman's end of the Batphone - We see them as just reinforcements when people get hurt, but AHL players are major assets that reinforce NHL teams when called upon. Alex reminds us where these knights don't just show up out of the night to help.
- Following a Lightning community hero - Clark's feature report one what a Lightning Community Hero experiences on the night in which they are honored by the franchise.
- Why NHL GMs are giving big contracts to starting goalies - In light of some major contract extensions, Clare analyzes the investment in bona-fide starting netminders.