A third party viewpoint instead of a view from within the bubble would be a hell of a lot more sound than someone declaring what the deal is from within the bubble itself. It's a standard problem in politics - conclusions are drawn and barked to the masses as the truth and fact while the masses either accept it from experience or question it. Logic also plays into conclusion drawing.
Bob McKenzie is a pretty notable voice in the world of the National Hockey League. He's also in the middle of the bubble when it comes to Toronto media and the local lust for Steven Stamkos to come home. His decree that Stamkos is likely leaving Tampa Bay is marred by this. In fact, it's marred by the very lead in on his deductive reasoning:
Stamageddon breezed in and out of Toronto this week. We all managed to survive it.
If there is one take-away for me from a week or so of Stammerama in the self-proclaimed Centre of the Hockey Universe, it is as follows:
Steven Stamkos won't be playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning next season.
Read it over again, what am I going after here that's wrong?
If you're in Toronto, if you're in Canada, it's been a week of coverage of the looming Maple Leafs/Lightning game. They've had plenty of time to muse and focus on Stamkos. And that's the flaw in the entire conclusion-drawing. The bubble and the time to rally around the local superstar (just like Vincent Lecavalier was always popular in Montreal - the local francophone who made good and who'd raise Les Habs to new heights). Stamkos' looming free agency has dominated coverage in Toronto media for the extent of the club's six days off.
And the conclusion drawing is wishful thinking.
I cited it yesterday that the substance is lacking in the Stamkos-dislikes-Cooper angle and the substance is vacant in Bob McKenzie's piece. McKenzie is the crème-de-la-crème of hockey media but he's also an outsider declaring how poor things are between Stamkos and the Lightning organization:
Stamkos and the Lightning aren't even holding hands. Absent a lightning bolt out of the blue, they're not going to either.
And your proof is, sir? Substance, Mr. McKenzie, substance. Not TSN ratings rallying but show it, don't say it.
If you're citing Stamkos' play, we can get into a nice little discussion about the value of having two lines as scoring threats and the lack-thereof at the moment in Tampa Bay with thanks to injuries. "Just going through the motions because he wants out" is another excuse I've seen tossed out there. Is that normal in a contract year when your performance matters the most and Stamkos could break contract records on the open market by proving his skills now?
Perhaps we can have a little discussion about off-ice life and how the literal relationship between the Tampa Bay Lightning organization and Steven Stamkos. That won't do spit for TSN ratings or link-clicks though, will it? Nah, he's history in Tampa because Toronto is the media epicenter for hockey and he's from Toronto.
Logic, right? It's why things lasted a week: Stamkos was in Toronto for so long and of course he's leaving Tampa Bay! So what if he was only physically in Toronto for so-many hours, it's the weight of the fact he's been covered so intensively (with little to no input from those actually on-the-ground in Tampa Bay who could speak about Stamkos' status, relationship, etc) that locks it down and proves it. Stamkos is gone, and the only destination he'll accept a contract with are the Maple Leafs, because an idled local media has concluded as much.