The best thing about having a team-issued credential to cover the Lightning is that I'm a Lightning fan, and I like to believe that being a credentialed member of the media allows me to be an ambassador on behalf of fellow fans who will never get to experience the game of hockey that way. Through this weekly column, I'll be sharing peeks behind the magical media curtain with you. Today, we're going to talk about scratched and injured hockey players.
What scratched and injured hockey players? I mean they’re here, somewhere in the building, but with a handful of rare and notable exceptions, they aren’t in the press box.
If you’re familiar with the old-school expression “serving popcorn in the press box,” referring to players not in that night’s line-up making themselves useful doing something, you may be surprised to learn that it’s an old-school expression. Because while players have never actually served anybody any snack foods, they haven’t been hanging around in the press box doing nothing for quite some time (at least since I’ve been hanging around in the press box).
Where are they? I have no idea. Downstairs riding exercise bikes or doing some other form of rehab and/or workout protocol would be my guess. Would it be fun to sit with some of those guys, shoot the breeze, maybe get some quotes for stories? You bet it would!
I’m willing to bet that’s part of the reason they aren’t up there.
Every once in a while, you’ll see some of the visitor’s guys up there, but over on the end opposite the media where scouts and team personnel camp out. And on even rarer occasions, there might be a Lightning sighting. I once sat next to an injured Ben Bishop for half of one period. I think he was just occupying a chair prior to a TV interview though. I don’t know. I didn’t talk to him. For a number of reasons, many of them very good, the media’s access to players is tightly controlled in terms of time and place. Sitting next to me during a game for a few minutes qualifies as neither.
I know this is far from the most exciting revelation about what goes on up in the press box and I’m sorry but at least now you know. Sadly, it’s true: if I want popcorn, I have to get it myself.