Over the last 88 days, there has been a lot of searching for photos of Steven Stamkos. As engaging as a solid block of text can be, it’s always nice to break up the paragraphs with a few pictures.
Raw Charge has access to two photo databases - USA Today and Getty Images. Most of the recent photos that we use for the recaps and previews have been coming from the USA Today archive just because they update it a bit more frequently. Over all, though, Getty has a more robust offering, so I’ve been using them for most of the 91 Days of Stamkos photos.
There are a lot of them. As in 145 pages with about 12 per page which breaks down to at least 1,740. A lot of them are typical game play shots - Stamkos taking a face-off, Stamkos chewing on a mouthpiece (way too many of those), Stamkos checking someone into the boards, etc.
While a lot of them could be interchangeable, there are some that stand out. I’ve decided to compile my top ten photos from the Getty archive. Some you might have seen some of these before. Others I wasn’t able to work into a story. If this had been 100 Days of Stamkos [No, please! - Acha], I probably would have resorted to the “Hey look at this photo” posts, instead you got “Hey look at this hockey card” posts.
Feel free to link to any photos I might have missed (or not have access to) in the comments.
10. 2016 All Star Skills Competition in Nashville
The flowing hair, the crowd of super-talented onlookers watching what Steven Stamkos does best — whack a frozen puck with a stick. I also like Ben Bishop in the background with the, “Now you know what I deal with in practice” smile on his face.
9. The 2008 Top Prospects Media Luncheon
The last moments before Steven Stamkos became a member of the NHL. Look at all that youth (and the straight nose). This was Stamkos filled with unlimited potential, the one that was billed as the next savior of the Tampa Bay Lightning. There are no contract disputes, no broken legs or torn up knees, just an 18-year-old kid who showed all of the promise and none of the burden of being the next great goal scorer.
8. Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals
The Lightning had been beat down 5-1 in Game 4 by the Rangers. With the series tied at 2 a piece Game 5 was crucial. Stamkos scored his fourth goal of the series with less than two minutes to go in the second period to extend the lead to 2-0 for the Bolts. It was a pretty, pretty goal.
Ben Bishop shut the door the rest of the way and the Lightning headed back to Tampa with the chance to close out the series. They did not. Instead they got their teeth kicked in, 7-3. Luckily Bishop shut out the Rangers in Game 7 and the Bolts were off to the Stanley Cup Final.
I’m a sucker for goal cam photos and this has some great elements. Stamkos with his best war face, the puck still rolling out from the back of the net, the looming Jumbotron in the World’s Most Famous Arena and poor Kevin Klein pondering his role in the universe after getting turned around by the Lightning’s passing.
7. The Year Before
Sometimes you have Ben Bishop throwing shutouts in clinching games and sometimes you have Anders Lindback doing Anders Lindback things. You have to adjust your game for that. Here Stamkos is pretty much doing what he can to help his goaltender out.
6. Stamkos and Ovechkin
“One day I’m going to score 60 goals, just like you!”
Reason number 382 I hope the Lightning make the playoffs - so we can get an updated version of this photo.
5. Game Five of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals
Steven Stamkos did not score in this game. He did, however, still find the back of the net.
4. Pregame warm-ups
There is no doubt in my mind that Stamkos is arguing with Marty St. Louis about their pregame warm ups.
3. Stamkos alone on the ice
Again, just like goalie cam, I’m a sucker for overhead shots of hockey players doing hockey things. Shadows and lighting can be fun!
2. Stamkos and Eric Nystrom collide
Another fun part of photography. Angles can be fun. In what was a normal, if big, collision, the angle of the photo makes it look like Stamkos is about to decapitate Nystrom’s with his skate. Since I don’t remember reading about a murder on the ice during a 2013 pre-season game I’m going to guess that his skate never connected with Nystrom’s throat.
1. The Slap Shot
Let’s face it. When Stamkos is finally done and the trophies are collecting dust and his jersey is hanging in the rafters, people will still be talking about his one-timer. It will be the one-timer that future snipers are compared to. Sorry future NHL fans, 85-year-old Pierre McGuire is going to be telling fans, “Yeah, this kid Trysten Samuels, went to Hunting Hills High School in Red Deer. He’s got a shot that reminds me of Steven Christopher Stamkos.”
He may score more goals by crashing the net or deflecting the puck these days, but this picture is how we’ll remember him.