First of all, I just want to say that this was one of the most original and dedicated countdowns I've ever seen published. That goes for all the RC staff who contributed directly or indirectly at any point. 91 days is a loooooong time. As JustinG mentioned during the last article, it started the day after New Years. The season was still relatively young, and the Lightning had a record of 19-15-4.
If anyone thought it was bad then, nobody was prepared for what happened next. The Lightning were definitely at rock bottom when this series started. Luckily, there were these stories every day to read instead of the depressing game recaps and doubtful playoff predictions the entire time (at one point I think I remember the Lightning being last in the Eastern Conference).
So thank you everyone at RC for keeping my mind off how bad things were, and how good things were and could be.
Here is the TBL's record during those 91 days:
- January: 3-8-2
- February: 6-2-2
- March: 10-4-1
- April: 1-0-1
- Total: 20-14-6
There were a lot of things that I learned about the guy. The first thing that comes to mind is his Macedonian background. I always wondered what kind of name Stamkos was, and I got my answer without ever asking. It also made me laugh every time he was referred to as Steve Stamkos for some reason, along with the awesome fact that he doesn't have a middle name. Here's a list of my other favorite articles, in order of when they were written. I'll decompress the titles in my own words...
Day 68 - Vinny does it best (@Achariya - "Yach te pivo" - I have no idea how to spell it, but that's what they always said. It's pronounced yach-tay-pee-vo. And I'm still trying to get my cousin to send me that picture. It's unbelievable the similarity [Huh! that's cool. - Acha])
This series was the best way to cope with his injury, as a fan. There would have been times during his absence that I probably wouldn't even have remembered that he was on the roster. There were times during this series that I wondered if the same team would be around him when he finally does come back, many other friendly faces were lost along the way. There were times I was wondering whether Stamkos himself would even come back at all.
So now, here we are at Day 92, and the Lightning need #91 more than ever. The Lightning play the Bruins tomorrow in what is going to be a Game 7 for Tampa. Every game has been an elimination game for the last month. Last year Steven Stamkos remarkably came back for a Game 7, but despite his valiant effort, came up just short. They say in hockey that you gotta lose it to win it.
He's been to a SCF and lost in a Game 7 in the ECF last year, so if he could come back and the Lightning somehow make it to the playoffs, I'd be worried as a fan from any other team. In no way did this injury help the team, but having Stamkos with the freshest legs out of anyone in the playoffs would be quite an advantage. Putting him with KucHEROv may be the most lethal weapon that the Lightning have ever had. Throw in Swedish Thor Hedman, and the Lightning have a trio as talented as any other team in the league.
Here's to another 91 months of #91!!!