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Lightning Round: Regular season action is coming to Tampa

It’s not the NHL though.

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NCAA Women’s Final Four - National Championship Photo by Evert Nelson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

While things are going slowly in the NHL, we can at least be sure that Tampa Bay Lightning’s Amalie Arena will see some regular season action in near future. It’s not going to be the NHL’s regular season, but the NBA’s one. As it was reported yesterday the Toronto Raptors’ request to play in their hometown was denied by the Canadian government, meaning that the Raptors needed another home for the upcoming 2020-21 season. Eventually Tampa was selected as their location, beating Nashville and Fort Lauderdale as other finalists. Nearness to the Miami Heat and the rich infrastructure in Tampa were the main factors in the Raptors’ final decision.

The Raptors are expected to hold their training camp at Saint Leo University in Florida before the new season starts on December 22. The Raptors are still hopeful that the restrictions will be lifted by the All-Star break from March 5–10 and they could return home.

We’ve already reported that Tampa Bay is still in the race for being one of the NHL’s bubbles for the next season. Having another professional team at the same facility will likely complicate the logistic situation at Amalie Arena. Hopefully in the next weeks we will hear more details from the NHL on the 2020-21 season. Meanwhile the Lightning’s captain Steven Stamkos already seems excited about new neighbors.

Amalie Arena have already hosted big basketball events – last time it was the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Lightning Links

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s agent Dan Milstein posted a video of new goaltender’s mask for the next season. It’s now included the image of Vasilevskiy lifting the Stanley Cup.

This week the Athletic held a Lightning fan survey, asking people about their salary cap crunch, their favorite moment from the Stanley Cup run, etc. One of the questions was “Who changed your opinion the most in playoffs“. Apparently it was Jon Cooper who won this category. So long, fire Coop squad? [The Athletic, paid content]

As one fan wrote of Cooper: “I always believed he was a good coach, but we always came up short. I had questioned whether extending him prior to last year’s playoffs was a wise move given that we always came up short (CBJ series aside). Obviously, we finally overcame the hump and made it to the promised land with the Cup win. I admit some of it was bad luck in the past, but at some point, you had to get it done or move on. Thankfully, we did just that.”

Said another: “Last year’s playoffs, I didn’t think Coop was capable of adapting, because he didn’t, but this year changed my mind.”

Sammy Walker has scored his first goal of the season in the NCAA, he has currently two points in two games.