Draft Daze: Access for the media, speculation for the fans
Joe Bolts Fan thinks the Lightning have tipped their hand for Draft Day 2009 by inviting the Big Dog to Bell Centre in Montreal:
On Monday afternoon, Joe listened to the dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, Steve Duemig, on The Sports Animal, 620 WDAE-AM, the Lightning’s flagship radio station. Duemig told his audience that the Bolts recently asked him personally to broadcast his afternoon show on Day 1 of the NHL Draft (June 26) live from the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Duemig speculated the Bolts only asked him because they will not be trading their No. 2 pick. And Duemig announced he will, in fact, be in Montreal broadcasting on June 25 and June 26. Those shows surely will be a Lightning lover’s dream in this too-long offseason.
What can you take from this, besides mutual hyping of the draft and Duemig's access? It's possible to read the situation as directly as Duemig (and JoeBoltsfan) did and say this is because the Lightning must be standing pat...
But what about the fact the team has put Tampa Bay's sports-talk radio "Dean" into their good graces and encouraged him to join the party in Montreal? Doesn't this suggest that, if something does happen regarding the #2 pick or Vincent Lecavalier, Duemig is going to get an excess of access to the what's, how's and why's by the Lightning to explain it all? We-scratch-your-back, you-scratch-ours kind of favoritism?
If the fans are going to like the result of the draft so much (no Lecavalier trade and using our pick instead of dealing), why have the Bolts not announced a team-hosted draft party? This could look like nit-picking, but the Lightning season concluded in April, the May 11th forum event was the last team sponsored event... That's two solid months of next-to-nothing for Lightning fans. Just where is the attempt to let Bolt fans congregate and spread some positive vibes? There were weeks before the May forum event and it was highly publicized by the team...
And yet no fan event related to the draft?
Of course, with the hype surrounding the 2008 draft by the team, they may rather slink through things this time around instead of using bombast to tout their selection like last year. After all, Steven Stamkos did not immediately live up to vaulted expectations built through the "Seen Stamkos?" campaign (it wasn't until Barry Melrose's dismissal that the team took the kid-gloves off, no pun intended) and may be cited as reasoning enough why the team should not hype the draft.
But it shouldn't be an all-or-nothing type of thing (heavy marketing or no marketing)... unless other forces are at work regarding the team. Take that for what you will and draw your own conclusions..