Raw Charge Secret Santa 2018: Highlighting Justin Godfrey

It’s Justin’s turn to be highlighted in this summer’s Raw Charge Secret Santa!

We here at Raw Charge usually like to do something every summer that celebrates all of the hard work our contributors did over the last hockey season. This summer, we decided to do a Christmas in July Secret Santa drawing. Each contributor was given the name of another and was asked to find a piece from that person to highlight from the 2017-18 season.

Justin is known not only for his #MikhailMilestone series of tweets, where he marks every one of Mikhail Sergachev’s points and his position in franchise history, but also for his deep sense of humor. When I got Justin as my Secret Santa person, I didn’t hesitate much at all before choosing one of his latest articles about John Tavares’ hypothetical meeting with Tampa.

As a reader, you might be unaware that it’s not very simple to came up with ideas for articles in the off season. This is especially true when there’s not much going on, or when only one (maybe hypothetical?) event is monopolizing everyone’s discussions. So, writers need to be even more creative than usual to get attention from readers.

If you were following our blog this off season, you might know that Tampa Bay Lightning was one of few teams that had a personal meeting with John Tavares. The article I chose is based on an idea of how this meeting could have happened in the form of fictional interview with “one hockey blog from Florida” (also known as “The Athletic without a paywall”.)

In the first part of the “interview,” John Tavares describes a meeting where his expectations didn’t exactly meet with what Tampa offered:

JT: Sure, we were in a conference room at CAA headquarters. It was myself, Pat [Brisson, his agent], Steve Yzerman, Julien Brisebois and Jon Cooper. They brought a laptop and nothing else. I remember we had to close the curtains because Lou Lamoriello kept peeking in through the windows. I was expecting a pretty intense discussion about my role with the team, how they expected to keep the supporting talent and how we could avoid getting into a bad situation with the cap like Chicago is.

That’s pretty much how all of the other interviews went. Some of the teams had cut creative little videos with me photoshopped holding a Stanley Cup or passing the puck to an actual winger who can score a goal. With how Stammer described the organization I wasn’t expecting a lot of fluff, but I was thinking that they were going to have a fairly detailed breakdown of how they were going to use me on the ice and how they would fit in my contract requests into their long term plan.

We were expecting them to focus the hard sell on how great it was to play for an owner that was fully committed to putting the best product on the ice but smart enough to leave the hockey decisions in the hands of the people he hired to make those choices. I was also expecting them to talk about what a great hockey town Tampa was and how loud the building gets when the Lightning are winning. I was there a couple of years ago for the playoffs and was surprised at the crowd and the way the town supported the team. I figured they’d show us a bunch of slides about their attendance numbers and how they outdrew supposed hockey hotbeds like Boston and New York last year.

Also, we assumed they would overwhelm us with talk about all of the young talent that was on its way up from the AHL that would fill in the spots around us. But we didn’t get any of that. We didn’t even get a Photoshop of me holding the Stanley Cup on the beach, I was kind of looking forward to that.

Even more absurdity was added with the fact that everything the Lightning was offering was in the absence of State Income Tax.

RC: So they didn’t mention any of that?

JT: No. Not a single word. They just booted up the laptop and clicked on a file. All that popped up on the screen was a pdf with the words, “No State Income Tax” on it. It wasn’t even in color. Just black and white. And I think they used a comic sans font.

I personally think that this is a great point, because lower taxes in some US states (especially when compared to Canadian taxes) is a thing under discussion in the modern NHL.

The fictional interview was finished in even more surreal way:

JT: Well….I almost called and said I would sign for 5 years and $36 million. I mean, they did have a good point about the income tax. But Pat pulled out the photo of me sleeping in the Leafs sheets and I realized that I had always wanted to play for Toronto and they offered me a lot, I mean A LOT, of money. So I signed with them instead.

Some our readers criticized this article, calling it a clickbait. I just can’t agree with them. I think sometimes you need to see the situation from different angle, and adding in a dose of humor doesn’t hurt at all. While everyone is busy with calculating the cap hit and predicting upcoming trades, you can forgot that this is just a game. Justin did a great job of reminding us all of this.