Championship gaffe from the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004
Lamenting the Bolts loss of the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Tribune thrust itself into one of the humorous quirks that are sometimes forgotten in pro sports history.
There are quirks throughout NHL history, and sports history for that matter; little oddities that make you snicker or smile because of how absurd they are. That is especially when they're tied to marquee events for each club. While we've just passed the 10-years-to-the-day anniversary of the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup, it's worth noting there is a quirk in history attached to that.
"Quirk" is a nice way to put it. "Gaffe" is more appropriate, and "embarrassment" would be very fitting. It's not tied directly to the Lightning or anyone involved with the franchise. But it does involve the franchise and the Stanley Cup loss.
Ten years ago, on June 8th, 2004, the Tampa Tribune ran an op-ed in its daily edition (which had plenty of coverage of the night before and the Bolts win against the Calgary Flames and all the different stories tied to the event) lamenting the Bolts game 7 loss to the Flames.
Here's a report that ran at the time from The Smoking Gun about the gaffe:
Seems that the paper had prepared two editorials in advance of the final game's conclusion and mistakenly published the one (a copy of which you'll find below) bemoaning how the team "fell one game short in the 16-victory Stanley Cup marathon." The hockey editorial, which ran above a piece on stem cell research, saluted the Lightning for bringing "fellowship and joy to our community--no small accomplishment. Thanks Lightning. You've made us proud."
While you might facepalm or laugh at this mistake, it is history. It happened, it's over, and while you might just sooner want to forget about it, every single sports team in the league can boast one gaffe or another they'd sooner have wiped away from media coverage of the team. Local TV reporting of the Los Angeles Kings 2012 Stanley Cup playoff run is directly comparable.