THIS is supporting the fans

It's a piece of marketing work that is absent from the NHL by and large -- though the individual markets see it more often than not -- teams reaching out to do something for the fans that supports the base and keeps the NHL product in plain view of all those who wish to see it.

It would seem the Lightning themselves are the ones to thank for getting Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on broadcast television in the greater Tampa Bay metro area. After WFLA abandoned ignored passed over hockey fans in the area and the chance to broadcast the game -- they didn't step up to find a host for the show in their "absence".

The Lightning, on the other hand, did.

The Lightning brokered a deal Friday afternoon to have the game be shown on WTTA-Channel 38. The game is being broadcast by NBC, but WFLA-Channel 8, the local NBC affiliate, could not carry the game because it is carrying its annual All Children's Hospital telethon.It's believed the Lightning is spending $20,000 to buy up all the local advertising time so that Ch. 38 would agree to show the game. Channel 38 is channel 6 on Bright House Networks cable systems and channel 14 on Verizon.

(hat tip to RJ)

UPDATE: THE DEAL FELL THROUGH. The Lightning game will only be broadcast locally on Catch 47 (Bright House Cable network) and WFLA's HD channel...